Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus

of History

President of the University of Chicago (1978–1993)

Hanna Gray has retired and no longer directs BA theses or accepts new graduate students.

PhD 1957 Harvard University

The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637


Hanna Holborn Gray Mrs. Gray is a historian with special interests in the history of humanism,  political and historical thought, and church history and politics in the Renaissance and the Reformation. She was president of the University of Chicago from July 1, 1978, through June 30, 1993.

Mrs. Gray is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Renaissance Society of America, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education, and the Council on Foreign Relations of New York. She holds honorary degrees from over sixty colleges and universities, including Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Rockefeller, Toronto, and Yale.

Mrs. Gray currently serves as a trustee of the Newberry Library, the Marlboro School of Music, the Dan David Prize, and several other nonprofit institutions. She has served on the boards of Bryn Mawr College, Harvard University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and Yale University, and among others.

Mrs. Gray was one of twelve distinguished foreign-born Americans to receive the Medal of Liberty from President Reagan at ceremonies marking the rekindling of the Statue of Liberty's lamp in 1986. In 1991 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, from President Bush. Among a number of other awards she has received the Jefferson Medal of the American Philosophical Society and the National Humanities Award in 1993. In 1996 Mrs. Gray received the University of Chicago's Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and in 2006 the Newberry Library Award. In 2008 she received the Chicago History Maker Award of the Chicago History Museum.

Mrs. Gray’s most recent publications are Searching for Utopia: Universities and Their Histories (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011) and An Academic Life: A Memoir (Princeton, 2018).

Curriculum vitae


October 25, 1930, Heidelberg, Germany


Charles M. Gray (1928–2011)
AB 1959 Harvard University
PhD 1956 Harvard University


BA 1950 Bryn Mawr College
1950–51 Fulbright Scholarship, Oxford University
PhD 1957 Harvard University

Academic and Administrative Appointments

Instructor, Bryn Mawr College


Teaching Fellow, Harvard University

1957–59 Instructor, Harvard University

Assistant Professor, Harvard University; Head Tutor, Committee on Degrees in History and Literature

1961–64 Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
1963–64 Visiting Lecturer, Harvard University
1964–72 Associate Professor, University of Chicago
1970–71 Visiting Professor, University of California at Berkeley
1972–74 Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History, Northwestern University
1974–78 Provost, Yale University; Professor of History
1977–78 President, Yale University
1978–93 President of the University of Chicago
1993–2000 Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor of History, Department of History, University of Chicago
Fellowships, etc.
1960–61 Fellow, Newberry Library
1966–67 Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
1970–71 Visiting Scholar, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
1971–72 Visiting Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa
1978– Honorary Fellow, St. Anne’s College, Oxford University
Current Trusteeships (nonprofit boards)

The Newberry Library
Marlboro School of Music
Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions
Dan David Prize

Former Boards (selected)

Atlantic Richfield Corporation
Bryn Mawr College Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
The Cummins Company
The University of Chicago
Council on Foreign Relations
Harvard University Corporation
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
J.P. Morgan and Company/Morgan Guaranty Trust Co.
Mayo Foundation
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
National Council on the Humanities
National Humanities Center          
Pulitzer Prize Board          
Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents
Yale University Corporation

Selected Honors, Awards, etc.

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Member, American Philosophical Society
Member, National Academy of Education
Phi Beta Kappa
Radcliffe Graduate Medal (1976)
Yale Medal (1978)
Medal of Liberty (1986)
Laureate, Lincoln Academy of Illinois (1989)
Grosse Verdienstkreuz, Republic of Germany (1990)
Sara Lee Frontrunner Award (1991)
National Medal of Freedom (1991)
Jefferson Medal, American Philosophical Society (1993)
National Humanities Medal (1993)
Centennial Medal, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1994)
Distinguished Service Award, International Institute of Education (1994)
Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, The University of Chicago (1996)
M. Carey Thomas Award, Bryn Mawr College (1997)
Medal of Distinction, Barnard College (2000)
Fritz Redlich Distinguished Alumni Award, International Institute of Education (2004)
Newberry Library Award (2006)
Gold Medal, National Institute of Social Sciences (2006)          
Chicago History Maker Award, Chicago History Museum (2008)

Selected Honorary Degrees

LLD 1978 Dartmouth College
LLD 1978 Yale University
LLD 1979 Brown University
DLitt Hum 1979 Oxford University
LLD 1980 University of Notre Dame
LLD 1980 University of Southern California
LLD 1981 University of Michigan
LHD 1982 Duke University
LLD 1982 Princeton University
LHD 1983 Brandeis University
LLD 1983 Georgetown University
DLitt 1985 Washington University
LHD 1995 City University of New York
LLD 1987 Columbia University
LHD1988 New York University
LLD 1991 University of Toronto
LHD 1993 McGill University
LHD 1994 Indiana University
LLD 1995 Harvard University
LHD 1996 The University of Chicago
DLMS 2005 Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies
DrSc 2010 The Rockefeller University

Selected Publications

"Renaissance Humanism: The Pursuit of Eloquence." Journal of the History of Ideas 24, no. 4 (1963): 497–514.
"Valla’s Encomium of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Humanist Conception of Christian Antiquity." In Essays in History and Literature, edited by H. Bluhm, 37–52. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.
"Machiavelli: The Art of Politics and the Paradox of Power." In The Responsibility of Power: Historical Essays in Honor of Hajo Holborn, edited by L. Krieger and F.  Stern, 34–53. New York: Doubleday, 1967.
—"Aims of Education." In The Aims of Education, edited by J. W. Boyer. Chicago: The College, 1987.
"Some Reflections on the Commonwealth of Learning." In AAAS Science and Technology Yearbook 1992. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington D.C., 1993.
"The Research University: Public Roles and Public Perceptions." In Legacies of Woodrow Wilson, edited by J. M. Morris, 23–44. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center, 1995.
"The Leaning Tower of Academe." Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 49, no. 7 (Apr. 1996): 34–54.
"Prospects for the Humanities." In The American University: National Treasure or Endangered Species? edited by R.G. Ehrenberg, 115–27. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997.
"On the History of Giants." In Universities and their Leadership, edited by W. G. Bowen and H. T. Shapiro, 101–115. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,1998.
"One Hundred Years of the Renaissance." In Useful Knowledge, edited by A. G. Bearn, 247–54. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1999.
"The Challenge of Leadership and Governance in the University." In Knowledge Matters: Essays in Honour of Bernard J. Shapiro, edited by P. Axelrod, 93–100. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004.
"Western Civilization and Its Discontents." Historically Speaking 7, no. 1 (Sept./Oct. 2005): 41–42.
Searching for Utopia: Universities and Their Histories. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.
—"Forward,"More Than Lore: Reminiscences of Marion Talbot. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
An Academic Life: A Memoir. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018.