Carol T. Christ

Carol Tecla Christ (born 1944 in New York City) is an American academic. In March 2017, she was named the 11th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, the first woman to hold that position. She replaced Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks on July 1, 2017.[2]

Carol Tecla Christ
11th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley
Assumed office
July 1, 2017
Preceded byNicholas Dirks
10th President of Smith College
In office
Preceded byRuth Simmons
Succeeded byKathleen McCartney
Personal details
Born1944 (age 7475)
New York City
Spouse(s)Paul Alpers
ChildrenElizabeth Sklute
Jonathan Sklute[1]
Academic background
Alma materRutgers University (BA)
Yale University (MPhil, PhD)
ThesisThe aesthetic of particularity in the poetry of Rossetti, Browning, and Hopkins (1970)
Academic work
DisciplineEnglish literature
Sub-disciplineVictorian literature
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Smith College

Education and background

In 1966, Christ graduated with high honors in English from Douglass College, the women's college at Rutgers University. She received a MPhil. in 1969 and a Ph.D. in 1970 in English from Yale University.[3] Her late husband, Paul Alpers, was a scholar of Renaissance English literature and the founding director of UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities, until his death in 2013. She has two grown children, Jonathan and Elizabeth Sklute, from a previous marriage, as well as two grandchildren. She lives in Berkeley.[4]


In 1970, Christ joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, and was chair of the English department from 1985 to 1988. In 1988, she was appointed dean of humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. She also served as provost and dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. In 1994, Christ was appointed vice chancellor, assistant manager, and provost (and later became executive vice chancellor) at Berkeley. Christ was the highest-ranking female administrator at Berkeley until she returned to full-time teaching in 2000.[5]

Christ became the 10th president of Smith College in 2002.[5] At Smith, Christ led an energetic and wide-ranging strategic planning process to identify the distinctive intellectual traditions of the Smith curriculum and foster initiatives to further develop students’ essential capacities. Throughout her administrative career, Christ has maintained an active program of teaching and research. She has published two books: The Finer Optic: The Aesthetic of Particularity in Victorian Poetry and Victorian and Modern Poetics. She also edited a Norton Critical Edition of George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss and co-edited the Norton Anthology of English Literature and Victorian Literature and The Victorian Visual Imagination. Until recently, she was professor of English at Smith, offering seminars on science and literature and on the arts.

Christ was the president of Smith College from 2002 to 2013. She announced in May 2012 that she had, along with the Board of Trustees, begun the search for her successor. She retired in June 2013.[6]

In May 2016, Christ returned to her role as Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (interim) at the University of California, Berkeley, replacing Claude Steele, who stepped down.[7] On March 13, 2017, Christ was named by University of California President Janet Napolitano as the new Chancellor-elect of the University of California, Berkeley. On March 16, 2017, the Regents of the University of California confirmed her appointment.[8] On July 1, 2017, Christ became the 11th UC Berkeley Chancellor and the first woman to serve in this role, succeeding Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks.[2][8]

At the start of her first academic year as chancellor, Christ responded to the 2017 Berkeley protests in which protests against conservative speakers led to violent outbreaks. In a letter to the campus which quoted John Stuart Mill, she affirmed the administration's commitment to free speech and urged the community to remember its roots as part of the free speech movement.[9] She later took other steps in this direction which included moderating a panel on free expression and committing $800,000 to providing security for controversial speakers. In a September 2017 interview, she stated that some students find the concept of free speech objectionable.[10]

Christ serves on the board of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and is a trustee of Sarah Lawrence College and Dominican University of California.


Christ was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004[11] and a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2013.[12] Additionally, she was awarded Yale University's Wilbur Cross Medal in 2007,[13] and in 2011, the American College of Greece awarded her an honorary doctorate.[14]

Selected publications

  • Carol T. Christ (October 15, 1968). Victorian and Modern Poetics. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226104591.
  • Carol T. Christ (March 1975). Finer Optic: The Aesthetic of Particularity in Victorian Poetry. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300017755.
  • Carol T. Christ; John O. Jordan (1995). Victorian Literature and the Victorian Visual Imagination. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520200227.
  • Stephen Greenblatt; Carol T. Christ; M. H. Abrams; Catherine Robson (February 10, 2012). The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Ninth Edition. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393913002.


  1. "Carol T. Christ Named 10th President of Smith College". July 30, 2001. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  2. Asimov, Nanette (March 13, 2017). "Carol Christ is named UC Berkeley's new chancellor". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  3. Christ, Carol Tecla (1970). The aesthetic of particularity in the poetry of Rossetti, Browning, and Hopkins (Ph.D.). Yale University. OCLC 14054842 via ProQuest.
  4. "Biography, Retrieved September 5, 2017".
  5. Teresa Watanabe; Rosanna Xia (March 13, 2017). "Former Smith College president will be UC Berkeley's first female chancellor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  6. "Carol Christ, Smith College president, says she will retire next year - The Boston Globe". 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  7. "Carol Christ named interim executive vice chancellor and provost". Berkeley News. University of California, Berkeley. April 26, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  8. Barry Bergman (March 16, 2017). "UC Regents confirm Carol Christ as Berkeley's 11th chancellor". Berkeley News. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  9. "Chancellor Christ: Free speech is who we are". Berkeley News. 2017-08-23. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
  10. Watanabe, Teresa (2017-09-14). "UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ: 'Free speech has itself become controversial'". LA Times. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
  11. "List of Active Members by Class" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  12. "Newly Elected - April 2013 | American Philosophical Society". Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  13. "2007 Bios | Association of Yale Alumni". 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  14. "President Christ receives honorary degree « International Advancement Blog". 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Dirks
Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley
2017 – present
Preceded by
Ruth Simmons
President of Smith College
2002 – 2013
Succeeded by
Kathleen McCartney
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.