Lake Avenue Church was filled with excitement and emotion as graduating students prepared to take part in Fuller Seminary's 64th annual commencement ceremony. Thousands gathered in the church sanctuary to celebrate the graduates as well as Richard J. Mouw's last commencement as president of Fuller Seminary.
Approximately 500 students were a part of this year's commencement ceremony. Students earning master's and doctoral degrees from the School of Psychology, School of Theology, and the School of Intercultural Studies represented the 2013 graduating class.
During the ceremony, Marguerite Shuster, the Harold John Ockenga Professor of Preaching and Theology, was honored with this year's C. Davis Weyerhaeuser Award for Excellence. The award is a peer-selected accolade, presented to a faculty member with particularly outstanding care for the education and formation of students. For the Fuller community, the award is the recognition of "faculty of the year."
In his final commencement address, President Mouw urged graduates to be inspired by the connections they have made at Fuller. "First of all, stay connected with what we've taught you here. Fuller Seminary is a seminary committed to a kinder and gentler evangelicalism, a generous orthodoxy," he told students.
"And second, stay connected with each other," Dr. Mouw continued. "Be aware of the wonderful gift you have received here, becoming equipped with people from so many nations and cultures."
As his final instruction, Dr. Mouw urged students to "stay connected with Jesus."
"When you're suffering remember the triumph, and when you triumph don't forget the suffering," he said.
Reflecting on her first commencement as a Fuller faculty member, Associate Dean for African American Church Studies Joy Moore commented on the significance of Fuller's multicultural student body. She said, "Having as many as 31 countries represented at this seminary invites students to challenge their local contexts to be aware of the kind of global experience they have been a part of at Fuller."
Dean of the School of Intercultural Studies Scott Sunquist remarked, "It is a phenomenal experience to witness the recognition of scholars and leaders from so many parts of the world as they come together, those from such nations as Tajikistan as well as those from here in Pasadena."
Graduating senior Naomi Wilson said, "I'm going to miss the diverse learning community at Fuller and the passion for the kingdom of God that I've seen expressed here."