The Princeton Area Community Foundation has honored Bill Wakefield with the 2016 Annual Leslie “Bud” Vivian Award for Community Service.
The award is presented annually in honor of the late Leslie “Bud” Vivian, the longtime Director of Community and Regional Affairs at Princeton University, who was committed to community service. Established in 1995 by members of the Princeton University’s Class of 1942 and 16 local organizations, the award is made possible through the Vivian Memorial Fund, an endowed fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation.
Wakefield is a Princeton resident who cares about issues of social justice. An engineer by trade, Wakefield is well-known for his years of service in the region, advocating for immigrants, helping them obtain identification cards in Princeton and visiting detainees at the Elizabeth Detention Center.
Shirley Satterfield, a member of the Vivian Award Selection Committee, said Wakefield was chosen “because of his sincere involvement in community concerns and because of his passion for the people of Princeton and those who come into Princeton who may be refugees.”
Wakefield is a former board member of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) and now sits on its Advisory Council, and a former board member of Board Member of IRATE/First Friends, an advocacy and support organization for those being held at the detention center. He also teaches in LALDEF’s ESL program and is the co-leader of its Mercer County Community ID Card program.
Wakefield is currently involved in the issue of mass incarceration as the Chair of the Presbytery of New Brunswick’s Mass Incarceration Task Force and as part of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow.
In addition, Wakefield is a member of the Paul Robeson House Board of Directors and Executive Committee, a member of the Immigration Committee of the Princeton Human Services Commission, and a mentor at the Corner House AST (Academic Success Today) program for middle school students.
“Bill’s work is an inspiration,” said Jeffrey M. Vega, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “He strives to make the community welcoming to everyone.”
A ceremony was recently held at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, where Wakefield is an elder and a deacon, as well as the chairman of the church’s Immigration Reform Advocacy Group.
“Thank you to the people of this church and the people of the community,’’ Wakefield said. “This recognition is just an indication of the way the church and community and the Community Foundation create a fertile and accepting ground where social justice work thrives – walking with them is not a lonely path.”
He and his wife, Pam, have three children and 13 grandchildren.
Previous winners of this prestigious award include the Rev. David McAlpin, Marcy Crimmins, A. C. Reeves Hicks, Hank Pannell, Jocelyn Helm, Harry Levine, Ted Vial, Harriet Bryan, Pat Van Ness, Claire Jacobus, Anne Reeves, William F. Johnson, Karl Light, Sarah Hirschman, Shirley Satterfield, James A. Floyd, Jack Roberts, Ray Wadsworth, Herb W. Hobler, Mark Freda and Nancy Beck.