Emory University conferred degrees on 4,835 students at its 174th commencement exercises on Monday, May 13, as the Class of 2019 celebrated their graduation. Commencement began with a university-wide ceremony on Emory’s Quadrangle, which featured an address by U.S. civil rights icon and global humanitarian Andrew Young.

Afterward, Candler graduates moved to Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church for their diploma ceremony. Candler conferred a total of 139 degrees this year, which included 75 Master of Divinity, 17 Master of Theology, 13 Master of Theological Studies, two Master of Religion and Public Life, four Master of Religious Leadership, two Master of Theological Studies/Juris Doctor, one Master of Theological Studies/Master of Public Health, one Master of Divinity/Juris Doctor, 22 Doctor of Ministry, and one Doctor of Theology degrees.

In her opening remarks, Dean Jan Love recognized Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament Carol A. Newsom and Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament Carl R. Holladay who are both retiring after serving 40 years on the Candler faculty, and William Ragsdale Cannon Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Brent A. Strawn, who is leaving the faculty after 18 years to teach at Duke Divinity School.

The dean recognized Associate Professor in the Practice of Sociology of Religion and Culture Nichole R. Phillips as the inaugural recipient of the Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education, which recognizes outstanding scholars who excel as teachers within formal and informal education settings.

In her formal address, Dean Love described the graduating class as thoroughly engaged and deeply involved at Candler and in Atlanta in ways that accentuate love, grace, and justice. She also praised the students for raising $16,000 through the Senior Class Gift Campaign to support scholarships and the creation of a new hardship fund for students.

Love also read from Matthew 28:16-20, which tells of Jesus’ Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations. “Go and revel in the joy of a job well done, knowing you are equipped to lead and transform the world. Go now with diploma in hand to your next big adventure. Go and change the world in Jesus’ name.”

Candler faculty members Ellen Ott Marshall and David S. Pacini, who also teach in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion at the Laney Graduate School (LSG), were honored during the LSG diploma ceremony. Marshall, associate professor of Christian ethics and conflict transformation, received the Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education from LSG, while Pacini, professor of historical and philosophical theology, received the Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, honoring those who set the standard for mentoring excellence at Emory.