The Seattle School community gathered last Saturday, June 27, in downtown Seattle’s historic Town Hall for the school’s 17th Commencement ceremony. Faculty, staff, current students, alumni, friends, and families joined in celebrating the 2015 graduates from all three of The Seattle School’s degree programs: Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Theology & Culture (MATC), and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP).

“Is there any place else you’d rather be today?” asked Dr. Keith Anderson, President of The Seattle School, in his opening remarks. “This is a holy time. This is a sacred place. […] It’s a moment in time to give thanks to the God of grace.”

The 78 graduates were represented by three student speakers, Elise Hale-Case (MACP), Paul Quinlivan (MACP & MATC), and Heather Barnes (MDiv), who all spoke around the theme of pilgrimage. “Our transformed lives will transform our communities,” said Hale-Case, addressing her fellow graduates. “You have something to offer, and the world needs what you have.”

Dr. Pat Loughery, Adjunct Professor of Spiritual Formation, delivered the charge to the graduating class, a message he summarized in two points: Find the beauty in your world, and cultivate beauty wherever you can. “Beauty is seldom perfect,” he said. “In fact that’s what makes it delightful. Beauty surprises us.” Loughery challenged graduates to cultivate beauty in the lives of others and allow others to help cultivate the beauty in their own lives, taking their inspiration from the ongoing work of God. “Your beauty, and the beauty you see in the world, is cultivated by a whimsical, wild, and untamed God.”

Your beauty, and the beauty you see in the world, is cultivated by a whimsical, wild, and untamed God.

The ceremony also included music by PugetBrass and a special vocal selection by Elise Witek, graduating MACP student.

“As a faculty, we have been preparing you for this moment,” said Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Senior VP of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, in his benediction. The 2015 graduates now join The Seattle School’s thriving network of alumni who are pursuing innovative, life-changing work in their vocations as therapists, pastors, leaders, and artists. Through (S)ending, the Office of Students & Alumni’s unique lineup of events, Portfolio Groups, resources, and networking opportunities, this year’s graduates are being equipped to serve their clients and communities as healers and provocateurs of change.

We are so proud of the work that these 78 women and men have accomplished in their time at The Seattle School, and we cannot wait to witness the beautiful, courageous work they will pursue outside of our walls. You can find out more about what our graduates are up to in the world through our recently launched Alumni Directory.

Photo by Spencer T. Folmar, Media Specialist at The Seattle School.