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Drew Theological School Celebrates Graduates at the 156th Commencement

“God walks with us, guiding us through every new beginning”

May 2024 – Drew Theological School honored more than 90 graduating students during the 156th annual Commencement ceremony, which took place on Mead Lawn. The forecasted rain cleared for the 90-minute ceremony.

The event was also live-streamed for those unable to attend.

Celebrating her first commencement since joining Drew in 2023, University President Hilary L. Link, PhD, acknowledged the inclusive and global student community.

“You care deeply about each other and about creating a space for freedom of speech, for inclusion, for accepting others for who they are,” she said. “I feel blessed and grateful to be leading this special community, today more than ever.”

She encouraged the graduates to stay connected and return to the roots of their education. “My wish for you is that you always feel Drew is your home,” she said. “That you return, that you maintain your connections, that you reach back and do for those who will come after you what current students, graduates and older alumni have done for you.”

Following President Link’s address, Harriett Jane Olson was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Retired chief executive officer of the United Methodist Women’s (now United Women in Faith) national administrative and policymaking arm, Olson shared her evolving journey with the graduates that encompassed practicing law, environmentalism, publishing, missionary work—and how it all contributed to answering her calling.

“My own experience leads me to suspect that for you also, twists and turns in your journey will connect with parts of your prior experience and even when opening new doors you may have a sense of ‘coming home’ or ‘coming full circle,’” said Olson during her Commencement address.

“Graduates, I pray that your journey will surprise you with joy and challenge, and that when you look back over it in days to come, you will see ways that you made a difference, that you made a contribution. May we continue working individually and together in the Church and in the world that God so loves.”

Master of Divinity graduate Yeeun Kim T’24, who arrived at Drew from South Korea just over three years ago, addressed her peers with her story of transformation and personal growth.

“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned at Drew Theological School is that true growth often lies just outside our comfort zones,” she said. “Embracing this place of uncertainty has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it is one that I have never looked back on with regret.”

“Let us always carry with us the knowledge that no matter where our paths may lead, God walks with us, guiding us through every new beginning.”

President Link presented Kenneth Ngwa, John Fletcher Hurst Professor of Hebrew Bible, with the coveted student-nominated Theological School Teacher of the Year Award.

“We hope that you received a thirst for lifelong learning, and that you will freely share a vision for advancing justice, peace and love of God, neighbor, and the earth,” said Theological School Dean Edwin David Aponte during his closing address.

“A group of Drew graduates prayed and held back the rain!” said Bishop John Schol during his benediction. “As you go forth into this world, in the midst of conflict, division, and war, seek to build sustainable peace. As you go forth from this place, know that God goes with you.”

For more photos click here.

For more Commencement 2024 coverage, click here.

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