Concordia Seminary Newsroom

Concordia Seminary Newsroom and Press Releases

Concordia Seminary Confers 106 Degrees at Commencement

The 164th academic year of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, concluded on Friday, May 23. The day’s activities began at 10:00 a.m. with a baccalaureate service in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, followed by a special luncheon for graduates and their families. Commencement exercises were held at 7:00 p.m. in the Seminary’s main quadrangle.

Dr. R. Reed Lessing, assistant professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, delivered the sermon at the baccalaureate service. Following the sermon, students who successfully completed one of the programs of preparation for service in the pastoral ministry in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) were presented their theological diplomas and diplomas of vocation. In this act, the Seminary faculty fulfilled publicly the responsibility given it by the LCMS to certify those men it determines to be qualified in every respect for service in the pastoral ministry.

At the evening commencement exercises, Dr. L. Dean Hempelmann, director of pastoral education for the LCMS, served as commencement speaker. Following the address, 86 students were recipients of master of divinity degrees. This is the academic degree which most students who desire to be pastors, missionaries or chaplains in the LCMS receive. Other degrees conferred included nine master of arts degrees, two doctor of ministry degrees, six master of sacred theology degrees and three doctor of philosophy degrees. Two of the master of arts students and one doctoral student previously received their degrees on Nov. 18, 2002. Sixteen students were recognized as candidates for completion of the certificate program (alternate route). Upon successful completion of a one-year vicarage (internship), these students will be certified as eligible to receive a call and serve as pastors, missionaries or chaplains in the LCMS.

Six individuals were selected by the Concordia Seminary faculty to receive special honors during the commencement exercises. Mr. Raymond Hilgert of St. Louis received the Christus Vivit Award, granted each year to laity who exemplify a lifetime of distinguished and dedicated service in the LCMS. Rev. Ralph O. Dorre of Palm Springs, Calif., received the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of 40 years of teaching at Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y., since his 1956 graduation from Concordia Seminary. Prof. Dr. Wilbert Kreiss, retired president of The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France and Belgium, was awarded the honorary doctor of letters degree in recognition of his translation of Lutheran material into French for use in African missions. Dr. Gottfried Krodel, professor emeritus of history and theology at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., was awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree in recognition of his contributions to Reformation scholarship and research, especially pertaining to law and theology. Dr. John D. Fritz, interim pastor at Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, was awarded the honorary doctor of divinity degree in recognition of his wide variety of offices and services to the church-at-large. Prof. Dr. Reinhard Slenczka, professor and president of Luther Academy in Riga, Latvia, and pastor in the Latvian Lutheran Church, was awarded the honorary doctor of divinity degree in recognition of his work in the Confessional Lutheran Church in Europe.

For more information, contact, Communications, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314.505.7375;