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Community invited to LTSS Alumni Day
Community invited to LTSS Alumni Day

The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University will celebrate alumni and welcome friends of the seminary to Alumni Day Thursday, April 23.

The event is open to all and is an opportunity to learn about the seminary and hear from a variety of preachers and teachers. Registration and coffee hour begins at 8:30 a.m. with a campus tour and recording oral histories of alumni. New this year, the oral histories seek to capture the stories of alumni from their time as students at LTSS.

The day features these events:

10 a.m., Stavros Hall – The Yost Lecture will be presented by Bishop Susan Briner*, Southwestern Texas Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This annual lecture honors the Rev. Dr. John L. Yost, Jr. a long-time pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hickory, North Carolina.

11:30 a.m., Christ Chapel – A festival eucharist and worship service features the Rev. Dr. Mary Hinkle Shore*, LTSS rector and dean, as presiding minister. The Rev. Jennifer Shimota*, coordinator of seminary enrollment, will preach. During the service, those alumni who died during the past year will be remembered with a moment of silence and prayer.

12:45 p.m., Reinartz Hall – The luncheon includes remarks from Dr. Fred Whitt*, university president, and Shore will offer a greeting from the seminary. In addition, various classes will be recognized with special honors, and the prestigious John Benjamin Bedenbaugh Alumni Award for Distinguished Pastoral Leadership will be announced. The annual award is in recognition of Bedenbaugh's ministry as a pastoral shepherd who encouraged bold congregational witness to the Great Commission and offered exemplary service to the church. Instituted in 1993 by the Southern Seminary Alumni Association, this award commemorates and honors Bedenbaugh's life. For 40 years, "Dr. B" contributed tirelessly his extraordinary gifts to the formation of women and men for Christian discipleship and ministry in Christ's Church. The award recipient is an alumna or alumnus of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and is serving in or retired from parish ministry. For several years, a unique stole of the four evangelists has been given to each recipient. Each year's recipient is kept confidential until the announcement at the luncheon.

The event concludes with a period of fellowship to allow alumni to renew friendships and share events in their lives. Reply online at lr.edu/ltss/AlumniDay by Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

*Biographical details about each speaker are noted below.

In 2018, Bishop Susan Briner was the first woman to be elected a bishop in the history of the three ELCA synods in Texas. She previously served as bishop's associate of the synod and was a pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Summerville, South Carolina from 2003 to 2012. Briner earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1984, and a Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2003.

As coordinator of seminary enrollment at LTSS, the Rev. Jennifer Shimota's primary focus is to create new recruiting strategies, with an overall objective to grow enrollment. Additionally, she supports seminarians throughout their time at LTSS by being engaged in their course registration, financial aid, and candidacy process. Previously, Shimota was the pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in High Point, North Carolina, where she served for six years in her first call.

The Rev. Dr. Mary Hinkle Shore serves as rector and dean at LTSS where she is the lead academic and church administrator. Before assuming her position at LTSS, Shore served as pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Brevard, North Carolina for six years. She also served 16 years at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she held positions as a professor and associate dean. Shore is a frequent speaker at pastoral conferences and other church events, and she has published "Signs of Belonging: Luther's Marks of the Church and the Christian Life," as well as multiple journal articles. Shore received her doctorate in religion from Duke University, a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

As Lenoir-Rhyne University's 12th president, Dr. Fred Whitt has served in his position for three years and has more than 30 years of leadership experience in higher education. Under his leadership, the University raised $9.6 million in 2018-19 with more than 12 percent of the alumni making a gift. The University also celebrated its 11th consecutive year of enrollment growth and received reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in 2018. Previously, Whitt served as founding dean of the Beaver College of Health Sciences at his alma mater, Appalachian State University. He served in that capacity beginning in 2010 when he was appointed to lead the development of the first new college at ASU in more than 40 years. Whitt earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and his master's and bachelor's degrees from ASU.