- Faculty & Staff
The 148th Commencement - May 18, 2012
The 148th Commencement
Friday, May 18, 2012
The 148th Commencement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is set for Friday, May 18, 2012 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lansdale, PA. The Rev. J. Paul Rajashekar, PhD, Luther D. Reed Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean of the Seminary, will present the commencement address. Over 70 certificates and degrees are expected to be conferred.
Photographs of graduates receiving their diplomas and a full photo gallery are available to view and for purchase here..
About the Commencement Speaker
J. Paul Rajashekar
Our commencement speaker is The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia’s (LTSP) Dean J. Paul Rajashekar, Luther D. Reed Professor of Systematic Theology. Dr. Rajashekar has focused much of his career in theological education on grappling with issues surrounding theology of religions, interreligious dialogue, Christian ecumenism social and political ethics, and congregational ministry.
We celebrate his remarks especially as the end of this academic year concludes his tenure as Dean after 12 years of distinguished service.
Dean Rajashekar earned his BA in 1968 from the University of Mysore and his BD in 1971 from United Theological College, both in his native India. In 1974 he was awarded his STM from Concordia Seminary – Seminex. He earned his PhD in 1981 from the University of Iowa, where he was greatly influenced by his theological mentor and noted Luther scholar, the Rev. Dr. George S. Forell. Before beginning his career in higher education at the seminary, he served pastorates in India (1971-1972) and Iowa (1976-1979). He taught at the United Theological College, Bangalore, India (1981-1984) before taking up the position of Executive Secretary for Theology at the Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland (1984-1991). He joined the faculty of LTSP in 1991.
Dr. Rajashekar has written that “theology is an act of faith, and that studying and teaching theology today involves addressing a number of challenges facing our practice of the Christian faith. It includes challenges emerging out of our context of cultural and religious pluralism, post-modernism, and our scientific and technological worldview. How to relate appropriately and intelligibly the core theological convictions of our faith in relation to our post-modern and pluralistic culture is the most demanding task of theology and for all prospective theologians today.”
Dr. Rajashekar has also focused upon the challenge in this day and age to articulate a relevant and responsible theology that is true to his Lutheran convictions and is at the same time open to insights and values of other faiths in dialogue. He has been concerned about authentic forms of Christian witness/mission in a multi-religious world.
Among his many contributions to the seminary, Dr. Rajashekar was instrumental in introducing the global, ecumenical, and interfaith requirements in the curriculum, helped articulate the seminary’s new mission statement, and was the founding director of the Asian Theological Summer Institute, a national program for mentoring doctoral students. He is the author of numerous essays, books and edited works. His latest publication, Abundant Harvest, Stories of Asian Lutherans, will be published this summer. He is the Chair of the Association of Asian/Asian North American Theological Educators.
Dean Rajashekar’s wife, Esther, is a dedicated pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Penndel, Pennsylvania. The couple has two adult children.