Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

The Reverend A. Cecil Williams 
Doctor of Divinity  1997
Status: conferred

Cecil Williams, head pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, is a passionate and powerful voice for the poor and the outcast. His 6,000-member church in the city's impoverished Tenderloin District is one of America's largest and most diverse congregations. Glide serves more than one million free meals a year, provides drug and alcohol treatment, counsels and supports people with AIDS and HIV, and provides tutoring for children and computer training for adults in the neighborhood. Rev. Williams has been at the forefront of change in America: He joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1963 Freedom March for civil rights in Washington D.C., was an outspoken supporter of the Black Panther Party, and protested U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The Rev. Williams was one of the first five African American students to pursue work in theology at SMU, from which he took his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1955. For his mission and stewardship, SMU is proud to honor alumnus Cecil Williams with the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.