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At 4 pm on Thursday, May 11, the sixty-two graduates of the GTU Class of 2017 passed though the gauntlet of cheering professors and deans and entered the chapel at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary for the Graduate Theological Union's 2017 Commencement Exercises. The Class of 2017 included thirty-three graduates receiving the Doctor of Philosophy degree, twenty-seven receiving the Master of Arts degree, and two receiving the Master of Arts with a concentration in Biblical Languages. Follow the links to review a complete list of this year’s graduates and their thesis or dissertation topics, or to watch a replay of the live stream of this year's GTU Commencement.
Dr. Boyung Lee, Associate Professor of Theology, Education, and Spiritual Formation at the Pacific School of Religion, spoke on behalf of the faculty, addressing the graduates with a speech entitled, “A Life of Leading Out.” Dr. Lee’s reflections on a lifetime spent teaching and learning had a bittersweet note as her life path leads her to a new learning community after fifteen rich years at the GTU.
Chaitanya Motupalli, Ph.D. (Ethics and Social Theory) spoke on behalf of the graduating class. His inspiring remarks on “Hope for the Future” encouraged the graduating class to a resilient hope in the face of the world's challenges, including the issues he addressed in his dissertation on “Climate Change, Intergenerational Justice, and Restorative Justice.”
Following the hooding of the graduates and giving of diplomas, the new scholars and their scholarly community were played out of the chapel by organist George Emblom (CDSP) to the Marche Royale by French Baroque composer Jean Baptiste Lully.
On the evening before Commencement, the graduating class was honored at a reception hosted by the GTU Board of Trustees. The hard work and accomplishments of each graduate in attendance was celebrated publicly by a GTU faculty member with whom that graduate had worked closely. Mahjabeen Mohamedali Dhala (MA with Honors, Center for Islamic Studies) offered remarks on behalf of the graduating class. Jerome Baggett (JST) acted as Master of Ceremonies.
Special thanks to Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, a graduate school of California Lutheran University and one of the founding members of the GTU, for providing the infrastructure for streaming the video live.