Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold its 156th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 17, 2009, at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky., at 3:30 p.m.
Linda B. Valentine, Executive Director, General Assembly Council, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will deliver the Commencement Address, “Journey Forth.” As an ordained Presbyterian elder from Illinois and corporate executive, Valentine began her denominational service in July 2006. Prior to her election, Valentine was a lawyer and served as board member, fund manager, and general counsel at Opportunity International (Oak Brook, Ill.), one of the world’s largest microfinance networks, providing more than a million small loans each year to poor people in developing countries.
Valentine earned her bachelor’s of arts degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan, and she also graduated from Georgetown University Law Center. She has served on the boards of a number of not-profit organizations, and for a brief period she served as interim staff coordinator at Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, where she was an elder, trustee, deacon, and member for more than 20 years.
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 37 potential graduates, 20 are women and 17 are men. Louisville Seminary will also award diplomas and certificates in the areas of pastoral studies and homiletical and pastoral counseling supervision.
During the Commencement exercises, the Devoted Service Awards will be presented to the Commencement Speaker and to two Presbyterian synod moderators, who represent the two synods with whom Louisville Seminary has covenantal relationships. Receiving the award are Robert Friley III, Elder at Yokena Presbyterian Church in Vicksburg, Miss., and retired Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army, who has held a career in industrial hygienics and environmental technology and is the current Moderator of the Synod of Living Waters; and Rev. Katherine Jackson, the current Moderator of the Synod of Mid-America, who also serves as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Mo. These awards recognize individuals for their dedicated service in the life of the Church.
Prior to Commencement at a morning worship service, Louisville Seminary Dr. Christopher L. Elwood, professor of historical theology, and Dr. Elizabeth Johnson Walker, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling, will deliver a joint Baccalaureate sermon, “What’s in a Name?” The Baccalaureate will be held in the Seminary’s Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel at 10:30 a.m. Each year, the graduating class selects the Baccalaureate preacher or preachers and creates the worship service.
Teaching courses in theology and the history of Christianity, with a concentration on the period from the Reformation to the present, Dr. Elwood, a member of the Louisville Seminary since 1996, maintains research and writing interests in the history and theology of the Reformation period, the theology of John Calvin, theological interpretations of the body, gender and sexuality, and the intersections of theology and culture.
He earned his degrees at Davidson College (AB) and The Divinity School of Harvard University (MDiv; ThD). He is the author of The Body Broken: The Calvanist Doctrine of the Eucharist and the Symbolization of Power in Sixteenth-Century France (Oxford University Press, 1999) and the very popular Calvin for Armchair Theologians (Westminster John Knox, 2002), which has been translated in several languages, including German and Japanese.
Dr. Walker joined the faculty in 2006. She earned her degrees from Huntingdon College (B.S.) in Montgomery, Ala., Candler School of Theology (MDiv) in Atlanta, and Gammon Theological Seminary and the ITC (PhD), where she completed her dissertation on “A Model of Pastoral Counseling with African American Women.” Her clinical training was received at the Georgia Association of Pastoral Care in Atlanta. She is a licensed marriage and family counselor (LMFT), a Member Associate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology.
As a professional counselor and as a professor, Walker has balanced her counseling career with teaching courses such as “Pastor and Family Life,” “The Theory and Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy,” “The Expanded Family Life Cycle,” “Spirituality and Sexuality,” and “African American Context for Ministry: Focus on the Family.”
Founded in 1853, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is one of ten Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries. It is also approved by the United Methodist, the African Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal denominations to educate their pastors and professionals. The Seminary is committed to nurturing inclusive study, experience, and exploration that seek to learn from the wisdom of minority voices. As a community with a multicultural vision, Louisville Seminary is a center of theological education that values and embraces the diversity of perspectives.