Graduate Young Trustee finalist Warren Lattimore, a doctoral candidate in theology at the Divinity School, hopes to use his experience in working across boundaries to take an interdisciplinary approach to supporting the University’s priorities.
Lattimore hopes to sustain the University’s momentum on priorities such as the Racial Equity Advisory Council and the Climate Commitment.
“A thriving Board of Trustees continues to build upon our past as we look to the future, so that we can continue the momentum and continue the progress that we've made,” he said.
In addition to his Th.D, Lattimore is also pursuing a certificate of African & African American Studies in The Graduate School, and serves as a course director for Duke’s occupational therapy doctorate program.
Lattimore said his favorite University of Chicago professor described him as a “culture broker,” as someone “who doesn’t limit themselves to one department or institution or culture, but tries to translate between them.”
“Often it seems like he’s engaged in academic communities that don’t have much to do with each other,” said Quinton Dixie, Black Church Studies doctoral advisor to Lattimore in the Divinity School. “But Warren finds a way to be that bridge and bring people together for a conversation that wouldn’t see initially what they have in common.”
Lattimore’s current academic ventures are the culmination of 15 total years of continued education. He first received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and government from the University of Chicago. He then earned his master’s in divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis before moving to New Orleans and pursuing a second master’s in theology from the Xavier University of Louisiana.
“Education smooths out my rough edges,” Lattimore said. “Before I moved to New Orleans, I may have been more type A, but New Orleans doesn’t allow for that.”
Lattimore said that each institution he has attended has made him a better person by exposing him to new experiences and schools of thought, as well as teaching him unique perspectives on how to approach and apply knowledge.
“At UChicago, we had a T-shirt that said, ‘That’s all good and well in practice, but how does it work in theory?’” Lattimore said. “At Duke, especially Duke Divinity and Duke OTD, we are very much premised on ‘knowledge is all well and good, but how is it lived out in the world?’”
Lattimore first became involved in the occupational therapy program to fill their need for teaching assistants. He said that throughout his childhood, his mom studied to become an occupational therapist assistant, and in his free time he quizzed her on the material. After she began working, he would often visit her and spend time in her office, a space in which he became very immersed. Lattimore’s knowledge also came from engagement in St. Louis, where he assisted a publishing company in evaluating materials on disabilities within education.
He now serves as a graduate teaching assistant director and course director, focused on the professional development of occupational therapists.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Lattimore has also experienced a nuanced religious journey. Lattimore, a biracial man raised on the South Side of Chicago, is a follower of the Lutheran Church. He describes it as “one of the whitest denominations in the country.”
Despite this environment, Lattimore rose to leadership as the president of the Black Clergy Caucus of the Lutheran Church in New Orleans, which he held until this past summer. In his current studies, Lattimore is pursuing an oral history research project with Dixie to preserve the voices and history of Black Lutheran organizations.
“Being here [I am] trying to collect marginalized voices that aren’t typically heard or listened to or recorded,” Lattimore said.
To Lattimore, a Young Trustee is a representative and advocate for Duke in its entirety, as opposed to a single policy or department. Lattimore believes he is a physical representation of this.
Dixie said that Lattimore’s capacity for service sets him apart.
“We can only do so much,” Dixie said. “Warren continually adds things to his plate and I’m amazed at how much he’s actually able to accomplish so much with the same 24 hours we all have.”
Andrew Hendrixson, a Divinity School doctoral candidate, met Lattimore through Duke’s doctoral program and remains his good friend. He wrote in an email to The Chronicle that Lattimore is a rare blend of “academic rigor and intellectual generosity.”
“Rather than the language of ‘calling someone out’ and thus ostracizing those with whom he has difference or disagreement, Warren advocates the practice of ‘calling in,’ of seeking to nurture relationship and mutuality with those with whom he has difference,” Hendrixson wrote.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Jothi Gupta is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.