Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Francis Christopher Oakley 
Doctor of Humane Letters  2013
Status: conferred

Francis Christopher Oakley is the Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas and president emeritus of Williams College. A native of England, he was educated at Oxford University, the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto and Yale University, where he earned a Ph.D. in medieval history. He joined the Williams faculty in 1961, became dean of faculty in 1977 and served as president from 1984-1993, when he resumed teaching. As president, Oakley led establishment of the tutorial form of instruction and oversaw naming of the first women deans and doubling of both minority enrollment and endowment. A distinguished scholar, Oakley has written 13 books and received the Roland Bainton Book Prize and the 2012 Newberry Library Award. His past leadership includes serving as president of the New England Medieval Conference, the Fellows of the Medieval Academy of America and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Medieval Academy of America. For his distinguished contributions to higher education as a scholar and administrator, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon Francis Christopher Oakley the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.