Bishop Maas to deliver MU commencement address

Bishop Brian Maas will serve as the keynote speaker during Midland University’s 2022 Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Wikert Event Center. Maas has served as bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA since 2012.

Prior to serving as bishop, Maas was pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska from 2006 to 2012, while previously serving as pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Missouri from 1997 to 2006. Maas earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University before earning a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School and a second Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary. Maas will be ending his term as bishop in August and will enter his new role as Vice President of Mission and Spiritual Care for Immanuel.

“There are 7 billion people who could have been chosen to be the commencement speaker, so I am very honored and privileged to have this opportunity,” Maas said. “I enjoy public speaking, and I am deeply appreciative of this opportunity. I enjoy connecting with young adults, and this is such a prime time in their lives. They are getting handed some problems we didn’t solve, and some new problems we created. They are our hope going forward.”

Having graduated from a liberal arts college, and having served on Midland University’s Board of Directors for several years, has given Maas appreciation for Midland students being well prepared to handle whatever the world may be throwing their way. “Coming from a liberal arts background, I want to congratulate and encourage them, and I believe they are more prepared to engage the world in all its expressions,” he said. “They are trained not only for a career, but for a vocation and building a life. They have faced challenges along the way like floods and a pandemic, and there is a much different workforce facing these graduates than it was four years ago. But facing those challenges has equipped them in a way previous classes weren’t.”

While a robust job market may be awaiting 2022 Midland graduates, there are many unresolved issues in the world they will encounter. Maas wants them to be trusting on what they have learned along the way as they face those challenges. “They are stepping into a more divisive and polarizing world,” Maas said. “My hope is they will be a voice and a presence to help mitigate some of that and help unify our world. I encourage them to lean on what they have learned at Midland and not just accept what is, but ask what could be. A bachelor’s degree is a concrete object that says you are prepared for the world, but that degree doesn’t mean you know everything. But I do want them to understand that even if the world seems overwhelming, they have been trained and are well-equipped.”

In his time serving on the Midland Board of Directors, Maas has gained respect and admiration for Midland’s mission and what it offers to its graduates. “I am very proud of Midland,” he said. “Midland is the most diverse campus in the state and continues to grow both in its learning and extracurricular activities. I hope the graduates feel a strong sense of accomplishment on this day. I want to offer encouragement as they step out into the world and give them a sense of confidence for what Midland has prepared them for.”

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