John K. Roth


Honorary Degree (1990)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


John King Roth, the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College, is a renowned interpreter of American philosophical traditions. His astute and morally sensitive insights have illuminated a wide range of social issues and have brought greater understanding of central values of our times.

Dr. Roth was born in Grand Haven, Michigan, and spent part of his youth in Indiana. He received the B.A. from Pomona College in 1962, and was awarded the M.A. from Yale University in 1965 and the Ph.D. in 1966. He joined the faculty of Claremont McKenna College in 1966 as assistant professor of philosophy and in 1971 was appointed associate professor. He was named the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy in 1976. From 1985 to 1987 he served also as director of the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

Dr. Roth is internationally respected as an interpreter of the American philosophical tradition. He has brought this specialty to bear on diverse issues, from American public policy, the Holocaust, and Latin American freedom movements, to the development and evolution of religious traditions in the United States. In this sense, he reflects the spirit of the ancient Greek philosophers-- committed to the enhancement of the public good through the advancement of public discourse. His work bridges many disciplines, including history, religion, theology, philosophy, and ethics. His superb scholarship in these fields is expressed in 15 books and more than 150 articles and reviews. Dr. Roth is widely sought after as a visiting professor. He has served as Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria; as visiting professor at Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan; as visiting professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel; and as a Fellow of the National Humanities Institute at Yale University. He is a trustee of the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy and a member of the Executive Committee of the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and serves on the Advisory Group and Executive Committee of the Center on Religion and American Culture at IUPUI He is also a member of numerous professional organizations in American studies, philosophy, and religion.

A dedicated and inspiring teacher as well as distinguished scholar, Dr. Roth was named Professor of the Year in 1988 by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching.