Napier HISTORY

Two extraordinary lives are honored by the Napier Initiative. Davie and Joy Napier’s legacy of active commitment to social justice, peace, and environmental sustainability continues in the lives of countless former students who knew the Napiers at Yale University, Stanford University and Pacific School of Religion. As a scholar and Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School, Dean of the Chapel at Stanford University and President of Pacific School of Religion, Davie’s professional life provided countless opportunities for him and Joy to establish close relationships with generations of students. They opened each of their homes for unforgettable times of laughter, music and life-shaping conversations. Joy’s capacity for perceptive listening and warm hospitality were recognized and especially appreciated by students. As thoughtful activists, Joy and Davie worked to insure civil rights for all people, to end racism, to protest the war in Vietnam and to create an environmentally sustainable world. Their remarkable partnership inspired and led others to work toward the biblical vision of a world where justice, mercy, and peace prevail throughout God’s creation. More information about Davie and Joy Napier is detailed in a recent book “To Stop the Weeping” by Paul Minus and Anne Napier Caffery available at Pilgrim Place.

In retirement, Davie and Joy lived at Pilgrim Place, a community of elders whose lives of service are congruent with the values and goals which were foundational for the Napiers. Davie and Joy continued their commitment to justice and peace as well as their generous hospitality. After their deaths, friends and colleagues sought a way to honor the legacy of this extraordinary couple. The Napier Initiative links elders with young people to nurture the vision of a world made better through their committed labors.

The Napier Initiative and the annual Napier Awards for Creative Leadership identify and celebrate outstanding leadership by students in their senior year at the Claremont Colleges.


Since 2010, eighty-three Napier Fellows have been named. Sixteen grants have been awarded to carry out the projects they envisioned. In addition each Fellow entered into a mentoring relationship with a Pilgrim Place elder whose life experience and vocation have an affinity with the student’s interests.