By The Rev. Jennifer Casey, Director of Enrollment Management, LTSS/LRU
Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary held a joint commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 21 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Columbia, S.C. A reception sponsored by the Seminary Auxiliary immediately followed the service.
A Baccalaureate Service was also held the Friday before commencement, May 20 at 7 p.m., with a reception following.
This was the inaugural commencement ceremony for LRU’s graduate center in Columbia, which opened its doors to students and faculty in the fall of 2014. The Center’s opening on the seminary campus brought LRU’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program to a third location and added an additional fully online Human Services program to the list of graduate degree options. Both programs are service oriented and consistent with the University’s mission of providing a Christ-centered, caring community. The Center is housed on the garden level of Beam Hall, which received a major renovation prior to opening.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker was The Rev. Dr. Marcus Joel Miller, who served as President Emeritus of LTSS for six years between 2006 and 2012. Honorary degrees were bestowed upon U.S. Congressman, James E. Clyburn, who received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree and Dr. Carl F. Schalk, who received a Doctor of Divinity degree.
The Rev. Dr. Marcus Joel Miller – keynote
As President Emeritus for LTSS, Dr. Miller worked tirelessly to improve the preparation of women and men for public ministry, built and worked with a capable team to strengthen the financial position and the reputation of the seminary, and shepherded the seminary through the process of the ground-breaking merger with Lenoir-Rhyne University.
At the seminary’s commencement service on May 11, 2012, the LTSS Board of Trustees bestowed upon Dr. Miller the John Bachman Award for his distinguished leadership and significant contributions to the seminary. The Bachman Award is the premier honorary award of the seminary.
Miller was ordained in 1971 and served in the full-time ministry of the Lutheran Church for 41 years. Before his call to LTSS, Dr. Miller served in five calls between 1971 and 2012 including – teacher of Religion and German at Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, New York, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Mt. Vernon, New York, pastor of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Brooklyn, Ohio, and bishop of the ELCA’s Northeastern Ohio Synod.
Dr. and Mrs. Miller have two children, Jennifer Miller Erickson and the Rev. Joshua Miller, and five grandchildren: Abigail, Andrew, Jessie, Elijah, and Lucy.
James E. Clyburn
As Assistant Democratic Leader in the 114th Congress, the number three Democrat in the House, Clyburn is the leadership liaison to the Appropriations Committee, one of the Democratic Caucus’ primary liaisons to the White House and Chair of the recently formed House Democrats’ Democratic Outreach & Engagement Task Force.
When Clyburn came to Congress in 1993, he was elected co-President of his Freshman class and quickly rose through leadership ranks. He was elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1999, and his reputation as a leader and consensus-builder helped him win a difficult three-way race for House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair in 2002. Three years later, he was unanimously elected Chair of the Democratic Caucus. When Democrats regained the House majority in 2006, Congressman Clyburn was elevated by his colleagues to House Majority Whip.
As a national leader he has worked to respond to the needs of America’s diverse communities. He championed rural communities supporting the development of regional water projects, community health centers, and broadband connections. He has supported higher education by leading the charge for increased Pell grants; investing millions in science and math programs and historic preservation at historically black colleges and universities. He has also encouraged economic development by securing funding for Empowerment Zones; investing in green technology development such as nuclear, wind, hydrogen and biofuels; and directing 10 percent of Recovery Act funding to communities 20 percent under the poverty level for the past 30 years.
Clyburn was instrumental in advancing into law measures to resolve historic discrimination issues, significantly reducing the statutory disparity in cocaine sentencing and compensating African and Native American farmers who suffered racial discrimination under the USDA loan program.
Dr. Carl F. Schalk
Dr. Schalk, teacher, musicologist, composer, and author, is Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. Dr. Schalk was called to Concordia University in 1965 where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in church music until 2004. While at Concordia, Schalk was instrumental in beginning the Master of Church Music program, which produced roughly one hundred and forty graduates serving throughout the church.
Dr. Schalk has served as lecturer and clinician at numerous church music workshops and pastoral conferences. He was the editor of Church Music between 1966 and 1980, and in 1978 he served as a member of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, Hymn Music Committee, which prepared the Lutheran Book of Worship. He is a Fellow of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada and was made an Honorary Life Member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.
Dr. Schalk holds degrees from Concordia University, River Forest; Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York; and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. His numerous choral compositions are published by a wide array of publishers, and he has written over eighty hymn tunes and carols. His collaborations with Jaroslav J. Vajda and Herbert Brokering in particular, have received wide acclaim. In addition, Dr. Schalk has produced numerous books on church music, including Key Words in Church Music, God’s Son in a New Land, Lutheran Hymnody in America, Source Documents in American Lutheran Hymnody, Luther on Music: Paradigms of Praise, and The Praise of God: An Introduction to Christian Hymnody for Congregational Study.