The St. Basil the Great Award for Academic Achievement was established in 2003 by an anonymous benefactor who wished to recognize and encourage students who have excelled in their studies at the seminary. It is awarded annually to the junior, the middler, and the senior in the M.Div. program who has ranked highest in academic achievement that year.
The award bears the name of St Basil the Great, one of the Three Holy Hierarchs for whom the seminary chapel is named. With St Gregory the Theologian and St John Chrysostom, St Basil is lauded as a "harp of the Spirit," a "trumpet of truth," a "flowing river of wisdom," a "teacher of the universe," a "pillar of the Church." Like St Gregory and St John (to use words from one of the hymns in honor of the Holy Hierarchs), St Basil "approached the meadows of books like a bee, gathering well the flowers of virtue." He excelled in the study of philosophy and rhetoric, the two most prized areas of intellectual accomplishment of his day. He demonstrated how such intellectual pursuits can help to edify the Church and enlighten the universe. In so doing, he has given a noble example for all who have dedicated themselves to the study of Orthodox theology.