Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins is the mayor of Collegeville, Pa. Elected on November 7, 2017, he is the first African American and the first Democrat ever elected to this office in the history of this borough in Montgomery County, Pa.
Frustrated with the division and vitriol he witnessed with the national elections of 2016, Dr. Wright-Riggins became determined to act locally to make a difference in his community to overcome divisions based on race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and political ideology. As mayor, he has launched initiatives which convene and connect people across boundaries leading to greater dialogue and understanding. He regularly partners with the academic, business, religious and nonprofit sectors toward these ends.
Dr. Wright-Riggins is an ordained American Baptist minister with more than 40 years of community and congregational service as a pastor, professor and denominational executive. He served the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and Judson Press from 1991 to 2015 as Chief Executive Officer. In this capacity, Dr. Wright-Riggins provided oversight and leadership to 5,800 churches, 1.5 million people, 16 colleges, nine seminaries and a host of neighborhood action centers, retirement homes and skilled nursing facilities. Upon his retirement, he was designated Executive Director Emeritus of ABHMS, the first time the organization had given that designation in its almost 200-year history.
Dr. Wright-Riggins served on the board of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty for more than 20 years, including a term as its chairman, working with Executive Directors James Dunn and Brent Walker.
He also served in pastoral ministry in California for almost 20 years. Known as “Rev. Ace,” Dr. Wright-Riggins served as pastor of one of the oldest and largest churches in South Central Los Angeles — the Macedonia Baptist Church — from the mid 1980s to 1991. Concurrent with his pastoral ministry, he served as Director of Peace With Justice for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where he bridged civil and human rights concerns between African American and Euro-American communities.
Dr. Wright-Riggins earned his D.Min. in Family Systems Theory and Organizational Development from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. He holds an M.Div. from the Graduate Theological Union/ABSW in Berkeley, Calif., and a diploma from the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies. He earned a B.A. in Sociology of Comparative Religions from the California State University at Fullerton. He was further awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Benedict College and a Doctor of Divinity from Alderson-Broaddus College.
Dr. Wright-Riggins serves on the board of directors with the Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, Ga., the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in New York and the Kaleidoscope Institute in Los Angeles. He is active in the Rotary Club of Collegeville and his local church in Springhouse, Pa. He loves historical novels, plays at golf and dabbles in acrylic painting.
Mayor Wright-Riggins is married to the Rev. Betty Wright-Riggins, a spiritual director and adjunct professor at Princeton Seminary. Together, Aidsand and Betty serve as Certified Grief Recovery Specialists and organizational consultants. They have three adult children and are parenting one grandchild.