Marci A. Hamilton, one of the country’s leading church-state scholars, has been appointed Penn Arts and Sciences’ third Professor of Practice, in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. Ms. Hamilton also serves as a Fox Family Pavilion Senior Fellow in Residence in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program’s Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) and is Co-Chair of the Common Ground for the Common Good Program.
Ms. Hamilton, L’88, is the founder, CEO and academic director of Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, or CHILD USA, a nonprofit dedicated to interdisciplinary research and advocacy to end child abuse and neglect. She co-leads the organization with Steven Berkowitz, a leading child traumatologist, director of the Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery, and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine; and Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at CHOP and Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Ms. Hamilton is a tireless pro bono advocate for access to justice for all child sex abuse victims and an international leader in the movement to eventually eliminate statutes of limitations (SOL) in child sex abuse cases. She has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. CHILD USA tracks and provides analysis on the SOL movement in the United States and around the world, as well as information regarding ages of majority, consent and marriage; religious liberty statutes that create opportunities to harm children; and medical neglect laws.
Ms. Hamilton is the author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, which was nominated for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize; Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children; God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law, which received Foreword Magazine’s Political Science Book of the Year Silver Medal; and numerous scholarly articles.
Ms. Hamilton was recently honored with the prestigious 2017 Louis H. Pollak Award, which is awarded each year by the Penn Law Alumni Society’s Board of Managers to a Penn Law alum who has pursued a career of advancing justice through service to others. Ms. Hamilton has also received the 2016 Voice of Gratitude Award from Voice Today, Inc.; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award from the American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award in 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship in 2008; and the Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award in 2012, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, First Amendment, clergy sex abuse and statute of limitations issues.
“Marci Hamilton is a force of nature on issues of religious freedom. In the context of the Penn Common Ground for Common Good Project, she has proven once again that civil and respectful church-state debates remain possible even among and between leaders who hold strongly opposing views,” said John J. Dilulio, Jr., the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society and Director of Penn’s Fox Leadership Program for undergraduates. “She is also a national champion for abused children, an amazing classroom teacher and a brilliant writer. We’re lucky to have her with us at Penn.”
The Robert A. Fox Leadership Program supports Penn’s commitment to producing future leaders, by equipping students with hands-on leadership experience and connects them with successful leaders—including Penn alumni and senior University faculty and administrators—for discussion and mentorship.