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United Theological Seminary honors Bishop Bruce Ough at 2022 Commencement

The Dayton, Ohio, seminary celebrates 105 graduates and awards Bishop Ough the honorary Doctor of Divinity

DAYTON, Ohio, June 13, 2022 — During its 2022 Commencement, held on May 21, United Theological Seminary celebrated 105 women and men who have completed their theological education and are going out to serve as faithful, fruitful leaders of the Church.

Among the graduating class were 49 receiving the Doctor of Ministry degree, 40 receiving master’s degrees, 7 completing the United Methodist Course of Study, and 9 completing certificates or specialized programs.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, delivered a powerful Commencement address, preaching on Ezekiel 37:1-14. Addressing the present chaos and despair of war, poverty, climate change, racism, violence and widespread division, Bishop Ough reminded the graduates they are charged with bringing God’s message of hope to a broken world.

Bishop Bruce Ough stands behind a podium, gesturing with both hands as he preaches at United's 2022 Commencement

In recognition of Bishop Ough’s commitment to mentoring and equipping pastors, congregations, and conferences to cultivate “Holy imagination” for transformative ministries, United awarded Bishop Ough the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Bishop Ough is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 2000-2012 as the resident bishop of the West Ohio Area of The UMC and from 2012-2020 as the resident bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area. He continues to serve the Church as Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops of The UMC. United Theological Seminary honors his legacy of innovative ministry through the Bishop Bruce Ough Innovation Center, which equips laity and clergy for creative ministry in the world today.

During the commencement exercises, the seminary also recognized two faculty members who are retiring this year and honored them with the Professor Emeritus status: Dr. Jerome Stevenson, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Care, following 14 years at United, and Dr. Thomas Dozeman, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, following 34 years at United. Dr. Dozeman also received the Honorary Doctor of Divinity, in recognition of his outstanding scholarship and contributions to theological education.

Also receiving the Honorary Doctor of Divinity were Rev. David S. Bell, President and Executive Director of the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan, and United alumna Rev. Marla Elifritz Brown, a retired elder in the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. Both are completing terms on United’s Board of Trustees as first vice chair and second vice chair, respectively.

President Kent Millard reflects on the generations of leaders who continue to answer faithfully God’s call on their lives: “We thank God for these experienced leaders and new graduates who are bringing spiritual renewal and vitality to congregations all around the nation.”

About United

United Theological Seminary is a graduate professional school of The United Methodist Church. For the past 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.

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