May 19, 2023 Print This Article

184th year comes to a close with Commencement

65 students celebrated

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis closed its 184th academic year Friday amid the pomp and circumstance of Commencement.

The Seminary recognized 65 graduates and five honorees during Commencement. Of those graduates, 34 earned a Master of Divinity, 10 earned a Master of Arts and eight earned a Master of Sacred Theology. Additionally, eight graduates earned a Doctor of Ministry and four earned a Doctor of Philosophy. The Seminary also recognized one student 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

Seminary President Dr. Thomas J. Egger referred to the academic year theme, “Sharing the Gospel—Sharing Our Lives” from 1 Thess. 2:8, as he addressed the students.

“These years in which we have shared together in the Gospel of God and shared together in life – what a precious blessing,” said Egger. “And now, class of 2023, you will go your ways on paths and to pastures that the Lord Himself has appointed. Wherever you go, whoever you live among, I pray that you will show yourselves to be sons and daughters of this Seminary and sons and daughters of our self-giving God. Share the Gospel. Share your lives. And keep in touch.”

The day began with the Theological Diploma Service in the morning 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. Professor of Exegetical Theology Dr. David Adams, who serves as the W.G. Ray and Louis J. Rechtzigel Professor of Biblical Studies at Concordia Seminary, delivered the sermon, “Overcoming the World” from John 16:23-33.

“Take up this white robe of Christ’s righteousness and wear it as His gift and know that it is His righteousness that makes you worthy of His service, not your own,” Adams told the graduates. “Pick up this yoke of servitude. It is the symbol that Christ has called you to be His own and to serve Him in His kingdom. Know that it is His calling, not your worthiness. … Lift up this cross and wear it as the bold proclamation that Christ has indeed overcome the world for you and in you.”

Commencement exercises also took place in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus Friday evening. Rear Adm. Gregory N. Todd (’88), the 28th chief of U.S. Navy chaplains, delivered the Commencement address on the proclamation of the pure Gospel.

“Through a rigorous and faithful education, you have received the tools to deliver the precious, pure Gospel to a world so needing it,” Todd said. “This duty is to be carried out thoughtfully and deliberately, always mindful that the ones to whom you are delivering this Gospel are so precious that God would send His only begotten Son to die for them. Not only is the pure Gospel precious but these recipients of the Gospel are precious, too.”

During Commencement, the Seminary’s faculty presented the Christus Vivit Award to Kaye Dumas Wolff of Southfield, Mich., and Dr. Beverly Yahnke of Brookfield, Wis., for their exemplary service to the church.

The faculty also presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Rev. John Barton (Bart) Day  (’97) of St. Louis, Mo.; an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Todd of Washington, D.C.; and an honorary Doctor of Laws to Rev. Raul Blum of São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil. More information about each honoree is available at

Also recognized were two retiring professors who were presented with a special emeritus medallion and status: Professor of Practical Theology and former Provost Dr. Douglas Rutt, who joined the faculty in 2018, and Mission Professor of Historical Theology Dr. William Schumacher, who joined the faculty in 1998 and also serves as the Buehner-Duesenberg Professor of Lutheran Missions and director of the Institute for Mission Studies.

“Throughout their years here, these men have served God, the church and this Seminary faithfully and with distinction, and with the peculiar insights and wisdom gained through unique ministries in various mission fields of the church,” said Dean of Faculty Dr. David Peter.

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 184th academic year, and the assembly recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison. The graduates departed during the recessional hymn, “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” (LSB 821).

Concordia Seminary’s 185th academic year will begin with the Opening Service Aug. 25, 2023.

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