In a few weeks, you will commence. We often think of commencement as the end of something, and our school’s formal commencement activities do mark the conclusion of your Master of Divinity degree program. The truth, however, is that to commence really means to begin. Even now as we count down the final days of the spring 2013 semester, your feet are poised for next steps. For now, at least until graduation day on May 20, most of you have not yet entirely stirred the dust on roads that lead away from Wake Forest School of Divinity. In the days ahead—finishing classes, completing exams, waiting for graduation events—in the days ahead, we pause, in a sense, as we anticipate what graduation’s ending really commences. During the pre-commencement pause each year, I usually consider several hopes I hold for graduates.
I hope you have more knowledge now than when you took that first church history or theology or ethics midterm.
I hope you are more aware of the intricacies and complexities of biblical truths.
I also hope you are more likely now, at the end of 81 credit hours, to celebrate those moments when compassion and intelligence, theological acuity and moral responsibility, fuse within you so that your very bodies annunciate God’s grace.
I hope you are clearer about your core values and your limits. We cannot attend fully to everyone we meet. Wisdom and grace reside in our capacity to choose.
I hope you have gained both—wisdom and grace.
And I hope you know that wisdom and grace dwell in life’s pauses even as they resound in ministry’s mighty acts.
With these hopes and more in mind, I say farewell to you, Class of 2013. I have enjoyed spending time with you in conversations, classrooms, chapel gatherings and coffee hours. I wish each of you the best as you begin the next steps of your vocational journeys. Wherever you find yourself in the next three to six months—congregational ministry, chaplaincy, counseling, teaching, not-for-profit work, additional graduate study, or in contexts yet to be discovered—I hope that you remain confident in and excited about how God will live and work in your lives. Your commitments to and passions for ministry and the leadership skills and gifts that continue to grow within you give me hope for the future of Gospel work and communities.
|Last Day of Classes||Wednesday, May 1|
|Spring Semester Final Exams||May 3 – 9|
|Hooding Ceremony||Saturday, May 18|
|Baccalaureate||Sunday, May 19|
|Commencement||Monday, May 20|
Course evaluations are an important aspect of curriculum review and planning for future semesters. Students are encouraged to complete course evaluations for each of their courses. Evaluations can be completed through student WIN accounts.
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Blessings on the week ahead,
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs