145th PSR Commencement

May 25, 2012
Author: 
Daniel Borysewicz

On Sunday, May 18, 2012 PSR held its 145th commencement, granting 74 degrees and certificates to a long line of bold leaders. The ceremony was held at First Congregational Church of Berkeley. PSR would like to congratulate all of this year's graduates and awardees.

The commencement address was given by Rev. Dr. Andrea Bieler, Professor of Christian Worship and the valedictory vharge was given by Virginia Chase, Director, Field Education.

Six students were honored at this year's commencement:

PSR presents the Paul Wesley Yinger Preaching Award to one or more graduating MDiv students judged to be outstanding preachers with exemplary dramatic skills. The award is named for a former PSR trustee who was an acclaimed United Church of Christ preacher. This year, PSR’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kathi McShane presented the award to Jack Gregory Davis. He continues to find new ways to express his theology and life experience in his preaching.  In a way that would have made Dr. Yinger proud, this graduate creatively uses story and narrative to help bring forth the gospel.  With strong voice and emotion, 'Greg' creates an experience of the biblical text that is compelling and thought provoking.  The insights in his sermons contain critical reflection on the text and an interpretive method born out of deep engagement, thought, and inspiration.

Each year at commencement, the PSR Alumni/ae Association gives its Koinonia Award to students who embrace the school's sense of community, actively participate in campus life, and demonstrate academic excellence. (Koinonia is a Greek word that appears frequently in the New Testament that means community, fellowship, and sharing.) This year, PSR President Riess Potterveld presented the Koinonia Award to three MDiv students.

The first awardee is Staci Imes. At PSR Staci was involved in PSR chapel, PSR chorale, as a volunteer with prospective students, and in creating alternative worship opportunities for students. She has been an active leader on campus as an institution as the student representative to the Board of Trustees and many value her honest and thoughtful contributions in class and willingness to collaborate. She is also very committed to her denomination, the Presbyterian Church. She has also represented PSR on national and international levels for a Fund for Theological Education fellow, a Volunteers Exploring Vocation alumna, and during her travels in Palestine and Israel last summer engaged in interfaith peace work in various settings.

The second awardee is Young Mi Jung. She has been particularly involved with families and children on campus – providing outlets and means of connection for families. In this capacity she also serves as youth director at Berkeley United Methodist Church. She has served on the Housing Advisory Committee where she was a liaison between the Committee and the Korean Student Association. Mi Jung has been an active contributor to the Asia Project as well as Sacred Snapshots, where she shared insight into the practice of Tong Sung Kido. She has been a vital member of the worship planning team and contributed to leading worship with conviction and understanding, both at the Korean Student Chapel, International Student chapel, and at her field education site (Epworth UMC).

The third awardee is Samuel Rennebohm.He is known for his deep commitment to issues of social justice. He is vitally interested in and passionate about working against systems of oppression. This is exhibited by work he did in South Africa and in the southern United States before entering seminary, and by his advocacy work at PSR especially during the Washington D.C. immersion. He has also been committed to addressing manifestations of racism on campus and in the community through his work with the office of Dismantling Racism at PSR. This student has impressed professors and peers alike with the depth of this theological insight in class, during his Middler review, and during informal conversations. He was exceptionally valued at this field education placement right here at FCCB for both his talent for preaching and his leadership skills.

The Mendiola Prize in Ethics is named in honor of a beloved PSR Professor who was a well-known scholar and a much beloved colleague and friend. Though there were a number of ‘honorable mentions,’ the Prize this year goes to Jakob Hero, whose MA thesis draws on postmodern theory and virtue ethics to construct an ethic for transgender flourishing.

Bernard Schlager, PhD and Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson, Ph.D. of PSR’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) presesnts the Marcella Althaus-Reid Award, named for the late Latin American feminist and queer theologian, for the best student essay in queer religion and theology. CLGS Executive Director Bernard Schlager and Senior Director for Academic Research and Resources Jay Johnson presented the award to Rachel Bauman for an important and transformative essay on the theological significance of incarnate yearning, called “Erotic Desire: Bodily Memory of Union with God.” 

View photos of this year's commencement.

The 2012 Graduates:

CERTIFICATE OF MINISTRY STUDIES
TERRY L. AUSTIN, B.B.A., Wichita State University
ELAINE DEATHERAGE, B.A., Pepperdine University
KATHLEEN M. ELLIS
SISI TOUTAI FONUA
MIKE FRIEDRICH, B.A., Santa Clara University
RAYMOND E. GLOVER
ENNIS JACKSON
VERONICA LYNNE JORDAN
TERRANCE WELLS

CERTIFICATE OF ADVANCED PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
RAMTHIANGHLIMI BUNGSUT, B.Div., Bishop’s College; B.Th., Aizawl Theological College
KIMBERLY NOEL BROWN MONTENEGRO, B.A., Saint Mary’s College of California; M.Div., Pacific School of Religion
DEBRA ORIEN SMITH NEWCOMB, B.A., Concordia University; M.A., Sioux Falls Seminary
VANCE PETER THEODORE

CERTIFICATE OF SEXUALITY AND RELIGION
KIMBERLEE G. CYPHERS, B.S., Chapman University
EVAN HOWARD, B.M., University of Oregon
MASTER OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES
BEVERLY FAITH BOSWELL BROOK, M.A., University of San Francisco

MASTER OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES
KIMBERLEE G. CYPHERS, B.S., Chapman University
KENT V. FORBES, B.A., University of Maine; M.A., University of Maine
MAJA CATHERINE GRAY, B.A., Smith College
ZAMIRA JUNGMIN HA, B.A., Stanford University
EVAN HOWARD, B.M., University of Oregon
CYNTHIA LEE LEONARD, B.A., St. Mary of the Woods
JAMIE DEE RANDOLPH, B.S., Georgia Southern University
YOUNG WOO SUH, B.A. Yonsei University; M.Ed., Yonsei University
ANN MARIE WAGSTAFF, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

