Danforth Honorary Degree Citation

John Claggett Danforth

Episcopal priest, former three-term senator from Missouri, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, you have dedicated yourself to reconciliation and peacemaking.

Born in St. Louis, graduated from Princeton University and then Yale University Law School and Yale Divinity School on the same day, you were ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and began your law practice and ministry in New York City before moving back to your home state of Missouri where you began a career in politics

Your faith and deep commitment to unity and reconciliation as the high calling of a disciple of Jesus Christ has led you to speak out against using religion to divide people struggling with difficult issues. 

Convinced that prospects for peace depended on understanding religious differences, as a former special envoy for peace in Sudan you ultimately facilitated a peace agreement that eventually ended the twenty-year civil war.  

From your deep conviction that Christianity is a religion of peace, you wrote Faith and Politics, sharing your conviction that Christians and our country need a good dose of humility and a commitment to reconstitute the center of American politics to stand for reconciliation, unity, and a system that is big enough for all kinds of people to be held together.  In your book you quote Paul's letter to the Romans, "love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor."

We welcome you back to Texas, home to Jerry Jeff Walker and Luckenbach. You did this state proud by inviting Jerry Jeff to play your 70th birthday party in St. Louis, and by striking out for a look at Luckenbach on a prior trip to the hill country.

We are honored by your presence with us, and we celebrate your dedication to public service and your passionate call to mutual respect, forgiveness, compassion, and unity, and we are pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.


May 11, 2010                                                                        Austin, Texas