In-person: Cellino and Barnes Conference Center,
509 O’Brian Hall
Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought Emerita
U.S. constitutional and legal, African American
Dr. Berry is a renowned scholar, distinguished public servant and social justice activist.
Mary Frances Berry became the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History in 1987. She received her PhD in History from the University of Michigan and JD from the University of Michigan Law School. She is the author of twelve books including:
Professor Berry has had a distinguished career in public service. From 1980 to 2004, she was a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and from 1993-2004 served as Chair. Between 1977 and 1980, Dr. Berry served as the Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). She has also served as Provost of the University of Maryland and Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
In recognition of her scholarship and public service, Professor Berry has received 35 honorary doctoral degrees and many awards, including the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award. She is one of 75 women featured in I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America. Sienna College Research Institute and the Women's Hall of Fame designated her one of "America's Women of the Century." In 1990-91 she was President of the Organization of American Historians. She is a Fellow of the Society of American Historians and of the National Academy of Public Administration and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society for Legal History. She is a recipient of the Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award of the Organization of American Historians.