MASTER OF DIVINITY
ELIZABETH ANN ARMSTRONG, M.A., Columbia Pacific University; Ph.D., Columbia Pacific University
SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG, B.A., California State University, Fresno; J.D. magna cum laude, University of San Francisco
RACHEL LOUISE BAUMAN, B.A., Whitman College; M.Ed., University of Vermont
ELIZABETH EVA BLAIR, B.A., Grinnell College
DIONNE NICOLE CARTER, M.P.H., California State University, San Jose
JACK GREGORY DAVIS, M.Mus., University of Houston
EMMA DORY DONOHEW, B.A., University of Puget Sound
ANTHONY M. EGGLESTON
ARGROW KITNEQUA EVANS, M.A., School for International Training; M.A., Trinity Washington University
CANDACE DENICE FRAWLEY, B.S., University of Phoenix; M.B.A., University of Phoenix
JENNIFER LEIGH FRISBY-BOWLING, B.A., Bryn Mawr College
R. WARREN GILL III, B.A., Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
DANIELLE HAILE, B.B.M., University of Phoenix
LUKE EDWARD HAM, B.A., California State University, Chico
DAVENA LEANCÉ HAMBRICK
BRANDON LEE HAMM, B.A., Pennsylvania State University
STACI JOANNE IMES, B.A., Truman State University; M.S., Marquette University
JAEKUK JO
YOUNG MI JUNG, B.A., Mokpo National University
ROY JOHNSON KING, M.D., Stanford University; Ph.D., Cornell University
YAEL LACHMAN, B.A., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., University of California, Santa Cruz
MICHAEL LAWSON, B.A., Washington State University
MICHAEL RAY MALLORY, B.A., California State University, San Francisco
SIMI ESELU LAGAI MAUGA
MARK RIVER MCKENZIE
JAMIE DUPASQUIER MICHAELS, B.A., Brevard College
MATTHEW ALEXANDER PEARSON, B.S., Eastern Mennonite University
SAMUEL BENNETT RENNEBOHM, B.A., Columbia University
KELLY ELIZABETH RYAN, B.A., Grinnell College
ANDREW SCOTT, B.A. magna cum laude, University of Colorado, Boulder
CHRISTINA NICOLE SIVA, B.A., St. Olaf College
SAMUEL MULBAH SONDAH, B.A., University of Ghana; M.Phil., University of Ghana
FLOYD WELLONS, JR., B.A., Walsh College
HEATHER LAUREY WELLS, B.A., California State University, Sonoma
ELIZABETH ALEXIS WRIGHT, B.A., Mary Washington College
HYUKJAE YOO, M.Div., Methodist Theological Seminary
MATTHEW M. ZARRO, B.A., University of California, Los Angeles

DOCTOR OF MINISTRY
VONG MAI, M.T.S., Franciscan School of Theology; M.A.M.C., Franciscan School of Theology "A Formation of Lay Ministers for the Vietnamese Catholic Church”

GTU MASTER OF ARTS
JEREMY WILLIAM ARNOLD, B.A., Texas Christian University "Watching the Wandjina Watching: Exploring Cultural Difference in the Appropriation of an Indigenous Australian Icon”
ALI JENNATI ATAIE† “Finding Muhammad in the New Testament: An Orthodox Muslim’s Interpretive Methodological Approach to the Christian Scriptures”
TRACY COLLEEN BARNOWE†, B.A., Portland State University; M.Div., Pacific School of Religion “A Refugee is a Blind Man: A Critical Study of Blindness as Cognitive Metaphor in the Old Testament”
DIANDRA ENEZ CHRETAIN‡, B.A., University of Puget Sound “Deborah’s Conflicted Relationship with Patriarchy: A Feminist Critical Analysis of Gender Roles in Judges 4:1-22”
KOJI FUKAYA "The Conversion of Joseph Hardy Neesima: A Critique of Tokuda Yukio’s Theory”
TYLER DUANE GARDNER, B.A., Brigham Young University “American Literature and a Secular Age: Emerson, Thoreau, Melville”
KAREN JANE HASTINGS-FLEGEL**, M.Div., Pacific School of Religion, D.M.A., Stanford University
JAKOB HERO†, B.A., University of South Florida; M.Div., Pacific School of Religion
“Virtue Ethics and Transsexual Flourishing”
ELEKOSI LAFITAGA**, B.S., University of Hawaii
CHRISTINA NICOLE SIVA**, B.A., St. Olaf College
SEUNG HYUN YOO† “God – The Salvation of the World: A Holistic Horizon of Universalism in Jürgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg”

GTU DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
AJIT K. ABRAHAM† “Alternative Narratives in Contemporary Globalization: A Case Study of Visthar and Sebastian Kappen”
JOHN T. HANDLEY “Bodying-Forth Ultimate Concern: Human Existence, Transcendence, and Religious Dimensions in the rt of Stephen De Staebler”
W. EUGENE MCMULLAN "Queer Witness: Religion and the History of the LGBT Movement in San Francisco, 1948-1981”
DAESOP YI "An Enriched Christian Understanding of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises Through the Process of Passing Over and Coming Back with Visuddhimagga: Path of Purification”

** This M.A. recipient has graduated with a concentration in Biblical Languages
† Graduated in fall 2011
‡ This graduate has completed the Certificate in Women’s Studies conferred by the Graduate Theological Union