The Albert R. Lepage Endowed Professorship in History

Shannen Dee Williams

Shannen Dee Williams, PhD

Shannen Dee Williams, PhD, assistant professor of History, holds the Albert R. Lepage Endowed Professorship in History. She received her BA in history from Agnes Scott College, her MA in Afro-American Studies from University of Wisconsin at Madison and her PhD in History from Rutgers University.

Dr. Williams is a historian of the United States with research and teaching specializations in African-American, women's, religious and civil rights history. She is at work on her first book, Subversive Habits: The Untold Story of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States, which is under contract with Duke University Press. Her research has been supported by a host of awards, grants and fellowships, including a 2016 - 2017 Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, a 2011 - 2012 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Fellowship in Religion and Ethics from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, a 2011 Albert J. Beveridge Grant from the American Historical Association, the 2011 Huggins-Quarles Award from the Organization of America Historians, and the 2010 John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award from the American Catholic Historical Association.

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Williams began a three-year term as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. In September 2018, she received the inaugural Sister Christine Schenk Award for Young Catholic Leadership from Future Church for using history to foster racial justice and reconciliation in religious congregations of women.

About the Albert R. Lepage Endowed Professorship in History

Albert Lepage is the retired co-chairman of Lepage Bakeries, Inc., a 113-year-old maker of breads, rolls, English muffins and donuts. Lepage joined the family business in 1971 and served as co-owner from 1978 and chairman from 1983 to 2012, when the company merged with Flowers Foods. He also served as chairman of the Quality Bakers of America Co-operative and treasurer of the American Bakers Association.

Throughout his career and continuing in his retirement, Lepage has been an active volunteer and philanthropist, serving on the boards of St. Mary’s Health System, Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Lewiston-Auburn Arts, the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Governor’s Business Council.

Lepage graduated from Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1969.