The University of the South Sewanee has announced that the Rt. Rev. Brian Lee Cole, bishop of the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee will be presented with an honorary doctor of divinity degree at the university’s winter convocation January 19, 2019.
A southeast Missouri native, Bishop Cole graduated from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1989. In 1992, he earned a Master of Divinity at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with additional studies in Anglican Church History at The University of the South School of Theology, Sewanee, in 2001. He also pursued studies in Art and Prayer at General Theological Seminary (GTS), New York City, in 2006. Cole is currently serving on The Episcopal Church General Convention Task Force on Liturgy and Prayer Book Revision. He served on the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church 2006-2012 and on the Executive Committee of the Executive Council 2009-2012. Cole has twice served as a General Convention deputy – in 2006 and 2009. He is an associate of the Order of the Holy Cross. His reflections were included in Lent 2017 Living Compass Series, and an essay was included in Merton and the Protestants.
In awarding honorary degrees, the university seeks to acknowledge distinguished achievement in a particular field and to recognize the presence of that excellence in bishops from the university’s owning dioceses.
At the convocation service, honorary degrees will be conferred and a special ceremony will be held presenting gowns to students who have been inducted into the “Order of the Gown.” Students who are members of the order wear the gown as a badge of academic distinction.
Other honorary degree recipients are:
Mr. Francois Clemmons, a singer, actor, playwright and university lecturer. He is perhaps best known for his appearances on the PBS television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Ms. Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Lehman has been its president since it began in 1991, and has seen it grow to become a philanthropic force in a 40-county area in Middle Tennessee.
Mr. Paul Muldoon, Irish poet and professor of poetry, as well as editor, critic, playwright, lyricist and translator. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Muldoon has received multiple awards and prizes including the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. He has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.”