Thirteen graduates of Bethany Theological Seminary have received their diplomas, becoming the newest alumni of the 115-year-old institution.
Bethany canceled its in-person commencement activities due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, but each graduate was presented with a box that included a diploma as well as a variety of celebratory gifts and mementos to mark the occasion. The boxes were sent to the homes of those who are living at a distance from the seminary, but for those who are in Richmond, President Jeff Carter personally delivered them to their homes. Graduates also received a video greeting from Carter and Dean Steve Schweitzer, which included a personalized blessing for each member of the class.
The Class of 2020 includes four students who completed the requirements for the Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination, two who earned the Master of Arts, and seven who earned the Master of Divinity degree. They represent a broad range of scholarly, creative and pastoral passions, and the class includes residents of nine U.S. states as well as the nation of Sierra Leone.
The list of graduates is as follows:
Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination
Eric William Bader, from Columbia, Missouri
Amy Beth Lutes, from Nashville, Tennessee
Joanna Davidson Smith, from McPherson, Kansas
Rachel Elizabeth Ulrich, from Richmond, Indiana
Master of Arts
Duane Edwin Crumrine, from Martinsburg, Pennsylvania
Paul Bala Samura, from Freetown, Sierra Leone
Master of Divinity
John Andrew Fillmore, Caldwell, Idaho (with Honors in Biblical Studies, Ministry Studies, and Theological Studies)
Susan K. Liller, from New Carlisle, Ohio (with Honors in Ministry Studies)
Thomas Michael McMullin, from Minburn, Iowa
Katherine Lynn Polzin, from Defiance, Ohio (with Honors in Ministry Studies)
Raul Gregorio Rivera Arroyo, from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico and Kettering, Ohio
Jack Richard Roegner, from Richmond, Indiana
M. Elizabeth Ullery Swenson, from Olympia, Washington
In his charge to the graduates, Carter noted, “You have important work to do in this world. At a time when we are divided, separated, and fearful, it is you who can bring this world together, create places of belonging and most of all, offer hope — a hope that does not disappoint — one born of God’s grace and love.”