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Seminary Commencement celebrates 93 students

Four honorees recognized

Some 93 students and four honorees were celebrated and recognized at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Friday, May 18, as part of the school’s 2018 Commencement exercises.

Of the 93 students recognized, 54 earned the Master of Divinity degree, one earned the Master of Arts degree with deaconess certification, 10 earned the Master of Arts degree and seven students earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree. In addition, 18 students completed doctoral degrees: 10 earned the Doctor of Ministry degree and eight earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Three students earning their Residential Alternate Route certificates also were recognized. Find the list of students and their degrees and certificates in the Commencement program here.

“You know that God’s hand of blessing is upon you,” Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer told the graduates. “May His love for you go with you all the years that are ahead. Congratulations to the graduates. Thank you for sharing your lives with us because all of us, faculty and staff, have been blessed by getting to know you and learning from you.”

Commencement activities began Friday morning with the Theological Diploma Service in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. During the service, theological diplomas were presented to all graduating students eligible to receive a call as a pastor or deaconess in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Dr. David Peter, associate professor of Practical Theology and placement counselor, delivered the sermon, “We are Debtors.”

“We are debtors to God,” Peter told the students. “We are dependent on His Spirit for life and ministry.”

Commencement exercises wrapped up the day’s events Friday evening in the chapel, which had been moved from the Seminary’s Main Quadrangle because of rain.

Academic degrees and honors were presented during this ceremony, and Rev. Ray Wilke, president of Orphan Grain Train and pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Neb., delivered the Commencement address. Wilke told the congregation and graduates that he was moved by the day’s events and “thrilled about the church.”

“Be prepared,” Wilke told the graduates. “Please be prepared to willingly move out of your comfort zone, maybe into dark places, unknown places. Each of you as you go to your calling are going to be moving into unknown places. Allow it to happen. If … the Lord is obviously calling you to do something, do it. Do it even if it’s not comfortable.”

The Seminary’s faculty presented the Christus Vivit Award to Craig and in absentia Jane Olson of Orange, Calif., in recognition of their exemplary service to the church. The Olsons chaired the Seminary’s National Campaign Council, which oversaw the milestone Generations Campaign, which reached its successful conclusion in December 2017, raising more than $200 million. The faculty also presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award in absentia to Dr. Timothy Maschke (’74) of Grafton, Wis., a retired professor from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon; and an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Wilke. Learn more about each of the honorees here.

Meyer also recognized retiring Professor of Exegetical Theology Paul Raabe, an Old Testament scholar, and presented him with an Emeritus Medallion for his service to the Seminary. “You Paul, will be sorely missed,” Meyer said as the congregation gave Raabe a standing ovation.

This year’s graduates join more than 7,000 called leaders of the LCMS around the world and more than 12,500 individuals who have received degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in the school’s history.

“The Lord of the church is raising your generation up for this Gospel ministry to hurting people,” Meyer told the graduates in his concluding remarks. “And the Lord of the church knows what He is doing. We are proud of you. You are alumni. And you are loved by us at the Seminary.”

Afterward, Meyer officially closed the Seminary’s 179th academic year with the theme, “Faith … Living, Daring Confidence in God’s Grace.” The congregation prayed the Lord’s Prayer and filed out of the chapel to the hymn, “Thy Strong Word.”

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis 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). To learn more, visit