Commencement 2024: Monnot Commends Risk, Courage to Graduates

Stephen Fowl addressing Commencement '24

On Saturday, May 18, Church Divinity School of the Pacific held its 129th Annual Commencement Exercises in St. Margaret’s Courtyard on campus.

Dr. Stephen Fowl, president and dean, presided at the ceremony for the first time since his appointment on August 1, 2023. He offered special thanks to the CDSP faculty and staff, welcomed honored guests, and congratulated the Class of 2024.

“Our graduates are up to the task of proclaiming the gospel in word and deed to a hurting world,” Fowl said. “They bring a hopeful vision and deep courage to their call to church leadership.”

Betsey Monnot addressing Commencement '24

The Rt. Rev. Betsey Monnot ’02, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, gave the commencement address, taking stock of the many changes underway in the church since her own CDSP graduation twenty-two years ago.

“Class of 2024, you have worked long and hard and endured much—and you’re about to keep going,” Monnot said.

We have no idea what our call will look like over the course of our lives. There is no room left in the church for careerism, for what used to be a traditional path in ministry from curacy to progressively larger and larger congregations and possibly to the episcopate … We are called to step out of the boat onto the water and follow Jesus … We are called to do things we have never done before and we always believed were impossible. We are called to take risks as we lead the Church into the future that God dreams of.

The ceremony continued with the awarding of student prizes and honorary degrees as well as conferring degrees and certificates for the Class of 2024. Dr. Sharon Hardy, chair of the executive committee, represented the Board of Trustees in honoring the recipients.

Commencement was livestreamed by a media team from Trinity Church Wall Street and will be available for replay viewing at

CDSP Student Award Winners

  • The Right Rev. Richard Millard Prize for Excellence in Preaching: Emily Hyberg
  • Episcopal Preaching Foundation Award: Amanda Barker
  • The Fran Toy Prize for Multicultural Ministry at a Field Education Site: Margaret Stivers
  • Lawrence Kristin Mikkelsen Preaching Scholarship: Vincent Caranchini
  • Kellor Smith Scholarship for Youth Ministry: Harlowe Zefting

Honorary Degree Recipients

Summaries of recipient bios available here

  • The Rev. Becca Stevens
  • The Very Rev. Mark Richardson, PhD
  • The Rt. Rev. Betsey Monnot ’02

Class of 2024 Graduates

Certificate of Anglican Studies

  • Kyle Micah Bomar, B.A., M.Div.
  • Robbie Dale Smith, B.A., M.T.S., M.F.A.

Certificate of Theological Studies

  • Leann Marie Lydon, B.A., B.S., M.B.A., M.L.I.S., J.D.

Degree of Master of Divinity

  • Amanda Jane Barker, B.A., M.S.
  • Connie Thompson Bowman, B.A.
  • Toby Harper Darrah, B.A.
  • Jessica Lynn Frederick, B.A., B.S.
  • Katherine Cruthirds Frederick, B.S.
  • Carolin Elisabeth Frueh, M.S., Ph.D.
  • Bradley William Gough, B.A., M.Arch.
  • Michael James Russell Heller, B.A., M.A.
  • Emily Rainone Hyberg, B.S.
  • Giselle Jackman, B.A., M.S. Ed.
  • Phillip Lienau II, B.A., M.F.A.
  • Luis Anthony Ottley, M.B.A., Ed.D. 
  • Calvin Payne-Taylor, B.A., M.A. 
  • Kaitlin Marie Reece, B.A.
  • Robert G. Stevens, B.A., M.P.M.
  • Margaret Garrison Stivers, B.Des., M.Arch.
  • Erin Wiens St. John, B.A.
  • John McLean Wolff *

* expected to graduate in October 2024

Degree of Master of Theological Studies

  • Wendy J. Keilholtz-Brown, B.S., D.V.M. (Thesis: “Finding God Amid Grief: How Experiencing God in the Darkness Affects One’s Understanding of Divine Providence”)
  • Christina Rich Cobb, B.S., M.S. (Thesis: “A Franciscan Approach to Spiritual Care of Healthcare Workers”)
  • Emily Elizabeth Slichter Given, B.A., M.S. (Thesis: “Coffee Shop Confirmation: A Learner-Focused Model of Confirmation Preparation for Young People, Drawing on the Wisdom and Practices of Spiritual Direction”)

Degree of Master of Theological Studies

  • Henry Brian Mayo, B.A., M.B.A, M.Div. (Capstone: “‘Give Honor to My Name.’ (Hermeneutical Project, from Malachi 2:1-9)”)

The degree of Master of Arts is conferred by the Graduate Theological Union.

Ceremony Replay