Michael Tino is the winner of today’s UU trivia challenge! He correctly answered that there have been more Unitarian than Universalist UUA presidents. In fact, he answered the extra bonus question too, by pointing out that there has never been a UUA president from the historically Universalist wing of the denomination. As he said, all of the presidents have been Unitarians. Actually, it’s a little more complicated in the case of John Buehrens, who converted to UUism after the creation of Unitarian-Universalism in 1961. So we might say there have been six Unitarian presidents, one Unitarian-Universalist president, and zero Universalist presidents. But even Buehrens was converted at Unitarian Harvard, under the influence of his Unitarian roommate Bill Sinkford, and has served exclusively in historically Unitarian congregations.
One reason the Universalists were reluctant to join with the Unitarians was that they feared being drowned and lost in a sea of Unitarianism (which was the larger and more culturally powerful denomination). I don’t know if this lack of Universalist presidents is evidence of their fears coming true or not–Universalists have held important positions on the Board of the UUA, even if they’ve never been elected to the presidency. Does this lopsidedness say something about UUism, or not?