Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 Milton Moran Weston II
Milton Moran Weston II "A banker-priest is really no more strange than an educator-priest or a social worker priest."

Milton Moran Weston II (1910–2002)
Columbia College 1930, PhD 1954, STD 1969 (hon.)
Trustee 1969–81

The longtime rector of one of Harlem's most prominent churches, M. Moran Weston also helped to found Carver Federal Savings Bank—the largest independent financial institution in the United States owned by African Americans—and provided housing for thousands of New Yorkers. A supporter of numerous progressive causes, Weston trained as a theologian in the 1930s and 1940s while employed as a social worker. All the while he wrote his "Labor Forum" column in the Amsterdam News and organized civil-rights rallies at Madison Square Garden. In the mid-1940s, Weston became associated with St. Philip's Episcopal Church, establishing an affiliated credit union in 1945. Two years later he became a real-estate broker, and in 1948 joined 14 others to charter the Carver Federal Savings Bank in order to help black homeowners obtain first mortgages. (Today, Carver boasts 530 million dollars in assets.) Weston became the rector at St. Philip's in the late 1950s, and in that capacity oversaw the construction of housing developments, a community center, a nursing home, and treatment centers, among other projects. He served on many charitable boards over the years, and upon his 1982 retirement became rector emeritus.

Weston enrolled at Columbia in 1928, one of five black undergraduates at the time. He received his degree in 1930, after which he studied at the General Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, the Union Theological Seminary in New York, and the New School for Social Research. He returned to Columbia in 1949, earning a PhD in social history in 1954. In 1969, he became Columbia's first African American trustee. To honor his contributions to the community, in 1998 the University established the M. Moran Weston II Distinguished Lecture in Urban and Public Policy. The citation read in part, "To visit the streets of Harlem and Morningside Heights is to encounter the tangible results of your visionary work, whether it is a child-care center, housing for the elderly and mentally ill, a condominium high-rise or a business started with a Carver loan." Designed to bring public leaders to the School of International and Public Affairs to address the community on important domestic policy issues, the lectureship focuses on pressing concerns such as expanding home ownership and the changing economic base of American cities.


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