Keynote Speaker

Dr. Melanie Harris

Professor of Black Feminist Thought and Womanist Theology at Wake Forest University

Dr. Melanie L. Harris is Professor of Black Feminist and Womanist Theologies jointly appointed with Divinity and African American Studies at Wake Forest University. She also serves as the Director of Food, Health and Ecological Well Being at Wake Forest University. A graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program, her administrative leadership focuses on the areas of inclusive excellence, equity and access in higher education, and ethical leadership. Dr. Harris’ scholarship critically examines intersections between race, religion, gender and environmental ethics. She is the author of many scholarly articles and books including Gifts of Virtue: Alice Walker and Womanist Ethics (Palgrave), Ecowomanism: Earth Honoring Faiths (Orbis) and co-editor of Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation (Palgrave) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Dr. Harris is a former broadcast journalist who worked as a news producer for ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates. A community leader whose passion for education is linked to a commitment to social justice, she has also served as an educational consultant with the Ford Foundation, the Forum for Theological Exploration, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Lilly Endowment Inc. She is on the executive board of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and has served on the Board of Directors of KERA-TV/Radio, the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Christian Ethics.

Dr. Harris has been awarded several prestigious awards and academic fellowships including the AddRan College of Liberal Arts Administration Fellowship and GreenFaith Fellowship. Dr. Harris earned her PhD and M.A. degrees from Union Theological Seminary in The City of New York, an M. Div. from Iliff School of Theology and a B.A. from Spelman College.