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Graduation at Immanuel

Every other month we get an update on what’s been happening recently at our Immanuel Lutheran High School, College and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

On May 21, 2022, Immanuel Lutheran High School, College, and Seminary hosted an event that has not taken place in three years: a full-scale, indoor commencement service. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 college and seminary graduation was held at Messiah Lutheran Church, and the high school class had a small, outdoor ceremony that was delayed until August. Similarly, last year’s ceremony was also held outside. It was thus a blessing this year to return to our regular commencement, to have the gym packed with people and reverberating with hymns of praise sung to our God. The commencement service capped off a busy weekend at Immanuel that included Class Day, which features student awards as well as band performances, and the spring choir concert, held at Messiah Lutheran Church.

Pastor John Hein, Chairman of the ILC Board of Regents, provided the commencement addressed based on Psalm 100. He reminded our students that as they go out into a confused world, they are in possession of the wonderful truth that God has made and redeemed them and also that they are His very own possession. With those comforting thoughts in mind, through faith they are able to see their true purpose and privilege in life: serving the Lord with gladness.

The high school department graduated thirty-one students. The seniors chose as their class verse Joshua 1:9: “ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Principal Joel Gullerud addressed the senior class, reminding them that courage is moving forward in faith in spite of ob- stacles, difficulties, and fears by always remembering that our God is with us.

The college graduated one student from each program. Zachary Strike graduated with an Associate of Arts degree, Henry Lau with a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Theological Studies, and Kendra Rodebaugh with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Zachary Sippert graduated from the seminary. We are thankful that the Lord has blessed these young people with a Christian education that will help them to serve in His Kingdom. We are also excited that both Kendra and Zachary Sippert have accepted calls to serve in the public ministry. Kendra will be a teacher at Gethsemane Lutheran School in Spokane, Washington, and Zachary will serve as pastor of our congregations in Bowdle and Ipswich, South Dakota.

As the service drew to a close with the graduates’ hymn,“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” and the singing of the Alma Mater, it was a wonderful moment to praise our God, Immanuel, and to remember that He has been with us and will continue to be with our graduates throughout their lives.

Dr. Daniel Schierenbeck is President of Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.