UTS: 42nd Commencement Ceremony
- by Cabot W. Peterson (UTS‘92)
NEW YORK - On Saturday, May 26, 2018, the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) celebrated its 42nd commencement ceremony at its Manhattan campus located at 4 W. 43rd Street.
Bright sunshine and warm weather greeted the families and guests, as degrees were bestowed on 19 graduates representing five different countries - India, the Philippines, Nigeria, Rwanda and the United States.
There was a short delay to the start of the program, when graduates and family members commuting from Maryland were held up due to an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. All, however, arrived in time to receive their degrees and join in the celebration that followed.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Regional Chairman of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), gave the commencement address, emphasizing the need, “to be true husbands and wives and to be true parents to our children, our congregation, and our community, nation and world.”
“Father (Moon) and Mother Moon founded not just a seminary, not just a church. They founded a tradition of True Parents. I call on our beloved graduates of the UTS ‘Class of 2018’ to be parental leaders who prepare your communities to receive the Blessing and build families of love and peace.”
Dr. Hugh Spurgin, President of UTS, had the honor of “Conferring the Degrees,” and also gave congratulatory remarks, entitled: “A Call for Action.”
“Our mission is to contribute to peace on earth by educating a new generation of leaders to be people of high moral character who practice goodwill and service to others. The goal is for our UTS alumni to expand inter-religious cooperation worldwide and pass on a legacy of love, peace and hope to future generations.”
He closed his remarks with a challenge to be “God’s representatives on earth.”
“As UTS alumni, you must rise up, take the lead and light the path for your fellow human beings. Through you, God wants to bless the world as His dwelling place. You are God’s representatives on earth.”
Graduate responses were offered by George Glass, Master of Arts in Religious Studies, and Dr. John Paul James, the recipient of a Doctor of Ministry degree.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the attendance of the parents of Manoranjan Samuel (“Sam”) Dennis, who traveled all the way from their native India to support their son. According to Sam, a recipient of a Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree, “this is the first time they’ve ever left India. I’m so happy and proud they came all this way for this occasion.” To add to their pride and joy in their son, they could also witness that Sam received the UTS Service Award for his diligence and consistency in serving the UTS community throughout his time at 4W43 tending to the technical needs of faculty, staff and students.
Karlsun Allen played keyboards and sang two songs in honor of the graduates, “I Hope You Dance” and “Wait and See.”
Dr. Kathy Winings, Professor of Religious Education, brought the festivities to a conclusion with the closing Benediction.
Following the ceremony, graduates, faculty,family members and guests gathered together for picture-taking, after which everyone enjoyed a catered lunch.