Date: October 9, 2023
Normally, I thank people after an event. It is as one looks back, one knows all those who did the hard work to make something possible. And as we start this Bicentennial week, I will indeed use next Monday’s commentary to express gratitude for all those who worked so hard. However, today, I wish to lift up one person in anticipation of everything that will unfold; I want to lift up Vice President Linda Dienno.
First some background, the basic shape of the Bicentenary was organized back in 2021, when we produced the booklet “Marking the Historic Bicentenary”. This was the hard work of the Rev. Dr. Barney Hawkins, Ms. Victoria Elie, and myself. This document concentrated on an array of events that ran up to the actual Bicentenary – marking the moment events around the country, the poetry of Malcolm Guite, the lecture by Jon Meacham, the art of Leo Twiggs, and the play “Dust”. As we moved nearer to the actual four days of events, we asked Linda to become the organizer.
She has done this work with exceptional competence. She convened a committee that had representatives from every department involved. She worked on travel logistics, program organization, attendance numbers, and bicentenary gifts. She worked at the macro level and the micro level. She made sure that the Faculty and the staff were given an opportunity to shape the program. She handled those worried about missing Fall break and those wanting to add a program at the last minute. She has anticipated bad weather and organized meals for students.
I am grateful to Linda. As she has observed “sure there will be problems as the week unfolds”. But be assured, there would have been many more problems if Linda had not be involved. So, thank you Linda.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
The Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and the President of The General Theological Seminary