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ETSS to hold 53rd Commencement Events May 15-16

5/8/2006
[Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest]  Forty-six persons will graduate and seminary trustee David Grizzle will present the sermon during the Tuesday, May 16, commencement of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest.

The graduation service begins at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew's Church, corner of Steck Avenue and Mesa Drive in Northwest Austin. The Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly, chair of the seminary's board of trustees and bishop of Texas, will be the commencement Eucharist celebrant.

The evening before commencement, the seminary will honor ETSS Dean-emeritus Durstan R McDonald in a service of naming following the 6 p.m. Evensong service in Christ Chapel. The seminary's middle building of seven classrooms and 20 faculty offices -- renovated and opened two years ago -- will be named the Durstan R McDonald Faculty and Education Building.

"The only request of an anonymous donor who gave more than $1.5 million to ETSS during the recent successful capital campaign was that then Dean McDonald be honored in some way by the gift. I am pleased that the board of trustees wants to name this building to honor Dusty McDonald's 19 years of leadership and his love of teaching," said Nancy Springer-Baldwin, vice president of development at the seminary.

The 2006 Trustees' Award will be presented at commencement to Duncan Osborne, who chaired the recent, successful $1.25 million campaign to fund the John Hines Chair of Preaching at the seminary. An Austin resident and 1962 graduate of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Osborne is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin.

The Rev. Marta Weeks, a 1991 graduate of the seminary from the Diocese of Southeast Florida, will receive the honorary doctor of divinity degree. A retired priest, Weeks has supported a range of educational programs -- both sacred and secular -- throughout her lifetime. Dr. Stan Shaffer, a neonatologist from St. Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Missouri, who has done volunteer medical missions to Haiti for nearly two decades, will be the recipient of the honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

An active and long-time member of St. John the Divine Church in Houston, Grizzle, a seminary trustee since 2002, was invited to present this year's commencement sermon as he was completing 14 months of volunteer service spearheading reconstruction efforts in war-torn Afghanistan. Based in Kabul, Grizzle was transportation and infrastructure coordinator for the US Department of State and returned to Houston late last year.

Grizzle chronicled his experiences in Afghanistan with 16 well-written articles titled "Kabul Corporate Monk."