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CTS Commencement Features Renowned Honorees


As Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) prepares to honor its 2024 graduates, it also recognizes distinguished individuals whose contributions to academia, theology, and social justice have left an indelible mark on their respective fields. This year’s honorees embody the core values of CTS, exemplifying a commitment to scholarship, social justice, diversity, and healing.

Honorary Degree Recipients:


Dr. Fernando F. Segovia
Dr. Fernando Segovia’s scholarly achievements and commitment to mentorship have made a lasting impact on biblical studies and theological education. Through his pioneering work in postcolonial scholarship and global-systemic paradigms, Dr. Segovia has challenged conventional narratives and advocated for justice and equity.  His groundbreaking research has shed light on the complexities of biblical interpretation, particularly in relation to colonial legacies and marginalized communities. Dr. Segovia’s dedication to embracing diversity and fostering inclusive environments has enriched the academic landscape, inspiring scholars from diverse backgrounds to engage in transformative scholarship. His vision for healing and wholeness extends beyond the classroom, reflecting a deep-seated commitment to addressing societal challenges and promoting positive change.

Dr. Segovia currently serves as the Oberlin Alumni Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity for the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and will provide the Commencement address.

“This year, CTS is fortunate to honor three true trailblazers who embody our values as part of our Commencement celebrations. Dr. Segovia is not only an outstanding biblical scholar, but also a powerful social and cultural critic. He has worked tirelessly throughout his career to promote a more just and equitable society for all. Though this work is informed by his own social location as a Cuban American immigrant and his relationships with minoritized scholars across various intersectional identities, it also expands beyond his own experience, seeking equity at both the policy and praxis levels across identity lines for all peoples.”

– CTS President Dr. David M. Mellott


Rev. Dr. Joretta L. Marshall
Reverend Dr. Joretta Marshall’s illustrious career as a scholar, theologian, and mentor epitomizes the values upheld by Christian Theological Seminary. With over three decades of dedication to advancing theological knowledge, Dr. Marshall’s research has profoundly influenced pastoral care, practical theology, and counseling.  Throughout her tenure, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to affirming God-given human dignity and promoting healing, particularly in times of crisis, grief, and trauma. As a passionate advocate for social justice and equity, she has tirelessly worked to create inclusive spaces within academia and the broader community, championing the voices of marginalized individuals and communities.

Dr. Marshall is Emerita Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling at Brite Divinity School. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity and will provide the Baccalaureate Chapel sermon.

“We are honored to recognize Rev. Dr. Marshall for her rigorous theological work addressing pressing issues such as grief and counseling, ministry to rural churches, and gender and sexuality formations. She recognizes and respects the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, regardless of their background, beliefs, or circumstances – as evidenced in her commitment to acknowledging and upholding the sacredness of each person, including LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities. She actively promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that celebrates the mosaic of humanity. Her work encourages individuals and communities to engage in healing practices that promote wholeness not only for themselves but also for the world around them.”

– CTS Dean Francisco Lozada, Jr. 


Presidential Award of Excellence:

This award is presented to an alumnus or friend of the Seminary whose life and accomplishments have earned the respect of their profession and have made a significant contribution to the life of CTS.


Dr. Preston T. Adams, III
The Reverend Dr. Preston Adams’ exemplary leadership and dedication to community service exemplify the spirit and values of Christian Theological Seminary.  As a pastor, author, and advocate, Dr. Adams has made significant contributions to youth empowerment, criminal justice reform, and social activism. His tireless efforts to address systemic inequalities and promote positive change have earned him widespread recognition and admiration. Dr. Adams’ unwavering commitment to promoting healing and wholeness reflects a deep sense of compassion and empathy, inspiring others to work towards a more just and equitable society. Throughout his career, he has embodied the values of servant leadership, integrity, and resilience, serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration to countless individuals and communities.

Dr. Adams is the founding and senior pastor of Amazing Grace Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis. He is an Emeriti Trustee of Christian Theological Seminary and is well known for his work in the community with marginalized populations, particularly youth. A mentor to mentors, Dr. Adams founded the “High-5 Movement”, a city-wide initiative that positively impacted thousands of elementary, middle, and high-school students in over 45 Marion County schools from 2016-2019.  Most recently, Dr. Adams founded the Men and Mental Health Movement, a collaboration between his church and 15 other organizations to include 10 additional churches and ministries in the Indianapolis community. The Men and Mental Health Movement provides free therapeutic approaches and scalable solutions to men dealing with a diverse array of mental health issues who gather monthly at various church locations. Since its inception in 2023 the movement has served an average of 50-60 men monthly. Dr. Adams holds a BS in Business Administration/Computer Science from Central State University in Ohio and is an esteemed Alumnus of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis (MDiv ‘96 and DMin ‘05).

“Dr. Adams has played an integral role in both the CTS and Indianapolis community, stated President Mellott. His unwavering dedication to supporting the well-being of our youth and their families is a beautiful demonstration of his faith in action and a testament to his living out the values of Christian Theological Seminary. I am thrilled to honor him with this award.”

– CTS President Dr. David M. Mellott


The achievements of Dr. Marshall, Dr. Segovia, and Dr. Adams serve as a testament to the transformative power of education, scholarship, and service. As CTS celebrates its 2024 Commencement, it honors these distinguished individuals for their outstanding contributions to theology, academia, counseling, and social justice, and their unwavering commitment to advancing the mission of Christian Theological Seminary. Through their exemplary lives and work, they inspire us to strive for excellence, embrace diversity, and work towards a more just and compassionate society.