Wesley Seminary Graduates its First Master of Divinity Students

Wesley Seminary graduates

Fourteen students are the first graduates of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University to have earned a Master of Divinity degree. Their August 11 graduation marks a milestone achieved for the Seminary that opened in 2009.

"This was truly a group of pace-setters...not only because they were first, but because they pioneered a truly unique MDIV integrating the disciplines (Bible, theology and history) with ministry practice and completing a spiritual formation emphasis throughout the program, all while serving in their ministry contexts," said Dr. Wayne Schmidt, Wesley Seminary Vice President.

In all, the August commencement celebrated the achievements of 1393 students who had earned associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. Twenty-nine of those studnets graduated with Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees from Wesley Seminary.

The MDiv graduates are: Aaron Vaughn Gross, Dustin Lawrence Jones, Eric M. Key, Joel Christopher Liechty, Joshua S. Bowlin, Bart Andrew Hall, Tyler Hettich, Marc Lehman Kelley, Ian Edward Nacy, Justin J. Nierer, David Wayne Norman, Jessica L. Schmerse, Timothy E. Stradling and Paul Vincent Tillman.

"The great thing for me," said Dr. Ken Schenck, Wesley Seminary Dean, "was that the graduation of these students didn't fell like an ending. It felt like our fellowship and relationship had just moved to the next level and was more vibrant than ever."

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas provided the commencement address. The title of Gov. Brownback's address was "Liberty, Responsibility: Keys to America's Future."

Brownback advised graduates to pursue their dreams not only for themselves, but for those whom they will serve by accomplishing the calling that God has put into their heart.

"If you don't become a teacher, if you don't become a minister, if you don't become a doctor or nurse, somebody else gets hurt...they don't get the service of what you give. The reason you follow a dream is for somebody else. That's the way a good dream is," Brownback said.


Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church, which has its world headquarters in Indianapolis. The University was founded in 1920, and is committed to liberal arts and professional education.

More than 3,200 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion. Another 12,200 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.