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Fred Edwords Announced as the 2014 Recipient of the SSA Backbone Award


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Fred Edwords is the national director of the United Coalition of Reason (CoR), an organization that promotes cooperation among local groups in the community of reason and helps raise their public profiles. A former executive director of the American Humanist Association (AHA), former editor of The Humanist magazine, and past president of Camp Quest, his experience in the humanist movement is diverse. Fred was named Rationalist of the Year by the American Rationalist Federation in 1984 and received the Humanist Pioneer Award from the AHA in 1986, primarily for his effective countering of creationism through publishing, speaking, and organizing. He has written extensively on a variety of subjects that move and shake the secular community, and remains an occasional contributor to the The Humanist as well as other movement publications and blogs. He is also now on the adjunct faculty of the Humanist Institute. He even took part in the first SSA Annual Conference with a thought-provoking talk on the relevance of humanism to our lives and the world at large.

The Secular Student Alliance has awarded Fred the SSA Backbone Award this year for numerous reasons. Fred was one of the first members of the Secular Student Alliance Advisory Board, a very early supporter of the SSA’s efforts, and has been on our Speakers Bureau since its earliest existence. Fred is now the national director for the United Coalition for Reason and has sought to include SSA affiliate groups and students into the CoR structure and events. He has been an integral part of the history of the Secular Student Alliance as an organization.

Fred has played a pivotal role in shaping the whole of the modern secular movement in the United States.  He first got involved in organized humanism in the late 70s with the AHA chapter in San Diego. In 1980, he started working for the American Humanist Association, and became its Executive Director in 1984. He went on to become the editor of The Humanist magazine for many years. Fred was also the chair of the drafting committee for Humanist Manifesto III. He went on to volunteer for Camp Quest Ohio from 1998 through 2008, and was president of the Camp Quest, Inc. Board of Directors from 2002 through 2005.  Fred has essentially devoted his entire working career to the secular movement. The movement that students find today would be a much poorer place without Fred’s contributions. We want to thank him and offer him recognition for his years of effort to push the student movement forward and to help it succeed.

Fred will be speaking and accepting his award at SSA East this year on Friday, July 11th.

Check out past winners of the SSA Backbone Award here.

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