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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

The Rev. Robert Wilbur Simmons, B.A., Class of 1927

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award Biography

Wilbur Simmons entered W&L on an athletic scholarship and worked to pay his college expenses. As a students, he served as president of the YMCA, was an alternate Rhodes Scholar applicant for two years, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. "Bud" spent his first year after graduation traveling to college and university campuses speaking on the importance of Prohibition. While working on his Bachelor of Divinity degree at Yale, Wilbur was an undercover agent in a joint Yale-federal effort investigating gambling, prostitution, and liquor sales on and around the Yale campus. He earned his B.D. and M.Div degrees at Yale He served United Church of Christ churches in Connecticut, Oregon, Colorado, California, and Montana. While in California Wilbur served two terms as chaplain to the California state assembly. He also served in foreign missionary posts nine European countries as part of the Committee for War Victims and Reconstruction, and in New Zealand where a retirement center in Te Kauwhata was named for him. Rocky Mountain College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1965. He died in 1990.

Sources: file, alumni directories

Written by: Scott Dittman, sdittman@wlu.edu

Updated: June 22, 2004