Friends, family and fellow students enthusiastically applauded as twenty students received their diplomas at the 37th commencement ceremony of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) at its New York City campus on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

IMG_9414a2013 Grads and faculty membersThe celebration was moderated by remembrances of Dr. Richard Arthur, professor of New Testament Studies, who passed away in February, and Rev. Eric Holt, adjunct lecturer in Management and UTS Board of Trustees member, who suddenly passed away on May 22 after battling cancer.

Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology from UTS in recognition of his outstanding scholarship in the areas of the Holocaust, Jewish-Christian relations, the sociology of religion, religion and public policy and more recently, radical Islam. He also served as President of the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.

Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of H.S.A.U.W.C., gave the Commencement Address in which he spoke passionately of the vision of UTS founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon.

Magnus Larson, originally from Sweden, spoke on behalf of the graduating Masters students. Benjamin Benito, who graduated with the M.R.E. degree, received the UTS Service Award. Juanita Pierre-Louis received the UTS Outreach award.

This graduating class represented a wide range of nationalities, including Sweden, Nigeria, Jamaica, India, Portugal, Congo, Korea, Philippines, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Russia and the U.S.A. Five students received the Master of Religious Education degree. Six received the Master of Arts in Religious Studies. Five received Master of Divinity degrees and four received Doctor of Ministry degrees.

UTS President Dr. Richard Panzer advised the graduates that “this world is sorely in need of leaders who can bring out the better instincts of people in their communities and nations, instead of playing on their fears and resentments. It is this quality of leadership that I earnestly hope that you as UTS graduates can exemplify.”

List of 2013 UTS Graduates

Master of Divinity Degree

Avis Clark USA

“God’s Original Food Plan”

Magnus Larsson Sweden

“Principles of Meaning Making: an Interpretive Analysis of Victor E. Frankl”

Joseph Nwachukwu Nigeria

“Planting of Igbo Anglican Church in Irvington New Jersey.”

Dolcie Smith Jamaica/USA

“Paul’s Three Missionary Journeys, His Imprisonment, and His Journey to Rome”

Abraham Thomas India/USA

“Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Indian Churches in New York”


Doctor of Ministry Degree

Jose Ferrete Portugal

“Is the Education of Abstinence and Faithful Life Partnerships to Young People an Effective, Rational and Practical Approach to Prevent Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?”

Jean Kasongo D.R. Congo

“Reconciliation and the African-American Dialogue in Atlanta and New Orleans”

Moonshik Kim Korea/USA

“Empowering Church Members for Active Ministry”

Yongseok Kim USA

“Developing a Strategy to Identify and Train Leadership for the Youth Ministry of Washington, DC”


Master of Religious Education Degree

Ryan Abenir Philippines

“A Character Education Program Utilizing Tong-il Moo Do: A Manual for Teaching 6-10 Year Old Children”

Jeoung Choe Korea

“A Comparative Study on the Family Church Between Christian Family Churches and the Unification Church”

Debra Holt Goni USA

Grace Lee Selover Taiwan/USA

Battuya Surmaadorj Mongolia

“Absolute Sexual Morality: An Approach to Address to the Causes of Immorality”


Master of Arts in Religious Studies Degree

Benjamin Benito Philippines

“Prospect of e-book Use in Seminary Libraries”

Jocelyn Brazil Philippines

“Guiding Youth towards Spiritual Maturity”

Elece McKnight Zimbabwe/USA

“Psychological, Social, Cultural Understandings that Shape Women Particularly in the Southern Part of Africa”

Valentina Mikhailenko Russian Federation

“Women as Natural Peacemakers: Three Case Studies”

Lowie Partosa Philippines

“Muslim and Christian Relations in the Philippines”

Juanita Pierre-Louis USA

“How Can Rediscovering Our Five Physical Senses And Five Spiritual Senses Play a Role in Interfaith Peace Building as It Applies to the ‘Logic of Love’ and the ‘Logic of Power’”?