The 183rd academic year at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis came to a close during the 2022 Commencement exercises, which took place on a sunny Friday on the Seminary campus.
The Seminary recognized 82 graduates and six honorees during Commencement. Of those graduates, 45 earned a Master of Divinity, nine earned a Master of Arts and 10 a Master of Sacred Theology. Additionally, seven graduates earned a Doctor of Ministry and eight earned a Doctor of Philosophy. The Seminary also recognized three students who earned a pastoral certificate upon completion of the Residential Alternate Route Program.
A full list of graduates and their degrees may be found at csl.edu/commencement.
President Thomas J. Egger referred to the Seminary’s academic theme from Ps. 119:105, “Your Word is a Lamp to my Feet,” as he addressed the students.
“Your feet came to St. Louis and very soon your feet will be walking away again,” he said. “We’ll send you away with a diploma and credentials. We’ll send you away with a lot of learning and reflecting and preparing and practice. We’ll send you away with a strong fabric, I pray, of friendships and brotherhood or sisterhood with one another and a deeper familiarity and love for your church and for one another.
“We will send you away with the Word of our Lord, which stands forever,” Egger said. “Your Word, oh Lord, is a lamp to my feet. What is most important of all that you take with you from this place is that which brought you here in the first place — the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. May this mighty gracious Lord and His mighty gracious Word be your light now as you enter into a new life of service.”
The day began with the annual Theological Diploma Service in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. Students eligible to receive a call as a pastor or deaconess in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) received their theological diplomas as part of this service. Dr. Douglas L. Rutt, the Seminary’s provost and chief academic officer, delivered the sermon based on John 16:5-15.
“Even though you have learned many things here … it’s not about you,” Rutt told the students. “It’s about what the Spirit will do through you. He will strengthen you and give you His strength and wherewithal to remain faithful and firm in the faith. So take heart because Jesus has sent His Spirit, the Spirit of truth, that will lead us into all the truth.”
Commencement exercises took place on the Main Quadrangle Friday evening. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry, retired president of Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, and Ann Arbor, Mich., delivered the Commencement address titled “Here We Stand” based on Rom. 5:1-2.
“We are all blessed because of the Reformation,” Ferry said. “But [Martin] Luther’s moment is not ours. [Dr. C.F.W.] Walther’s moment is not our moment. Our moment is now and it’s time to go. And it might be hard and it might be risky but this is precisely what you are prepared to do, what you are called to do. Let’s do this. Let’s go.”
The Seminary’s faculty presented the Christus Vivit Award to Renée Gibbs for her decades of distinguished Christian service on the Seminary’s campus, throughout the greater St. Louis area and across the globe. She is an advocate for life-affirming causes at every age and has worked as a special education instructor at public and Lutheran schools, as well as at summer camps. She co-founded the Concordia Seminary Life Team with her husband, Professor Emeritus Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs, and has served on the board of directors for Lutherans for Life and Coalition for Life St. Louis.
The faculty also presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to the Rev. Eloy González (’01) of Mission, Texas; and an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Dr. Patrick T. Ferry of Leander, Texas; an honorary Doctor of Letters to Dr. Joseph Herl of Seward, Neb., and Urara Masaki of Kobe, Japan; and an honorary Doctor of Laws to Dr. Erní W. Seibert of Cotia, Brazil. More information about each honoree is available at csl.edu/commencement.
This year’s graduates join more than 7,000 called leaders of the LCMS around the world and more than 13,000 individuals who have received degrees from Concordia Seminary in the school’s history.
At the end of the Commencement exercises, Egger closed the 183rd academic year, and the assembly recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison. The graduates departed during the recessional hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation.”
Concordia Seminary’s 184th academic year, with the theme “Sharing the Gospel, Sharing our Lives” from 1 Thess. 2:8, will begin with Opening Service Aug. 26, 2022.
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.