The next 40 year chapter of UTS has opened
- Robin James Graham (UTS ’80)
2015 marked the 40 Year Anniversary of UTS. The 40th Anniversary of the UTS' Inaugural Convocation was held on September 20, 2015. Trustees, faculty, alumni and guests gathered in the chapel to celebrate the achievements of the first 40 years. Father Moon's inaugural address and a film from the first Convocation captured the spirit of that special day back on September 20, 1975. Now the challenge is to launch the next 40 years with a similar passion as Father Moon. UTS is on a mission from God. The current mission statement declares UTS to be “Bridging religious and cultural divides.”
Rev. Moon launched a special initiative in 2000 to revive the USA, giving theological training to 36 minority urban ministers at the UTS, New York Extension Center. In September 2015, continuing that strategy, UTS opened the Maryland Extension Site, in partnership with Logos Christian College Washington, to expand the training of minority urban ministers in the outskirts of the nation’s capital.
2015 also saw a change in leadership. On January 7, 2015, Dr. Hugh Spurgin was appointed as the 5th president of UTS. He is recognized as a proven educational administrator with over thirty years’ experience in non-profit and educational management. Spurgin is a UTS alumnus, from the first graduating class of 1977. To ensure that UTS is effective in an increasingly competitive market place, Spurgin has restructured the administration.
Change was also seen in the chapel where new, energy-efficient windows have been installed. The chapel was full for the grand re-opening at graduation, on May 23, 2015. 21 degrees were awarded, including the master and doctorate degrees for the 39th Class of UTS. Following the graduation, UTS hosted a dynamic 2-day alumni conference with 60 alumni gathered for presentations and discussion on such diverse topics as governance; the role of women; character education; poetry; religion and peace; and national education policy.
UTS has adapted its programs to meet changing “customer” needs. In 2015, online CEU courses (continuing education) have helped to raise the skill level and theological sophistication of pastors and lay leaders. Dr. Andrew Wilson and Dr. Tyler Hendricks are developing CEU courses on the new Unification Holy Scriptures translations; the Journal of Unification Studies continues to be published; the Applied Unificationism blog increased its reach to 500+ followers, 120,000+ hits, and subscribers in 180+ nations; and the UTS Newsletter showed similar growth in subscribers and page views.
Barrytown has continued to host major events like the Blessed Culture Sports Festival, the Generation Peace Academy workshops, professional seminars and workshops. In November, the David SC Kim Foundation held a celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of David S.C. Kim, the first president of UTS. 2015 has been a year of transition; a year of change. The first 40 year chapter has closed; the next 40 year chapter of UTS has opened.