Honorary Degree Citation: Julie Johnson Kidd
As president of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation for more than three decades, your caring generosity has inspired the higher education community. Like your father, who started the family foundation in 1952, you take personal pleasure from nurturing the curiosity and intellectual development of young people.
Starting with your bachelor’s degree in art from Middlebury College, you have been active in supporting the liberal arts through your participation and philanthropy. You have served on the boards of trustees of several colleges in the U.S. and Europe, as well as the Trust for Mutual Understanding. You were instrumental in launching the European College of Liberal Arts and the International School of Liberal Arts, championing the growth of liberal arts in post-communist Europe.
As if all that’s not enough, you were the founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian and chairman of the Heye Foundation’s Museum of the American Indian in New York. You have received the James Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Council of Independent Colleges’ Award for Volunteerism and Philanthropy, and the University of Warsaw Medal of Honor.
You have said, “We must develop an unquenchable curiosity about the world around us, for in that curiosity we find our passions and we find new solutions to seemingly intractable problems.”
In the book Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk, where you submit that American higher education has lost its bearings, you say, “Pockets of excellence do exist, particularly amongst the small liberal arts colleges, where some students are transformed and broadened in thrilling ways.” We hope that some of the students you meet today, and their thrilling transformations, embolden your optimism in this regard.
Your support of Marlboro College over the years has helped during important transitions in alumni and admissions programming, expanded curriculum and international study opportunities, and created the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor faculty Chair in the Visual Arts. Julie Johnson Kidd, for your dedication to the life of the mind and spirit in keeping with the mission of Marlboro College, it is our pleasure to confer upon you the degree: Doctor of Humane Letters.