- by Hugh Spurgin Ph.D., President of UTS
The mission of UTS is to provide a quality theological education for a new generation who will provide leadership in a troubled world.
The value of UTS will be measured by how effective our seminary has been in providing tools for your success in ministry, professional life and interpersonal relationships. During your studies, you will learn that the path to personal integrity consists of practicing what the founders of our seminary call “true love,” which means forming a meaningful relationship with God and all people.
By manifesting “true love”, we can help to create mutual respect, compassion, peace and harmony, so that the world may become “one family under God.” We hope that our students will become leaders who will work to bring that ideal into reality.
UTS graduates are the light of the world. They are the physicians who care for those who are sick – spiritually and physically. Through them, God seeks to realize His will on earth. UTS alumni(ae) are ready to be the people through whom others can know, receive and understand the love, truth and heart of God. That is the vision of our founders.
On July 1, 1977, at the first annual commencement, our founder the Rev. Moon called it “a day for laying a momentous milestone in God’s history of restoration.” The mission of our alumni (ae) is to carry on UTS’s tradition “to bridge religious and cultural divides.” We are the representatives of God who are destined to spread the gospel of love, truth and peace to people throughout the world.
After the passing of Rev. Moon, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, our co-founder, has been providing strong and inspired leadership. She is asking UTS to raise up a new generation of spiritual leaders and to instill in them the motivation and skills to serve God and humanity.
UTS continues on the path of guiding future leaders in a multi-cultural, multifaith world. At UTS, we are pursuing interfaith peacebuilding and education for students of all faith traditions. The mission of our graduates 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 alumni to expand inter-religious cooperation worldwide and pass on a legacy of love, peace and hope to future generations.
We are in the midst of fundamental changes in theological education. A seminary no longer consists of hallowed halls where students separate themselves from the world, commune with God, study Holy Scripture, and prepare to share our knowledge and insights with congregants.
We are called to serve, as well as to pray and study. A UTS education has been designed to help you apply divine principles in the everyday life of those around you. UTS has sought to prepare you to address the issues that we face in the real world.
UTS is an interfaith seminary. UTS stands on Judeo-Christian roots ready to embrace all faiths and all people. The hope is that UTS alumni(ae) will take the lead and light the path for your fellow human beings. Through them, God wants to bless the world as His dwelling place. They are God’s representatives on earth.
Today’s technology liberates our seminary. UTS is an entrepreneurial, urban seminary offering courses in New York City and worldwide through UTS-Online.
There are challenges to this method of education, but distance learning is the wave of the future. In the 1990s, our founder indicated that technology has leveled the playing field of education. The Internet allows young students worldwide to participate in our rich, onsite learning community here in the world’s greatest city.
We are encouraged by the worldwide response to UTS Online. We are inspired that our distance learning courses have resulted in breakthroughs for students worldwide.
But we go forward with our eyes open. The advantages of an online education are obvious. However, these benefits do not instantly make us perfect pastors and counselors. To balance high tech intoxication, we need a compassionate heart of love for our neighbors and to seek to bring the love of God into the lives of everyone.
May God’s blessing be with you.
Hugh D. Spurgin, Ph.D. President
*A version of this message was first given at the Commencement of the Class of 2018