Honorary Degree Recipients
2017 Honorary Degree Recipients
We are delighted to announce the 2017 Honorary Degree Recipients.
Albert Jordy Raboteau, a native of Mississippi, grew up in Michigan and California. He graduated from Loyola University in Los Angeles and continued his studies in English Literature in the graduate school of the University of California at Berkeley. After receiving a master's degree from Berkeley, he went to Marquette University to study Roman Catholic Theology. Following two years of graduate study at Marquette, he taught Theology at Xavier University in New Orleans and then finished his Ph. D. in Religious Studies at Yale University. Raboteau has taught at Yale, Berkeley, Harvard, and currently is the Henry W. Putnam Professor Emeritus of Religion at Princeton University, where he has chaired his department and served as Dean of the Graduate School. His written work includes Slave Religion: The 'Invisible Institution' in the Antebellum South, which was reprinted in an updated edition upon the 25th anniversary of its publication; A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History; Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans; and A Sorrowful Joy: a Spiritual Memoir. He co-edited with Richard Alba and Josh DeWind, Religion and Immigration in America: Comparative and Historical Perspectives. His interests include African American religious history, religion and social change, religion and cross-cultural encounter in the Atlantic World, classics of western and eastern Christian mysticism, literature and the holy in modern and contemporary fiction. His most recent publication is American Prophets: Seven Religious Radicals &Their Struggle for Social and Political Justice
Kimberly Wasserman is the Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), where she has worked since 1998. Kim joined LVEJO as an organizer and helped to organize community leaders to successfully build a new playground, community gardens, the remodeling of a local school park and forced a local polluter to upgrade their facilities to meet current laws. Her work as Executive Director of LVEJO was working with organizers to reinstate a job access bus line, build on the recent victory of a new 23 acre park to be built in Little Village and continue the 10 plus year campaign that won the closure of the two local coal power plant to fight for remediation and redevelopment of the sites. Mrs. Wasserman is Chair of the Illinois EJ Commission. In 2013, Mrs. Wasserman was the recipient of the Goldman Prize for North America.
The Reverend Marlin Lavanhar
Marlin grew up Unitarian Universalist attending North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Il. Upon graduating from Tulane University with a BA in Sociology he relocated to Kyoto, Japan where he worked and studied for two years. Leaving Japan, he embarked on a three year, 20,000 mile, around the world trip by mountain bicycle. The Journey took him across much of Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and North America. He visited Unitarian and Universalist communities in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania and studied religion and religious practices in many cultures along the way.
Upon returning to the United States he was invited to participate in the founding meeting of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU).
In 1997, Marlin entered Harvard Divinity School where he received his Master of Divinity. He was ordained at First Church in Boston in 1999.
In 2000, at the age of 31, Marlin was called to All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa as the Senior Minister. During his tenure the church has grown from 1000 to over 1800 adult members. In 2008, the church welcomed Bishop Carlton Pearson and his predominantly African American and Pentecostal congregation to join All Souls and has since become an intentionally multiracial and multicultural congregation. Every Sunday All Souls has three distinct worship services including a Humanist service, a Traditional Unitarian Universalist service and a Universalist Christian service. They livestream their weekly worship and have a growing national and international online-membership.
In 2010, Marlin received the UU United Nations "Humanitarian of the Year Award" for his work to help halt the "Kill the Gays" legislation in Uganda.
Marlin is married to Anitra Lavanhar and they have a son Elias born in 2000 and a daughter Lyla born 2008. His hobbies include fly-fishing, cooking and writing poetry.