Abbot Walter Coggin (1916-1999)

Written By North Carolina History Project

Born on February 10, 1916 in Richmond, Virginia, Abbot Walter Coggin, O.S.B. was a cleric, scholar, teacher, and graduate of Belmont Abbey Prep School in Belmont, North Carolina.  In 1936, he entered the Belmont Abbey monastery and later earned a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Benedict’s College in 1939.  By 1954, Abbot Coggin had earned a Master’s Degree and a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. 

In his career at Belmont Abbey, Abbot Coggin coached, taught, and served as president and chancellor.  On November 25, 1959, he was elected third Abbot-Ordinary of Belmont Abbey Nullius. As head of the Nullius, he participated in all four sessions (1962-1965) of the Second Vatican Council, a gathering of the world’s Catholic bishops.

Despite his accomplishments as a church leader, Abbot Coggins prized teaching. In the fall of 1999, he retired after sixty years of service at Belmont Abbey College.  On December 28, 1999, Abbot Coggin died and was later interred in the Abbey Cemetery.