The Evangelical Theological Seminary on June 10 awarded 72 degrees to 59 students on a rainy Saturday following the dedication of the new Student Center and Lena and George Hendrickson Library.
Degrees were awarded to students representing 11 nationalities, including 34 from Croatia, 10 from Macedonia, and three each from Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia-Montenegro. Six other nations had one graduate, including Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Slovenia, the United States and Myanmar. Degrees included undergraduate and master's degrees.
The seminary also awarded the inaugural Distinguished Leadership Award posthumously to Dr. J. Philip Hogan, a mission executive, evangelical leader and founder of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. The award was given to honor his work in advancing the gospel around the world and to “gratefully recognize his unique vision and strategic contribution to the founding and growth of our seminary.” The award was presented to his wife, a resident of the United States, who shared remembrances of the school over the years including the purchase of the Synagogue, which remains at the center of the campus.
Just prior to the graduation, the seminary dedicated its new four-story 30,000-square-foot Student Center and Lena and George Hendrickson Library. The building, six years in development, will finally allow students and visiting scholars to utilize its complete theological holdings as well as providing room to add to its collections. For the first time, the seminary will be able to utilize its full library of 65,000 volumes of specialized literature and more than 100 theological and biblical studies journals. Previously, the library was so cramped that some 30,000 volumes have been sitting for years in storage. The new building also provides ample reading room space for scholars to study as well as lecture halls and faculty and administrative offices.
Governmental officials from Croatia as well and church leaders from most denominations in Croatia participated in the dediation or graduation ceremonies.
ETS serves Protestant students of all denominations primarily from the former communist countries of south central Europe, including Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Ukraine but has also had students from Asia and Africa. Its more than 900 former students minister in 60 countries across the globe.
The seminary, founded in Zagreb in 1972 under communism, moved to Osijek, in the northeastern part of Croatia in the 1980s. This move positioned it at the crossroads of the two major streams of Christendom – Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy – as well as at the point of entry into Europe of Islam.