School 14

Elizabeth Ann Clark

September 27, 1938 ~ September 7, 2021 (age 82)


Elizabeth Ann Clark, 82, died on September 7, 2021, in Durham, NC. Clark was born on September 27, 1938, in Port Chester, NY, and she completed her secondary education in Delhi, NY. She was a graduate of Vassar College (1960), and she earned a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University (1965). From 1964-1982, Clark taught at Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia (now the University of Mary Washington), where she was hired to establish a Department of Religion.

From 1982-2013, Clark taught at Duke University, where she was the John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Professor of History. Throughout her career, Clark was a consummate teacher and mentor, and in 2010 she was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring by Duke’s Graduate School.

Clark was the author of 14 books and one of the world’s preeminent scholars of Late Antiquity and early Christian history. At Duke, she founded the Center for Late Ancient Studies, which was renamed in her honor by Duke’s trustees in 2018. She was a founding editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, and among her many professional accomplishments she served as President of the American Academy of Religion, the North American Patristics Society, and the American Society of Church History. Clark received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Uppsala (2001) and Yale University (2013), and in 1997 she became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Clark was predeceased by her parents, Edmund Charles and Blanche McClenon Clark. She is survived by her sister, Audrey Mayer of Glendale, WI, a niece, Leslie Mayer of Whitefish Bay, WI, and two nephews, Bruce Mayer (Barb Irvin) of Madison, WI, and Robert Mayer of Chicago, IL. In addition, Clark is survived by three great-nieces and by a host of loving friends, former students, and colleagues whose lives she touched in innumerable ways with her boundless generosity, wisdom, and devotion.

Plans for a memorial service will be announced in coming weeks. Donations in Clark’s memory can be made to Planned Parenthood or to the Elizabeth A. Clark Center for Late Ancient Studies at Duke University.

Cremation arrangements entrusted to Piedmont Cremation & Funeral Service of Graham, NC.

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