Episcopal Divinity School to Award Honorary Degree and Graduate 28 Students

St. John's Memorial Chapel

May 16, 2012, CAMBRIDGE, MA – On this eve of Commencement at the Commencement Eucharist held in St. John’s Memorial Chapel at 5pm, Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett, professor emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School shared, “Commencement is a heartfelt and very, very emotional expedition.  This journey is marked not only by predictable highs and lows.  Yet more poignantly, it is a pilgrimage pulsing with both heart-warming and heart-breaking moments.” (Read the full text of Dr. Harris Thompsett's Sermon.)

Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) will celebrate the graduation of 28 students during its 2012 commencement ceremony that takes place on Thursday, May 17, at the First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 2:00 pm. At the ceremony EDS will present honorary doctor of divinity degrees to Dr. Robert W. Radke and Dr. Bruce Lawrence. The commencement address will be delivered by Dr. Robert W. Radtke.

Dr. Robert W. Radtke has served as president of Episcopal Relief & Development since 2005. In this role, he leads and oversees several major efforts including extensive Church engagement programs, fundraising, board development and international and domestic program evaluation and monitoring. He provides strategic leadership to the agency’s programs in more than 40 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the United States. Rob holds degrees (AB) from Columbia College of Columbia University and a doctorate (DPhil) from New College of the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive an honorary degree from EDS and to deliver the commencement address. It is especially meaningful for me to receive an honorary degree from EDS, as Massachusetts is my home diocese and my father is a graduate of EDS. As an infant, I was baptized in the chapel at EDS, and that is where I began my life as a member of God’s beloved community and a follower of Jesus,” shared Dr. Radtke in advance of his visit to EDS.

Dr. Bruce B. Lawrence, EDS ’67, is the Marcus Family Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, and Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University.  He has authored numerous books that reflect on ideology as the other, darker side of religion. As a Carnegie Scholar of Islam (2008-2010), he traveled extensively from coastal Africa to island Asia to research and write a monograph on religious minorities as secular citizens. He holds degrees from (AB) Princeton and (PhD) Yale, as well as from Episcopal Divinity School.  

When asked about his visit back to EDS, Dr. Lawrence answered, “I am most looking forward to being back in a place that will always be hallowed for me, from the time I first visited and met then Dean John Coburn, to my recent visits with former Dean Harvey Guthrie (and his wife, Doris) in California, to the pleasure of so many friends, fellow voyagers and lifelong exemplars, with [EDS faculty member] Canon Ed Rodman being near the top or at the top of that list.”