Commencement celebrates the future ministries of the class of 2014

Wake Forest University conferred Master of Divinity degrees upon twenty-six students at the university’s Commencement ceremony held May 19. Two students received degrees with concentrated studies through the School of Divinity’s Well-Being and Religious Leadership Program, one in Faith and Health of the Public and one in Food and Faith.

The School of Divinity held two ceremonies honoring the twenty-six graduates, a hooding ceremony on Saturday May 17, and a diploma ceremony following Commencement on Monday.

On Saturday, the graduating class gathered with faculty, family, friends, and mentors to receive their masters’ hoods. The ceremony, planned by members of the class of 2014, was themed after the class of 2014’s New Student Orientation from 2011, “Nurturing Roots, Bearing Fruits.” The ceremony was a reminder of the roots graduates have developed in the Wake Forest Community and the fruit they now leave to bear in their future vocations as religious leaders. Featuring a drum circle, dressing of the table by children of graduates, and special music by Lift Every Voice (a student-led group of musicians), the ceremony expressed the joy and anticipation of what lies ahead for the members of the class of 2014.

Neal H. Walls, associate professor of Old Testament interpretation, gave an address titled, “Trees of Knowledge and Wisdom.” Wall’s remarks called attention to how important gaining continuous knowledge is to ministry.

“I wish for you to flourish like well-watered and deeply-rooted trees, producing your unique fruit for the world,” Walls said. “You have been pampered as a hot house seedling within these walls, nurtured as a sapling in a garden like Eden, set within a vineyard to work in internships, pruned harshly through Clinical Pastoral Education, and lovingly cultivated within an orchard of like-minded fruit trees to the fullness of academic maturity. May you spread out your leafy boughs across the land as trees of knowledge, insight, and gracious ministry as branches of the true vine.”

During Monday’s diploma ceremony, Dean Gail R. O’Day spoke about the pastoral and theological imaginations of Isaiah and Paul, in the epistle to the Corinthians, as each addressed the despair and needs of their communities, and also the hope and seeds of new life. O’Day encouraged graduates to continue to work for a just and peace-filled community.

“My hope for each of you is that you will daily know yourself to be God’s garden,” O’Day said. “That you will go ever stronger in the knowledge that satisfying the needs of the afflicted strengthens your own bones. That opening the doors of your house means more room for all. And that sharing bread always means a fuller table for everyone.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!


Links of Interest
Tagboard: #wakediv2014 on Social Media
Video: “I’m Called” – The Class of 2014 expresses their call
Meet Nathan Berry (MDiv ’14) – Wake Forest University Featured Graduate Profile
Audio: Hooding Ceremony Remarks by Neal Walls [audio:/uploads/audio/hooding-2014-neal-walls-remarks.mp3|titles=Neal Walls: Hooding Remarks 2014]
Audio: Diploma Ceremony Remarks by Dean Gail R. O’Day [audio:/uploads/audio/wfusd.2014.diplomaceremony.oday.mp3|titles=Gail R. O’Day: Diploma Remarks 2014]



Media Contact: Mark Batten; 336.758.3748


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