Philadelphia’s Collegium Augustinianum of Philadelphia’s Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology had a special visit from His Grace, The Most Rev. Daniel Yinkah Sarfo during its Convocation ceremony Saturday.
Sarfo is primate and metropolitan representative of the province of West Africa who not only served as keynote speaker during the conferral of honors and degrees but also himself received an honorary doctorate from the graduate school on that day.
“I’m being honored among great people with an honorary doctorates degree of Divinititus,” said Sarfo during an interview conducted after the ceremony.
“I am highly elated to be part of such an esteemed honor here in Philadelphia,” he said.
Those expecting a long, uninteresting graduation speech were mistaken. Sarfo, a native of Ghana in West Africa, kept the audience laughing and engaged during his address with his jovial nature and witty remarks.
In accordance with African tradition, Sarfo did not arrive empty handed.
“I told them that in African culture you cannot go to someone’s house without bringing them a present, so I brought them a souvenir,” Sarfo said.
The souvenirs consisted of a carving of the map of Ghana and a Kente Cloth.
“It’s a token of my appreciation for what they have done.”
Sarfo is no stranger to visiting the United States where he said he has traveled numerous times, but this was his first stop in Philadelphia.
“It is a beautiful city, and I think I will tell a lot of my friends in Ghana that when they come here they should come to Philadelphia,” he said.
Patrick Massina, the school’s Rector called Sarfo a very important man on the continent of Africa and described him as gracious and holy.
“We gave out one bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, and that was the ceremony. It was a sort of combination of convocation and commencement,” Massina said.
Degrees were awarded to Brian K. Collins who received bachelor’s in philosophy, Katelyn Marie Wylie who received master’s in philosophy and Anthony E. Martini who earned his degree in theology from the school.
“An honorary doctorate is an honor which is supposed to go to people who have exhibited great work for the furtherance of humanity, for nations, for law, for religion, all of the institutions that help to promote the human being.”
Archbishop Craig J. N. de Paulo is Chancellor of the university and said that the university not only honored Sarfo but was honored by him in return.
“He is one of the highest ranking Anglican Churchman in the world and in Africa, certainly in West Africa,” said de Paulo
Not only is Sarfo a scholar, said de Paulo, who also once served as a former military officer as a chaplain.
“He’s someone who believes in the Anglican community, who believes in unity at a time when the communion is kind of ripping apart for various social issues such as female ordination, same-sex marriage, he’s trying to say that we believe in unity and diversity,” de Paulo said.
The Collegium Augustinianum institution’s roots date back to the 19th century. The Collegium Augustinianum Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology opened its doors in Philadelphia in 2012 and is a Christian and Ecumenical university committed to classical, liberal arts education.