On May 19, 132 students graduated from Luther Seminary, receiving certificates, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in the process. The Commencement ceremony was held at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Luther Seminary Interim President Rick Foss spoke and presided. Ashley Updegraff-Balow, a Master of Divinity candidate, spoke on behalf of the students. Here is a snapshot of the day, through the eyes of those who took part in and witnessed it.
Rick Foss, from his Commencement address:
"At Luther Seminary we have a mission. It goes like this: 'Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities, called and sent by the Holy Spirit, to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and to serve in God's world.' Who are those leaders? And what's the prerequisite for becoming one of those leaders? There's only one consistent one as far as I can see. In a nutshell, we work with followers of Jesus Christ, who are responding to the call to follow, to serve ... and to lead. You can't be a leader in the church unless you're a follower of Jesus."
Carrie Carroll, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment; Dean of Students
"I love Commencement. It is such a wonderful recognition and celebration of the accomplishments of our graduates and their families. I love that we honor both the graduates and all of those who have supported them in their journey. I also love to think of the impact that our graduates will have in the lives of others, in the church and in the world."
Judy Hedman, Office Manager for Student Affairs
"After eight years of helping with Commencement details I know several things before the day begins: the students are prepared with a good education and the grace of God for whatever comes next, some graduates have calls and jobs and, finally, I will probably never see most of these dear souls again on this side of heaven. But what I remember about the day are the little things: no one fainted in the heat, the rain held off until after the processional, the faculty marshal had a good method of organizing the faculty members, need more waste receptacles for the reception, best ushers, greeters and photographers ever. For next year—I need to wear better shoes."
Imli Jamir, Ph.D. '13
"I thank and give glory to God for the ability to participate in the 144th commencement exercises of Luther Seminary, a historical landmark to me in particular. My dream and prayer of getting a Ph.D. has come to pass. Thanks be to God. Without the scholarship grant of Luther Seminary and the generous support of the ELCA, I would have never accomplished my dream. May God bless cheerful and generous hearts."
Benjamin Hilding, M.Div. '13
"As Central Lutheran was filled with the glorious sounds of worship, I looked around to the staff and faculty who have invested their lives into raising up Christian leaders, to my peers and colleagues now called both locally and abroad and to the communion of saints surrounding us in prayer, support and celebration. Commencement brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. What an honor it is to be a small part of God's faithfulness to the church and world."
Sarah Bane, M.A. '13
"When I was in the middle of my M.A. program at Luther, it was sometimes hard to see myself within the bigger picture of what I was doing. Being surrounded by the Luther community at Commencement was such an affirming experience that honored just how great an accomplishment my degree completion really was, helping me to see how I fit into the greater context of ministry. I still rush home frantically thinking I've got a paper due and readings to finish, but being a grad so far has been exciting, validating and full of anticipation for the next chapter of life!"
To view photos from Commencement, visit www.flickr.com/photos/lutherseminary. Choose Sets, then choose from one of five 2013 Commencement photo galleries.