Students from Lenoir-Rhyne University's Columbia Center and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) celebrated commencement on Thursday, May 17, during a joint ceremony.
The University bestowed upon the Rev. Dr. William Trexler, an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. Trexler has enjoyed a colorful career over many years as a Lutheran pastor, and has served with distinction at congregations in Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia. He also served as Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
The Rev. Dr. David Ratke, dean of the college of theology at LTSS, commented on Trexler's exemplary leadership as Chair of the Advisory Council of LTSS.
"Reverend Trexler has been a valued leader and trusted confidante in his service as Chair of the LTSS Advisory Council," Ratke said. "As a pastor and bishop, he has dedicated his life to the church. Dr. Trexler is truly a worthy recipient of such an honor."
During the ceremony, Trexler provided the keynote address, challenging graduates to use their degrees to help change the world through their service. "My hope is that each student graduating today will use what your degree stands for, which is to be a helper to all people," Trexler said. "As much as any time in history our communities and our world need helpers."
Graduates received degrees in Divinity, Christian Ministry, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Human Services, and Sacred Theology.
About LR's Columbia Center
In fall 2017, LR's Columbia Center opened a Health Sciences Center on Main Street, representing continued growth for LR in the field of health sciences, and signifying a strong partnership between the University and surrounding community. The new classroom facility provided space for LR's Occupational Therapy program, an expansion of the program offered on the Hickory campus. The Columbia Center also offers programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Human Services, and Religious Leadership.
About LR's Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary merged with Lenoir-Rhyne in 2012. LTSS one of seven seminaries throughout the United States in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), and is the only ELCA seminary in the southeastern U.S. An ecumenical seminary, LTSS has a mission to teach, form, and nurture women and men for public ministry. Its flagship program is the Master of Divinity which enrolls students from across the country. Other degrees offered at LTSS include a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Sacred Theology, and Master of Theological Studies.