Nannerl O. Keohane, Duke University's eighth president, was born in Blytheville, Ark., and grew up in Arkansas, Texas and South Carolina. Nan Keohane was valedictorian of her Hot Springs (Ark.) High School. She is a 1961 graduate of Wellesley College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors in political science. Following graduation from Wellesley, she was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to Oxford University, where she earned the B.A.-M.A. with First Class Honors in philosophy, politics, and economics. She received her Ph.D. in political science in 1967 from Yale, where she was a Sterling Fellow and, later, was awarded the Wilbur Cross Medal in recognition of her distinguished service as an alumna. Before assuming the presidency of Wellesley in 1981, she taught at Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University, where she was chair of the faculty senate and won the Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Keohane has written extensively in the fields of political philosophy, feminism and education. She is the author of Philosophy and the State in France: The Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Princeton University Press, 1980) and co-editor of Feminist Theory: A Critique of Ideology (University of Chicago Press, 1982). She was vice president of the American Political Science Association from 1988 to 1990. Keohane has served on the boards of IBM, the National Humanities Center, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and chairs the Overseers Committee to Visit the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees by numerous colleges and universities. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in October 1995, and won the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1998.