As the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) reaches its 40th year, faculty and staff are preparing for an unprecedented, three-day event to mark this milestone. That includes graduation of undergraduate as well as graduate students, a reception, a thinkers’ conference for alumni on Sunday and Monday, a documentary slide show, and an open discussion with President Hugh Spurgin– all at the Barrytown campus where the Founder began the school in September 1975.

A visitor to the chapel of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) in Barrytown today will open the door, and the first thing that hits him or her will be the light. His or her eyes will be drawn to shafts of light streaming down from 16 brand new, double-paned, tinted, argon-gas filled, segmented windows.

On March 13, 2008 the 31st David S.C. Kim Oratorical contest was held. It was a night in which history was not only made but revisited

UTS president, Dr. Tyler Hendricks officially began the night with welcoming remarks and a prayer. Seven participants: Joe Raucci, Riichi Hayashida, Leonard Tusenche, Kiluba Wabanza, Alex Zamusinski, George Oguire and Kenji Tsukamoto accepted the challenge of preparing and giving their speeches in front of the student body.

Some students, although enrolled in UTS’ English as a Second Language (ESL) course dedicated much time to preparing and perfecting their speeches. Other students participated, hoping to inspire others and to convey the importance of public speaking.

In the end, the student body enjoyed many wonderful speeches full of passion, conviction, and even humor.

The three judges for the event: Dr. Keisuke Noda, Dr. Andrew Wilson, and Mr. David Stewart surprised everyone by giving feedback and positive criticism to the participants in the style and manner of the hit television show, “American Idol.” Just as on the show, the three judges were very honest and fair in offering their criticisms, yet unlike the show, were very encouraging and hopeful that the participants would further develop their God-given talents.

This year’s winner was Riichi Hayashida, followed by Kiluba Wabanza in second, and Alex Zamusinski in third place. Mr. Hayashida spoke on the topic, “How to make UTS a better place?” He asked that we remove barriers of age, race, and language between students. Mr. Wabanza gave a speech on “The difference between poor and developed nations.” He concluded that it is not simply a difference in natural resources but a need to take responsibility and form good relationships between nations. Lastly, Mr. Zamusinski shared about “Father’s dream as God’s dream” that people throughout history have inherited.

On this particular night, the participants and audience were also treated by the special attendance of Dr. David S.C. Kim, UTS’ first president. This oratorical contest was originally held in honor of Dr. Kim, who hosted the first speech contest in UTS over 31 years ago. Now at the age of 93, he returned to UTS as the contest’s guest of honor. As the participants continue to add to UTS’ rich history, history itself was present through Dr. Kim’s attendance.

Everyone appreciated this chance to meet and spend time with UTS’ first president. A gift prepared and signed by the student body commemorating the first speech contest in an article written by Dr. Michael Mickler over 30 years ago, was presented to Dr. Kim honoring the dedication, foundation, and standard he had set for UTS.

Dr. Kim, with incredible vigor and energy that defied his age, presented gifts to the participants, judges, and audience. With a grandfather’s love, he advised all the participants to no longer read their speeches but to memorize them by heart. He promised to return next year only if they do so. Last, he led the audience through various songs long remembered by the elders in the audience before declaring three shouts of victory. At that one moment, time stood still as the histories of UTS were intertwined with its past, present and future united.

Barrytown campus

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