The Words of the Hendricks Family

The Thirtieth Annual Commencement at Unification Theological Seminary

Tyler Hendricks
June 24, 2006
Unification Theological Seminary
Barrytown, NY

Unification Theological Seminary graduated its 30th class in a joyful and dignified Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 24. Fifty-two students were awarded degrees and certificates. Eleven received the Master of Divinity degree, 36 received the Master of Religious Education degree, one received the Certificate in Unification Leadership, and four Japanese missionaries received the Certification in Christian Ecumenical Leadership. Seventeen of the degree recipients were students primarily at the schoolís New York Extension Center.

A highlight of the day was Dean Kathy Winingsís announcement of the establishment of the Doctor of Ministry degree program, just approved by the New York State Board of Regents.

The opening prayer was delivered by Dr. Mark Isaacs, pastor of St. Paulís Lutheran Church of Rhineback and adjunct Assistant Professor of Ministry. The Fourth Jerusalem Choir, directed by ___, then performed "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee."

Dr. Andrew Wilson then introduced the Dr. Neil Albert Salonen, President of the University of Bridgeport and recipient of an honorary doctorate. Dr. Michael Mickler, UTS Vice-President, conferred the degree, and Dr. Chang Shik Yang, new Chairman of the UTS Board of Trustees, and Rev. Michael Jenkins, Vice-Chairman, placed the hood on Dr. Salonen.

Dr. Wilson then called the other certificate and degree recipients forward to receive their honors and recognition from Dr. Mickler and church dignitaries. After that, Mrs. Lee presented a powerful rendition of "Eternal Life," based on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Dr. Hendricks, UTS President, shared his congratulatory remarks to the graduates, counseling them to "take personal responsibility for finding or creating your future mission. The future belongs to those who create it. The power of creativity is given from God and it is shaped by His Word and Providence. But it is our responsibility to find its reflection, the imago dei, within ourselves and mold our lives around it."

This was followed by stirring responses from graduates Hak Soon Hwang, President of the UTS Student Council (2004-05), and Ms. Theodosia Stevens.

Dean of Students Mrs. Sunhee Moon Davies presented the UTS Voluntary Service Award to student Shinzo Iwata and Outreach Award to student Rev. Hitoshi Onishi.

Dr. Mickler then presented the second UTS Trustees Award to Farley Jones, Esq., the departing Chair of the Board, who served as Chair through a lengthy course of the schoolís development. Dr. Mickler then introduced the new Chairman of the Board, Dr. Yang, who shared congratulatory words from the Founder, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, presently in Korea. There followed an uplifting song from the choir,"Total Praise," by Robert Smallwood.

Dr. Salonen shared the Commencement Address, noting the Founderís disinclination to establish entrenched institutions, with one exception, that being institutions of learning. UTS, among that category, is the first institution of higher education Reverend Moon founded and it holds an important place of honor in the Unification movementís future.

Dr. Lonnie McLeod, Director of Ecumenical Recruitment and Advancement, offered a closing prayer, and all recessed to a wonderful luncheon and entertainment program.

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