Kathleen Cannon, O.P., Distinguished Lecture Series

Designed to bring extraordinary women from both within and beyond the academy to the Notre Dame campus, the Kathleen Cannon, O.P., Distinguished Lecture Series facilitates visits during which the host unit plans and publicizes a variety of conversations and meetings featuring the guest lecturer. These events can include (but are not limited to) lectures, colloquia, panels, and performances.

The series, formerly known as the Provost’s Distinguished Women Lecturers Program, was renamed in 2017 in honor of Dominican Sister Kathleen Cannon, associate dean in Notre Dame’s College of Science.

Cannon served Notre Dame as an associate provost from 1990–97 and was instrumental in establishing both the University Committee on Women Faculty and Students and Notre Dame’s Early Childhood Development Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ohio Dominican College, her master’s in religious studies from Providence College, and her doctorate from the Catholic University of America.

Propose a Future Lecturer

Past Lecturers

Some 30 scholars, authors, poets, and others visited the Notre Dame campus with support from the Provost’s Distinguished Women Lecturers Program from its inauguration in 2003–04 through the 2016–17 academic year, after which the series was renamed in honor of Dominican Sister Kathleen Cannon.

Below is a year-by-year listing of these visits, with links to read more about the women it has been our privilege to host.

*Note: The titles listed here reflect the lecturers’ positions at the time of their visits and may no longer be current. However, to the extent possible, links to their websites are updated as needed.


  • Naomi Oreskes, Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University




  • Valerie Ashby, Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University



  • No lectures (The 2016–17 visits by Helen King and Claudia Rankine were originally scheduled for 2015–16.)


  • Helene Foley, Professor of Classics at Columbia University
  • Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley




  • Ellen Laipson, President of the Stimson Center (nonpartisan policy research center)


  • Caryl Emerson, A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University 
  • Edith Hall, Research Professor of Classics and Drama at Royal Holloway University 
  • Evelyn Welch, Professor of Renaissance Studies and Vice-Principal for Research and International Affairs at Queen Mary, University of London


  • Marjorie Garber, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University 
  • Debbie Millman, President of the Design Division at Sterling Brands
  • Cindy Williams, Principal Research Scientist in the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Laura Mary Alice Mulvey, Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago 
  • Yoko Tawada, Author


  • Christine Stansell, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in United States History at the University of Chicago 
  • Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies and Director of The Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University


  • Hortense Spillers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University
  • Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School
  • Stephanie Coontz, Author and Member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College


  • Naomi Chazan, Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Cecilia Rouse, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University



  • Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Ruth Kluger, Professor Emerita of German at the University of California, Irvine
  • Robin Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley


  • Cathy Cohen, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
  • Maryse Condé, Novelist and Professor of French at Columbia University 
  • Susan McClary, Professor of Musicology at UCLA