President Dottie King, Ph.D., presented the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award to Dr. Sharon Harley ’70. Harley is one of the top historians of African American women’s history in the U.S. She has written many articles and written and edited several books on race and gender, including “Sister Circle: Black Women and Work” and “Women’s Labor in the Global Economy: Speaking in Multiple Voices.” She is the coeditor of “Afro-American Women: Struggles and Images” and author of the book “The Timetables of African American History.”
The Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA) is one of the highest honors bestowed upon alumni of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Since 2003, this award has been presented to the most prestigious alumni of SMWC for their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the College. These individuals, and the accomplishment of their life’s work, serve as a source of pride and inspiration for the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the College.
President King presented the award during the 2022 commencement ceremonies on Saturday and, in her remarks, noted, “Dr. Harley demonstrates excellence in her career as an educator, scholar and historian of African American women.”
Harley earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from The Woods in 1970 and then returned to her hometown of Washington, D.C. where she received her Master of Arts in education from Antioch College. She received several postdoctoral fellowships, including the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women and the Smithsonian Institute. In 1981, she earned her Ph.D. from Howard University in United States History.
Since 1988, Sharon has served as an associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. During her tenure, she has served as a faculty member of Women’s Studies and American Studies. Sharon has held many leadership positions, including department chair and associate dean. Today, she serves as a faculty member of the African American Studies Department.
Other honors include fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2010, she was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Medallion for Outstanding Scholarship and recognized by Michigan State University as one of the leading Black women historians in the United States.