Renowned Legal Scholar and Prolific Orthodox Writer and Teacher to Both Be Honored at 2024 Commencement


Commencement for the Class of 2024 will be held at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) on Saturday, May 18, 2024. In addition to enjoying the presence of multiple esteemed hierarchs of the Orthodox Church on Saturday, the seminary is pleased to host two honored guests this year, Dr Robert P. George and the Very Rev. Dr Patrick Henry Reardon, who will each receive honorary degrees during the ceremony.


Dr George will be delivering the commencement address and receiving a Doctor of Canon Law, honoris causa, from St Vladimir’s Seminary. Seminary President, the Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield, expressed his appreciation for Dr George’s work, saying, “Prof. Robert George is one of the most distinguished figures in law and culture and where these two arenas intersect with religion in America. He will, no doubt, bring a clear picture of the world where our graduates will be serving Orthodoxy in their various ministries.”


Fr Patrick Henry Reardon will be receiving a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, at the commencement ceremony. A longtime scholar and teacher at multiple universities, as well as a recently retired Orthodox priest with the Antiochian Archdiocese, Fr Patrick’s extensive published work and spoken presentations are widely known across the Orthodox world. “Of the many professors that I have had over the years,” said Fr Chad, “Fr Patrick is the standout, who continues to make significant contributions to theology and the study of scripture. He is truly one of the ‘elders’ of Orthodox scholarship in America."

This year’s distinguished guest list at commencement follows the precedent set last year, with notable policymaker the Hon. Alex M. Azar II giving the 2023 commencement address and awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of his faithful and dedicated philanthropic service over many years within the Church.

About Robert P. George

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has frequently been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, teaching philosophy of law and related subjects.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Professor George holds MTS and JD degrees from Harvard University and the degrees of DPhil, BCL, DCL, and DLitt from Oxford University. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Swarthmore and received a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard for graduate study in law and philosophy at Oxford. He holds twenty-two honorary degrees, including doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, divinity, humane letters, civil law, law and moral values, humanities, and juridical science.

In addition to his academic service, Professor George has served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He has also served on the President's Council on Bioethics, as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, as the U.S. member of UNESCO's World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology, and is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

He serves on the boards of the Templeton Foundation Religion Trust, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and the Center for Individual Rights, among others.

Dr George is the author of multiple books and articles, is a Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazine, has been invited to speak at many prestigious events, and is the recipient of numerous distinguished awards and medals.

About the Very Rev. Patrick Henry Reardon

Fr Patrick Henry Reardon is a renowned speaker and teacher, a prolific scholarly writer, and a retired pastor in the Antiochian Orthodox Church; he resides in Chicago with his wife, Denise.

Fr Patrick received master's degrees from The Pontifical Atheneum of St Anselm (Rome) and the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome), and continued clerical studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY). After joining the Orthodox Church in 1988, he also studied at St Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, PA).

Past teaching assignments include Bellarmine College (Louisville, KY), Nashotah House Theological Seminary (Nashotah, WI), Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (Ambridge, PA), Chatham College (Pittsburgh, PA), and Community College of Allegheny County, PA.

After multiple pastoral assignments as an Episcopal priest, Fr Patrick joined the Orthodox Church and was ordained to the diaconate in 1990 and the priesthood in 1992. He pastored St Anthony Orthodox Church in Butler, PA, from 1992 to 1998, and All Saints Orthodox Church in Chicago, IL, from 1998 to 2020. In 2008, he was elevated as an Archpriest of the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Fr Patrick has given numerous conference presentations and retreats in the U.S. and Europe and has published a multitude of books, articles, editorials, and reviews, including contributions to the St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly. Fr Patrick is also a Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazine.