The Dean's Cross Award to Wendell Berry


Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782
ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, and the Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV, vice president for Institutional Advancement at VTS, visited Wendell and Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky on Thuesday, August 21, 2014. The Dean’s Cross for Servant Leadership in Church and Society Award was presented to Mr. Berry at this time.  

An author, poet, activist, farmer and environmental campaigner, Berry has written dozens of novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He was the 2012 Jefferson Lecturer and a 2013 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berry was named the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. He was also a recipient of The National Humanities Medal in 2012, where he was called "a 21st-century Henry David Thoreau.”

“Wendell Berry is a truly great poet, essayist, and environmental campaigner," Markham said. "He graciously added the Dean's Cross from Virginia Theological Seminary to his extensive list of honors and awards .”

Berry has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati and Bucknell University. He taught at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky from 1964-77, and again from 1987-93.

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.

On December 7, 2014, Berry will be recognized alongside two other distinguished servant leaders during the service of Advent Lessons and Carols at Virginia Theological Seminary.


Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship 
Seminary of the Episcopal Church. One of our first benefactors was Francis Scott Key whose poem provides the text for our national anthem. In the 191 years since being established, VTS has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington;  and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at
3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304  |  Phone: 703-370-6600 or 800-941-0083 | Employee Directory