General Seminary to Award Honorary Degrees

At its fall Convocation on Thursday, October 13 at 5:30 pm The General Theological Seminary, the oldest seminary of the Episcopal Church, will award its Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, to the Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College; the Rt. Rev. Charles Edward Jenkins III, retired Bishop of Louisiana; and the Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, Bishop of Rochester.

A 1974 graduate of General Seminary, Dr. Bruce Chilton is Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, Chaplain of the College, Rector of the Church of St John the Evangelist, and Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Theology. An expert on the New Testament and early Judaism, Dr. Chilton has contributed fifty books and more than a hundred articles to those fields of study. His principal scholarship has been in the understanding of Jesus within Judaism and in the critical study of the Targumim, the Aramaic paraphrases of the Bible. In addition to his M.Div. from General, Dr. Chilton has earned degrees at Bard College and Cambridge University. Before joining the Bard faculty in 1987, he held positions at the University of Sheffield in England, at the University of M√ľnster in Germany, and at Yale University. His books include Beginning New Testament Study, A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible, The Temple of Jesus, and A Feast of Meanings.

The Rt. Rev. Charles Edward Jenkins III is a native of Louisiana, attended schools there, and graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1973. He received his M.Div. from Nashotah House Seminary in 1976 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1977. Following his service as rector of St. Luke’s Church, Baton Rouge, he was elected bishop coadjutor and, in March 1998, was invested as the Tenth Bishop of Louisiana at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans. Bishop Jenkins was awarded an honorary doctorate from Nashotah House in 1992 and from the University of the South in 1999. At the 73rd General Convention, he chaired the House of Bishops Structure Committee and at the 74th General Convention he served on the Cognate Committee on Evangelism and was appointed to the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice. In 2004, he was elected president of the Council. Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the fall of 2005, Bishop Jenkins partnered with Episcopal Relief and Development to form the diocesan Office of Disaster Response and is involved in long-range community rebuilding plans. Bishop Jenkins retired in 2009.

The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh was elected the Eighth Bishop of Rochester on February 2, 2008 and was consecrated in May of 2008 by the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori. Born in Chenaii, Tamil Nadu India, he graduated from Madras Christian College, Tambaram, and Union Biblical Seminary both in India. Ordained a priest in the Church of South India in 1990, he served congregations in rural South India. Bishop Singh holds post graduate degrees from Union Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary, and Princeton Seminary. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in 2005 and in the Diocese of Newark served at St. Peter’s Church, Morristown and at St. Alban’s Church, Oakland. He was elected Bishop of Rochester in 2008. While in the Diocese of Newark, Bishop Singh co-founded the Dalit Solidarity Forum, served on the Board of Creative Living Counseling Center, and was Chair of the Oakland Franklin Lakes Interfaith Council. As Bishop of Rochester, Bishop Singh serves on the Board of Trustees of both Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

General Seminary conferred its first honorary degree in 1885. The stately ceremony of Convocation, devised during this period of the Seminary’s history, continues to be used today with few changes. All are invited to attend Convocation and to honor these distinguished recipients.