United Theological Seminary Celebrates 2023 Commencement
DAYTON, Ohio, June 1, 2023 — During its 2023 Commencement, held on May 20, United Theological Seminary celebrated 120 women and men who have completed their theological education and are going out to serve as faithful, fruitful leaders of the Church. The seminary also presented awards to 17 students and three alumni/ae.
Among the graduating class were 57 receiving the Doctor of Ministry degree, 50 receiving master’s degrees, nine completing the United Methodist Course of Study, and four completing a Certificate in Disability Ministry.
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, resident bishop of the New York Area of The United Methodist Church (UMC) and President of the Council of Bishops of The UMC, delivered the commencement address, preaching on the theme of “Redemptive Interfacing.” In recognition of his lifelong leadership and ministry, United awarded Bishop Bickerton the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
During the commencement exercises, the seminary also recognized three United alumni/ae who are making signification contributions to the Church and their communities:
- Justin Cason of Monticello, IN, received the Effective Ministry Award for his work developing an interactive digital ministry to share the Gospel in his community and beyond;
- Vanessa Ward of Dayton, OH, was named Distinguished Alumna for her leadership as Pastor Emeritus of Omega Baptist Church and President of the Omega Community Development Corporation, which provides a wide range of housing, educational, and health services to families in Dayton;
- Dr. Sheila Bouie-Sledge, of St. Louis, MO, received the Outstanding Doctor of Ministry Alumna Award for translating her Doctor of Ministry project into a non-profit organization, “My Diversity Circle,” bringing people together across racial and denominational lines in the greater St. Louis area.
As of fall 2022, United served 467 students from 42 different denominations, 33 different states and 20 different nations. As the graduating class of 2022-2023 goes out into the world, they are serving in diverse contexts to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
“We thank God for the United Theological Seminary community, where persons from different racial, ethnic and denominational backgrounds can work together to spread the Good News of God’s unconditional love, which comes to us through the life and teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” says President Kent Millard.
About United Theological Seminary
United Theological Seminary is a graduate professional school of The United Methodist Church. For more than 150 years, it has prepared men and women to become faithful and fruitful Christian leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ. On-campus and online learning options provide access to master’s and doctoral theological degrees or continuing education.