2012 Honorary Doctorates

May 24, 2012

J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, and John M. Templeton, Jr.

Westminster Theological Seminary will hold its 83rd annual commencement ceremony on May 24th. At the ceremony, three honorary doctorates will be rewarded to exceptional individuals in the Christian world: J.I Packer (in abstentia), R.C. Sproul, and John M. Templeton, Jr.

Join us for this year's commencement as we celebrate our graduates, and honor these men.


Brief Biographies:

Rev. Dr. J.I. PackerJ.I. Packer

The Reverend Dr. James I. Packer was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1926 and was educated at Oxford University (degrees in classics and theology; D.Phil. 1954). Ordained in 1952, he served as assistant minister at St. John’s Church, Harborne, Birmingham until 1954,  when he became Senior Tutor at Tyndale Hall, an Anglican seminary in Bristol, from 1955 to 1961. Then, after nine years as Warden of Latimer House, an Anglican Evangelical study centre in Oxford, Dr. Packer returned to Bristol to become Principal of Tyndale Hall in 1970.  When Tyndale Hall merged with two other evangelical colleges to become Trinity College, Bristol, he became Associate Principal in January 1972. In 1979, Dr. Packer relocated to Vancouver, BC, where he became Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Regent College. Later, he was installed as  Regent's first Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology. In 1996, he became Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology.

Dr. Packer has preached and lectured widely in Great Britain and North America, and is a frequent contributor to theological periodicals. His writings include: Fundamentalism and the Word of God, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, Knowing God, Growing in Christ, God has Spoken, Knowing Man, Beyond the Battle for the Bible, God’s Words, Keep in Step with the Spirit, Christianity the True Humanism, Your Father Loves You, Hot Tub Religion, A Quest for Godliness, Rediscovering Holiness, Concise Theology, A Passion For Faithfulness, Knowing Christianity, and The Redemption and Restoration of Man in the Thought of Richard Baxter.


Rev. Dr. R.C. Sproul

R.C. SproulThe Reverend Dr. Robert Charles Sproul, was born on February 13, 1939 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In September of 1957 he began studying at Westminster College in Pennsylvania, and it was there that he was converted through the witness of the star player on the football team. 

In 1961, Sproul began studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. During his last year of seminary, he was persuaded by Dr. John Gerstner to pursue doctoral studies under G.C. Berkouwer at the Free University of Amsterdam. He was awarded the doctorandus by this institution in 1968. After some pastoral and teaching experience, he started a new study center near Pittsburgh. This center moved in 1971 to the Ligonier Valley, from which it took the name it still bears today.

Dr. Sproul has written and edited many books including: The Holiness of God, Scripture Alone, and The Reformation Study Bible. He has taught around the world and at American seminaries such as Reformed Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary. Currently, he is Senior Minister of Preaching and Teaching at St. Andrew’s Chapel congregation in Sanford, Florida, where he preaches each Sunday morning and evening, exemplifying commitment to the church.


John M. Templeton, Jr.John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D.

John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D. is President and Chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, and directs all Foundation activities in pursuit of its core mission to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discovery in areas engaging life’s biggest questions in science, theology, philosophy, individual freedom, free enterprise and character virtues. He works closely with the Foundation’s staff and international board of advisors of more than 50 leading scholars, scientists, researchers and theologians to develop substantive programs in these endeavors. His more than 25-year career as a physician and long-held spiritual beliefs provide both the formal science training and the commitment to advance the Foundation’s work.

After receiving a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Dr. Templeton earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston. He completed his internship and residency in surgery at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and subsequently trained in pediatric surgery under Dr. C. Everett Koop at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. After serving two years in the U.S. Navy, he returned to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1977, where he served on the staff as pediatric surgeon and trauma program director. He also served as professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.

He has published numerous papers in medical and professional journals, in addition to three books, A Searcher’s Life and Thrift and Generosity: The Joy of Giving, and an updated version of his autobiography, entitled, John M. Templeton, Jr: Physician, Philanthropist, Seeker.