Karen Armstrong, Doctor of Divinity

From nunnery to the World Economic Forum, yours has been quite a pilgrimage. Your true vocation, it turned out, was not to immerse yourself in one tradition but to explicate to the world with a prophetic voice all three of the Abrahamic religions. In work that has been translated into fifty languages, you have helped us better comprehend each other’s faiths, and even our own, and you have done so at a time when knowledge of religion has become even more critical to an understanding of world events. Thus you have been invited to address members of Congress and policymakers at the Departments of State and Defense. You have taken your important perspective even to Davos. You are an ambassador to the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations and were the first foreigner to be awarded a medal by the Egyptian government for services to Islam. From what you consider the common ground of these traditions you have lifted compassion as an instinct worthy of our conscious development as individuals, communities, and nations. Your Charter for Compassion is now being implemented around the world. The fundamental question that the charter challenges us all to address, including all of us here and all who hold this college dear, is a simple but powerful one: “What does compassion ask of our community?”

I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree Doctor of Divinity, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto. 

June 8, 2014