Honorary Degree Citation - Rev. David Beckmann

Saturday, May 22, 2021
Rev. David Beckmann
Doctor of Public Service


Masterful coalition builder. Intrepid and successful advocate for the poor and hungry. Missionary economist.

Reverend David Beckmann, you have dedicated your career to reducing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. After earning both your master of divinity and master of science in economics, you began your career as an economist at the World Bank. Connecting your faith and moral values to the challenge of poverty, you worked on large-scale development projects in East Africa and Latin America and drove innovations to make the Bank more effective in reducing poverty. 

In 1991, you became president at Bread for the World, a non-partisan Christian advocacy organization that advocates for policy changes to end hunger. You led broad and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. Activating your grassroots network of members and activists to work in concert with national denominations, networks and organizations, you developed a track record of winning bipartisan legislation to help ease hunger. During your almost 30 year tenure, Break for the World grew to a network of two million people and 3,000 local churches.

As president, you also led Break for the World Institute, which publishes complementary research and education. The Institute’s annual Hunger Report is an authoritative analysis of hunger trends and a trusted resource for hunger statistics. In 2001, you founded the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse organizations, including Jewish and Muslim groups, universities, hospitals, charities and corporations, in political and public advocacy to end hunger.

You have authored multiple books on hunger, poverty, politics and faith. You have served as trusted counsel as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa of the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of State’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, and the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. You are a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

You are currently Coordinator of the Circle of Protection, an advocacy coalition of Christian church bodies and organizations who together have 100 million members. You are also a joint fellow of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and the Graduate Theological Union, where you are working in new ways to end hunger and poverty. You are teaching and producing a weekly blog and webcast.

That all may know of our great esteem for you and our strong support for your decades of powerful and successful advocacy to address poverty and hunger, the College of the Holy Cross confers upon you this day the degree, Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa