DAYTON, OHIO, May 23, 2018 — United Theological Seminary held its Spring Commencement on May 19, 2018, at Grace United Methodist Church, Dayton, Ohio. Sixty-one masters, doctoral and Course of Study graduates earned a diploma or certificate after years of hard work, study and spiritual growth and were sent forth to serve as faithful, fruitful leaders of the Church.
Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, episcopal leader of the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC), delivered the commencement address.
“Ministry matters” was Bishop Malone’s challenge to graduates. Meaningful ministry and transformational leadership, she explained, is more than what you do, it’s how you do it — with humility, compassion and courage. She encouraged students to continue focusing on these spiritual characteristics and a growing relationship with God long after graduation in order to lead transformation in their congregations and communities.
Bishop Malone exemplifies this type of leadership in her own career. In recognition of her outstanding ministry of evangelism and social action and her powerful leadership as a pastor, district superintendent and bishop, United awarded Bishop Malone the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree during the commencement ceremony.
In 2016, she was elected a bishop of The UMC and appointed to the East Ohio Episcopal Area, where she continues to oversee more than 700 congregations and 150,000 churches. In addition to leading the East Ohio Episcopal Area, she currently serves as President of the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
Bishop Malone holds a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary. Prior to her election to the episcopacy, she served as a pastor in several congregations in Illinois and as Chicago Southern Region District Superintendent. Her past leadership includes the Board of Directors for the General Commission on Religion and Race, the Board of Directors for the General Board of Church and Society, President of Chicago Black Methodists for Church Renewal, among others.
“We thank God for Bishop Malone,” said Dr. Kent Millard, President of United, “for her transformational leadership in the Church and for her inspirational message to our 2018 graduates.”
United Theological Seminary is a graduate professional school of The United Methodist Church offering masters and doctoral theological degrees and continuing education with programs offered on campus and online. United’s goal is to prepare faithful, fruitful leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ.