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2022 graduation - a cause for celebration

After two years of online graduations owing to Covid, it was a joy for staff, students and family members of the University community, to gather at Immanuel College, Novar Gardens on the evening of Friday 2 December to witness and celebrate the graduation of 59 students. Of these graduates, 26 were ALC students and the remainder were students from 6 of the University of Divinity’s (UD) interstate colleges.

Having recently joined UD, two Adelaide based colleges – St Barnabas (Anglican) College and Uniting College for Leadership and Theology – received a special welcome at this year’s ceremony. (Previously ALC was the only Adelaide based member college.)

LCA Bishop, Paul Smith led the liturgical part of the ceremony, with graduates from various colleges assisting with prayers.

Valedictory speeches were delivered by ALC graduate, Tracie Whittle, who was also named the Vice Chancellor’s Scholar, and by Whitley College graduate, Brooke Prentis – the first Aboriginal student to give a valedictory address at a UD ceremony.

Professor Wendy Mayer was recognised as having given sustained and distinguished service to the University as Professor for the past 5 years – initially as ALC’s Associate Dean for Research and for the past 12 months solely as UD’s Dean of Research Strategy. She was duly awarded Emeritus Professor status from the University. (Wendy is retiring to concentrate on her own research projects.)

A highlight of the evening, was the conferring of the Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) on Reverend Dr Stephen Haar. This is the University’s oldest award, created in 1910 and first awarded in 1913. It is an award reserved, for those like Stephen, who have made a sustained and distinguished contribution to theological scholarship or to the wider community in the area of religion.

In his graduation address, Dr Haar reflected on the “many hats” he had worn throughout his career.

I have worn many different hats, taken on various roles, and accepted a range of different responsibilities. The experiences and learning I enjoyed, through wearing those different hats, have contributed to whom I have become, and to whom I will be in the future.’

Tonight, your teachers say you are ready for your next steps in vocation and service. Yes, you are ready—but not finished yet. There is more to learn, more to live, more to love, more to serve ahead of you. So, I want to encourage you….as you continue a lifelong journey of learning, always remember the hats you have been given to wear…. your academic hat, as a reminder of inspiring and life enriching things. And the helmet of salvation—being clothed with Christ—to protect your mind and heart as you live and work in a world threatened by brokenness, injustice, and the anxious fears these may bring. Hang on to both hats.’

The ceremony concluded with the singing of A Christmas Blessing, written by Dr Robin Mann, recipient of the University’s Doctor of Divinity in 2019.