Virginia Theological Seminary awards three honorary degrees

June 1, 2009

Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria conferred three honorary degrees May 21 during its 186th commencement ceremony.

The Rev. Benjamin Pfohl Campbell, pastoral director of Richmond Hill in Richmond, Virginia, and the Rev. Dr. Carl P. Daw Jr., executive director of The Hymn Society in Boston, Massachusetts, were awarded Doctor in Divinity degrees, honoris causa. A Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, was awarded to Donnie E. Wheatley, executive director of Boys' Home, Inc. in Covington, Virginia.

Honorary degrees are awarded every year by VTS "in recognition of faithful and notable service and also creative and innovative leadership in parish ministry, in overseas missions, academia, and in ecumenical, social, diocesan, and national church ministries."

As pastoral director of Richmond Hill, Campbell leads an ecumenical Christian fellowship and residential community whose members serve as stewards of an urban retreat center within the setting of a historic monastery.

Daw served on the committee that created the 1982 Episcopal hymnal, and in a variety of roles related to sacred music before his appointment as executive director of The Hymn Society in 1996.

Wheatley, a former resident of Boys' Home, Inc., a facility for at-risk boys, has been its executive director since 1985. He was honored for his leadership in growing the institution's finances and programs to provide a home for needy children.

Founded in 1823, VTS is the largest of the 11 seminaries of the Episcopal Church.