FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alexandria, VA – Virginia Theological Seminary celebrated its 190th Commencement today, awarding 55 students with degrees of Master in Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Christian Education, Doctor of Ministry, Post-Graduate Diplomas in Anglican Studies, the Licentiate in Theology, and Certification of Work Completed. Virginia Seminary graduates represented more than 25 dioceses and seven countries.
The commencement address, given by Dr. Ellen Frances Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School, lifted up Moses as a model of what “leadership can and should look like among the people of God.
“Leaders have to be people who give up things, people who have learned, inevitably through much pain, to wait upon God with open hands and boundless patience,” Davis told the graduates, which was streamed live through the VTS website. “May your humility, like Moses’ own, be a source of blessing to the church in this generation.”
The recipient of the 2013 Virginia Seminary Ford Chair, a gift of Susan Ford to a member of the graduating class who has exhibited a strong commitment to the community life and mission of the Seminary, was Mr. Jim Said from the Diocese of Indianapolis.
The recipients of the Harris Award, given each year to candidate for Holy Orders who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership ability, was Ms. Rebecca Zartman, from the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.
The St. George’s College Prize awarded to a student who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the larger Church and the global Anglican Communion was given to Mr. Nicholas Roosevelt from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, and the Dudley Speech Prize, awarded to a graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty, has demonstrated excellence in the public reading and interpretation of the Scriptures and the Liturgy, was given to the Rev. Dorota Pruski from the Diocese of Milwaukee.
This year, the Seminary conferred Doctors in Divinity, honoris causa, upon Davis and five others: the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau, retired canon to the ordinary to two presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. Susan Ellyn Goff, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia; Mr. William Benjamin Hutto III, director of performing arts at St. Alban’s School for Boys and the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D.C.; Dr. Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology; and the Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade, retired rector of St. Alban’s parish in Washington, D.C., and former interim dean of the Washington National Cathedral.
For their class gift to the Seminary, the seniors raised $2,265.00 for teak benches that will be part of the new Welcome and Worship Quad.
“As our new Welcome and Worship Quad slowly emerges, these benches will be needed in the North Terrace and outside the west entrance,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, when he thanked the Class of 2013 for their gifts, which also included a generous contribution to the VTS Annual Fund.
Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 55 different dioceses and 7 different countries, for service in the Church.