LSTC to celebrate 161st Commencement May 16

April 12, 2021

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) will hold its 161st Commencement virtually on Sunday, May 16, 2:30 p.m., Central Daylight Time. The pre-recorded celebration will be released on LSTC’s Facebook and YouTube channels. This year’s commencement speaker will be the Rev. Dr. José David Rodríguez, Augustana Heritage Chair of Global Mission and World Christianity at LSTC.

A virtual baccalaureate service will be held Saturday, May 15, 4 p.m. (CDT) via Zoom and livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. The baccalaureate preacher, the Rev. Dr. Kimberly Wagner, assistant professor of homiletics and Alex Jacob and Gerda Maria (Swanson) Carlson Chair in Homiletics, was selected with input from the graduates. Register here to receive the Zoom link.

James Nieman, president, announced the decision to hold a virtual ceremony during a community town hall Zoom meeting in February.

Addressing the graduates, Nieman said, “I have to acknowledge my sorrow about that [decision]. I wanted, as I wanted last year, to greet you in person, to hand you your degrees, to see all the regalia and hoopla and music, and all the happiness and the families. And I’m sad. I’m also aware that we can do a good job with this.” He invited students to work with the Commencement Planning Team on a celebration that will be meaningful for them.

 Rodríguez, who has served as acting dean of academic affairs this semester, will retire from full-time teaching at LSTC in June and be honored during the commencement ceremony.

 LSTC will also honor Javier “Jay” Alanís (1992, MDiv; 1998, ThM; 2002, PhD), executive director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest (LSPS), as he retires from that role. LSPS is a joint program of LSTC and Wartburg Theological Seminary located in Austin, Texas. Read more about him here.

Soon after May 16 the graduates’ diplomas will be sent to them in a package that will contain printed programs, their class picture and a few surprises to mark the occasion.

2021 graduates are invited to participate in baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies in the future when they will be held in-person.

 About José David Rodríguez

Ordained in 1975, Rodríguez served congregations in Puerto Rico and Chicago. He held visiting appointments at the Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico and the Comunidad Teologica de Mexico, and was an adjunct faculty member at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill., and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard, Ill., before joining the Lutheran School of Theology faculty in 1985.

 His service to the church includes membership on a number of boards, including the editorial boards of the Association for the Theological Education of Hispanics and the Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology. He was co-chair and planner of the first meeting of Hispanic-Latina theologians and ethicists held at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also member of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT). From 1997 to 2001 he was coordinator of EATWOT’s U.S. Minorities Region.

 Rodríguez is the author of several books and numerous articles, including Romanos, with David Cortés Fuentes (Augsburg Fortress), and La Vocación (Abingdon Press).

 He received a BA from Universidad de Puerto Rico in the area of Philosophy (with honors). He earned master of divinity, master of theology and doctor of theology degrees at LSTC.


Cheryl Hoth

Assistant to the Dean for Academic Affairs


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