The Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters has excelled as a leader in church and community. He earned a B.A. in political science and religious studies from SMU in 2002, followed by two degrees from Perkins School of Theology: the M. Div. cum laude and Doctor of Ministry with honors. He served as SMU student body vice president and Perkins student body president. Among numerous campus honors, he received SMU’s prestigious “M” Award. He helped found SMU’s annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage for students to visit historic sites of the movement. Waters is founder and senior pastor of Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, one of the fastest-growing A.M.E. churches in Texas. He is the award-winning author of Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture and chair of Dallas’ Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. He was named by Ebony magazine among “30 Under 30” leaders and by Dallas Business Journal among “40 Under 40” business and community leaders.