Opening Convocation for the Easter semester of the University of the South was held Jan. 18 in All Saints’ Chapel. Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees were presented to the Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, T’97, and the Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, T’81. The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of The School of Theology, read the citations for both men and cited Owensby’s “deep roots in the academy, his faithful service to the Episcopal Church, and his devoted love for Sewanee” and “gratitude for [Sloan’s] faithful service to the Episcopal Church, his devotion to his alma mater, and his generous and undefended heart.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson gave the Convocation address and received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. In her address, she began by saying, "You live in a wonderful time in a wonderful country." She shared observations of our great country made during her life, by “the history I have read and the people I have met.” She pointed to our culture’s tendencies toward destruction, but also toward peace, something that is under much stress these days. Robinson warned the students in the chapel about not minding the limitations of what they are told as this country’s diversity and rich culture allows for unlimited potential.
Stan Brock, founder and president of Remote Area Medical, Inc., received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree. With RAM under the direction of Brock, Sewanee hosted a dental, vision, and medical clinic in May 2012 and served more than 500 patients.
Along with 96 undergraduate students, two new School of Theology Students were inducted into the Order of the Gownsmen during the service — Andrew Michael Courtright and Eric Morgan Moulton, both enrolled in the masters of sacred theology program. The Order of the Gownsmen is a tradition at the University for both undergraduate and seminary students that was started by William Porcher DuBose. Wearing the gown bonds a diverse student body together in the pursuit of academic diligence and dedication to honor.
Pictured above: The Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain gowns new student Andrew Courtright.