May 18, 2001 Print This Article

Concordia Seminary Confers 100 Degrees at 2001 Commencement

The 162nd academic year of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis concluded on Friday, May 18. The day’s activities included a 10:00 a.m. baccalaureate service in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, followed by a special luncheon for graduates and their families in the Seminary’s Luther Statue Park. Due to weather conditions, commencement exercises were held indoors at 7:00 p.m. in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus instead of the usual practice of holding the event outdoors in the Seminary’s main quadrangle.

Dr. Timothy Saleska, assistant professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, delivered the sermon at the baccalaureate service. Following the sermon, students who successfully completed one of the programs of preparation for service in the pastoral ministry in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) were presented their theological diplomas and diplomas of vocation. In this act, the Seminary faculty fulfilled publicly the responsibility given it by the LCMS to certify those men it determines to be qualified in every respect for service in the pastoral ministry.

At the evening commencement exercises, Dr. Stephen Carter, president and chief executive officer of Concordia Publishing House, served as commencement speaker. Following the address, 84 students were recipients of master of divinity degrees. This is the academic degree which most students who desire to be pastors, missionaries or chaplains in the LCMS receive. Other degrees conferred included eight master of arts degrees, two doctor of ministry degrees, five master of sacred theology degrees and one doctor of philosophy degree. Eleven students were recognized as candidates for completion of the alternate route (certificate) program. Upon successful completion of a one-year vicarage (internship), these students will be certified as eligible to receive a call and serve as pastors, missionaries or chaplains in the LCMS.

Seven individuals were selected by the Concordia Seminary faculty to receive special honors during the commencement exercises. Joan Mueller and Coraine Voelz received the Christus Vivit award, granted each year to laity who exemplify a lifetime of distinguished and dedicated service in the LCMS. Dr. Gilbert Meilaender, professor and occupant of the Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Ethics at Valparaiso University, received the distinguished alumni award in recognition of his service as a distinguished professor and author in the fields of religion and ethics. Dr. Richard Hillert, professor emeritus of music at Concordia University, River Forest, and Rev. Elmer Hohle, retired LCMS pastor and translator of numerous late Reformation works by noted Lutheran theologians, were both awarded the honorary doctor of letters degree in recognition of their distinguished scholarly service to the church following seminary graduation. Rev. Paulo Flor, a retired pastor and seminary professor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil and Rev. Harold Senkbeil, pastor of Elm Grove Lutheran Church, Elm Grove, Wis., and noted Lutheran author, were awarded the honorary doctor of divinity degree in recognition of their distinguished service in the church and significant contributions to Christian scholarship.

For more information, contact Rev. Glen Thomas, vice president for seminary relations, at (314) 505-7371 or via e-mail (