Huntington, Ind.— Huntington College will award three honorary degrees during the 2003 commencement services on May 17, 2003. The Doctor of Music degree will be awarded to John Nelson, music director of L’Ensemble orchestral de Paris and co-founder of Soli Deo Gloria, Inc. The Doctor of Humane Letters will be awarded to Huntington College alum Dr. Ronald P. Baker. The Doctor of Divinity will be awarded to Dr. Paul R. Fetters, emeritus professor of practical theology at Huntington College.
John Nelson is one of the world’s most versatile and accomplished conductors. Born in Costa Rica, he graduated from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School, where he won the Irving Berlin Prize for conductors. Maestro Nelson has served as Music Director with the Indianapolis Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Caramoor Music Festival in New York and now L’Ensemble orchestral de Paris. He has appeared with major orchestras throughout the United States including the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. An internationally acclaimed conductor, Maestro Nelson has been engaged by numerous European, Asian and Australian orchestras, including the London Symphony, all the major orchestras of France, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Shanghai Philharmonic.
Throughout his acclaimed career, Maestro Nelson has endeavored to integrate his love of classical music with his love of the Lord. His commitment to masterworks of sacred choral music led him to co-found Soli Deo Gloria, Inc., a non-profit organization which encourages composers and conductors to promote great sacred works in our time. Established in 1993, Soli Deo Gloria, Inc., promotes, preserves and enhances classical sacred music in the Biblical tradition, and facilitates the creation of sacred classical music to the glory of God. “Soli Deo Gloria” is a Latin phrase meaning “to God alone be the Glory.”
Dr. Ronald P. Baker has had a fruitful and dynamic ministry in the United States and abroad. He grew up in Sierra Leone while his parents served as United Brethren missionaries there. He attended Huntington College, where he was a founding member of the soccer team, a member of the tennis squad and an active participant in several additional extracurricular activities. In 1968, Dr. Baker graduated from Huntington College with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. He continued his education at the Indiana University Medical School in Bloomington, Indiana, where he earned his M.D. in 1972. After an internship and residency at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dr. Baker earned a Diploma in Tropical Medicine in Liverpool, England, in 1974. He and his wife, Jane, then set out for a medical mission in Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone at the Mattru United Brethren in Christ Hospital.
For 16 years, Dr. Baker and his family served as missionaries in Sierra Leone. Today Dr. Baker’s ministry is rooted in Berrien Springs, Michigan, yet continues to reach around the globe. He currently practices medicine with Southwestern Medical Clinic, a Christian multi-specialty practice based in Berrien County. Dr. Baker serves as the medical director at the Berrien County Juvenile Center. He is affiliated with Lakeland Berrien General Hospital in Berrien Center, Michigan, and Lakeland St. Joseph Hospital in St. Joseph, Michigan. Dr. Baker is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Society, the Michigan State Medical Society, the Berrien County Medical Society and the American Board of Family Physicians. Dr. Baker continues to use his skills outside of the US, as he still travels to Africa on short term medical mission trips.
Dr. Paul R. Fetters has been a life-long learner. He entered Huntington College in 1951 and earned a B.A. from Huntington College, B.D. from Huntington College Theological Seminary, M.Div. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.S. in Education (Guidance and Counseling) from St. Francis College, and D.Min.from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has also pursued advanced studies at Indiana-Purdue University, Concordia College, Wright State University, and Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Throughout his career, Dr. Fetters has served eight pastorates throughout Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He joined the Huntington College faculty in 1960 as a part-time instructor in the Huntington College Theological Seminary. He was instrumental in the seminary’s transformation into the Graduate School of Christian Ministries, where he served as Dean and Professor of Practical Theology at Huntington College.
Dr. Fetters has authored and edited numerous books and scholarly publications, including two definitive works: Trials and Triumphs, a history of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and Theological Perspectives, a comprehensive study of the doctrine of the United Brethren in Christ denomination. Together with his wife, Barbara, he wrote the study book, Alive unto God, which is widely used throughout the United Brethren church and in other denominations as well.
Dr. Fetters has served as a consultant to a wide variety of church organizations. He holds memberships in The Church of the United Brethren in Christ, National Association of Evangelicals, Wesleyan Theological Society and Fellowship of Christian Magicians. He was named Huntington College Alumnus of the Year in 1980, received a Huntington College Centennial Medallion in 1996, was the Huntington College Professor of the Year in 2000, and was named Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School of Christian Ministries in 2001.
Huntington College’s 105th commencement exercises will be held Saturday, May 17, 2003, beginning at 3 p.m., on the Alumni Plaza, weather permitting. John Nelson will present the 2003 commencement address, “Grace Notes and Rests.” The public is cordially invited to attend the ceremony.
Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. US News & World Report ranks Huntington among the Top 10 comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.
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