Home E News E LPU Awards Honorary Doctorates for 2024

University, California

Life Pacific University is pleased to announce that Honorary Doctorates will be granted to Rev. Gary Matsdorf, M.A., and Carol Shelton, M.A., at the May 11, 2024 Commencement Ceremony. Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions and achieved distinction in ministry service, academics, the arts, sciences, business, government, or global missions

Gary Matsdorf, Honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)gary matsdorf headshot

Gary Matsdorf, a native of Los Angeles, has dedicated 48 years to Foursquare vocational ministry, serving in various capacities including as a college professor, Executive Pastor, and lead pastor. Presently, he holds the esteemed position of Global Education Coordinator for the Foursquare Church, overseeing discipleship and leadership development training across all sixteen Foursquare Regions on behalf of the Global Council.

Matsdorf’s impact extends beyond his role in education; he serves as Chair of both the Foursquare Global Doctrine Committee and the Foursquare US Doctrine Committee, wielding his expertise to shape theological understanding within the Foursquare movement.

Additionally, he represents Foursquare on a global scale as a key figure in WAPTE (World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education). A graduate of Azusa Pacific University (BA in Biblical Literature) and Fuller Theological Seminary in California (MA in Biblical Studies), Gary served as a Professor at Life Pacific University. He is a published author, having penned three books, including commentaries on Daniel, Revelation, and Romans/Galatians. He has also contributed significantly to the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, working alongside Pastor Jack Hayford as Assistant Editor. Gary’s passion for equipping leaders is evident in his establishment of eight Foursquare Schools of Ministry across different nations and his provision of leadership development and training in over thirty-two countries. His innovative approach includes the launch of the Foursquare Discipleship Leadership Training program (DLT), which integrates instruction with practical application to enhance ministry effectiveness in local churches worldwide.

Gary and his wife, Velda, are commemorating fifty years of marriage, accompanied by the blessings of two adult sons and four grandchildren. Besides their professional pursuits, they derive happiness from traveling, enjoying movie nights, beach outings, and treasured family moments together.

Endorsements from many esteemed colleagues, including Dr. Glenn Burris Jr. and Dr. Daniel Ruarte, underscore Gary’s unwavering commitment to education, discipleship, and global collaboration within the Foursquare community. With a legacy marked by tireless dedication and visionary leadership, Gary Matsdorf continues to shape the future of Foursquare ministry with profound impact and lasting influence.

Carol Shelton, Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt)carol shelton headshot

Carol Stromme Shelton joined Life Pacific University in 1998 and left an indelible mark on both the institution and its students. Her vibrant presence extended beyond the classroom, embodying the spirit of creativity and faith. Carol’s career has included life as a professional singer, equity actress in musical theatre, and creator and producer of a community Children’s Musical Theatre. Her passion for the arts has always been evident, and she has shared her talents with students of all ages, from preschool to college.

As the Director of the Fine Arts Department at Life Pacific, Carol spearheaded the development of a comprehensive arts program, despite initially limited resources. Undeterred by challenges, she launched initiatives like the spring “Fine Arts Week,” creating platforms for students to showcase their talents and fostering a culture of creativity on campus. Carol’s leadership and vision paved the way for the expansion of Fine Arts classes at LPU, encompassing disciplines such as Drawing and Painting, Photography, Filmmaking, Graphic Arts, and more. Under her guidance, the department flourished, with students producing captivating works and staging compelling dramatic productions that drew acclaim from the broader community.

Throughout her lifetime, Carol has consistently demonstrated unwavering faith, a lively spirit, and a profound trust in the guidance and provision of the Lord, as endorsed by numerous esteemed individuals. Her commitment to her students extended far beyond the confines of the classroom, as she mentored aspiring artists and created avenues for them to exhibit their work through publications and exhibitions. In 2021, Carol’s significant contributions were commemorated with the naming of the Carol Shelton Digital Media Studio, serving as a lasting tribute to her enduring impact at LPU.

Carol is an ordained Foursquare minister and a member of Eagle Rock Christian Assembly for fifty years where her faith and creativity continue to enrich the community. Beyond her professional achievements, Carol cherishes her roles as a wife to Christopher for fifty-six years, a mother of four daughters, and a grandmother of eight grandchildren.

It’s an honor to award these deserving men and women of God with honorary doctorates from Life Pacific University.