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News from the Hill April 18, 2013 | back to index

Andover Newton’s 2013 Commencement Weekend Speakers Announced

President Nick Carter today announced the speakers for Andover Newton’s 2013 Commencement and Baccalaureate programs, which will be held May 17th and 18th. Former ANTS professor and internationally known theologian, Dr. Harvey Cox, will speak at commencement. Also speaking at the graduation ceremonies will be Pedro Silva, a senior, who was selected by the faculty for the honor of joining Dr. Cox in addressing the graduating class. The night before commencement the School’s traditional Baccalaureate Service will occur and Professor Mark Heim has been selected by the senior class as the speaker for that program.

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Harvey Cox
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Pedro Silva
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Mark Heim

PROF. HARVEY COX

The 2013 Commencement Speaker for Andover Newton will be Dr. Harvey Cox, former ANTS professor, internationally known theologian, and now Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard.

It is 50 years since Cox was installed as a professor at Andover Newton, an event he missed because he had been arrested as part of a civil rights demonstration and was in jail in North Carolina at the time of the ceremony. Cox’s appearance at the 2013 Commencement will provide a time for the school to revisit that missed opportunity with joy and humor.

An American Baptist minister, he was the Protestant chaplain at Temple University and the director of religious activities at Oberlin College, before coming to Andover Newton. His research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of religion, culture, and politics. Among the issues he explores are urbanization, theological developments in world Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations, and current spiritual movements in the global setting (particularly Pentecostalism). He has been a visiting professor at Brandeis University, Seminario Bautista de Mexico, the Naropa Institute, and the University of Michigan. He is a prolific author. His most recent books are Lamentations and the Song of Songs: A Theological Commentary on the Bible (with Stephanie Paulsell; Westminster John Knox Press, 2012) and The Future of Faith (HarperCollins, 2009). His Secular City, published in 1965, became an international bestseller and was selected by the University of Marburg as one of the most influential books of Protestant theology in the twentieth century. His other books include When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Decisions Today, The Feast of Fools; The Seduction of the Spirit; Religion in the Secular City; The Silencing of Leonardo Boff: Liberation Theology and the Future of World Christianity; Many Mansions: A Christian's Encounters with Other Faiths; Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality; The Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century; and Common Prayers: Faith, Family, and a Christian's Journey through the Jewish Year.

PEDRO SILVA

Pedro Silva is a graduating senior who was selected by the Andover Newton faculty to be the student speaker at commencement. This high honor is awarded to that person who in the opinion of the faculty is both an exceptional student and someone who well embodies the values of Andover Newton. Pedro is originally from Virginia, went to Excelsior College in Albany, NY and majored in Chinese, and served in the Air Force for 8 years. He is happily married to Kelly and together they have one daughter, Calista.

He is completing his second year of field education at the Congregational Church in Westborough, MA under the supervision of Rev. Elaine Gaetani and will be entering discernment after that service is completed. Silva has Southern Baptist and Pentecostal roots, started at Andover Newton as a UU, but is now has found a home in the UCC. He is seeking ordination in that tradition.

His professors have offered high praise for Pedro: Dr. Gerald Liu writes, “Pedro is one of the most thoughtful students I have engaged in class anywhere.” Dr. Simon Lee says that Pedro “has been actively engaged in every aspect of school life.” And Dr. Carole Fontaine describes Pedro as “warm and real.”

MARK HEIM

S. Mark Heim is the Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology at Andover Newton. 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. 

Dr. Heim is a highly respected professor and theologian. He is deeply involved in issues of religious pluralism, Christian ecumenism and the relation of theology and science. He is author of Salvations: Truth and Difference in Religion, The Depth of the Riches: A Trinitarian Theology of Religious Ends and, recently, Saved From Sacrifice: A Theology of the Cross, as well as several other publications and articles. He has taught, studied and lectured in India, Israel, China, Europe, Malaysia, Thailand and the Fiji Islands.

His course on the relation of science and theology won a Templeton Foundation award in 1998 as one of the 12 outstanding courses that have been developed in this field. He received a Pew Evangelical Scholars Research Fellowship in 1997-98, and a Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology for 2009-2010. He is one of the keynote speakers in a national series of conferences on nonviolent atonement. He also has been selected to serve on the core instructional faculty of an AAR program of summer seminars for seminary and university professors on Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology.

Mark is a graduate of Amherst (BA) and Andover Newton (MDIV and PhD). An ordained American Baptist minister and former pastor of a New Hampshire church, Heim has served as chair of the American Baptist Churches Committee on Christian Unity and represents his denomination on the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council and World Council of Churches. He came to Andover Newton in 1982.

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