Owensby, Sloan receive honorary degrees from Sewanee

January 21, 2013

[Sewanee: The University of the South Press Release] 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 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 cautioned 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. (RAM), 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 initiated 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 long-standing 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.

See photos from the day here.

Bios of the honorary degree recipients may be found here.


Sewanee: The University of the South comprises a nationally recognized College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a School of Letters, and a distinguished School of Theology serving the Episcopal Church. Located on 13,000 acres atop Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Sewanee enrolls 1,450 undergraduates and approximately 135 seminarians in master’s and doctoral programs annually. Sewanee is owned by 28 Episcopal dioceses, the only university so directly related to the Episcopal Church.