Emory University awarded 4,481 degrees at its 169th commencement exercises on Monday, May 12, as the Class of 2014 celebrated their graduation. Commencement began with an all-school ceremony on Emory’s Quadrangle, which featured an address by as civil rights icon and U.S. Representative John Lewis. Afterward, Candler graduates moved to Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church for their diploma ceremony.Candler conferred a total of 154 degrees this year, which included 117 Master of Divinity, 16 Master of Theology, 13 Master of Theological Studies, three Master of Theological Studies/Juris Doctor, one Master of Theological Studies/Master of Public Health, and three Doctor of Theology degrees.

In her opening remarks, Dean Jan Love acknowledged three departing faculty: Luther E. Smith, Jr., professor of church and community, who is retiring after 35 years on the faculty; W. Harrison Daniel, associate professor in the practice of history and mission, who is returning to the pastorate in the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church; and Robert W. Winstead, assistant professor in the practice of church leadership and director of the Office of Lifelong Learning, who is retiring, but will continue at Candler part-time.

The dean named Gregory C. Ellison II, assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling, as the School of Theology’s recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award, the highest teaching award granted by the University. Ellison currently is teaching a course in Brazil as part of an exchange program with Methodist Theological University in Sao Paulo, so his two young children accepted the award for him.

In her formal address, Dean Love made use of prints of Procession and Washing of the Feet by John August Swanson, whose art hangs throughout Candler’s building. Procession, she said, serves to remind graduates that as they end their time as students, they will continue to find their place in this great procession praising God. She chose Washing of the Feet because it presents a model of servant leadership to which we all should aspire.

“You who are graduating today have been striving diligently in recent years to imagine anew a portrait of your future, to delineate in a fresh way who you want to be in faithfulness to God and your calling to serve. We send you out now with degree in hand, deepened and broadened by your experience here, in hopes that the portrait you now imagine for your future has been enriched immeasurably by your experiences here.”

Bishop Woodie White offered the closing prayer, acknowledging that today is a special day for graduates—that today, it is “all for you,” but that every day after this, it is “all for God.”