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Georgia Elma Harkness: Remembering Her Trailblazing Life and Work - Cancelled Due to COVID-19

Regretfully, we must cancel this event because of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the seminary's decision to cancel all on-campus events between March 16th and April 12th. We will plan to reschedule this celebration for a later date. We are very thankful for your interest and support, and we look forward to your participation in the future.


Celebrating the launch of the Georgia Harkness Digital Collection by the Styberg Library, a presentation of the digital collection and panel discussion will be held on March 31st at 11:10 a.m. in Room 205. A reception in Cross Tower will follow. This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the President, and the Styberg Library at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. 

Presentation of the Digital Collection

Mr. Daniel Smith, Research, Instruction, and Digital Services Librarian at the Styberg Library, will present the Georgia Harkness Digital Collection. This digital collection includes 648 unpublished materials items. All of the items are a part of the Georgia Harkness collection, which also includes many additional published works as well as research materials prepared by her biographer, Rosemary Skinner Keller, and others. You can view the digital collection here.

Panel on Georgia Harkness

Following the presentation of the digital collection will be a panel looking at the importance of Georgia Harkness today as well as her influence on the panelist's work as theologians, religious educators, and church leaders. The panelists include: 

  • Dr. Nancy Bedford, Georgia Harkness Professor of Theology
  • Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies
  • Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, retired United Methodist bishop
  • President Lallene J. Rector (respondent)
  • Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean (moderator) 
March 31, 2020

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

2121 Sheridan Road
Evanston , IL 60201

Georgia Elma Harkness

Dr. Georgia Alma Harkness

Dr. Georgia Elma Harkness (1891-1974) was the first woman to hold a full professorship in theology in a Protestant seminary in the United States. In 1939, she joined the faculty of Garrett Biblical Institute (now known as Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) as Professor of Applied Theology after previously serving on the faculties of Elmira and Mount Holyoke Colleges. She later served as a faculty member at Pacific School of Religion. She was a prolific author who wrote at least thirty-eight books and hundreds of articles, as well as several hymns and many poems. Her work made theology understandable and was focused largely upon laity, particularly in the Methodist Church. She advocated for full clergy rights for women in the Methodist Church, was an ordained local Elder in the Methodist Church's Troy Conference, and served as a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Church multiple times. She was dedicated to ecumenism and was a key leader in the American ecumenical movement.