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News Release

Moravian Theological Seminary to hold commencement
May 12

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) -- Moravian Theological Seminary will hold its commencement on Saturday, May 12, at 4:00 p.m., in Central Moravian Church. The commencement marks the Seminary’s 194th year of service in the preparation of men and women for the ministry.

Ten students are scheduled to receive degrees at the ceremony, while one student is scheduled to receive a certificate in theological studies. The degrees and certificate will be presented by Dr. David A. Schattschneider, vice president and dean, Moravian Theological Seminary, and conferred by Dr. Ervin J. Rokke, president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary.

Melissa L. Hertzog was elected by the graduating class to present the graduate address, entitled, "What will you remember?" Ms. Hertzog a resident of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, will receive a Master of Divinity degree at commencement.

The Reverend Doctor Gene E. Handwerk, associate of the bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will present H. George Anderson for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity. Anderson is presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, Illinois.

For more than four decades, Bishop Anderson has worked as an educator, leader, theologian, writer, and historian for communities of faith and learning. He began his career as a teaching fellow in church history at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and went on to serve 23 years at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina as professor of church history, director of graduate studies, and president. Bishop Anderson’s lifelong commitment to education culminated in his presidency of Luther College from 1982 to 1996, where he led the College through a period of dynamic and visible expansion of both programs and facilities, including a new, state-of-the-art academic building.

As presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Anderson has led his denomination’s 5.2 million members into a new century of sustained devotion, expanded fellowship, and Christian unity.

Throughout his career, Bishop Anderson has been a prolific writer, contributing a significant, growing body of thought and literature on topics that reflect his understanding of both the historical context and educational underpinnings of the Christian experience.

Bishop Anderson is a graduate of Yale University. He later received a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. At the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, he earned a B.D. and S.T.M., and was a Benjamin Sadtler Fellow.

Reverend R. Burke Johnson, president, Provincial Elders’ Conference, Northern Province, The Moravian Church in America, will present the Reverend Dr. Gordon L. Sommers for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity.

For over four decades, Rev. Dr. Gordon L. Sommers, has worked in virtually every facet of Christian stewardship: on behalf of Moravian Theological Seminary, on executive offices and boards, in congregations, and in missions abroad. As a member of the Seminary’s board of trustees for twenty years – including twelve years as its chairman – he led the Seminary through a period of major programmatic innovation and growth that included the development of new master of arts degrees in pastoral counseling and theological studies.

As a result of his own personal experience as a missionary in Nicaragua and Guyana, Sommers was also attentive to the central role of the Seminary in the global church . As a Seminary trustee, he was a powerful and effective advocate for enrollment of international students. As a result of his efforts, Moravian Theological Seminary entered a new era marked by programs that were highly responsive to the evolving needs of theological education, and by a truly global outreach.

As President of the Moravian Church’s Northern Province, Sommers led the province, its pastors, and its congregations through a sweeping reorganization process. As President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, he directed an organizational communion of 33 denominations and 50 million Christians.

Reverend Sommers received a B.A. from Moravian College and a M.Div. from Moravian Theological Seminary. He later earned a Th.M. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a D.Min. degree from New York Theological Seminary.

The commencement speaker will be Dr. David A. Schattschneider, vice president and dean, Moravian Theological Seminary. Schattschneider’s address is appropriately titled, "Transitions," as he announced his resignation last year after serving more than twelve years as vice president and dean of Moravian Theological Seminary. Schattschneider will continue as dean until June, after which he will pursue several projects related to the history of the modern Moravian Church, utilizing the Seminary’s library and electronic resources.

Schattschneider received a B.A. from Moravian College, a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In 1968, he became instructor in historical theology and world Christianity at Moravian Theological Seminary. In 1971, he became assistant professor, in 1978 associate professor, and in 1986 professor and holder of the S. Morgan Smith and Emma Fahs Smith Chair of Historical Theology. From January to April, 1988, he was acting dean of Moravian Seminary. Schattschneider served as vice president and dean since April of 1988.

Moravian Theological Seminary is the seminary of the Moravian Church in the United States. The seminary awards three degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling, and Master of Arts in Theological Studies. The institution also awards certificates in theological studies.