Sending Christian Leaders into the World
FRANKLIN, WI - On Saturday, August 29, Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) held its spring/summer commencement exercises at Franklin Field at The Rock Sports Complex, an outdoor venue chosen for its larger capacity to physically distance seating. At the ceremony, WLC awarded diplomas to more than 150 traditional undergraduate students, adult accelerated degree program students, and graduate students.
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The Class of 2020 selected Emily Frey of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as its student speaker. Frey graduated from WLC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, Broad Field Science Education, and Biology. At WLC, Frey worked in the Office of Student Life, organizing the Intramural Department and serving as an office assistant to the Dean of Student Life. She also served as secretary for the Future Teacher Education Association and participated in the women's basketball program. In 2019, Frey received the Sharon A. Schoeneck Christian Women's Leadership Scholarship. She is grateful that this scholarship gave her the opportunity to learn and grow in her faith and leadership skills.
Frey reminded her fellow classmates that they should not take God's blessings and His gifts for granted. “This school - the faculty, staff, athletics, extracurriculars - are all blessings that God has given to us, and in reality, we do not deserve any of them.” she said. “Even though we all thought we had one plan for this year, our God decided to change that plan. What an amazing reminder that God is in control, and ultimately it is His plan for our lives that is the most important.”
The keynote speaker on this beautiful summer day was Milwaukee native Rev. Mark Jeske, who has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus Lutheran Church on Milwaukee's near north side since 1980. During the earlier years of his tenure there, he made a personal commitment not to abandon the inner city when racial tensions caused urban flight to accelerate. He led the struggling church and its elementary school through those troubled times, not only keeping their doors from closing, but also helping both flourish and grow. Today, St. Marcus is a thriving, multicultural congregation of 1,000 members, and St. Marcus School is nationally known as an innovative, Christ-centered educational institution with an enrollment of more than 900 students. Pastor Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in 2001 on a single station in Milwaukee. By 2018, when he turned over Time of Grace's broadcasting and writing leadership to Pastor Mike Novotny, the broadcasts were airing on more than 125 stations, cable networks, satellite channels, Armed Forces television, and the internet.
Pastor Jeske told graduates not to feel sorry for themselves during this trying time. “If you are, you're forgetting that God does His best work in times of disruption,” he said. “Don't curse your luck at being sent out into a world so disrupted. You were given this fabulous education for this very reason. You are wise beyond your years. You are trained richly in the Word of God to know the principles of our Creator and Savior. And you have, as Christians, an inherent optimism that is going to be contagious, and our world badly needs it.”
His advice: “Don't run away from the mess and the chaos, but walk right into it with your eyes wide open and your heart wide open.” Finally, Pastor Jeske encouraged grads to choose to love their jobs, to love the people around them and look for goodness in them, to embrace living small as they start out, and to look for mentors.
WLC alumna Stacy (Lorfeld) Becker '05 received the Alumni Service Award during the ceremony and welcomed graduates to the ranks of WLC alumni. She told the Class of 2020 not to be afraid, "because you know that God has a plan for you, and His plan will turn out exactly the way He intends it.”
Wisconsin Lutheran College prepares its graduates to be Christian servant leaders in the workplace and in the community.