Dean’s Distinguished Service Award: Susan Shallcross Swartz

Hempton, Swartz, and Faust
Susan Shallcross Swartz, center, receives the 2017 Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from HDS Dean David N. Hempton, left, and Harvard President Drew Faust, right.

The Dean’s Distinguished Service Award recognizes exemplary service to and support of Harvard Divinity School. Recipients have a deep understanding of HDS and its mission, and they serve as visible advocates for the School, helping to strategically advance HDS and the Dean’s priorities.
In its bicentennial year, HDS recognized the artist and philanthropist Susan Shallcross Swartz for her extraordinary devotion to the School and its mission. The text of the citation follows below.

Dean’s Distinguished Service Award

Reader of the book of nature, you explore the space where the worldly and the spiritual intersect and reveal the essence behind the form of a mountain range, a pond at dusk, or a forest in autumn. Your relationship with Harvard Divinity School began with the generosity of your art. It has continued and flourished through the art of your generosity.

Your advice, your advocacy, and your support make it possible for HDS both to honor its 200-year legacy of educating faith leaders who “speak to the conscience and heart with power” and to look to the future as a global innovator of religious thought and practice. Your presence—luminous, like the landscapes you portray in your paintings—enlivens and makes more vibrant our work and our community.

At an institution where intellect is often valued above all, you demonstrate for us—through your art, your philanthropy, your faith, and your family—the enduring importance of love. In so doing, you remind us constantly of the Rev. James Luther Adams’s admonition that we must aspire, finally and in all our efforts, to “the establishment of a just and loving community.”

With your deeply rooted awareness of the way that faith shapes your life and your work, you have enabled Harvard Divinity School to deepen humanity’s understanding of the ways that religion shapes culture, history, and everyday life. Your commitment to creating a kinder, more just, and more beautiful world manifests in your participation in the life of the School—not least of all as a member of its Dean’s Council for more than a decade—and in your belief in our mission to illuminate, engage, and serve.

You are a devoted and thoughtful friend, both to this institution and to the people who bring it to life. We are deeply grateful for the blessings of your time, your energy, your creativity, and your vision.

And so, on behalf of the entire Harvard Divinity School community, I am honored to present the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award to you, Susan Shallcross Swartz on this 28th day of April 2017.

Signature of Dean David N. Hempton

David N. Hempton
Dean of the Faculty of Divinity
Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies
John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity