For the first time, Concordia Seminary’s Commencement exercises for the 2020 graduating class will be held online only, and elements from the traditional Theological Diploma Service — usually held as a separate event on campus — will be included. The online-only Commencement exercises will be available at 4 p.m. (CDT) May 15 at csl.edu/commencement and on the Seminary’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Students, families and friends are invited to participate remotely while practicing physical distancing. A service folder will be available at csl.edu/commencement for those who wish to follow along. Virtual participants are encouraged to join in the celebration by sharing comments and photos, and using the hashtags #CSLGrad2020 and #LivesOfSignificance on social media.
The service will begin with the recognition of theological diplomas for graduates who have been certified by the Seminary faculty as eligible to receive calls to serve as pastors or deaconesses in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), followed by the conferring of certificates, academic degrees and honors.
Dr. Glenn Nielsen, professor of Practical Theology and director of Placement, will give a devotion. Rev. Mark Kiessling, director of LCMS Youth Ministry and a Commencement honoree, will deliver the Commencement address. Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Seminary president and professor of Practical Theology who will retire in June, will share a “Litany for the World” and offer a farewell address to the graduates.
- Christus Vivit Award: Dr. LeRoy Wilke of Woodbury, Minn.
- Distinguished Alumnus Award: Dr. Thomas Zelt of Fremont, Calif.
- Honorary Doctor of Divinity: Rev. Pornprom (Ted) Na Thalang of St. Charles, Mo.
- Honorary Doctor of Divinity: Rev. Laokouxang (Kou) Seying of St. Louis, Mo., in memoriam
- Honorary Doctor of Laws: Gunya Na Thalang of St. Charles, Mo.
- Honorary Doctor of Letters: Rev. Mark Kiessling of St. Louis, Mo.
In addition, the service will include special music, video tributes to graduating students and recognition of retiring professors.
“We intend to do all we can to honor concluding students and their families for the sacrifices they have made and the hard work they have put into achieving this important milestone in their lives and future ministries,” Meyer said. “Thank God nothing can take away the education our students are blessed to receive.”
Graduates will be mailed their diplomas following Commencement and also will be invited to participate in Commencement exercises in 2021. This year’s graduates will join more than 9,000 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 181-year history.
“We are as proud of our graduates this year as ever,” Rutt said. “Although our 2020 graduates are not able to participate in what has become a Concordia Seminary tradition with all the pomp and circumstance, knowing that these dedicated servants have been prepared and are being sent to where they are needed most — the Lord’s harvest field — is our greatest satisfaction.”
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 csl.edu.