The Dean's Cross Awarded


Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782 
Email: cprather@vts.edu

ALEXANDRIA, VA — During a special service of Advent Lessons and Carols on December 8, 2013, the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, conferred the Dean’s Cross for Servant Leadership in Church and Society Award to Dr. Eben Alexander III and the Rev. Dr. Canon Michele V. Hagans.
Established in 2008, the Dean’s Cross Award recognizes outstanding leaders who embody their baptismal vows to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” Selected annually by VTS’ dean in consultation with the chair of the Board of Trustees, the honorees receive a handmade silver cross, modeled after the seminary chapel cross, and a certificate.

“The intent of the Dean's Cross for Servant Leadership in Church and Society is to recognize the well-formed life, and the recipients of the award are exceptional in this regard,” Markham said.

Dr. Eben Alexander III, a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg, Virginia, is an academic neurosurgeon, who spent three decades honing his scientific worldview, including 15 years at Harvard Medical School. His book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, has remained in the top three on the New York Times Bestseller List, since shortly after its publication last fall.

The Rev. Dr. Canon Michele V. Hagans is the associate rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring, Maryland, where she has served since 2010. She is also chaplain for Grace Episcopal School. Hagans previously served as associate rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C., where she was instrumental in the completion of the Bishop John T. Walker Conference Center.


Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women, representing more than 40 different dioceses and nine different countries, for service in the Church, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.