Retiree of the Year Award to Jill Raitt

Jill Raitt

Professor Emerita Jill Raitt was honored for her outstanding research, teaching, mentoring, and service to the University of Missouri with the Chancellor’s Retiree of the Year Award. Dr. Raitt has maintained an active research agenda since retiring, and is the author of numerous books and articles, as well as the recipient of several prestigious grants and fellowships. Dr. Raitt has continued to teach and mentor since retirement. She was the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet Endowed Chair in Catholic Thought at Fontbonne University from 2008-11, a Visiting Professor at St. Louis University in the Department of Theology in 2012, and returned to teach in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri as a Visiting Professor in 2013.  She has served as mentor to numerous undergraduate and graduate students, chaired thesis committees, and above all, has been unbelievably generous with her time, working patiently to help undergraduates develop critical thinking skills and improve their written work.

Her nominating letters all emphasize Dr. Raitt's influence as a mentor, scholar, and teacher.

Rebecca Ruppar (ABD Art History, University of Missouri): “her unique insight allowed me to take my research in new directions leading to both my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation.”  

Marcia Chatelain (BA Religious Studies, University of Missouri, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Georgetown University) “Jill’s commitment to cultivating academic talent—especially of women and people of color—is something I am particularly grateful for.  I hope that I can carry on that legacy as we in the academy are called upon to find strategies to resist threats to academic freedom, as well as a shift away from valuing diversity and mutual understanding.”

Sam Stella (BA Religious Studies, University of Missouri, M.A. University of Chicago, M.A. Yale University, Ph.D. Student at Columbia): "I would not have believed myself capable of taking on Masters work if Dr. Raitt had not shown to me that I am. …I imagine that, for those of us who seek to enter academia, there are usually former professors who inspired us to embark on what is not the easiest of paths. These are the scholars we admire and respect, and the ones who made us respect ourselves because they respected us. At least this is who Dr. Raitt is for me."

Shortly after her retirement in 2002, Dr. Raitt won a $1,400,000 grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to establish the Center for Religion, the Professions, and the Public, which was established as a Pew Charitable Trusts Center of Excellence in the spring of 2003. Dr. Raitt directed the center during the first few years of its existence. In 2016-17 she was a National Endowment for the Humanities Residential Fellow at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at St Louis University to support her current book project on Jesuit spiritual direction of women.She was a member of the Editorial Board and author of five articles in The Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation. Edited by Mark A. Lamport. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield: 2017.   She co-authored with Robert J. Daly (S.J.) and Gary Macy the article “The Ecumenical Significance of Eucharistic Conversion” in Theological Studies vol 77 2016 (1) pp. 7-31), and has authored numerous articles including the Dutch language book chapter “De avondmaalsvroomheid van Theodore de Bèze in Théodore de Bèze: Zijn Leven, Zijn Werk.  Edited by Willem Balke, Jan C. Klok, Willem van’t Spijker.  Antwerp: Publishing House Kok, 2012, pp. 207-215.   In 2016, Dr. Raitt was honored with a session at the American Academy of Religion’s National meeting in San Antonio, “Contextualizing History- Jill Raitt at 85.” This session celebrated Raitt’s contributions to the profession as the second woman president of the national organization, the founder of the Department of Religious Studies at MU, and the first woman tenured at Duke’s Divinity School.  Dr. Raitt is honored annually at Duke University through the Jill Raitt Lecture Series, hosted by the Women’s Center at the Duke Divinity School. A distinguished speaker is invited to speak at the Divinity School in a formal lecture; lectures are also available on iTunes.

Dr. Raitt also volunteers weekly at Boone Hospital and has previously volunteered teaching refugees through the Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri’s Refugee and Immigration Services. 

Dr. Raitt will receive a $1000 Fellowship and a Celebratory Luncheon.