On Saturday, May 18, 2019, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, presided over the 2019 Commencement Exercises at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York.
During the ceremony, 22 Seminary graduates, four of whom are from the Serbian Orthodox Church, received their respective degrees; and honorary doctorates were awarded to Syriac Patriarch, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, and Seminary Trustee, Mr. Alex Machaskee of Cleveland, Ohio.
“Publisher, philanthropist, patron of the arts, humanitarian—Alex Machaskee, you are an accomplished leader who has worked tirelessly and have served in numerous capacities of leadership,” said Archpriest Dr. Sergius Halvorsen, the faculty secretary, as he announced Machaskee’s honorary doctorate.
“You exemplify the virtues of dedication, clear vision, and sacrificial charity in the care of the neighbor.
“As a journalist the Associated Press honored you for exemplary service in print journalism. As publisher, marking the culmination of a professional career spanning more than forty-five years, you led The Plain Dealer to resounding success as Ohio’s largest newspaper.
“As patron of the arts; an Emeritus Board Member of the Cleveland Museum of Art; an ‘Honorary Trustee for Life’ of the Musical Arts Association of the Cleveland Orchestra; and as an accomplished musician in your own right—playing in a band that once opened for Bob Hope—you understand the power of art to inspire and uplift the human soul, and have worked tirelessly to promote and support the life-giving work of musicians and artists.
“As humanitarian you have served as Chairman of the Board of United Way Services, and as a member of the Cleveland Foreign Consular Corps you have served as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia.
“As Chairman of the International Orthodox Christian Charities, you traveled throughout the world, meeting with leaders of Church and State—including eight Orthodox Patriarchs—leading the humanitarian efforts of the IOCC. In ministering to those in need of comfort, aid and assistance, you have reminded us that to serve the neighbor is to serve Jesus Christ.
“As a Trustee of St. Vladimir’s Seminary for twenty-five years, during which you served two terms as Executive Chair, you have demonstrated your commitment to Orthodox theological education, through your sacrificial commitment of time, talent and treasure to the mission of St. Vladimir’s.
“As a faithful Orthodox Christian you are a dual member of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, and St. Theodosius Cathedral (OCA), in Cleveland— maintaining both calendars—and working to build up the Body of Christ.
“Therefore, it is the distinct honor and privilege of the board of trustees and the faculty of St Vladimir’s Seminary, by unanimous decision and by the power vested in them by the Board of Regents of the State of New York, to bestow upon you, Alex Machaskee, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.), honoris causa.”