YONKERS, NY [SVOTS] — Twenty-six students from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary have earned their degrees and are “going forth” (Matthew 28:19) to serve the Church.
At the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 21, 2011, diplomas were awarded in three programs: one Master of Theology, 20 Masters of Divinity, and five Masters of Arts degrees were conferred.
Commencement crowned the week’s celebrations, during which five students were ordained to Holy Orders [see http://www.svots.edu/headlines/one-priest-four-deacons-ordained-during-commencement-week]; the Dean, Archpriest John Behr, received the honor of wearing the jeweled cross; the Chapel Ecclesiarch, Priest Alexander Rentel, was elevated to the rank of Archpriest; and the Director of Recruitment and Alumni Relations, Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, was awarded a kamilavka.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and president of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, opened the Commencement Exercises. Class Valedictorian this year was Michael John Soroka, and the newly ordained Deacon David Wooten was Salutatorian. The “Saint Basil Award for Academic Achievement” was presented to both Andrew Smith and Monk Kilian [Sprecher], each of whom had demonstrated not only scholarly acumen but also exceptional service to the community.
Another highlight of the Commencement program was the conferral of the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Music upon David Drillock, who served as Commencement Speaker this year. Dr. Drillock is Professor of Music, emeritus, from Saint Vladimir’s, and is well known in Orthodox Christian circles for his extensive influence on liturgical music in North America. Editions of his books continue to provide foundational and sound liturgical music adaptations in the English language for parish choirs. The citation honoring Professor Drilock was read by Dr. John Barnet, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.