Honorary Degrees Awarded during the 196th Commencement

Date: May 15, 2019


Virginia Theological Seminary awards Honorary Degrees each year in recognition of faithful and notable service, creative and innovative leadership in parish ministry. These awards are given annually during Academic Convocation and Commencement. Tomorrow, we will honor four recipients who will receive this prestigious award.

The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes will receive the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa. Growing up in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Hughes was born in Tulsa, Ohio and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She is an alumna of VTS and received her Master in Divinity in 2005. She described the most important element of her ministry as teaching people to cherish their relationship to everyone around them. In May 2018, she was elected the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Newark, becoming the first woman and African American to hold the position.

The Rev. Gordon Lathrop, Th.D. will also be honored the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa. Dr. Lathrop received professor emeritus status in 1984, teaching Liturgy at United Lutheran Seminary. His teachings focus on the Bible liturgy, liturgical theology, and liturgy and ecumenism. In 2006, he joined Yale Divinity School as a Visiting Professor of Liturgical Studies and Sacred Music. He also taught at Saint Thomas Aquinas, University of Rome, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and VTS. He has written books including Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology; Holy People: A Liturgical Ecclesiology; Holy Ground: A Liturgical Cosmology; and many more. Dr. Lathrop is passionate about teaching and continues to write.

Another remarkable recipient of the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, is Gail Ramshaw, Ph.D. She is a scholar of liturgical language and a retired professor at La Salle University. Her many publications include A Three-Year Banquet: The Lectionary for the Assembly; The Three-Day Feast: Maundy Thursday; Good Friday, Easter; Treasures Old and New: Images in the Lectionary; and other books that deeply illustrate the meaning of liturgical language. Dr. Ramshaw has lectured at theological seminaries, divinity schools, and universities around the world. She now resides in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, the Rev. Gordon W. Lathrop, Th.D.

The Rev. Canon Charles K. Robertson will also receive the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa. He was appointed canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2007 and now serves under the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry. Canon Robertson is a fellow of the Episcopal Foundation and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at General Theological Seminary. He has authored several books including Conflict in Corinth: Redefining the System; Religion as Entertainment; Religion and Alcohol: Sobering Thoughts; Religion and Sexuality: Passionate Debates; and Barnabas: A Model for Holistic Stewardship. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said during his appointment, “Chuck Robertson brings theological and communication expertise and specific understanding of the Anglican Communion owing to his graduate work in England.”

Please give a warm VTS welcome to our recipients. They will be awarded during the Commencement ceremony tomorrow. Congratulations and thank you for your leadership to the church and the world.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President

Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.

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