This year's graduates come from 35 nations and 70 denominations
Energy and elation filled the sanctuary of Pasadena’s Lake Avenue Church on Saturday, June 12, as 477 new graduates were honored at Fuller Theological Seminary’s 61st annual commencement ceremony.
A total of 780 students complete master’s and doctoral degrees at Fuller this year: 491 from the School of Theology, 166 from the School of Intercultural Studies, and 123 from the School of Psychology. In his opening comments, President Richard J. Mouw listed the 35 nations from which those graduates hail—from Argentina, Burma, and China to Rwanda, Switzerland, and the Ukraine.
Dr. Mouw acknowledged the sacrifices of family members and special friends in supporting the seminary education of their loved ones, asking them to stand and be recognized with applause. He also highlighted the participation in the ceremony of several members of Fuller’s Class of 1960, noting that one father-son pair—John Koeker (MDiv ’60) and David Koeker (MDiv ’10)—were there to celebrate John’s 50th reunion and David’s graduation at the same time.
As part of the commencement ceremony, Fuller trustee chair David Beré announced Professor of Leadership J. Robert Clinton as recipient of this year’s Weyerhaeuser Award, known to the Fuller community as “faculty of the year.” “You are widely respected as a mentor with a deep commitment to see lives transformed,” said Beré to Dr. Clinton. “We commend you for your unwavering commitment to the gospel, to teaching, to the Scriptures, and to the mission of God.”
Also conferred was the inaugural Ruth A. Vuong Award, given in tribute to Fuller’s beloved Dean of Students who died unexpectedly in January of this year. “Ruth was a splendid mix of poet and prophet,” said trustee Anne Huffman, “who was—and is—the jewel of Fuller.” Huffman announced new graduate Kimberly Williams as recipient of the award.
In his charge to the graduating class, President Mouw referred to Isaiah 43:1-2 in saying to the students that their journeys will almost certainly be difficult, but to remember that God will be with them no matter what. “The God who has promised to be with us on the journey is the one who took the journey himself," Mouw said. "We send you forth on a journey of faith, a journey that will have a glorious end.”
“My charge to all of you today is to remember who you are,” he exhorted. “Remember what you have learned here at Fuller Seminary, and remember to pray for each other.”
See a photo gallery from Commencement, and read a front-page article about the ceremony in the June 13 edition of the Pasadena Star-News.
Read the stories of a few of the members of this year’s graduating class.