We are in the middle of a very significant year: September 20, 2015 was the beginning of the 40th year of theological education at UTS. I hope that you will join with me this anniversary year by contributing to the Annual Fund and the 40/40 Campaign.

Donors make bequests to make a difference after they are gone. Mary Goodman, a New Haven laundress who bequeathed her life savings (nearly $5,000) to Yale Divinity School to provide scholarships for African Americans, was especially successful in this regard: her bequest supported the school’s first black students, and continues to support students today, nearly 144 years later.

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Dr. NodaDr. Keisuke Noda, Interim Dean, Barrytown College of UTSFaculty and students of Barrytown College said goodbye to each other Friday, May 22nd, with their signature elements of emo, film, PowerPoint, poetry and – oh yes -- group dancing. By all appearances, a lot of memories had been packed into a short two-year span in which Unification Theological Seminary had launched its first undergraduate program.

Keisuke Noda, Ph.D, Interim Dean and Professor of Philosophy wished his students well in their continuing studies at other schools and added that “I’m pretty confident that you will never have an education better than here at Barrytown College.” He added: “You will always be proud of being an Alum of Barrytown College, because what you did here is inscribed in the heart of God.”

Master of Ceremonies Mathews Bello, a student from Brazil, kept the laughs flowing for more than two hours. There were testimonies aplenty.

Dachul Okamoto explained, “I really feel like I accomplished what I came here to do – reignite my fervor for life and my artistic creativity. First it was drawing, then studying guitar, then making film. I really felt that there was whole-body education here. It was a great space for regeneration for me. It regenerated my childlike attitude about life.”

Barrytown College gave me a lot of confidence because there are so many people appreciating me; I leaned that I have a really strong person inside of me. Ruta Smith

Rachel Curry, the Director of Student Life, led the students through a review of the “belief statements” they had composed during their freshman seminar and asked students to articulate to each other the ways in which they had changed during two years.

Mathews and Dachul as Shotgun Samurai 2494 Mathews Bello, MC, and Dachul Okamoto perform under the header of "Shotgun Samurai." Mikako Kizuka created a photographic tribute on slides which featured a portrait of each of her fellow students and personally sang the voice over film with her own song in Japanese. She broke down in tears near the end.

The audience was treated to a lively and concise 15-minute animated film illustrating three schools of ethical thought, a project completed as a philosophy-course requirement by a student team that included Sung Soon Gaval and Takayoshi Sugawara.

Susan Herrman, one of three students who would receive an undergraduate diploma the following day at the UTS chapel, read several of her short poems, including the poem entitled “Meaning.”

The last verse was as follows:

“I accept the challenge
To discard the unholiness
And redesign
And to recover holiness
Within and Without
It begins now with meaning"

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