Twenty-three graduates crossed the stage on May 3rd, 2024, for Dallas International University’s 25th Commencement Exercises. Friends and family filled the auditorium to watch the scholars receive their diplomas, turn their tassels, and don their hoods.

This year’s graduates had the honor of sharing the stage with Dr. Karl Franklin, whom the University awarded an honorary doctorate in Human Letters. Dr. Franklin has served faithfully for many decades as a Bible translator and a professor of linguistics and anthropology.

Graduates also shared the stage with a series of moving speakers. In the graduate address, Emily Scheie reminded her fellow graduates that the God who has written their stories thus far has more exciting chapters in store. Reverend Dr. Dustin Messer, Vicar at All Saints Anglican Church in Dallas, delivered the commencement address, encouraging graduates from John 17 that Jesus is praying for them as they move on from DIU. Graduates, their loved ones, and the rest of the DIU community left the ceremony encouraged and inspired.

Graduate Spotlights

Samuel Parker, MA-AL Bible Translation

In 2019, the Lord convicted Samuel that he should pursue Bible translation, so he approached the DIU booth at a conference—and the rest is history.

Samuel has a hard time picking a favorite course from DIU. He felt like a detective in Phonetics and built lasting friendships with his teammates in Second Language and Culture Acquisition.

But his most impactful course was Scripture Engagement Strategies, where Samuel connected with the heart of his work: gospel spread and human flourishing.

“That class combined everything we learned into one integrative project,” he says. His class project even connected him with his long-term team!

Samuel, his wife, and their daughter are preparing to move to East Africa this summer, where they will start a new Bible translation project among an unreached people group of about 1,000,000.

Cassie Williams, MA-AL Bible Translation and World Arts

As a freshman in college, Cassie listened, transfixed, while a pair of seasoned Bible translators shared their story. This was what she was supposed to do with her life.

Cassie came to DIU in pursuit of that call. As she has relished her linguistics courses and savored her professors’ stories, her excitement about Bible translation has solidified.

She’s discovered another passion, too: “to love others, the ones with the most need for healing, through the arts.”

Cassie has received healing of her own through DIU’s Arts and Trauma Healing course—and through the persistent love of the school community.

Cassie will be beginning the Graduate Certificate in Arts & Trauma Healing this fall. She and her husband, who has just begun his career as a teacher, hope to serve in Eurasia through teaching, translation, and Scripture engagement.

Emily Scheie, MA-AL Descriptive Linguistics

Emily has long loved both language and people, so it’s no surprise how much she has treasured the community that came along with her coursework at DIU. She loved her linguistics courses, but some of her favorite memories from DIU include Sunday afternoon lunches on the dorm’s back patio, singing with the campus choir, and interviewing retired missionaries for a class project.

Emily also cherished her chapel-organized Bible study group, in which she internalized God’s Word and fostered relationships with faculty, students, and families she wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Her love for the DIU community even blossomed into action: she helped catalyze and strategize for the school’s new student house system, launched this spring.

For the next school year, Emily has committed to teaching at a school in the US. She looks forward to finding out how God will harness her linguistic talents and her love for people next!

Anna Mae Newcomer, MA-AL Bible Translation

As an undergraduate student, Anna studied humanities, cross-cultural studies, and Spanish. Now, she has united her diverse interests to pursue Bible translation. Anna is incredibly grateful for the flexibility that distance education allowed her during her program. Even remotely, she had the chance to practice working in-depth with a variety of people, from classmates to professors to language experts. She was grateful to feel so supported by the care the DIU community showed for her—even those who didn’t know her well!

Her DIU education also encouraged her spiritually. As her understanding of languages, including biblical languages, has grown, so has her understanding of God and his Word. This summer, Anna will travel to Benin and Chad on an internship with Bibles International, where she will experience the final stages of several Bible translation projects.

Emilee J. Gehlert, MA-AL Descriptive Linguistics

Emilee began her master’s degree weary and drained from her undergraduate studies at an intensely secular school. She says, “holding onto my faith and my testimony while also maintaining positive relationships with the people around me was very wearying on my soul.”

DIU has provided the committed and Christ-centered community that Emilee needed for healing. As she has stimulated her mind through grammar, phonology, and a master’s thesis on Mayan orthography, she has also been restoring her soul through deep, healthy relationships founded on shared faith.

Emilee will continue working at the DIU library during the school year and at her family’s Christian camp ministry during the summers. At the same time, she plans to pursue an MA in Library Science online through another university. Her goal is to become a librarian at a secular university so that she can minister to young Christian women like herself.