Dr. Ward's letter to UTS Alumni
April 24, 2020
Dear UTS Alumni and Friends,
The thoughts and prayers of the UTS Administration and Staff are with all of you in these challenging times when lives and futures are impaired. We pray that you remain safe in this difficult period and be strengthened in your love of God, family, and each other. Let us pray for the many who have lost their lives and also for the peace and comfort of those whom they left behind.
On August 8, 2019 I officially became the 6th President of Unification Theological Seminary. It was my honor to follow Dr. Hugh Spurgin in this position. In his more than four years of service, Dr. Spurgin brought UTS a desperately needed realignment, restoring full Middle States Accreditation, successfully establishing the main UTS campus in New York City and UTS gained authorization to deliver its Master of Arts in Religious Studies fully online. Dr. Spurgin also succeeded in strengthening our ties with our sponsoring Church. He established a laudable record of service and a foundation that we all feel blessed to inherit.
When I took on my responsibilities at UTS, I soon recognized the wealth of institutional knowledge, the professionalism, and high standards set by the UTS faculty and staff. I also recognized their faith, their desire to serve God, to uphold the vision for UTS set by Father and Mother Moon, and to render service to the members of the Unification community, to faithful Christians, to all believers and seekers of truth and reconciliation. It was also immediately evident that UTS is blessed with extraordinary students in its ranks who literally could have studied anywhere and yet they chose to do graduate studies at our Seminary.
UTS has a proud legacy and here I would like to share some of the ways in which we intend to build upon it.
Honoring the Past: Emeritus Status awarded to Previous UTS Presidents
In recognition of their service, the UTS Board of Trustees conferred President Emeritus Status upon the second, fourth and fifth Presidents of the Unification Theological Seminary: Dr. Theodore Shimmyo, Dr. Tyler Hendricks, and Dr. Hugh Spurgin on October 14, 2019. On that same date, the Board also have conferred upon Dr. David S. C. Kim, the first and, by far, longest serving President, the title “Distinguished President Emeritus.”
Honoring the Past: A New Display on UTS History
For those of you who have time, we encourage you (once we get through the current COVID 19 crisis) to visit our next exhibit at our 43rd Street Address. The display includes historical artifacts from the Seminary’s Founders as well as from alumni, and early UTS academic leaders and faculty. The collection includes many publications from UTS faculty as well as documentation of the many Unification-inspired projects that have been overseen by UTS alumni.
An Updated Mission Statement
On December 16, 2019, following discussion with members of the Administration, with faculty, students, and presentations to UTS alumni, UTS adjusted the wording of its Mission Statement, reaffirming its Unification identity as well as its commitment to continue to serve a broader community of believers: The revised Mission Statement now reads:
Unification Theological Seminary provides advanced academic and professional education for current and future leaders of the Unification community and all faiths, that seeks to enhance their relationship with God, their effectiveness in ministry and public leadership, and their service to the human family. As a home of thought, we strive to foster deeper understanding, contextualization and application of the Unification worldview within a world of diverse faiths.
A Revised Master of Arts Degree and Updated Doctor of Ministry Program
UTS has updated its Master of Arts in Religious Studies. For the past two years, the Family Federation has sent cohorts of young Unification leaders to UTS to earn a degree and to be better prepared to assume leadership roles within various Church organizations and affiliated NGOs. The revised MA strengthens the students’ foundation in the Old and New Testament, Church History, Divine Principle, and Systematic Theology. It also offers specialized Unification Studies courses for Unification Leaders as well as a new Korean language track, where students can spend one semester of their study in Korea after having completed initial Korean language study in the US. The new Master degree will also offer a strengthened concentration in public and NGO leadership that will prepare interested students for internships in governmental, Intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations located near the UTS NYC campus. The new MA will also continue to welcome non-Unificationists who represent a significant portion of our student body today. The Doctor of Ministry has also gone through important changes that will reduce required residencies and also make it possible for students with a Master degree in a discipline other than religion or theology to enter the doctoral program following the completion of 15 to 24 credits of prerequisites for those not holding a Master of Divinity degree.
