2023 Dr. Irving & Annabel Wolfson Lecture & Award – Dr. Anthony B. Pinn – April 2, 2023

Dr. Anthony B. Pinn

Anthony B. Pinn received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1994.  Other degrees include the BA from Columbia University, the MDiv and MA, both from Harvard, and an honorary Doctorate degree from Meadville-Lombard Theological School. Pinn began his teaching career at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN), where his research and teaching earned him early tenure and promotion to full professor within the first eight years of his career.  In 2003, Pinn accepted an offer from Rice University (Houston, TX), becoming the first African American to hold an endowed chair at the University.  After an additional semester at Macalester and a semester at Williams College as the Sterling Brown 1922 Visiting Professor, Pinn joined the Rice faculty as the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, and he now serves as the Agnes Cullen Arnold Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion.  During his time at Rice, Pinn founded and directed the Houston Enriches Rice Education (HERE) project (2007-2012).  In 2012, Pinn received approval to transform the HERE Project into the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning.  This center is a part of the Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research.  Pinn also founded and directs the doctoral concentration in the study of African American Religion at Rice. Outside Rice, Pinn has served as the first executive director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and he also served on the Meadville Lombard Theological School Board of Trustees (2007-2012).  In addition, he has served in various roles on the board of directors and the executive committee of the American Academy of Religion.  Pinn also serves as a chapel advisor for the Rothko chapel, and has worked with the Menil Collection on his community engagement efforts. Pinn is also a member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture religion advisory board. He also has worked with the Aspen Institute on its “Inclusive America” Project, and he serves on the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee board of directors and on the Panel on Theological Education. He is also the Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies Think Tank (Washington, DC).  In 2021, Pinn became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his contributions to scholarship. For more of Dr. Pinn’s biography CLICK HERE.

Irv Wolfson
Dr. Irving Wolfson
Annabel Wolfson
Annabel Wolfson

The Wolfson Lecture and Award was founded in 2013 following the death of Dr. Irving Wolfson, one of Worcester’s first Cardiologists. The award and lecture are named for both Dr. Wolfson and his wife Annabel who was a well-known activist in the region. The first codicil to the last will and testament of Dr. Irving Wolfson reads in part, “The term “liberal religion” shall be defined as religion based solely on reason, and independent of supernatural revelation and tradition, and which religion advocates justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. . . Some portion of each annual lecture should be devoted to the following question: Irving Wolfson and Annabel Wolfson were agnostics who tried to live by the highest moral standards. From where does the motivation come to live by such standards to a person or persons who did not believe in a hereafter of rewards and punishments.”

A reception in honor of Dr. Pinn will occur following the lecture. Catered Middle Eastern fare includes Spinach, Meat, and cheese pies, and scrumptious sweets including date Kakh and Baklawa.

Dr. Pinn’s lecture, “On the Heels of Sisyphus: What Does It Mean to Resist Injustice in a Decidedly Unjust Society?” is open to the public and may be attended in person or online. Please visit  https://www.bit.ly/3EaAMqE to register for online participation.  The Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester is located at 90 Holden Street in Worcester, MA (at the corner of Holden Street and Shore Drive.  For directions please visit www.uucworcester.org. For more information please contact the church at 508-853-1942.