Twenty-one graduates were honored at the 36th annual commencement for UTS on May 26, at its NYC campus. Imam Hoossen Auckbaraullee of Brampton, Ontario was awarded an honorary degree for his humanitarian work and efforts to build interfaith cooperation.
Dr. Richard Panzer, UTS President, welcomed the graduates and their families, and pointed out the need for leaders who possess integrity and have the ability to work together with people of different faith backgrounds, explaining that this was the reason Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon founded the seminary in 1975. He noted that the seminary was unique in that its faculty comes from such a wide variety of faith backgrounds, including the Islamic and Buddhist faiths, and diverse Christian Denominations including the Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic Churches as well as from Unificationism.
Mrs. Heather Thalheimer, Vice Chair of the UTS Board of Directors, greeted the graduates and their families on behalf of the UTS Board Chair, Rev. In Jin Moon. She encouraged the graduates to find the biggest problem that they could help solve and use all that they had learned at UTS to address it.
Two graduates received their Master of Religious Education degree. Three received a Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree. Ten were awarded the Master of Divinity degree. Six graduates were awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree.
UTS graduates are deeply involved in challenging the problems in their communities. Raymond Dyer, originally from Belize, works with ex-prisoners in Harlem and helping them to re-integrate into their communities. He is cooperating with a 2007 UTS graduate, Rev. Leander Hardaway, to create a halfway house where, as Rev. Dyer puts it, ex-prisoners will be able to “restore their humanity.”
Brenda Frazer has been doing ministry for 30 years. Rev. Frazer is counseling a couple who are engaged to be married, doing a christening on June 10 and opening a new church in the Bronx.
Drissa Kone is originally from the Ivory Coast. His wife is from Mongolia. Drissa teaches Divine Principle every Saturday at the Learning Center in this building and leads a French-speaking Small Group. He plans to become a Navy Chaplain or a Lovin Life pastor.
Anastasia Dragan-Tomin, from Moldavia, speaks 5 languages and will be assisting a pastor at a Lutheran church in Staten Island. Michael Amalfitano, a eucharistic minister who is taking steps to become a Catholic Chaplain. Emerald Thompson is engaged in prison ministry.
Chisoni Ngoma, from Zambia, wrote a thesis on “Leading for Change: The New Paradigm for Non-Profit Organizations in the 21st Century,” which describes the need to change from top-down organizations to ones where people are empowered to make decisions and innovations at the local level. He has been working with the Universal Peace Federation in Washington, DC.
Ricardo de Sena, from Argentina, has been active with the Universal Peace Federation in organizing a meeting involving the President of the UN Assembly and the President of an Association of Non-Governmental Organizations. His thesis is on “Does the Wisdom of Spiritual and Religious Leaders Have a Role to Play in Assisting the United Nations Realize its Goal for World Peace?”
Doctoral graduates included Dr. Carolyn Younger-Nolan, who passed away earlier this year and whose dissertation is on “Bringing Unity in the Midst of Diverse Denominations” and Dr. Gerhard Bessell, whose dissertation is about his pastoral experiences guiding Ambassadors for Peace in the Conflictive and Developing Nation of Guetemala.
Dr. Linda Lucero has worked with Native Americans in the areas of AIDS prevention and Cancer Research. Her dissertation is on teaching the Divine Principle through Native American Storytelling.
Rev. Dr. Michael Jenkins, Chair of the American Clergy Leadership Council, wrote his dissertation on “Effective Methods for Teaching Pastors Biblical Principles Guided by the Exposition of the Divine Principle.”
Candidates for Graduation
Master of Religious Education Degree
Amy M. Cuhel-Schuckers USA
Donald M. Hentrich USA
Master of Arts in Religious Studies Degree
“Law of Manu Dharma Sastra and Law of Sharia: An Inter-Faith Reading”
Davetta Morgan-Holder USA
“Dramatic Arts as a Teaching Tool for Developing Intergenerational Relationship”
Chisoni Ngoma Zambia
“Leading for Change: The New Paradigm for Non Profit Organizations in the 21st Century”
Master of Divinity Degree
“Implications of Genetically Modified Foods: Some Health, Religious, Moral, and Ethical Considerations”
Ricardo de Sena Argentina
“Does the Wisdom of Spiritual and Religious Leaders Have a Role to Play in Assisting the UN Realize its Goal for World Peace?”
“The Impact of Interfaith Relations”
Anastasia Dragan Moldavia
“’Pious and Talented People…’ The History of Lutherans in Bessarabia”
Pastoral Community: Issues of Incarceration, Reentry and Recidivism”
“The Seven Spirits of God”
“The Growing Population of African American Women in New York Prison System for Domestic Violence and the Role of the Church”
Identity Based Conflict in the Ivory Coast and its Impact on the Religious Community”
“The Plight of Black Men Trapped in Addictive Behavior: When Hope is Not Enough How Can They Find Wholeness”
Doctor of Ministry Degree
Ernst Gerhard Bessell Germany
“Guiding the Circle of Ambassadors for Peace in Guatemala: Pastoral Experiences in a Conflictive and Developing Nation”
“Divine Principle through Native American Storytelling”
“Effective Methods for Teaching Pastors Biblical Principles Guided by the Exposition of the Divine Principle”
Kiladi N. Mutala D.R. Congo
“African Immigrant Families Parenting Ministry in the United States”
“The Seunghwa Ministry of the Unification Church: Contextual Overview and Preparatory Guidance for the Transition from the Earthly Life in the Physical World to the Afterlife in the Spiritual World”
Carolyn Younger-Nolan* USA
"Bringing Unity in the Midst of Diverse Denominations"