Monsignor Kerr Biography

Photo of Monsignor William A. Kerr

Reverend Monsignor William A. Kerr

September 22, 1940 – May 13, 2009

Msgr. William A. Kerr was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to the late William A. Kerr and the late Dolores J. Moore Kerr. He was ordained a priest on March 26, 1966. In addition to a Bachelors Degree from Cardinal Glennon College Seminary and a Sacred Theology Licentiate from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Msgr. Kerr earned a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Diplomatic History from Florida State University.

Msgr. Kerr began his priestly ministry as an associate pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Parish in St. Louis. Following graduate studies at the Catholic University of America, he returned to St. Louis where he was named associate pastor at St. Pius V Parish. From 1971 to 1975 he served as associate pastor and administrator of St. Thomas More Parish in Tallahassee, Florida. With the establishment of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, St. Thomas More became a Co-Cathedral and Msgr. served as its rector until 1984.

From 1984-1992 Msgr. Kerr served as vice-president of the Catholic University of America. In 1992 he assumed the presidency of LaRoche College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a post he held until 2004. In 2004 he returned to the nation’s capital to become the first executive director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. In 2006 he returned to Tallahassee to become executive director of the Claude Pepper Center for Intercultural Dialogue at Florida State University.

Msgr. Kerr was a dynamic, committed priest and a global citizen who ministered to the weak and the powerful in equal measure. He saw value in all people and he helped each person believe in his or her own worth and dignity. He was a highly regarded teacher and scholar. Although his life was cut short at the age of 68, he lived it fully and well. Two of Msgr. Kerr’s most noteworthy achievements were the Pacem in Terris Institute, which he founded at La Roche College in 1993, and the Intercultural Dialogue Initiative, which he launched at Florida State University in 2006. Each of these visionary programs extended educational opportunities to young people from around the world and promoted interfaith understanding and peace on a global scale.

Msgr. Kerr Display Case Dedication (April 6, 2011)

Video of William Kerr Memorial, Washington DC, November 19, 2009