Monday, June 8, 2015

Pipa Receives Honorary Doctorate

Dr. Pipa receives hood as Board
President Jeff Kingswood and Mrs.
Pipa look on.
The Board of Trustees conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree upon GPTS President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony. During its May meeting, the board approved a motion to award the honorary title "in recognition of his exemplary service to the Seminary and to Christ’s church." Dr. Pipa has served as GPTS's one and only president since his inauguration in 1998.

On the eve of the Commencement, during the annual graduation banquet, Dr. Pipa received an academic hood with Greenville Seminary's official colors — green and silver. The hood was donated by an anonymous supporter.

During the Commencement Ceremony, Board President Jeff Kingswood preceded the 2015-16 faculty appointments with this announcement: "Those of you who understand the nuances of academic regalia will have noted that Dr. Pipa is not wearing his doctoral hood from Westminster but rather the doctoral hood of GPTS. This morning the Board of Trustees met, and it was unanimously agreed to confer upon Dr. Pipa the degree of Doctor of Divinity. This is not an academic degree. In years past it was conferred by the church on those who had made a significant and lasting contribution to the life of the Church of Jesus Christ. This would include unusual contributions in writing, leadership in the courts of the church, and in the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. In the opinion of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Pipa has made such contribution in all three of these areas and as such it is our real pleasure to confer upon him the degree; Doctor of Divinity."

Dr. Pipa received his B.A. from Belhaven College in 1968; M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary in 1971; and Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia in 1985.

Lowell and Mae Ivey, with daughter Geneva
Also announced during the Commencement Ceremony was the Mary Ann Clay Award, a special recognition given each year to a graduate's wife who has served in an exemplary fashion on campus for the previous academic year. This year's award went to Mae Ivey, wife of graduate Lowell Ivey, the outgoing Student Body Association president. Mae, a professional artist, could not be present to receive the award on May 22, due to a serious health issue in Lowell's extended family. The award is named after the late wife of Pastor W. Rodney Clay, former pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville and former GPTS board member. The Clays were faithful, generous supporters of the seminary for many years.

Commencement Address


Go here to listen to Dr. David Hall's commencement address: The Divine Calling for Pastors to Pastures in the First and Twenty-first Centuries. Dr. Hall is senior pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, Ga.