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Saturday, May 17, 2014

10:00 AM


10:00 AM – Noon Family & Friend Brunch in Upper Noyes Hall (please register for this event)

2:00 PM Commencement Service at First Baptist Church in Newton

Graduates will gather at 1:00 PM at First Baptist in the chapel area behind the main sanctuary

Commencement Speaker: President Nick Carter

Saturday, May 17, 2014

10:00 AM – Noon Family & Friend Brunch in Upper Noyes Hall
2:00 PM Commencement Service at First Baptist Church in Newton

Graduates will gather at 1:00 PM at First Baptist in the chapel area behind the main sanctuary

Commencement Speaker: President Nick Carter. 


4:30 PM Commencement Reception

The Commencement reception will be on the Quadrangle at Andover Newton following the Commencement ceremony. As graduating seniors you will each receive four tickets to this reception when you pick up your gowns (one for you, and three for guests). Additional tickets may be purchased online or at the Business Office for $15.00 each. Please let us know if you intend to come and how many guests will be coming with you.

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Commencement Speaker
President Nick Carter

imageThis year’s commencement ceremony will mark a special time in the school’s history.  As we congratulate the class of 2014 and prepare to send faith leaders out into the world, we also recognize the tenure of President Nick Carter and reflect on his service to Andover Newton over the past decade.  It is the pleasure of Dean Sarah Drummond and Board Chair Judy Swahnberg to announce that President Carter will be the 2014 Commencement Speaker.

President Carter came to Andover Newton in 2004 bringing a rich and complex background built on Baptist ministry in Beverly, MA, a bold stand against nuclear arms as Executive Director of SANE/FREEZE and experience with the bottom-line at Imagitas and other private sector companies.  His 10 years at Andover Newton follow this interesting mix of pastoral and productive accomplishments.  Nick has taken the lead on many new initiatives and innovations which have moved Andover Newton into the school’s third century of faithful service in its mission to educate the next generation of leaders.

Early in his tenure, President Carter oversaw the completion of Wilson Chapel, an award winning and welcoming worship space.  While the school was celebrating its bicentennial in 2007, Nick led the way in relationship building through interfaith partnerships with neighboring Hebrew College and proclaiming Andover Newton as an “open, welcoming and affirming” seminary.  Overseeing the hiring of many new staff and faculty, and welcoming hundreds of students, Nick has built unity on the Hill through bi-annual Community Days and improved gardens and green space.  As a proponent of competency based divinity degrees and creative curricular programming, Nick has brought about innovate changes to a centuries old education model.  His many achievements at Andover Newton are a fitting end to a faith filled and fruitful career.

Baccalaureate Speaker
MT Dávila

imageMT Dávila, Assistant Professor of Christian ethics, is a lay woman in the Roman Catholic tradition. Each year the graduating class votes to select a professor whom they would most want to address them during the Friday evening Baccalaureate Service, which traditionally takes place on the evening before commencement.

She completed her doctorate at Boston College with a dissertation titled A Liberation Ethic for the One Third World: The Preferential Option for the Poor and Challenges to Middle-Class Christianity in the United States. She received her Bachelors degree from Brown University and her Master in Theological Studies at the Boston University School of Theology. Her main interests are the intersections of class identity formation and Christian ethics in the U.S. context. Her research looks for the intersection of these issues with respect to the relationship of class and militarism, class and immigration, and class and activism. She is currently undertaking a study of leaders of communities of faith, peace and justice practitioners, and others to examine the relationship between different understandings of discipleship and activism-public witness-faith in action.

Professor Dávila has also published articles and contributions on immigration, the use of force and just war theory, the theology of creation of Paul Tillich, Latina/o Theology, Christianity and U.S. civil society, and the role of the social sciences in Christian ethics. Her academic papers and presentations include discussions of feminist activism in the classroom, Catholic social teaching and the option for the poor, immigration and a sojourner identity, public religion and Christian identity, and race, class, and Christian discipleship in the United States.

Commencement Student Speaker
Gary Strichartz

imageGary was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He was raised Conservative Jewish and now considers himself a Jewish Unitarian Universalist. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics at Antioch College and a Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. His post-doctoral fellowships included stints at the University of Washington and Yale University.

He has served Brigham and Women’s Hospital since 1981. He has directed the Pain Research Center and, in 2013, founded the Women’s Pain Group at the hospital. He serves the Brigham occasionally as a chaplain. Gary is Professor of Anaesthesia and Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. His research interests began with the study of molecular mechanisms of nerve activity and drug action and migrated to an integrated understanding of chronic pain through investigating the psycho-social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of suffering. His professional movement toward chaplaincy and spiritual care has taken place along that continuum. He writes, ‘The mystery of being, from the scientific and the religious perspectives, feeds my sense of wonder and gratitude.’

Gary shares his life with his spouse, Linnea Lof. Their blended family includes six children and six grandchildren. Gary has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Area Church at First Parish Sherborn (UUAC) since 1995.

Gary describes his favorite Andover Newton experience to have been facilitating Community Covenant Groups for entering students. Writes Gary, “I came to Andover Newton to earn the M.Div. degree so I could be a chaplain in hospice, to lessen the suffering of the dying and their loved ones, but on this trip I’ve learned about other social ills and injustices and am directing part of my ministry towards fixing those.” Gary was selected by the Andover Newton faculty as the Commencement Speaker because of his outstanding accomplishments in and out of the classroom, the significant contribution he has made and is making to the world through his ministry, and the humble kindness with which he has warmed this Hill.

