graduation1Emory University conferred degrees on 4,857 students at its 173rd commencement exercises on Monday, May 14, as the Class of 2018 celebrated their graduation. Commencement began with a university-wide ceremony on Emory’s Quadrangle, which featured an address by Emory alumnus Michael Dubin, co-founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club.

Afterward, Candler graduates moved to Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church for their diploma ceremony. Candler conferred a total of 161 degrees this year, which included 101 Master of Divinity, 11 Master of Theology, 13 Master of Theological Studies, two Master of Religion and Public Life, two Master of Religious Leadership, one Master of Theological Studies/Juris Doctor, one Master of Theological Studies/Master of Public Health, one Master of Divinity/Juris Doctor, one Master of Divinity/Master of Development Practice, one Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work, 25 Doctor of Ministry, and one Doctor of Theology degrees.

graduation2In her opening remarks, Dean Jan Love recognized Associate Professor in the Practice of Practical Theology David O. Jenkins and Professor in the Practice of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies Rex D. Matthews, who are retiring from the Candler faculty after 18 and 38 years respectively, and Director of Information Technology Jose Rodriguez, who is retiring from Emory University after 28 years, the last five spent at Candler.

The dean recognized Professor in the Practice of New Testament Studies Steven J. Kraftchick as the recipient of the Exemplary Teacher Award, sponsored by the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. This award recognizes outstanding faculty members for their contributions to the learning arts and to the institution.

graduation3In her formal address, Dean Love praised the recent end-of-the-year video featuring graduating students sharing words and phrases that describe their Candler experience, with a song and spoken word by Tavares Stephens 18T and Brianna Sullivan Sharpe 20T. She also introduced two Candler graduates who were present as members of Emory’s Corpus Cordis Aureum (“golden corps of the heart”), which celebrates Emory alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. Edward Ducree 68T, the first African-American graduate of Candler, co-founded with fellow students, faculty and staff an organization called CRISIS (Christian Realism Involving Students in Society), which created a community center in Atlanta’s Buttermilk Bottom neighborhood. Ed McRae 58T, signed the 1963 “Born of Conviction” statement against racial segregation in Mississippi. Though they did not overlap as students, Love said, “the partnership of these two men couldn’t be more poignant at this time in history.”

“We send you out with degree in hand, deepened and broadened by your experience here, in hopes that you will continue to witness boldly in your time to the love, grace, and saving power of Jesus Christ. The invitation Jesus called to each of us to be part of the healing and care of the world in small and large ways. It’s the same now as it was for Christians in the first century, or sixty years ago, or fifty years ago, when these two men graduated.”

graduation4Love also read from Acts 17:1-9, noting that authorities in the Greek town of Thessalonica accused Paul and the disciples of “turning the world upside down” and “saying that there is another king named Jesus.”

“The world needs your commitment and fervent daily demonstrations that there is another king named Jesus. Go spread the good news of love, grace, hope, and restored relationships. Go and revel in the joy of a job well done here at Candler, knowing that you are equipped to lead and indeed to transform the world. You stand in a long line of leaders educated at Candler who indeed turned the world upside down in Jesus’ name.”