Honorary Degree Recipients

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Alexandria, VA –
 Virginia Theological Seminary conferred honorary doctorates upon six distinguished recipients at its 190th  Commencement ceremony today. The Doctor in Divinity, honoris causa degree was awarded to Dr. Ellen Frances Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School; 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 (pictured), retired rector of St. Alban’s parish in Washington, D.C., and former interim dean of the Washington National Cathedral.
VTS awards honorary degrees each year to recognize faithful and notable service as well as creative and innovative leadership in parish ministry, overseas missions, academia, and in ecumenical, social, diocesan, and national church ministries.
Dr. Ellen Frances Davis is a scholar of the Hebrew Scriptures who has served on the faculties of Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School and Virginia Theological Seminary. Her most recent book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press), brings to bear the witness of the Old Testament on the current environmental crisis, about which she remains passionate.
The Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau was the chief administrative officer to Presiding Bishops Frank T. Griswold and Katharine Jefforts-Schori for more than two decades. Since his retirement from full-time ministry, Gerdau has remained active in the Episcopal Church, notably as Chair of the Board of Bexley Hall Seminary in Ohio.
The Rt. Rev. Susan Ellyn Goff served in the Diocese of Virginia for three decades before being consecrated bishop suffragan in 2012. In her roles as school chaplain, parish priest, canon to the ordinary and bishop, she has been driven by a passion for justice and a focus on the local faith community. As bishop suffragan, she oversees mission churches, as well as multicultural and ethnic ministries.
Mr. William Benjamin Hutto III has grown the choral program at St. Alban’s School for Boys and the National Cathedral School for Girls from just 18 voices to almost 200, since taking over the program in 1999. Hutto is a published composer and former president of both the Association of Anglican Musicians and the Royal School of Church Music in America.
Dr. Carol A. Newsom earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University with distinction before embarking on groundbreaking interdisciplinary research. Newsome’s use of sociology, psychology and literary criticism to frame scripture interpretation has inspired a new generation of biblical scholars and has garnered her many awards, including three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade was rector of St. Alban’s parish for 18 years, during which time the parish quadrupled in size. Wade has also served the larger Episcopal Church, as a 12-time deputy to its General Convention, a committee chair dealing with issues of human sexuality and as a chaplain to the church’s House of Deputies. His sermons and meditations have been widely published.

Click here to listen to Rev. Wade's sermon delivered during the Service for the Mission of the Church, on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church and was founded in 1823. The Seminary 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. The Seminary currently represents more than 40 different dioceses and 9 different countries.