AUSTIN (May 3, 2018) – Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold commencement exercises on Sunday, May 20, at 2:30 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church, Austin. The class of 2018 consists of thirty-five students in four programs: the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts, the Master of Arts in Ministry Practice, and the Doctor of Ministry. The Reverend Dr. Carlos Emilio Ham-Stanard (DMin’99) rector (president) of Seminario Evangélico de Teologia (SET) in Matanzas, Cuba, will deliver the Commencement Address.
Carlos Ham was born in Cuba but spent much of his youth in the U.S. The family moved back to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. “We returned to Cuba against the traffic because 80 percent of the seminary graduates and 70 percent of the Presbyterian pastors left the country,” Ham-Stanard told the Presbyterian News Service (Feb. 22, 2016). “While my parents had many opportunities to go back to America or go live in Europe, my father said we needed to serve the churches in Cuba.”
SET was established in 1946 as an ecumenical pastoral training center. One of fourteen seminaries in Cuba, it is governed by a board of directors elected from the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, and it is a member of the Cuban Council of Churches.
An Austin Seminary alumnus, Dr. Ham is a pastor of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba and served as its general secretary for eight years. He has led SET since 2015; prior to his appointment there he served the World Council of Churches in Geneva from 2001-2013.
On the eve of commencement, Saturday, May 19, at 6:00 p.m., Austin Seminary will hold a Baccalaureate Service, also hosted by University Presbyterian Church. The Reverend Dr. Jennifer Lord, The Dorothy B. Vickery Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies, will deliver the sermon, and the Reverend Dr. Lewis R. Donelson, The Ruth A. Campbell Professor of New Testament Studies, will preside at the Lord’s Table. The public is invited to both events.