A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Nannerl Overholser Keohane received her B.A. from Wellesley in 1961 with honors in political science. She spent two years at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship, receiving a B.A.-M.A. with First Class Honors in philosophy, politics, and economics. Keohane earned her doctorate in political science on a Sterling Fellowship from Yale University in 1967. She also received an honorary Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, an American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for Younger Humanists.
Keohane started her teaching career at Swarthmore College, where she taught from 1967 to 1973, until she moved to Stanford University. At Stanford, she became a tenured associate professor and received the Gores Award for Excellence in teaching in 1976.
She was inaugurated as Wellesley’s eleventh president in the fall of 1981. Under her leadership, the college's sports facilities were vastly improved and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center were built; the first-year cluster program and the writing and multicultural requirements were also instituted. During Keohane’s tenure, the College saw many technological advances including the automation of the library's catalog and the launch of College’s web site. Keohane left Wellesley in 1993 to become the first female president of Duke University, where she served until 2004.
Her presidency of a major women's college followed by a similar appointment at a major research university led to her induction in 1995 into the National Women's Hall of Fame. She is the author of Philosophy and the State in France: The Renaissance to the Enlightenment (1980) and coeditor of Feminist Theory: A Critique of Ideology (1982). A book of Keohane's selected speeches, A Community Worthy of the Name, was published in 1995. Nannerl Keohane is currently a visiting scholar at Princeton University.
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