Rev. Richard Gilbert, Doctor of Humane Letters

The Reverend Richard Gilbert’s work has been an act of faith and his life has been a sacrament of works.  Minister, teacher, counselor, activist, writer are all vocations for which Rev. Gilbert has graced with his wisdom and compassion, from the time he graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1958 and from the St. Lawrence Theological School in 1961.

For 32 years, Rev. Gilbert served as minister at the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, NY, a home from which he explored the tenets of love, justice, growth and celebration with his large congregation.  Within his church, throughout the Rochester area, and nationwide, Rev. Gilbert has been an articulate and impassioned advocate for social justice.  He has been, among many roles, chair of the peace, justice and human rights committee of the International Association for Religious Freedom; chair of the Interfaith Impact of New York State; convener of the Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam and  program director of the Unirondack Summer Institute. He is the author of many  articles and publications, including his two books Prophetic Imperatives and How Much Do We Deserve? 

The recipient, in 1998, of St. Lawrence University’s Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service, Rev. Gilbert has remained close to his alma mater, and this spring, as part of the University’s Sesquicentennial celebration, he returned to campus to deliver the Kathryn Fraser Mackay Lecture, an annual event that has brought some of the nation’s and the world’s foremost religious leaders to speak to our students, faculty and community.  The St. Lawrence community, whose members have been inspired by Reverend Gilbert’s words and deeds, extends to him the University’s highest accolade, the degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.