Duke Divinity School celebrated its 96th Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Duke University Chapel, with Dr. Wylin Wilson, assistant professor of theological ethics, delivering a sermon that called on graduates to attend to God's call despite fear and uncertainty.
Preaching on Matthew 26:69-75, Dr. Wilson warned that fear will always meet those trying to discern the right thing to do because we live in a world of suffering and uncertainty, but God calls us out of that disordered fear and into God's restoration and power. She encouraged the graduates, "As you go forward, when times get tough, when you find yourself cowering in life’s corner, and when those 'what-if' questions arise, remember that you are restored, redeemed, forgiven, and nothing can put you beyond the reach of God's insurmountable love. Fear is no match for God's restoring power." Watch the service.
In the service with Duke Divinity School Dean Edgardo Colón-Emeric presiding, a total of 191 Duke Divinity School students were awarded degrees. The degrees were: Master of Arts in Christian Practice, 22; Master of Divinity, 106; Master of Theology, 19; Master of Theological Studies, 19; Doctor of Ministry, 23; and Doctor of Theology, 2.
Dean Colón-Emeric also announced the student recipients of several academic awards for the 2021-22 academic year during the 96th Closing Convocation on April 13. The worship service was live-streamed on the Duke Divinity School YouTube channel from Goodson Chapel. The Rev. Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley, associate dean for academic and vocational formation, Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Research Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry, and director of the Office of Black Church Studies, preached the sermon at the service with Dean Colón-Emeric and Rev. Meghan Benson, the Divinity School chaplain, as the presiding ministers.
The academic awards and this year's recipients were:
- Award for Excellence in Bible — Steven Austin Stapella (New Testament) and Emily Christine Page (Old Testament)
- Frederick Buechner Writing Award — Matthew Jordan Rossi
- Richard P. Heitzenrater Award for Excellence in History — Joseph Daniel Carnes Ananias
- Hoyt Hickman Award for Excellence in Liturgics — Sarah Jones Fala
- Jameson Jones Preaching Award — Shelby Hart Meehan
- McMurry Richey Awards — Heather Renee Barker (Field Education), Emma Christine Rankin (Missions), and Jason Pate Boggs (Student Pastor)