Ashland Seminary's Commencement Ceremony Set for June 4

5/25/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland Theological Seminary will confer 168 degrees to the 166 members of its 2011 graduating class at the commencement ceremony to be held Saturday, June 4, at 10 a.m. in the John C. Myers Convocation Center on the Ashland University campus.

Dr. Renita J. Weems, vice-president of academic affairs at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tenn., will deliver the commencement address titled "Show Me Your Mantle."

Weems, formerly a member of the faculty of Vanderbilt University and former William and Camille Cosby visiting professor at Spelman College, has been celebrated by Ebony Magazine as one of America's top 15 preachers.

Dr. Weems is the author of several widely acclaimed books on women's spirituality and wholeness, including "Just A Sister Away," "I Asked for Intimacy," "Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers," "Wisdom, and the Blessings of God," and, "What Matters Most: Ten Passionate Lessons from the Song of Solomon."

Ordained an elder in the AME Church in 1984, her book, "Listening for God: A Minister's Journey through Silence and Doubt" (Simon & Schuster), won the Religious Communicators' Council's prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for "excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media."

In 2008, Dr. Weems was the first African-American woman to give the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale University.

Dr. Weems earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass., and her master and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. She is the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Old Testament (1989).

In the 2008 publication of the book, "Black Stars: African American Religious Leaders<>," a collection of biographies of some of the most important black religious leaders over the last 200 years, Dr. Weems is featured among such impressive figures as Adam Clayton Powell, Elijah Muhammad, Sojourner Truth, Howard Thurman and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When she is not travelling and speaking, Dr. Weems is writing, blogging and serving in ministry with her husband at Ray of Hope Community Church<> in Nashville, Tenn. She is proud of her blog,, which allows her to wax passionately, and sometimes even eloquently, about a wide range of issues having to do with faith, popular culture, values, and women's spirituality and other topics of interest to what she likes to call "thinking women of faith."

Weems lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter.

The degrees to be conferred at the seminary include doctor of ministry; master of divinity; master of arts in clinical counseling; master of arts in counseling; master of arts in religion; master of arts in practical theology; master of arts in biblical, historical and theological studies; master of arts in pastoral counseling; diploma of theology in black church studies; diploma of theology in Hispanic studies; diploma of practical ministry and diploma of Christian studies.

Ashland Theological Seminary is a graduate division of Ashland University. With campuses in Ashland, Detroit, Cleveland and Columbus, Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world.