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Concordia Seminary celebrates 87 graduates at commencement services

Four awards, honorary degrees granted

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis recognized 87 students and four honorees at the May 22 commencement ceremony on campus.

Of the 87 graduates, 61 earned the Master of Divinity degree, five earned the Master of Arts degree, and one earned the Master of Arts in Deaconess Studies. Two students earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree. In addition, 16 graduates completed doctorate degrees: nine earned the Doctor of Ministry degree, and seven earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Two Residential Alternate Route (RAR) students took part in commencement as well; they have completed their academic residency, and they will receive their RAR certificate and be eligible for ordination once they complete their one-year vicarage assignments.

The Seminary awarded three honorary degrees. Rev. Roosevelt Gray Jr., director of Black Ministry for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, accepted the Doctor of Divinity degree (honoris causa). Mr. Joseph Gorder, chairman, president, and CEO of Valero Energy Corporation, received the Doctor of Laws degree (honoris causa) and gave the commencement address. Rev. Stephen Starke of St. John Lutheran Church Amelith, author of more than 175 hymns, accepted the Doctor of Letters degree (honoris causa).

The Seminary’s faculty presented the Christus Vivit award to Dr. Karl and Mrs. Shirley Kreft in recognition of their exemplary service to the Church. (Learn more about the honorees here.)

Commencement activities began with the theological diploma service at 10 a.m. in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. Rev. Benjamin Haupt, assistant professor of practical theology, shared his father’s advice during his sermon. “The challenge of being in the world but not of the world is your calling,” Haupt told the students.

The commencement service took place at 7 p.m. in the main quadrangle. When Gorder shared his story, he offered some meaningful words: “Seek wise, trustworthy counsel, and listen to it.”

“For over 175 years, Concordia Seminary has provided more than 12,000 pastors to the church, who have equipped ‘the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:12),” said Dr. Dale A. Meyer, president of Concordia Seminary. “Our prayer and our labor is that, generations from now, people will look back to these days and the years still to come and say, ‘The ascended Lord gave shepherds and teachers.’”

To learn more about the commencement events, view photos and videos, and read about the 2015 honorees, go to

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars, and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Since its founding in 1839, Concordia Seminary has equipped more than 12,000 graduates to serve Church and world. Today, a world-renowned faculty teaches more than 600 students in the classroom, off-campus, and online. Learn more at