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Rabbi Murray I. Rothman Award
Yusuf Vali and Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal

President Nick Carter of Andover Newton Theological School and Rabbi Eric Gurvis of Temple Shalom of Newton today announced that Yusuf Vali and Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal will share the 2014 Rabbi Murray I. Rothman Award for outstanding interreligious leadership. Vali and Asmal will receive the award and a modest cash gift at the 2014 commencement ceremonies of Andover Newton Theological School, to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at the First Baptist Church of Newton.

President Carter said of the winners ‘These two are wonderful examples of the spirit of Rabbi Rothman. In a world that daily suffers pain and violence because of religious difference, it is a source of inspiration to have professional and lay leaders like Yusuf and Abdul who are helping us overcome the ignorance and fear that are so often at the root of these problems.’

Rabbi Rothman, longtime Senior Rabbi of Temple Shalom of Newton, was an exemplary rabbi and an admired figure in the Newton community, at Andover Newton, and the wider world. His accomplishments in fostering interreligious dialogue were widely respected as was his work as a teacher and community leader. He taught on the adjunct faculty of Andover Newton for many years and shaped the lives of hundreds of Christian seminarians. Upon his death in 1997, members of the congregation of Temple Shalom created this award to be conferred periodically upon that person or persons who, in the mind of the leadership of Andover Newton and Temple Shalom, have made significant contributions to interreligious understanding and who best exemplify the spirit of Rabbi Rothman.

Yusufi Vali is the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. This center serves more than 1,000 congregants during Friday services and is the largest Islamic institution in the New England area. Previously, he was a community organizer with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, a chapter of the Industrial Areas Foundation. Religious leaders across the New England salute Vali for his courageous leadership. Notably he single-handedly launched and now moderates one of the most important ongoing conversations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders in the Boston area. Yusufi is a graduate of Princeton University and the London School of Economics; he is also a Marshall Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal is a Muslim lay leader who has been called the “quiet hero” of interreligious dialogue in the greater Boston area. He has worked tirelessly to engage the Jewish and Christian communities and worked in countless venues as an ambassador for understanding. He serves as the co-chair of the Communications Committee Islamic Council of New England and is a board member Interreligious Center for Public Life (ICPL). Dr. Asmal previously served as president of the Islamic Center of Boston and the Islamic Council of New England. He is a retired physician and is also a member of the Needham Human Rights Committee. Dr. Asmal is a retired physician who specialized in endocrinology, with a focus on treating diabetes and other metabolic issues.

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Andover Newton, located in Newton Centre, MA, is the nation’s oldest independent graduate theological school. Andover (1807) and Newton (1825) joined forces in the 1930’s and formally united in the 1960’s. Today the school is internationally recognized for its preparation of congregational leaders through innovative programs in church renewal, field education, and interreligious studies. Andover Newton’s partnership with neighboring Hebrew College has received national attention for their pioneering interfaith programs. The School enrolls 325 students from 35 different denominations, including large numbers of UCC, American Baptist, Unitarian Universalist, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian students.

Temple Shalom, located in West Newton, MA, is a Reform Jewish congregation and a member of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Founded in 1950, Temple Shalom aspires to be a congregation whose members find meaning and fulfillment in the practice of Judaism. Its members believe that this meaning and fulfillment flows from a personal engagement with the living tradition of Judaism. The congregation emphasizes openness to diversity and full participation in the religious, educational and communal life of the community. Rabbi Eric Gurvis has served as Senior Rabbi since 1999.


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Parking for Commencement Service & Reception:

Please plan to park on the Andover Newton campus for Commencement. Limited parking may also be available in the Hebrew College parking lot in the area closest to Wilson Chapel. It works well if the driver drops everyone off at the church, goes and parks and then walks down the hill for the service. Immediately following the service you will be lined up at First Baptist Church for a class picture, which will give the drive ample time to retrieve the car and come down and pick up your party. Another option is to park in a Newton Centre parking lot in downtown Newton Centre. There is very limited parking in the First Baptist Church parking lot, and most of this will be reserved for people with disabilities or other special needs. Please email Frank Novo at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  if you or your guests need special parking accommodations.

Accommodations in the Newton Area:

  1. Campus - A limited number of $40 dorm rooms on campus will be made available for graduating students and their families. For more information, please contact Frank Novo, Director of Housing, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 617-831-2453.
  2. The Walker Center – Located in Auburndale about 3 miles from campus, is within walking distance of the Riverside T-stop on the Green Line and right off the Mass Turnpike (I-90). They are holding one of their houses, The Eddy House, for Andover Newton guests for the dates of May 16 – May 18. This cape-style home can accommodate 18 guests in nine bedrooms, five shared bathrooms, and a small kitchen. Cost is $60 per person and includes breakfast. The bathrooms are shared. For more information please visit their website: or call them directly at: 617-969-3919. When making your reservation please tell them you are with Andover Newton. This hold is only available through April 15th.
  3. The Holiday Inn in Brookline – Is located 5 miles from campus and is offering a discounted group rate to Andover Newton. Please contact them directly at 617-831-1200 and mention Andover Newton Theological School Commencement to receive the contracted group rate of $249 per night.

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