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Stake Seminary Graduation Guide
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“Stake Seminary Graduation Guide,” A Guide to Seminary and Institute Graduation Exercises (2020)

“Stake Seminary Graduation Guide,” A Guide to Seminary and Institute Graduation Exercises

Stake Seminary Graduation Guide

The Guidelines

  • Annual graduation exercises provide one way to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of all seminary students.

  • Seminary graduation should be held annually on a stake level.

  • To qualify for seminary graduation, students must complete eight semesters of seminary and have read the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and required selections of the Old Testament.

    • To complete a course of study, students must attend at least 75% of class sessions and complete each assessment with at least 75%.

    • Makeup work is available for students who have not met these requirements.

  • Potential seminary graduates must be ecclesiastically endorsed to earn their seminary diploma and be recognized at stake graduation.

  • Only the preprinted signature of the chairman of the Church Board of Education and the S&I administrator appear on seminary diplomas.

  • If possible, graduation ceremonies should be held after the school year ends. If graduation is held after the school year ends, all diplomas are given to the stake representative with a seminary assignment (usually a high councilor) to be distributed at stake seminary graduation.

  • Seminary graduations held prior to the end of the school year may still recognize projected graduates by presenting them with an empty diploma cover. If graduations are held prior to the end of the school year, seminary diplomas can be mailed to those students who appeared on each stake graduation program or delivered to stake or ward leaders to distribute after the end of the school year.

  • Diplomas of students who are not ecclesiastically endorsed are given to bishops to award to those students at a later time. Unendorsed seminary students will not be recognized at graduation.

Certificates of Recognition

Certificates of recognition can be awarded to students when they complete a semester of seminary by attending at least 75% of the class sessions held and completing a semester assessment with at least 75%.

Depending on stake need, local seminary program administrators in consultation with stake leaders will determine if, when, and where certificates of recognition are printed and awarded. Released-time and stake programs will have the option to print and distribute certificates of recognition each semester or at the end of every year. A seminary report card should also be printed and distributed for each student who receives a certificate of recognition.

Local seminary programs in consultation with stake leaders can determine if certificates of recognition will be distributed at seminary graduation, in seminary classes near the end of the year or semester, or by some other means.

Roles and Responsibilities

The stake president:

  • Consults with the stake’s assigned seminary principal or coordinator to prepare and plan the stake seminary graduation.

  • Oversees ecclesiastical endorsement of projected graduates.

  • Assigns the stake seminary supervisor or high councilor assigned to seminary to coordinate the stake seminary graduation program.

  • Creates his stake’s seminary graduation program.

The bishop:

  • Endorses potential seminary graduates.

  • Determines whether to endorse or not endorse each student.

  • Informs a seminary student if and why the student is not endorsed. The bishop also informs the seminary student’s parents or guardians if the student will not participate in the seminary graduation program.

  • Provides the stake president a list of endorsed students to be added to the stake graduation program.

    Note: Seminary programs should never show the endorsement status of any students.

The Seminary Ecclesiastical Endorsement

For stake presidents and bishops:

  • The bishop’s endorsement of a student for seminary graduation signifies that the student understands and strives to apply the principles and doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ learned while in seminary, “confirming that students are worthy and committed to live the standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth or similar standards for young adults” (Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops [2010], 11.2.3, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

  • The bishop or one of his counselors may use regularly scheduled youth interviews as the basis to endorse or not endorse a student who is projected to graduate. It is not necessary to hold a separate ecclesiastical endorsement interview for these students.

  • It is left to the bishop’s discretion to endorse or not endorse each applicant.

  • Seminary principals or coordinators ensure that each stake president understands the ecclesiastical endorsement requirement to become a seminary graduate.

  • The stake president ensures that each bishop or branch president understands the ecclesiastical endorsement requirement to become a seminary graduate.

  • Only endorsed students who have academically qualified for a diploma should be recognized at stake seminary graduation.

Sample Seminary Graduation Program

[Name of stake]

Seminary Graduation

[Date/time (recommended length: 1 hour)]

[Place]

Presiding:

Conducting:

Pianist:

Chorister:

Welcome:

Opening hymn:

Invocation:

Remarks on participating in the seminary program:

Student speaker (one or more):

Musical presentation:

Student speaker (one or more):

Brief remarks by S&I representative:

Remarks by a member of the presiding stake presidency:

Awarding of seminary diplomas:

Closing hymn:

Benediction:

The following is a suggested list of names to include in the printed program:

  • Area Presidency (as applicable)

  • Mission presidency (as applicable)

  • Stake presidencies

  • Bishoprics or branch presidencies

  • Church Board of Education*

  • Commissioner of the Church Educational System*

  • Administrator of Seminaries & Institutes of Religion*

  • Area Director for Seminaries & Institutes of Religion*

  • Region Director for Seminaries & Institutes of Religion*

  • Seminary principals, institute directors, or coordinators (as applicable)*

  • Seminary or institute teachers (as applicable)*

  • Seminary or institute student council members (as applicable)*

  • Each student earning a diploma or a certificate of recognition,* organized by the stake and ward, if desired

*The S&I representative will provide these names.