Dear Members of the UTS Community,
Thank you for your steadfast service and commitment to the mission of the Unification Theological Seminary. I felt a great sense of pride as we held the 47th commencement ceremony recently for the class of 2023. We have such wonderful students and alumni, and the inspiring testimonies that graduates shared at the ceremony about their time at UTS is a tribute to your care for them and to your work to maintain high standards of excellence that are consistent with our Founders’ vision.
At this time, given the institutional name change coming to effect on July 1, I offer this updated version of my president’s letter, previously shared with the UTS community on June 8. Please note the following name change backgrounder and frequently asked questions.
As reported in my June 8th letter, following months of consultations with our Founder, the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders, UTS submitted, to the New York State Department of Education and the State University of New York Board of Regents, its request for a name change, from Unification Theological Seminary to HJ International Graduate School for Peace and Public Leadership, HJI for short. The proposed name change, we feel, better reflects the developments at our institution, which began with the inclusion of a Peace and Justice Track in our Doctor of Ministry program, initiated in 2006; the Interfaith Peacebuilding concentration in our Master of Religious Studies program, initiated in 2010; the Master of Peace Studies program, initiated in 2022; and the focus on the role of religion in furthering peace, which has been a guiding theme for our sponsoring Church since the end of the Cold War. The name change was approved by the University of the State of New York Education Department and the amended charter was sent to UTS, dated February 14, 2023.
In our application, we proposed the date of July 1, 2023, as the effective date for the name change, and this date was approved. In other words, within a few short weeks, we will open a new chapter in our history as the HJ International Graduate School for Peace and Public Leadership.
During the past several weeks, we have been busy preparing for the name change, e.g., preparing for changing our letterhead, business cards, our website, our bylaws, our handbooks, our official seal, etc., to reflect the new name.
Although our name will change on July 1, 2023, our basic mission does not change. The emphasis on religion, peace and peacebuilding have been hallmarks of UTS over the years. At this time, we are making that core aspect of our mission more visible. At the same time, we expect that the name change may allow us to reach a wider market of potential students, attracted not only to our strong Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity programs but also our Master of Religious Studies and Master of Peace Studies programs.
Be assured that we remain fully committed to the Founders’ vision and the tradition of UTS, even as we go forward as HJ International Graduate School for Peace and Public Leadership.
Thank you once again for your commitment to UTS, and, after July 1, HJI.
Thomas G. Walsh, Ph.D.
President of UTS