Russell E. Schulz
Musician, composer, teacher, professor, tireless organist, intrepid choirmaster, mentor, advisor,and friend. You have given your life’s work to the service of the Church, her worship and her musical heritage and you give to others your own joy and knowledge of the repertoire.
Born into a family of German and Dutch immigrants, you were raised with the love of music and the church. Your love for music drove you through long years of preparation and education to a long career of composition, teaching and performing. You have simultaneously served an entire career as a church musician and as a beloved seminary professor.
In 1974 you joined the community of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest and were soon appointed professor of liturgical music. You served Southwest thirty-six years, longer than anyone else in her history. You are and will forever be a central part of the history of Seminary of the Southwest.
One of your greatest gifts was your contribution towards the current Episcopal Hymnal 1982 through your work as a member of the Standing Commission on Church Music, especially its Executive Editorial Board where you chaired the hymn music committee.
Your life-long love of ethnomusicology took you to many nations and gave you the gift of many acquaintances and encounters with beloved children of God all over the world. You have interviewed and photographed hundreds of people in such diverse cultures as the former East Germany, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Russia, Egypt, Kenya, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil and Chile. You have found joy and transformation learning humbly across the divides of musical culture and spirituality.
You mentored students who would say of you: he “made me a better singer, a better musician, and ultimately a better priest.” You trained a generation of priests in the Episcopal Church and beyond to sing, to sing better, or to know that they had better hire someone else to sing. You trained them to understand the depth of church music and to articulate with clarity and joy the love of the music of the Church to those in their care.
As a composer, you have poured the same love and affection you gave your students into the music that you write. Your Good Friday anthems, your Requiem, your many hymns and the many other pieces you have given the world have been a gift to the Church as a whole, and especially to the churches and the seminary community you served.
You have nurtured values of humility, joy and service, and you remind us that the seminary exists for our students, and that our faculty, our staff and our facilities all serve one purpose – the formation of students for ministry as Christians in God’s world. We are pleased, therefore, to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
May 8, 2012 Austin, Texas