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We are delighted to announce the 2019 Honorary Degree Recipients.

Yvette Flunder

Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, a San Francisco native, has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over thirty years. This call to “blend proclamation, worship, service, and advocacy on behalf of those most marginalized in church and in society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in 1991. In 2003, Rev. Dr. Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity.  

Rev. Dr. Flunder is on the Board of Starr King School for the Ministry and DEMOS and has taught at many theological schools. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry and Master of Arts programs at Pacific School of Religion and received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is also an award-winning gospel music artist and author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic and Radical Inclusion.

Susan Frederick-Gray

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray began her six-year term as president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in June 2017. As president of the Association, she is responsible for administering staff and programs that serve its more than 1,000 member congregations. She also acts as principal spokesperson and minister-at-large for the UUA. Susan brings a strong focus on mission and strategic planning to her leadership at the UUA.

Prior to her election, she served as Lead Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, Arizona where she was a national voice for immigrant rights. Susan played a critical role in the long-term campaign to end the constitutional violations of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Susan is a life-long Unitarian Universalist with roots at Eliot Chapel in St. Louis, Missouri.  Her first position in ministry was as the Student Minster of Religious Education at the Winchester Unitarian Society (1991-2001) during her time as a student at Harvard Divinity School. Susan also served as Intern Minister and Sabbatical Minister at the First UU Church of Nashville, TN (2001-2003) and served for five years as Minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, OH (2003-2008). Prior to ministry, Susan worked briefly in the field of genetic sequencing following her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Susan is married to the Rev. Brian Frederick-Gray, a minister with dual fellowship with the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Christian Church Disciples of Christ (DOC). They live in Cambridge, Massachusetts with their son and dog.

Sharon Welch

Dr. Sharon Welch is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Humanist Studies and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network.

She served as Provost and Professor of Religion and Society at Meadville Lombard for ten years.

She has held positions as Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri from 1991-2007. She was assistant and then associate professor of Theology and Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School from 1982 to 1991. While at the University of Missouri, Welch was a Senior Fellow in the Center for Religion, the Professions, and the Public, a project leader of the Ford-sponsored Difficult Dialogues Program, and co-chair of the MU Committee for the Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Welch is the author of six books: After the Protests Are Heard: Enacting Civic Engagement and Social Transformation, Real Peace, Real Security: The challenges of global citizenshipAfter Empire: The Art and Ethos of Enduring PeaceA Feminist Ethic of RiskSweet Dreams in America: Making Ethics and Spirituality Work, and Communities of Resistance and Solidarity. Dr. Welch is also a regular contributor to Tikkun magazine, and is the author of many articles.

Dr. Welch is the recipient of numerous awards, many of which recognize her excellence in teaching.  Among these are the Internationalizing the Curriculum Course Development Award (2002) and the College of Education, High Flyer Teaching Award (several years).  She also received the Annual Gustavus Myers Award: Honorable Mention for her 1999 book, Sweet Dreams in America: Making Ethics and Spirituality Work (Routledge). She was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology by Starr King School of the Ministry in May 2007.