Bishop Robinson will deliver the fall convocation address and be awarded an honorary degree, on Friday, October 6. Noted architect Malcolm Holzman, and the country’s 19th poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey, will also be awarded honorary degrees.
A graduate of the University of the South, Robinson was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, becoming the church’s first openly gay and partnered bishop. After a decade serving as bishop of New Hampshire, he worked as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, speaking and writing on national and international LGBT issues, race, poverty, and immigration reform. Most recently, he served as vice president of religion and senior pastor at Chautauqua Institution in western New York. In his retirement, he is serving as a part of the worship team at the Washington National Cathedral.
Robinson graduated from Sewanee in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in history. In 1973, he earned a master of divinity degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York. In 1975, he moved to New Hampshire, where he founded Sign of the Dove Retreat Center—which includes a residential summer camp for girls designed to instill participants with a renewed sense of hope and stronger sense of self. In the early 1980s, he helped create the Episcopal Youth Event, a gathering of high-schoolers from around the world, which continues to this day.
He has done AIDS work around the world and authored three AIDS curricula. Bishop Robinson has been particularly active in the area of full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, and other marginalized communities, and has spoken and lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights.
His first book, In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God, was published in 2008. In 2012, he authored God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage,contributing to the national debate about marriage equality. He has been the subject of two feature-length documentaries: For the Bible Tells Me So, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and Love Free or Die, which also premiered at Sundance, in 2012, winning the Special Jury Prize.
Fall Convocation will take place on October 6, at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) in All Saints’ Chapel on the campus of the University of the South. View the livestream here.
About the University of the South
The University of the South comprises a nationally recognized College of Arts and Sciences, a School of Letters, and a distinguished School of Theology serving the Episcopal Church. The University of the South enrolls approximately 1,750 undergraduates and165 seminarians in master’s and doctoral programs annually. The University has 27 constituent Episcopal dioceses and is the only institution of higher education founded and governed by dioceses of the Episcopal Church.