UTS First Massive Open Online Course
On April 6, 2020, UTS initiated its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which prospective students, alumni, and friends may either take for credit or simply audit according to their interest. This first course offered by Dr. Claude Perrottet, a UTS alum with extensive experience in online learning is entitled “Unification Thought in Context.” For-credit enrollment expired on April 20 but students may still join the course as auditors.
UTS joins Theta Alpha Kappa
In UTS was informed that its application to host a Chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society for the Study of Religion and Theology, has been accepted. Theta Alpha Kappa, has ties with both the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. It began in 1976 at Manhattan College in New York City and now has more than 200 chapters across the United States. UTS will do its first induction of members in May 2020. Membership in Theta Alpha Kappa requires a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.5.
UTS Faculty Roundtable
UTS now conducts a monthly lecture series during fall and spring terms. Each roundtable features a presentation by one member of the UTS Faculty or a student with advanced academic standing at UTS. The sessions are open to the entire Unification Community via Zoom. If you would like to participate, kindly email email@example.com.
New Faces in the UTS Administration
Like many parts of the UTS community, we are currently actively seeking to prepare for a new generation of Unification leadership. In September of last year, Christina Lange assumed the role of Assistant to the President and Director of Special Projects. In addition to her native English, Christina speaks fluent Japanese and Korean. She did her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University and in Japanese language at Sun Moon University and is pursuing her Master of Arts in Religious Studies at Unification Theological Seminary. Thomas Delaney, the son of Registrar and Senior Associate Dean Ute Delany, has taken on the role of UTS Assistant Registrar. Thomas studied history at the State University of New York and he is currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Religious Studies at UTS. He began working as Assistant Registrar in spring 2019. UTS looks forward to including additional second-generation leaders going forward.
Opportunities for Alumni Ongoing Involvement with UTS
When I became President of UTS, one of the things that I quickly realized was the extent to which we owe a debt of gratitude to our alums. When we consider Unification leadership around the world, whether one speaks of Dr. Kihoon Kim, our Continental Leader or Rev. Demian Dunkley, our Family Fed USA President, or Dr. Thomas Walsh, Chairman of UPF, or Dr. Michael Jenkins, President of UPF and of the American Leadership Conference, Rev. Mari Curry, National FFWPU Director of Education, or Rev. Mi Young Eaton, Region #1 Director of Education, or Dr. Taj Hamad, Chairman of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, they all have been educated at Unification Theological Seminary. UTS’ legacy is built on the outstanding achievements of these and many other alumni whose leadership, who publications, whose sacrifices are at the center of so much of what explains UTS pride. Many Alums want to stay close to UTS. We also want to stay close to you. These are some things that you might want to do:
- Follow the Unification Theological Seminary website for latest developments.
- Attend our monthly Faculty Roundtables via Zoom. The next two events take place on April 28 and on May 12. The featured speaker on April 28 will be Dr. Theodore Shimmyo, President Emeritus of UTS, and on May 12, our speaker will be Rev. Mi Young Eaton, a 2019 graduate of UTS, and Northeastern Regional Director of Education under the guidance of and in collaboration with President Demian Dunkley. You should have received an email recently with the event details. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Make a financial contribution to your Alma Mater UTS. Visit our website to find out how.
- Consider returning to UTS for a degree upgrade:
- UTS Alums holding a Diploma of Religious Education will be pleasantly surprised to learn how close that they are to a Master of Religious Education.
- If you hold a Diploma of Religious Education, a Master of Religious Education, a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, or a Master of Divinity, learn how close you are to earning the Doctor of Ministry degree, most of which you may do from the comfort of your home.
Please give any and all of these some thought. In the meantime, again, stay safe. Know that you are in our prayers. Know that UTS pride stems from you and your achievements. May the blessing of God and True Parents be with you.
Gratefully in True Parents,
Thomas J. Ward
Unification Theological Seminary