John David Dawson Appointed Provost at Haverford
John David Dawson, the Constance and Robert MacCrate Professor in Social Responsibility, will become provost of the highly selective college on July 1. He replaces Elaine Hansen, who is assuming the presidency of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
In his announcement to the College community, Haverford President Thomas Tritton noted that, "David possesses the depth of scholarship and quality of teaching that exemplify what are most important at an institution like Haverford. He also has an appreciation for the depth of community that makes this College so unique."
Since joining Haverford's religion faculty in 1987, Dawson has chaired and served as a member of numerous academic committees including the Educational Policy Committee, the Committee on Student Standings and Programs, Academic Council and the Middle States Advisory Committee. He also has been a faculty representative to the College's board of managers and a member of the Long Range Planning Committee.
Most recently, he has directed a major program for faculty development funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges. He also has been director of the Humanities Center at Haverford, an endowed resource for collective and creative thinking in various areas of humanistic scholarship including philosophy, religion, classics and literature, as well as in culture and the arts.
In his coursework and research, Dawson has focused on ancient Christianity, and literary theory and modern religious thought. He has taught courses on ethical theories, both secular and religious, and the place and role of religion in American public life as reflected in U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Much of Dawson's scholarly writing deals with the interpretation of the Bible and its relationship to theological reflection. In his most recent book, Christian Figural Reading and the Fashioning of Identity (University of California Press, 2001), he examines Christianity's conception of its relationship with Judaism.
Dawson also is the author of Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria and Literary Theory in the series, Guides to Theological Inquiry.
A 1978 graduate from Towson State University, Dawson holds a master's of divinity degree from Duke University, and a M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. In 1994 he was named Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Elaine Hansen, also a member of Haverford's faculty and a former chair of the English department, served as provost for the past seven years. At this year's commencement ceremonies on May 19, she is being awarded an honorary degree.