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Six Honored at Concordia Seminary's Commencement

At Concordia Seminary’s Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2011, six distinguished gentlemen were honored with awards.

John D. Eckrich (Christus Vivit award)
Dr. John D. Eckrich has been a Lutheran physician, internist, and gastroenterologist for the past 35 years in St. Louis. In 1999 he founded Grace Place Lutheran Wellness Ministries. Grace Place offers weeklong retreats to Lutheran professional church workers and weekend retreats to Lutheran congregations, teaching them preventative health and wellness skills to integrate physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and relational health into their professional ministry and personal pilgrim walk. Dr. Eckrich also served as commencement speaker.

Gary W. Thies (Christus Vivit award)
Mr. Gary W. Thies became the first mission development officer with LCMS World Mission Development Services in 1994. He also works with the Nebraska and Iowa West Districts. In the role of mission development officer, he visits LCMS congregations and individuals to inform and excite them about missions and to encourage them to adopt, financially and through prayer, a specific mission project or missionary. He also founded Mission Central in Mapleton, Iowa.

Paul M. Heerboth (Distinguished Alumnus Award)
Rev. Dr. Paul M. Heerboth graduated from Concordia Seminary in 1948. As one of the first candidates called to serve in the LCMS’s mission to Japan, he served as a missionary there from 1949 to 1961. While in Japan, in addition to starting mission stations, Rev. Heerboth developed Sunday School literature in Japanese, which was used by many Lutheran groups there. He also taught in the Tokyo Lutheran Center Bible School, which later became a seminary.

Wilbert H. Rosin (Distinguished Alumnus Award)
Rev. Dr. Wilbert H. Rosin graduated from Concordia Seminary in 1947. He served as professor at St. Paul’s College, Concordia, Mo., from 1947 to 1961. In 1977, he became president of Concordia College, Milwaukee. Despite significant challenges, the junior college became an accredited four-year institution. The school has since moved to nearby Mequon, Wis., and is now the largest educational institution in the LCMS.

Carl R. Selle (honorary Doctor of Divinity degree)
Rev. Carl R. Selle graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, completing his M.Div. in 1969. He has served in campus ministry for 29 years, with 16 of those as the campus missionary at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point through Peace Lutheran Campus Center (1987-1992 and 2000-2011). In the late 70s, Rev. Selle recognized a growing interest in the LCMS to reach out among international students on university campuses. He worked with LCMS Campus Ministry to begin this outreach. International Student Ministry, Inc. was officially organized in 1996 as a mission ministry associated with the LCMS.

Hubert H. Temme (honorary Doctor of Divinity degree)
Rev. Hubert H. (Hu) Temme’s first call was as a missionary to the Australian Aborigines, then as a mission planter, and pastor of other congregations. Rev. Temme was an Australian Army Reserve Chaplain, chairperson of the Board of Aboriginal Missions, and guest speaker on the Australian Lutheran Hour. In the U.S.,  Rev. Temme served congregations in Centralia, Ill., Baltimore, Md., and as vice president of development for Wheat Ridge Ministries in Chicago, Ill. Rev. Temme and his wife, June, have most recently served as representatives of Concordia Seminary in the advancement division. They have visited with pastors, church workers, and donors in Florida and elsewhere to keep the visibility of the Seminary strong and to encourage financial and other support.

From left: Gary Thies, Wilbert Rosin, Carl Selle, Paul Heerboth (seated), John Eckrich, Hu Temme, Pres. Dale Meyer.