The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson is president of Auburn Theological Seminary. A seminary with multifaith commitments that honors its Christian roots, Auburn educates through innovative pedagogies and methodologies, public platforms and applied research. With her leadership, Auburn has become a leader in the multifaith movement for justice by equipping bold and resilient leaders of faith and moral courage to build congregations and communities, bridge divides, pursue justice, and heal the world.
Author of “God’s Troublemakers: How Women of Faith are Changing the World” (Continuum, 2006), Henderson is an international leader in theological education and has pioneered programs for excellence in religious leadership of many faith traditions and moral leadership in the public square. Henderson has spearheaded innovative educational programs, ranging from convening corporate CEOs on ethics in business practice to infusing mainstream media with compelling faith voices on issues such as moral economy, sex trafficking, immigration, gun violence and LGBT equality. Henderson’s speaking engagements include a United Nations panel on the global culture of peace, a panel on “Economy and Ethics” at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, and she was one of the national leaders invited to participate in a White House convening on human trafficking. She co-founded Face to Face | Faith to Faith — a multifaith program educating a new generation of young leaders from the United States and conflict- and post-conflict regions around the world as peacemakers for our complex global society.
Henderson was named co-recipient of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize for her lifelong passion to create spaces for authentic interfaith engagement, including her work with programs such as Face to Face | Faith to Faith and spearheading the creation of MountainTop, a gathering of 78 faith leaders to move actions forward to catalyze a multifaith movement for justice. She joined esteemed past winners such as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Among her many affiliations, Henderson is a member of the Women’s Forum of New York, a member of the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership Founding Advisory Board for New York University, a board member on the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, and a board member on the Summit Preparatory School. She is a Parish Associate of The First Presbyterian Church in New York City and a graduate of the College of Wooster (Phi Beta Kappa) and Union Theological Seminary (NY). Henderson also holds a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Henderson was raised in Louisville, Ky., during the civil rights movement. As a child she accompanied her parents on civil rights marches and sat with them at church gatherings of people of many different faith traditions and people who claimed no faith tradition but came together out of moral conviction or commitment — all united for justice. This personal history has fueled Henderson’s work and lifelong passion for justice.