Sperry, Willard Learoyd

Sperry, Willard Learoyd

(1882–1954) Protestant clergyman, theologian; born in Peabody, Mass. The son of a Congregational minister who became president of Olivet College (Mich.), he graduated from Olivet in 1903 and studied theology at Oxford as one of the first Rhodes Scholars. He held pastorates in Fall River, Mass., and Boston before accepting the deanship of Harvard Divinity School in 1925, where he remained until 1953. A tolerant dean (he admitted Nazarenes, Adventists, and others), he developed an austere theology that sought a middle ground between modern liberal Protestant thought and strict Calvinism.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.