Peter Gomes Receives Black Alumni/ae Award

The Harvard Divinity School Alumni/ae Association is pleased to announce that the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University, has been named the 2006 recipient of the Preston N. Williams Black Alumni/ae Award. He will be honored on April 7, 2006 at "A Time to Speak," a daylong event examining the power of African American churches in responding to crisis.

An American Baptist minister, Gomes received the STB degree from HDS in 1968, and he has been Pusey Minister and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard since 1974. Regarded as one of America's most distinguished preachers, Gomes preaches and lectures widely throughout the United States and the British Isles. He was named "Clergy of the Year" in 1998 by Religion in American Life, and he is a prolific author of books, including The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (1996), Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living (1998), The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need (2002), Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living (2003), The Backward Glance and the Forward Look (2005), as well as of sermons, articles, and academic papers. Recently at HDS, Gomes has taught the courses "The Christian Bible and Its Interpretation" and "Introduction to Public Preaching."

Gomes also holds an AB degree from Bates College and 30 honorary degrees. He serves as Harvard University Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; is a trustee of Bates, in Lewiston, Maine; and is a life trustee of the Roxbury Latin School, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

The Preston N. Williams Black Alumni/ae Award honors individuals who have demonstrated a concern with the religious experience of the African Diaspora and who have evinced this concern by his or her study, instruction, and general body of work. The award's official description also states, "This person has likewise demonstrated a commitment to scholarship at Harvard Divinity School, and has been an inspirational model of brotherhood and sisterhood by empowering others in the pursuit of truth and justice through unfailing support of students, faculty, and/or staff." The award is one of three given annually by the School; the First Decade Award and the Rabbi Martin Katzenstein Award will be presented in June.

The HDS Black Alumni/ae Network was established in 1988 to address the needs and interests of the School's students and graduates of African descent. BAN works in coordination with the parent HDS Alumni/ae Association to promote the recruitment of students of African descent, networking for job placement and internships, and mentoring of HDS students of African descent. BAN has also recently reconfirmed its commitment to fundraising for the Black Seminarians Fund, which was created in 1985 and provides financial aid to HDS students.

The Black Alumni/ae Network, along with the Harambee student organization at HDS, is sponsoring "A Time to Speak," a daylong event exploring African American religious response to crisis. In addition to the ceremony presenting Gomes with the Preston N. Williams Black Alumni/ae Award, the program will include panel discussions on faith-based action in times of crisis; an interfaith worship service; and a career discussion for current students and alumni. The event will take place on Friday, April 7, 2006, at Harvard Divinity School's Andover Hall, 45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event begins at 10 am, and Gomes will be honored at a noon luncheon.

Harvard Divinity School is one of the world's foremost institutions for scholarship and training in religious studies. Established nearly 200 years ago, HDS students and faculty study the importance of religion in the historical and contemporary worlds, preparing students for careers in ministry, scholarship, and public service.