Institute of Politics

Simone Campbell

Religious Leader, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient (2022) & former Leader of Nuns on the Bus

  • Winter-Spring 2024 Pritzker Fellow

  • Seminar Series: “Notes From a Nun on the Bus: How Curiosity, Joy, Passion & Boldness Can Sustain Us for the Long Haul”


Sister Simone Campbell (Roman Catholic Sister of Social Service) is a religious leader, attorney, author and recipient of a 2022 Presidential Medal of Freedom (the United States’ highest civilian honor). She has extensive experience in public policy rooted in the lived experiences of people at the economic margins of society. Now she is an Emerson Elder with the Emerson Collective and co-leads “Understanding US” focused on political healing. For 17 years she was executive director of NETWORK, Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and leader of Nuns on the Bus. Her healthcare policy work was seminal in the passage of the Affordable Care Act. She has received numerous awards including the “Defender of Democracy Award” from the Parliamentarians for Global Action. Prior to Washington, this native Californian did state advocacy and for 18 years was the founder of the Oakland Community Law Center. In 1995 she was elected the leader of her community the Sisters of Social Service and served in that capacity until 2000. She wrote two award-winning books, A Nun on the Bus (2014) and Hunger for Hope (2020).


“Notes From a Nun on the Bus: How Curiosity, Joy, Passion & Boldness Can Sustain Us for the Long Haul”

How can faith leadership matched with social action fill the gaps in our civic and political culture by bridging divides, promulgating true dialogue and lifting up those in the nation’s shadows? Sister Simone Campbell - a religious leader, attorney, poet and public policy expert - is the former executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. Her work - which culminated in the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 2022 - has spanned decades, from her famous “nuns’ letter'' supporting the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama recognized as a key to the bill’s passage, to the 2012 “Nuns on the Bus” to fight the House budget, to her years of “Nuns on the Bus” trips across America designed to take on inequality across myriad policy areas. Join Sister Simone each week as she invites you to challenge traditional conceptions about religious activism and better understand where faith and advocacy intersect.

Seminars are off-the-record & open to current UChicago students only.

Have Questions?

Newsletter Form

Stay Informed

Our emails are the best way to keep up-to-date on all of our events and programming.