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The Honorable Mark Dayton receives an honorary doctorate from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Dayton recognized for his many years of ethical public service

(ST. PAUL, Minn. -- May 2, 2021) – United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities today conferred former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the Fifty-Ninth Annual Commencement Exercises.

The seminary honored Dayton, a former trustee, for his many years of ethical public service, advancing causes like affordable health care, equal educational opportunity, marriage equality, social justice, and peace.

“The Doctorate of Humane Letters is a distinct degree that seeks to affirm the Honorable Mark Dayton’s years of public service, his great contributions to the State of Minnesota, and his journey of faith,” said United Interim President Molly T. Marshall. “Public service as an expression of faithful vocation matters more than ever in our time. We celebrate and give thanks for the ethical leadership of Mark Dayton.”

In the late 1980s, Dayton audited courses at United to study the New Testament and ethics with the late James B. Nelson, professor emeritus of Christian Ethics. At a Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, Dayton explained this call, “I figured anyone involved in politics could use a refresher course in Christian ethics …. I have always been struck by Jesus’ choice of the word: ‘Neighbor’ (in ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’). Our neighbor is whoever’s sitting next to us. Whether or not she’s of the same nationality, race, religion, political party, social views, or sexual orientation. Whoever he is -- he’s is the one we’re supposed to love."

Rev. Dr. Timothy Hart-Andersen, senior pastor at Dayton’s home church, Westminster Presbyterian in Minneapolis, said, “Mark Dayton has shown by his leadership in elected office that he learned well the admonition to care for ‘the least of these.’ He understands that the truest measure of a society’s health is found in how fully it supports the well-being of the most vulnerable. These are commitments of the Christian faith, but Mark understood and has lived them broadly, as aspirations common to all humanity.”

“I am deeply honored to receive this Honorary Degree from United Theological Seminary, whose community offered me invaluable support along my life’s journey," said Mark Dayton.


Photo credit: Michele Jokinen
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