Sloane Coffin ’42 Will Receive Fuess Award for Service

An outspoken civil rights advocate and a leader in the international peace movement, Reverend William Sloane Coffin Jr. ’42 will receive the Claude Moore Fuess Award at All-School Meeting next Wednesday. While serving as Chaplain of Yale University, Dr. Coffin gained international attention in 1964 as one of seven “Freedom Riders” arrested while protesting segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama. He went on to serve as Senior Minister of Riverside Church in New York City from 1977 to 1987. During his tenure at the Church, Dr. Coffin promoted a number of social causes, advocating nuclear disarmament and the national sanctuary movement. In 1987, Dr. Coffin was appointed President of SANE/FREEZE, a non-profit organization dedicated to nuclear disarmament and maintaining international peace. Since then he has published several books, including his most recent, Credo. Earlier this year, Dr. Coffin was awarded the prestigious Union Medal by the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. At the time, Seminary President Joseph Hough, Jr. said, “Bill Coffin has acted as the conscience for this nation for as long as I can remember.” He continued, “[Dr. Coffin] has spoken the truth to those in power, championed human rights of all kinds for all people and preached peace and sanity in place of nuclear madness.” In honor of Dr. Coffin’s five-decade campaign for social justice, the Yale Divinity School recently established the William Sloan Coffin Peace and Justice Award, which was presented in October to activist Cora Weiss. At the presentation, current Yale Chaplain Reverend Frederick Streets called Coffin “a consistent voice of moral conscience for the nation…he has the prophet’s courage, spirit and vision and a pastor’s heart.” The Claude Moore Fuess Award honors alumni who make “distinguished contribution to public service,” according to the Office of Communications. It is the highest honor awarded by the Academy and was first awarded in 1967.