UTS Board of Trustees Welcomes New Chair: Rev. Franco Famularo (UTS'94)
- by Cabot W. Peterson (UTS‘92)
On October 9, 2017, the UTS Board of Trustees took a bold step forward by electing Rev. Franco Famularo as the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees not to live in the United States. Franco and his wife, Chizuru, reside in Montreal, Canada.
(Photo) Rev. Franco Famularo (UTS'94) with his wife, Chizuru Famularo.
Rev. Famularo, a 1994 graduate of UTS and the current National Leader for the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in Canada, joined the UTS board in the spring of 2014 along with Dan Fefferman, Crescentia DeGoede and Ernest Patton, before Dr. Hugh Spurgin became UTS President. Franco is also in his first year of study in the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program, which meets twice a year at the Barrytown campus in upstate New York in February and August.
At the same meeting, Dr. Christine Hempowicz, who joined the Board in the spring of 2015, became the first woman on the Board to hold the position of Vice-Chairman. Following the July appointment of Dr.Michael Balcomb, the former Board chairman, to the position of Continental Chairman of FFWPU for Europe and the Middle East, Rev. Famularo, then the vice-chairman under Balcomb, was promoted to acting chair until the official vote on October 9.
Since joining the Unification Movement in 1975, Franco has lived in many places - including six years in Europe (UK and Germany) - and held a variety of leadership positions, including Divine Principle (DP) lecturer, as well as doing outreach to clergy, community leaders and academics. In June of 1991, while on a visit to Canada, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the co-Founder of UTS, personally suggested to Franco that he attend UTS - he jumped at the chance.
Franco expressed his desire to grow the reach of UTS to various parts of the world where the Unification Movement has shown signs of growth and success - the Philippines, Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe - and where many of the students who reside there would be essential to the revitalization of the Barrytown campus.
“There are plans to revive the original mission in Barrytown,” said Franco. “We want to train Unification leaders to be able to serve the world. I believe by emphasizing the broad vision of the Founders we can attract the future leaders of tomorrow.”
During a Q & A with Franco, a series of questions were presented to the new Chairman.
What are your memories of UTS?
Memories of my time at UTS are positive and many - stimulating lectures, academic challenges, diverse faculty both Unificationist and non-Unificationist of various persuasions, caring administration and staff and a fascinating student body - all made a strong impression. Students with names such as Kittel, Balcomb, Park, Haines, Holt, Hanna, Ledesma, several Kims, Otsuka and many others were part of our class in the early 1990’s - a tremendous blend of East, West, North and South. Some also became good friends. I have fond memories of all-night study sessions in preparation for exams, of reading texts I had only heard about, of a strong sense of camaraderie and genuine concern among students. Of soccer, volleyball, baseball and basketball games to keep us healthy. Taking courses on leadership and public speaking remain indelibly etched in my mind. I also fondly remember the contests - oratory, DP lecture competition and especially the class debate where we studied and debated, among other issues, the state of American health care during the Clinton administration of the 1990’s. Most cherished are what I learned through the courses taught by some of the brightest professors to be found anywhere. The content learned at UTS has been immensely helpful in all areas I’ve been involved in since, both personally and in public efforts. When I think back, my time at UTS was among the best experiences of my life.
What have you done since you graduated UTS?
Since graduation I’ve been involved in several leadership roles with the Unification Movement in Canada - District Pastor for Eastern Canada, Treasurer of the Canadian Church, .and Secretary-General of Universal Peace Federation. This past summer I was asked to serve as National Leader of FFWPU Canada. I’ve learned a lot about the non-profit environment through these experiences. I have also been engaged in a business that has contributed substantially to the Unification Movement in Canada. Through business experience I learned a lot about marketing, publicity, business law, negotiation, customer relations and more. Interacting with business people of many different cultures helped me gain a broader perspective on life in general and the UTS experience was significant in helping me relate to people from many diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
You’re now studying in the Doctor of Ministry program. What motivated you to enroll, and how do you think this will help you in your capacity as Board Chairman of UTS?
Upon graduation from UTS in 1994, I was very interested in pursuing a Ph.D., but fiscal and personal realities at the time prevented me from doing so. I had a young family to provide for and lonely elderly father to take care of, not to mention responsibilities with the Montreal and Canadian Unification movement. During the past year I saw an opening, and while Dr. Michael Mickler and I discussed a UTS board matter, he suggested that I consider enrolling. I concluded it was now or never. The principal motivator was to get myself geared toward writing for future generations of Unificationists and those interested in Unificationism. I have had a strong interest in the history of the Unification Movement in Canada and worldwide for more than 30 years and I intend to write a dissertation that relates to this interest.
What plans do you have to increase enrollment at UTS?
The future of UTS is inextricably tied to the success of the Unification Movement worldwide and vice-versa. There are tens of thousands of youth under the age of thirty around the world who are a natural market for UTS: in Korea, Japan, throughout the Asia Pacific region, Africa, Europe and South America. In some countries there is consistent growth, not to mention many potential students in North America. Although there are programs currently offered at institutions in Korea, there are many who would enthusiastically jump at the opportunity to study at an accredited institution in the United States. Originally, the Founders established UTS to educate Unification leaders to serve the world in a variety of ministries, social outreach, media, public service, arts and culture and even in the business world. The vision of the Founders has always been broad and far-reaching.
How much emphasis will you put on the new UTS-Online program?
I will strongly emphasize the new online study program. Recent data shows that the entire population of the world has already moved to doing just about everything online. From banking to shopping for clothes, from ordering food to taking educational courses, the online method is here to stay. We cannot ignore this trend for the future development of UTS. Consider that in 2016 an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide purchased goods online. Trillions of Dollars are exchanged online. We cannot ignore the potential of online or distance learning. The Founder of UTS spoke extensively about the trend many years ago.
What do you hope will be the “hallmark” of the Famularo Era as UTS Chairman?
A renewal and modernization of the educational mission of UTS. Growth in the enrollment numbers of youth under-40. A time when the United States of America moves closer to fulfilling its mission to serve the world by providing educational opportunities to Unification family members and associates everywhere. The renewal and restoration of the Barrytown property so it can be used to fulfill what the Founders originally envisioned.