Greetings to the UTS Community,
It is a high honor to assume the position of the 7th president of UTS, following not only in the footsteps and standing on the foundation of the presidency of Dr. Thomas Ward, my immediate predecessor, but others who have served so honorably and effectively in this position. I think especially and most fondly of our first president, Dr. David S. C. Kim, who, during my time as a UTS student from 1977-1979, loomed larger than life, as mentor, spiritual advisor, elder brother, and even as tennis partner, or opponent, from time to time. So many memories of faculty, friends, morning services, Sunday walks on Father's Trail, digging the pond and cramming for finals. Most significantly, it was during my student years at UTS that I first met Lynn Robinson, fresh off of MFT, entering in 1978 and going on to graduate from the Master of Divinity program. In 1979 we were engaged to be Blessed, while still students at UTS.
A second life-changing UTS experience occurred when President Kim took a small group from my class down to East Garden to meet our Founders. We spent the afternoon together and near the end of our meeting we were informed that we were approved to apply to Ph.D. programs in religion or theology. I ended up applying to Vanderbilt University, where I earned my Ph.D. in the area of Theological and Social Ethics. This opened up a wide range of opportunities that I could hardly have imagined when I joined our church in 1975 in Los Angeles. Yes, UTS changed my life.
I have had the chance to teach in a number of colleges and universities over the years. But most of all, I have had the opportunity to serve in a variety of positions within our movement aimed at advancing God's providence for peace, often working directly with our Founders, members of their family, and many brilliant and exemplary leaders in our movement. I currently serve as Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation International, an NGO in general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. UPF grew on the foundation of many initiatives and organizations, including interfaith programs that began at UTS in the latter part of the 1970's, including the "Theologians Conferences" in the "white carpet room", the Global Congress of World Religions, and the New Ecumenical Research Association. While at UTS we also served annually as staff at the ICUS Conferences.
UTS was surely for me, as it has been for so many, a seedbed for growth, development and capacity-building, a critical step on the way to effective leadership, and more importantly, service to the wider world.
We stand now at a significant inflection point for UTS, as we work to build a very substantial peace studies program. The recent approval of the Masters in Peace Studies is a strong beginning to that process. Our goal is for UTS to continue to serve the vision of our Founders, as embodied in both FFWPU and UPF, creating a worldwide Holy Community under one God, our Heavenly Parent.
As your new president, I look forward to working closely with our Board of Directors, with our FFWPU leadership, the global UPF movement, our faculty, staff, students and alumni.
I will do my very best to carry forward the great mission and purpose of UTS, and look forward to reporting many future developments. I know that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon has not only keen interest in developing UTS, but in building an institution that has ever-expanding capacity and impact on our world, through the accomplishments of its students, graduates, and faculty.
I thank you for your support and encouragement.
Thomas G. Walsh
Unification Theological Seminary