Rev. Willie H. Mebane Jr. ’75

2022 Beech Outstanding Alumni Award

Rev. Willie H. Mebane Jr. was born in Durham and began a career in broadcasting upon graduation from The University of North Carolina in 1975. He later earned a Master of Divinity from Yale University in 2003, along with an award for excellence in preaching.

He directed the 50th anniversary celebrations of Jackie Robinson’s entry into Major League Baseball and is a founding board member of AMISTAD America, Inc., which built a floating museum promoting human rights. Mebane is an ordained priest and the ninth rector of Saint Barnabas’s Episcopal Church in Falmouth, Massachusetts , and is only the 7th African American in the 238‐year history of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to lead a virtually all‐white congregation.

He is the first African American to be dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, New York. VOICE Buffalo presented Mebane its “Faith in Action Award,” and he was honored with the “Joan Malone Award” by the Coalition for Economic Justice for his leadership in the “Fight for $15” for minimum wages. USA Today featured Mebane as a 2020 “Religious Leader of Change,” and he recently received an award for “THE Conversation,” a television program addressing racism. Mebane and his spouse, Ilona Paulette Mebane, are the parents of two adult sons.

Rev. Mebane’s official citation will be posted after the awards gala.