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Selinsgrove Rotary Honors Susquehanna University Chaplain

Published on April 5, 2011

SELINSGROVE—The Rev. Mark Wm. Radecke, chaplain and associate professor of religion at Susquehanna University, has been awarded the Selinsgrove Rotary Distinguished Service Award. He will be honored at the Distinguished Service Award Dinner April 14 at 6 p.m. at the Susquehanna Valley Country Club in Hummels Wharf.

The recipient of the Distinguished Service Award is chosen each year from among candidates nominated by Rotary members. Candidates must reside in the Selinsgrove Area School District and have demonstrated wide-ranging, sustained service to the community.

“Mark is a capable and caring mentor with the highest capacity for compassion, understanding and advocacy,” wrote Susquehanna President L. Jay Lemons in his nominating letter. “During his tenure at Susquehanna, Mark has artfully and intentionally blended his role as chaplain and his equally highly valued role as a teacher and a scholar with his unwavering commitment to community service and to the greater good.”

Radecke founded the award-winning SU SPLASH, a week-long immersion for first-year Susquehanna students serving and learning about people experiencing homelessness in the Susquehanna Valley and in Washington, D.C.

As a pastor of the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), he serves on the committee that shepherds and approves ’ candidates for ordination. He also served on the bioethics committee at Geisinger Medical Center, examining issues of human dignity and respect at the intersection of medical, spiritual and philosophical disciplines.

He was honored last year with a Gold Award by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators for developing and teaching End of Life: A Multi-Disciplinary Service-Learning Course. Taught in collaboration with medical practitioners from Geisinger Medical Center, this course paired Susquehanna students with members of the community who are facing end-of-life issues, due to age and/or illness, to create a lasting, meaningful record of the person's life.

Radecke has been honored regularly by students as the Susquehanna University Service Learning Faculty Member of the Year.

He leads the annual Christmas Candlelight Service at Susquehanna’s Weber Chapel Auditorium, where attendees from the wider community typically number 1,500. “Recently a theologian visiting our campus commented to me that he believed we had the most talented pulpit preacher in the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,” Lemons wrote.

Radecke earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, a Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In addition to his local activities, he teaches a service-learning course each winter in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, popularly called SU CASA, for Susquehanna University Central America Service Adventure. His research focuses on service learning, faith formation, and best practices in service-learning and mission trips. Radecke is the author of four published volumes of sermons, including “Love’s Pure Light: Christmas Candlelight Sermons and Service.” He and his wife, Tami, are the parents of five adult children and live on the Susquehanna University campus in Selinsgrove.

Speakers at the award dinner will include Phil Winger, vice president for student life and dean of students at Susquehanna University; John Bickhart, Selinsgrove borough manager; the Rev. Beth Ann Stone, assistant to the bishop, Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCA; Tami Radecke, vice president of community relations and chief development officer, Evangelical Community Hospital, and Radecke’s wife; and Karen Ward, a senior from Pottsville majoring in religion at Susquehanna. Attorney Marvin Rudnitsky will serve as master of ceremonies, and John Stokinger, president of the Selinsgrove Rotary Club, will present the award to Radecke.


Karen M. Jones


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