The December Commencement Ceremony will be held in Trinity Chapel with a reception in Honsey Hall.
• View the LIVE webcast (starting at 3:20 p.m.)
• Download Commencement Program (PDF)
• Order Graduation Announcements (external link)
Professor Mark O. Harstad is a third generation Lutheran clergyman, the youngest of ten children born to Pastor Adolph M. and Martha K. Harstad. Prof. Harstad grew up in Watertown, Wisconsin, where his father served as chaplain at Bethesda Lutheran Home, an institution of the Synodical Conference serving the needs of the mentally disabled. He is a graduate of Northwestern College, Watertown, Wisconsin (1970), and Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary (1974). He served congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Madison, Wisconsin, and Brewster (Cape Cod), Massachusetts.
Professor Harstad holds the M.A. degree in the field of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1974), and completed the course work for a doctorate in the same field. One of his mentors there was Dr. Menahem Mansoor, who was among the first scholars who did work on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has taught courses at the college and seminary level in History, Biblical Hebrew, and Religious Studies, specializing in Old Testament studies.
He has also worked in the area of faculty development and grant writing. Two grant proposals to the Minnesota Bush Foundation for faculty development projects were co-authored along with faculty colleagues and administered while he held the position of Faculty Development Coordinator for Bethany Lutheran College.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Prof. Harstad made six trips to the Baltic nation of Latvia where he conducted lecture programs for people interested in Confessional Lutheranism, taught exegetical courses in the School of Theology at the University of Latvia, and courses in Biblical Hebrew at the Augsburg Institute in Riga.
In his community of Mankato, Prof. Harstad was active for many years in the Youth Baseball Association as a volunteer coach, and served on the board of the Mankato Suzuki School of Music. He sang with the Minnesota Valley Chorale for few a seasons, and directed the Boys Choir of Mt. Olive Lutheran School for several years. He has been a member and office holder in the Mankato chapter of the Sons of Norway. From time to time he has enjoyed playing cello in the Bethany String Ensemble.
Over the years he has served on various boards and committees of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod including the Doctrine Committee and the Catechism Review Committee. He currently serves on the board of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Historical Society and the Centennial Observance Committee.
Prof. Harstad and his wife of 39 years, Peggy, a piano teacher, are parents of four children.