Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, dies at 73

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Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church pastor who served for 20 years as president of SUNY College at Old Westbury until he retired in 2020, died Friday, the church said. He was 73.

One of the New York Metro area’s most outspoken leaders and the senior pastor of New York City’s largest black church, Butts had used his position to address important issues in the Black community and advocate for civil rights, social justice and economic development. As the longest-serving president of SUNY Old Westbury, Butts reinvigorated the student body, gaining funding for five new residence halls, a student union and new academic center, as well as technology enhancements for the classrooms and dorms.

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