Reverend Cecil Williams Delivers Inspiring Commencement Address

Reverend Cecil Williams, CEO of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church and Minister of Glide’s National and International Ministries, delivered the 2006 commencement address on Saturday, May 13. Reverend Williams also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the ceremonies.

"You have been trained and informed so you can bring hope to the world," Reverend Williams told the graduating class of 2006. "No matter how hopeless it seems, there are people prepared to bring hope into the world and that is why education is so critical. Education builds a community in everything we do."

More than 420 students received degrees on May 13. This included 298 undergraduate students and 128 graduate students. This was the largest graduating class in Dominican’s 116-year history. On June 3, an additional 118 students graduated from Dominican’s teacher credential program.

Rev. Williams encouraged graduates to be liberated and make their own decisions.

"It's important to not just be normal," he said. "We must participate in diversity if we are to have a beloved community."

In his 40 years as Pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, Reverend Williams has created a church that practices diversity, spirituality, and compassion. As a minister, community leader, author, lecturer, and spokesperson for the poor and marginalized, he is respected and recognized as a national leader on the forefront of social change. Under his leadership, Glide grew to become one of the largest social services providers in San Francisco. His vision for a truly inclusive church has attracted a 11,000-member congregation who reflect the diversity of the world- all races, ages, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions.

Reverend Williams is married to Janice Mirikitani, Executive Director of Glide’s programs and President of the Glide Foundation, and Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Under Janice Mirikitani’s direction and Reverend William’s leadership, Glide offers more than 80 programs that have transformed and empowered San Francisco’s Tenderloin community - especially the lives of women and children.