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Reverend D. Wayne Burkette to Receive Honorary Degree
Bethlehem, Pa., May 9, 2005— Commencement ceremonies concluding the 198th academic year of Moravian Theological Seminary will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. in Central Moravian Church. Master degrees will be conferred upon 20 students. Two students will receive the Certificate in Theological Studies for completion of a special studies program. Reverend D. Wayne Burkette will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in recognition of his life’s work in education and dedication to the Moravian Church.
Ervin J. Rokke, president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary will preside over the ceremonies. Otto Dreydoppel, Jr., assistant professor of Church History and Director of Moravian Studies will serve as Marshal.
The Commencement Address titled, “I Dare You,” will be delivered by Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth, chair, Moravian Theological Seminary Board of Trustees.
Marty Stockton Hancock, Moravian Theological Seminary Trustee will present Rt. Rev. Dr. Wayne Burkette the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, in recognition of the enduring impact his ministry as pastor, administrator and educator has had on the life of the Moravian Church and of the community at-large.
Burkette received his M.Div. from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1969. He served the Moravian Church as a congregational pastor from 1969-1990. In 1990, he accepted the call to become the chaplain of Salem Academy and College, and from 1992-1994 served as the chaplain and chief planning officer for the institution. He was appointed head of school for Salem Academy in 1994 and was named a vice-president of the Academy and College and head of the Academy in 1997, where he continues to serve.
Throughout his ministry, Burkette’s gifts of preaching, teaching, administration and reconciliation have been widely recognized. His leadership was affirmed by the larger Church in 1983, when he was elected to a six-year term on the Provincial Elders’ Conference. He served as vice-president from 1986-89, and in 1988 was a delegate to the Unity Synod.
Burkette is appreciated for his wise, thoughtful guidance. His quiet, yet transformative leadership, has drawn many organizations to value and trust his counsel as exemplified by his appointment to the board of trustees of Moravian Seminary, Salem Academy and College, Wachovia Historical Society, and Old Salem, Inc; and his election as president of the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools. His counsel and leadership continue to guide through his role as a Bishop of the Unity of the Moravian Church.
In preparation for work in professional ministry, 13 students will receive the Master of Divinity: Gary L. Becker, Northampton, Pa., Walter C. Bishop, Charlotte, N.C.; Brian Ronald Dixon, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Dean Easton, Canadensis, Pa.: Eileen Edwards, Staten Island, N.Y.; MaryAnn Hamm, New Tripoli, Pa.; Debra A. Lee-Hepburn Bethlehem, Pa.; Jonathan Edward Krause, Bethlehem, Pa.; Russell Craig May, Winston-Salem, N.C. Ruthann Seibert, Quakertown, Pa.; Jay Thatcher, Easton, Pa; Lynne D. Trout, Perkasie, Pa.; and Susan Ellen Vollmer, Laurys Station, Pa.
Candidates for the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling are Kelly Lynn Howard, Allentown, Pa; Greg Kessler, Lititz, Pa.; Amy L. Neidlinger Nazareth, Pa.; and Lorraine L. Smith, Warrington, Pa.
The degree of Master of Arts in Theological Studies will be awarded to Tara Michele (Zrinski) Altenbach, Bethlehem, Pa.
Four students, who will receive the Master of Divinity degree from other institutions, but have completed their special studies in Moravian doctrine and history at Moravian Theological Seminary, will be granted the Certificate in Theological Studies. They include Romeo Challenger, St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies; E. Christine Clore, Madison, N.C.; Judy Martin Knopf, Clemmons, N.C.; and Janel R. Rice, Easton, Pa..
Brian Ronald Dixon was selected by his classmates to present the Graduate Address titled “It’s For You.” A reception will be held following the graduation ceremony on the Bahnson Center green at 60 W. Locust Street, Bethlehem.
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. For more information, visit the Seminary on the Web at: www.moravianseminary.edu.