Renowned scholar and author, Rita Nakashima Brock is the commencement speaker for the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago on May 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Rockefeller Chapel. This will be LSTC's largest graduating class in 10 years. Almost half of the graduates will receive masters degrees and seek calls serving congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, while other graduates will take up ministries of teaching and other forms of leadership both internationally and across the United States.
Rita Nakashima Brock, Founding Co-Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good, is an award-winning author and a respected international lecturer and scholar. She has worked for two decades as a professor of religion and women's studies. From 1997-2001, Dr. Brock directed the Fellowship Program at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, formerly known as the Bunting Institute, the nation's premiere research institute for women. From 2001-2002, she was a Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School Center for Values in Public Life. Among her books are Journeys By Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power (1988), Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia and the United States (1996), and Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us (2001).
LSTC will award Humberto Ramos-Salazar the Doctor of Divinity degree posthumously to honor his exemplary ministry both as a scholar and teacher at the Instituto Superior Ecumenico Andino de Teologia (ISEAT) and as president and pastor of the Igelsia Evangelica Luterana Boliviana (IELB), the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The IELB was started in 1933 and is composed entirely of indigenous peoples. Its members are scattered mostly in the Andean highlands in and around La Paz and northward into Peru. It is the largest Amerindian Lutheran church in South America.
While president of the IELB, Humberto Ramos-Salazar became one of the first Latin American students to enroll in the Doctor of Ministry Program at LSTC. He had just completed the opening chapters of his thesis when he was killed in a car accident on a steep mountainside in Bolivia in October 2004.
Prasanna Kumari Samuel will be awarded the doctor of philosophy degree posthumously. Dr. Kumari Samuel died on March 16 in Chennai, India. She was completing the last chapters of her dissertation at the time of her death. Kumari Samuel was an internationally respected church leader who was serving as vice president of the National Council of Churches in India when she died. She was a professor of New Testament and head of the Department of Women's Studies at Gurukul Theological Seminary in Chennai, India.
Kumari Samuel was the first Lutheran woman to be ordained in India and the first woman to serve as the executive secretary of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India. Her contributions to the church extended around the globe when she served as vice president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) from 1997-2003.