Authority on the health of theological education will deliver
150th commencement address
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold its 150th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 18, 2003, at 3:30 p.m. at Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky.
The Seminary will confer the following degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry. Of the 63 potential graduates, 34 are women and 29 are men. The 150th graduating class is the largest in five years, with the largest number of Doctor of Ministry degrees earned since 1980.
In the Seminary’s non-degree programs, certificates in homiletic supervision will be granted to two individuals, and one individual will receive a certificate in pastoral counseling supervision. Seven students will receive diplomas in pastoral studies.
The commencement speaker
will be Barbara G. Wheeler, president of Auburn Theological Seminary. Her message, Looking Back,
will be based on Psalm 122.
Auburn Seminary was founded in 1818 to prepare ministers for the rigors of frontier life. Since 1981, Ms. Wheeler has served as president of the institution, which conducts its educational work in three main areas: strengthening congregational life; offering multifaith educational opportunities; and focusing research on the health of theological schools that educate clergy and other religious professionals. Auburn is located in New York City and resides on the campus of Union Theological Seminary
Wheeler also serves as Director of Auburn Seminary’s Center for the Study of Theological Education, the only research center that focuses on the strength and health of all theological schools that educate clergy and other religious professionals. She is recognized as an authority on theological education and consults with seminaries, denominations, and congregations concerned about the future of religious leadership and religious institutions. She speaks and writes about the future of religion in North America, the public role of religion, and resources for healing religious divisions and conflicts.
She is a member and ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
, a member of the board of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and a member of the Task Force on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Presbyterian Church, which was commissioned to a four-year charge during the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Ms. Wheeler is a graduate of Barnard College and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Hamilton College.
During commencement exercises, the Devoted Service Award
will be presented to Ms. Wheeler and to two synod moderators: Mr. Ernest Nolan Waller, a retired university administrator and Sunday school teacher who serves the Synod of Living Waters and Rev. Maetta Murdock Snyder, senior pastor of Westminster United Presbyterian Church in Emporia, Kans., serving the Synod of Mid-America. These awards recognize individuals for their dedicated service in the life of the Church.
—Prior to Commencement, Rev. Dr. Dianne Reistroffer
, Dean of the Seminary, will deliver the Baccalaureate sermon that morning at a 10:30 a.m. worship service in the Seminary’s Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel.
Dr. Reistroffer has served Louisville Seminary since 1998 and was elected as Dean of the Seminary in June of 2000. She also serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Associate Professor of Ministry, teaching in the fields of practical theology and Methodist studies.
An experienced pastor and educator, Reistroffer served churches in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. With dual standing as a clergy member of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Presbytery of Western Kentucky of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), she preaches and teaches frequently in both Methodist and Presbyterian congregations. Her teaching experience includes work as a research fellow in the Women’s Studies Research Center at the University of Wisconsin (1997-1998), assistant professor of Christian education at Boston University School of Theology (1992-1995) and instructor at the College of St. Teresa (1985-1986). Prior to her ordination, she taught high school for ten years.
Reistroffer has published articles and reviews in the fields of women and Methodist church history, women in parish ministry, ethical investing, child advocacy, faith and money, and Christian education. Her most recent publications include chapters in Women, Gender, and the Social Gospel (University of Illinois Press) and The Social Gospel Today (Westminster John Knox Press, 2001) on the subject of women’s ways of giving.
In the spring of 2000, Louisville Seminary received a $300,000 grant from the Luce Foundation in order to establish a comprehensive academic support services program for seminary students. The grant, conceived and written by Dr. Reistroffer, was based on her award-winning dissertation dealing with the unique teaching–learning needs of older adult seminary students. With The Rev. George Kilcourse at Bellarmine University she initiated the new Master of Arts in Spirituality degree, which will be offered through Bellarmine. The degree also attracted grant support from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and will begin its first class in June, to be team taught by Rev. Kilcourse and the Seminary’s Dr. Kathryn Johnson.
Dr. Reistroffer is a native of Davenport, Iowa, and received her degrees from the College of St. Teresa, Villanova University, Boston University School of Theology, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.