The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South


2013 Convocation for the Conferring of Degrees

The University of the South's 2012–13 academic year came to a close with a Convocation for the Conferring of Degrees on Friday, May 10, to recognize the 42 students who completed their studies at The School of Theology and to confer three honorary degrees.

The preacher for the service was Bishop Wright from the Diocese of Atlanta. He began with greetings from the Diocese of Atlanta, and conveyed that he had come to “share his heart” with everyone in All Saints’ Chapel, especially the graduates. He likened them to the 70 disciples that Jesus sent out into the world to continue his ministry. He quoted Luke’s 10th chapter and added, “We are reminded that the purpose of the church is to pray, go, and say.” He covered all aspects of prayer and said, “But prayer is just the beginning. To pray and not go is to frustrate grace.” Quoting a variety of sources on the importance of going the great distance for Jesus, Wright asked, “Where are you willing to go for a God this good?” In summary, Wright looked out over the students and offered, “So pray and go and then, for Christ’s sake, say something!” The sermon may be viewed in its entirety here.

Following the sermon, honorary degrees were presented to the Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, the Rt. Rev. Douglas Hahn, and the Rt. Rev. Robert Christopher Wright in a traditional ceremony. The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander introduced the recipients before Dr. John M. McCardell Jr., vice-chancellor of the University of the South, asked for approval. Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, chancellor of the University of the South and bishop of the Diocese of Florida, approved and conferred the doctor of divinity degree on each candidate. Full bios of the honorary degree recipients may be found on the School’s website.

The University Provost, Dr. John Swallow, called each of the graduating students to the front of the chapel to receive their diplomas and hoods. A list of the students with their degrees follows. Several of the students graduated with honors for outstanding academic achievement:

  • The School of Theology Prize in Biblical Studies and The Urban T. Holmes III Prize for Excellence in Preaching were awarded to Lauren Wynn Farrington Flowers, a M.Div. student from the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast.
  • The School of Theology Prize in Theology and Ethics was awarded to William Outlan Burgess, a M.A. student.
  • The School of Theology Prize in Historical Studies was awarded to Laurel Rae Mathewson, a M.Div. student from the Diocese of San Diego.
  • The Bishop Leopoldo Alard Prize for Excellence in Liturgical Reading in Spanish was awarded to Colin James Mathewson, a M.Div. student from the Diocese of San Diego.
  • The School of Theology Community Service Award was awarded to Grant Anthony Stokes, a M.Div. student from the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

In closing, McCardell thanked the graduates, and their families, for having chosen The School of Theology and for their commitment to residential seminary education. He noted that though they came to Sewanee from many places, they all came in pursuit of a simple truth. He bid them farewell, as they depart to serve a Church “desperate for more than sound-bite theology.”

A video of the commencement service may be found here.

Pictures of the event may be viewed and/or downloaded here.

2013 Graduates of The School of Theology

Laura Elizabeth Saxton              CTS
Sandra Olivia Curtis                   DAS
Glen Gerard Graczyk                 DAS     
James Robert Morrison             DAS
Gary Wayne Butterworth           DMIN
Robert Francis Marsh Jr.           DMIN
Benjamin Howard Nelson III      DMIN
Philip Adair Pruitt                       DMIN
Stephen Bradley Smith              DMIN
Michael Abbott Tanner               DMIN
Patricia Pan Adams-McCaslin   MA
William Outlan Burgess             MA
Rachel Ryan Bush-Erdman       MA
Kimberly Ann deMent                MA
Julia James McArthur                MA
Bexter  Richardson                    MA
Jessica Harris Babcock             MDIV
Garcia Colleith Barnswell          MDIV
Laura Eileen Beck                     MDIV
Brooks Arthur Cato                   MDIV
Joseph Miller Cochran              MDIV
Nathan Andrew Erdman            MDIV
Bruce Charles Fehr                   MDIV
Lori Lee Fehr                             MDIV
Lauren Wynn Farrington Flowers MDIV
Robert Frederick Fowler III        MDIV
Candice Burk Frazer                  MDIV
Thomas Michael Goldsmith       MDIV
Evelyn Ann Boutz Harris           MDIV
Anne Bryson Jolly                     MDIV
William Minnis Lowry III            MDIV
Colin James Mathewson           MDIV
Laurel Rae Mathewson             MDIV
Foster Marshall Mays                MDIV
Fritz Quinn Parman IV               MDIV
Mollie Marcia Roberts                MDIV
Joycelyn Dominick Stabler         MDIV
Grant Anthony Stokes                MDIV
Laura Ashley Sullivan                MDIV
Timothy Emmett True                MDIV
William Steven White                MDIV
Jeannie Kay Babb                     STM