Categories
Alumni

Perkins Honors A. Cecil Williams

Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has named the Williams Preaching Lab in Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall in honor of the Rev. Dr. A. Cecil Williams ’55.

CecilWilliams.jpg

A. Cecil Williams

Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has named the Williams Preaching Lab in Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall in honor of the Rev. Dr. A. Cecil Williams ’55, Minister of Liberation at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco.

The announcement was made by Dean William B. Lawrence at a reception held in honor of Williams and his wife, Janice Mirikitani, on November 4 in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall at Perkins. The preaching lab is a state-of-the-art facility within the newly constructed Prothro Hall. The room is designed to support instruction and training in homiletics for present and future clergy.

Williams was one of three recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Awards, presented November 5. He received the Perkins Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996 and an honorary doctorate from the University in 1997.

As minister, author and social activist, Williams has long been recognized as a national leader in the struggle for civil and human rights. He was one of five African American students admitted to Perkins in fall 1952 in what was the first voluntary desegregation of a major educational institution in the South. The story of the historic series of events surrounding their matriculation is chronicled by former Perkins dean Merrimon Cuninggim in Perkins Led the Way: The Story of Desegregation at Southern Methodist University. In May 2005, SMU recognized the contributions of Williams and his four pioneering African American colleagues at their 50th anniversary commencement.

In 1963 he was appointed to Glide Memorial Methodist, a church of fewer than 50 members in a declining section of San Francisco. His vision and leadership for more than 45 years is credited with leading Glide to national prominence. The church has a diverse membership of more than 11,000.

Glide’s support of the surrounding community and its innovative outreach have served as a model for congregations across the country. The church’s extensive network of services includes the only food program in San Francisco offering three meals a day, 365 days a year, as well as an outpatient substance abuse treatment and recovery program.

In recognition of his spiritual and social leadership, Williams was appointed in 1998 to the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets, which was charged with conducting original research into the fate of assets taken from victims of the Holocaust that came into the possession of the U.S. federal government. He also has served on the selection committee of the National Caring Award, presented by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *