As the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) reaches its 40th year, faculty and staff are preparing for an unprecedented, three-day event to mark this milestone. That includes graduation of undergraduate as well as graduate students, a reception, a thinkers’ conference for alumni on Sunday and Monday, a documentary slide show, and an open discussion with President Hugh Spurgin– all at the Barrytown campus where the Founder began the school in September 1975.

A visitor to the chapel of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) in Barrytown today will open the door, and the first thing that hits him or her will be the light. His or her eyes will be drawn to shafts of light streaming down from 16 brand new, double-paned, tinted, argon-gas filled, segmented windows.

“Como esta?, konnichiwa, and bon-jour” were just some of the greeting that could be heard throughout the dining room on this Thursday evening for the Fall 2007 Welcome Party.

The new school year kicked-off with an exciting showcase of this year’s diverse new student body. Students coming from as far as 8,000 miles away to as close as eight miles comprised the twenty-six new students entering the Fall 2007 class. They were officially welcomed to join the UTS student body by UTS President Dr. Tyler Hendricks, Academic Dean Dr. Wilson, Dean of Students Mrs. Sunhee Davies, as well as Dr. Noda representing the faculty. Student Body President Kenji Toyomura gave the opening prayer to start the evening, and vice-President Sergio Alcubilla emceed for the party.

The Welcome Party began with all the students, faculty, and guest welcoming each other in their native language. Students and professors alike learned new ways of saying hello and good evening in countries such as Kenya, the Congo, Poland or Korea. The new students then introduced themselves in their own native languages and shared a little about themselves and their home countries. The evening was highlighted by special performances given by the new students.

After singing the traditional new student song the audience was treated to the beauty of the diverse talent from many of the new students. Glenda Lopez Davila from Costa Rica sang a beautiful Spanish song with rhythms just waiting for people to begin dancing. Frank Alapini from Benin, a natural entertainer, shared some of the songs that he personally composed while attending pilgrimages in the Middle East. Kiluba Wa Banza delivered an incredible native song that made one feel as if they were part of an African celebration. Lastly, some of the Japanese students treated the audience to a few upbeat songs in Japanese. Despite the difference in nationality, race, and even religions, the students could feel a special bond as part of the UTS family and as part of the bigger global family.

After the cake cutting various club leaders and representatives shared about their activities inviting new students to be involved in the student body. The biggest surprise came from Dr. Hendricks himself as he took up the guitar and shared a song he wrote as a student here at UTS. Many new students were surprised to see our UTS president rock the house. To close the evening, Dean Davies offered a prayer as we began the new semester full of excitement. Our student body Vice President Mr. Chan Wok Yoon offered three cheers of mansei (victory) to kick off the new semester and a new direction for UTS.

Barrytown campus

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