The Reverend William Rankin, an Episcopal priest, left his post as Dean, President, and the Charles B. Wilson Professor of Christian Ethics at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge Mass, to serve as the Development Officer for URI in its early years. Bishop William Swing remembers that “for Bill, coming to URI was not only a radical change but it also took him out of an exclusively Episcopal setting and thrust him into an interfaith setting. In both new venues, he excelled. Bill lifted URI's fundraising to new heights.“
When Bill left URI he joined Dr. Charles Wilson to co-found the Global Aids Interfaith Alliance Gaea, (GAIA). GAIA grew to be an esteemed international organization that brought basic health care to rural villages in Malawi during the HIV AIDS African pandemic.
The URI community honored Bill’s accomplishment with GAIA at a URI Circles of Light event. Bill’s passion for social equality and peace continues to shine brightly and make a difference, especially with poor and marginalized people. People around the world hold Bill Rankin’s name in great honor. He is certainly esteemed at URI and is warmly greeted by URI’s Celestial CC.