The seminaries affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) planned a variety of events in spring 2007 honoring graduates and awarding degrees. These included:
Austin Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas
The Reverend Dr. Robert M. Shelton, former president and Jean Brown Professor Emeritus of Homiletics and Liturgics of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary addressed graduates at the APTS commencement on May 20. Sixty-seven students were expected to receive degrees: fifty-two, the Master of Divinity; ten, the Master of Arts in Theological Studies; and five, the Doctor of Ministry. Among this year’s graduates is Shelton’s wife, the Reverend Frances Tilton Shelton, receiving the D.Min. degree.
Robert Shelton joined the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary faculty in 1971 and was named the Jean Brown Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in1982. He served as academic dean for fourteen years before becoming president in 1996. Shelton served as interim senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas from October 2005 until November 2006. Shelton served as moderator of the 163rd General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1993, and has served on numerous committees and boards of that denomination and of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga.
Columbia Theological Seminary’s 2007 baccalaureate service was held May 18 at Columbia Church, adjacent to the seminary. The Reverend Liz B. Forney, parish associate of Central Church in Atlanta, Ga., gave the baccalaureate sermon.
Commencement was held May 19, at Peachtree Church, in Atlanta. Degrees were conferred on 117 students in five degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Theology, Doctor of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry.
Columbia Theological Seminary was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Ga.
As part of the Interdenominational Theological Center, Johnson C. Smith participated in the ITC commencement on May 12.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.
Louisville Seminary held its 154th commencement exercises May 20 at Louisville’s Second Church. It conferred the following degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry. Of the 39 potential graduates, 15 were women and 24 were men.
The commencement speaker was the Rev. Dr. J. Deotis Roberts, author, professor, and pioneer of black theology and modern American theology. His commencement address, “The Presence of God’s Kingdom,” was based on the biblical text from Matthew 6:7-14. He is the founder and president of the J. Deotis Roberts Research Library and Institute. Author of more than fourteen books and more than one hundred scholarly articles, he is regarded as one of the most prominent theologians in the world.
Several of the December 12, 2006, graduates joined their class to receive diplomas at the May exercises.
In the Seminary’s non-degree programs, diplomas in pastoral studies will be granted to three individuals, and the Certificate in Pastoral Counseling Supervision will be granted to seven students.
Prior to commencement, LPTS Professors Johanna W. H. van Wijk-Bos and Amy Plantinga Pauw, delivered the baccalaureate sermon, “The Upheaval of Grace,” at a worship service held on the seminary campus the morning of commencement. Dr. Bos, professor of Old Testament, is the first to be installed to the professorship in Bible named in honor of the Seminary’s first woman graduate, The Rev. Dora Emma Pierce (B.D. 1961). Dr. Pauw is Henry P. Mobley Professor of Doctrinal Theology and a nationally recognized expert on American theologian Jonathan Edwards.
McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Ill.
McCormick Seminary held its commencement service May 12 at Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago. Dr. Edwin Hernandez, Research Director of DeVos Family Foundations, was the commencement speaker.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pa.
The seminary’s 211th commencement activities began May 24 with baccalaureate services held in the seminary’s Hicks Memorial Chapel and continuing with graduation exercises that night at East Liberty Church in Pittsburgh.
The Rev. Dr. Andrew Purves, Hugh Thomson Kerr professor of pastoral theology at PTS, preached the baccalaureate sermon. The Rev. Dr. Norman Pritchard, senior pastor at Kirk in the Hills Church in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and PTS Board member, spoke at commencement.
Fifty students were scheduled to receive the Master of Divinity degree; one student was to receive the dual degree in Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work offered with the University of Pittsburgh; six students were to receive the Master of Arts; one will receive the Master of Sacred Theology; and 30 will receive the Doctor of Ministry degree.
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J.
Commencement exercises took place May 19 at Princeton University Chapel. Dr. Iain Torrance, president of Princeton Seminary, addressed the assembly. Dr. Torrance was scheduled to receive an honorary L.H.D. degree from King College in Bristol, Tennessee, during the commencement exercise. Dr. Gregory Jordan, president of King College, and Dr. Richard Ray, a trustee of King College, will co-present the honorary doctorate to Dr. Torrance. Also honored at the commencement will be William H. Gray III (Class of 1970), the Distinguished Alumnus. Mr. Gray is president and chief executive officer of The College Fund/United Negro College Fund, a former U.S. Congressman, and pastor of the 5,000-member Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, Calif.
SFTS held its commencement at Bouick Field in San Anselmo on May 19. President Philip Butin spoke, giving a charge to the graduates. Distinguished Alumna Mikel Baird Taxer, B.D., D.Min., also spoke.
University of Dubuque Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa
Commencement was held May 12 at Westminster Church in Dubuque.
The commencement speaker was The Rev. Dr. Joseph D. Small, director of Theology, Worship, and Education of the General Assembly Council, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville, Ky.
Union/PSCE, Richmond, Va.
The 2007 commencement at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education was held May 26 at Reveille United Methodist Church in Richmond. Louis B. Weeks, president of Union-PSCE, was the speaker; the title of his sermon was, “God so Loved …” Weeks will retire June 30.
Auburn Theological Seminary, New York City
Auburn Theological Seminary and its related institution, Union Theological Seminary in New York, held a joint commencement service at the Quadrangle on Union’s campus on May 18. Joseph C. Hough Jr., president of Union Seminary charged the graduates. The Union Medal of Honor was presented to Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl in December.
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass.
Harvard Divinity School will hold its commencement exercises as part of the larger university ceremonies. Graduation will be June 7, with the commencement morning exercises at 9:45 a.m. in Harvard University’s Tercentenary Theatre. The HDS diploma awarding ceremony will be on Andover Lawn at 1 p.m., followed by the university afternoon exercises on the Harvard Yard, featuring commencement speaker Bill Gates. There will be numerous other events associated with commencement but many of these are ticketed events for the entire university.