Eight faculty and administrators retired this year. They include (l-r) Peter Nygaard, music, 42 years of service; Carol Eid Fliss, Advancement, with 30 years of service; James Cermak, communication studies and theatre art, who served the college for 40 years; Jane Williams, Financial Aid, served the college for 29 years; Michael Smith, music, with six years of service; June Rauschnabel, music, 38 years of service; Dr. Pedro Meléndez (not pictured), Spanish and Hispanic studies, served for 24 years; and Dr. Kirsten Diederich (not pictured), biology, with 15 years of service.
Concordia Co-Sponsors Conference on Greek Culture
Dr. Peter Schultz, chair of Concordia’s art department, was a key organizer of an international conference focusing on new research about classical Greek culture. The event, co-sponsored by Concordia College, was held May 4-6 at the University of Copenhagen.
Many leading experts in the fields of classics, art history and the history of religion discussed ancient Greek cult.
“It is important to remember that our own faith tradition began as one rooted in early Greek religion,” Schultz says.
Dr. Mark Wilson Jones (University of Bath, England), a leading expert on Greek and Roman sacred architecture, was a principal speaker at the conference. His research has fundamentally changed the way modern scholars understand Greek and Roman architectural design.
Schultz says Jones’ involvement drew some of the world’s top scholars to the conference.
“This international gathering of scholars positions Concordia as a prominent player in the global academic scene,” says Schultz.
Speech Team Places at Nationals
Concordia’s speech team placed 15th at the American Forensic Association's National Individual Events Tournament, which was held at Texas State University, San Marcos, in April.
More than 500 students representing 84 schools participated. Sixteen Concordia students competed in one of the most difficult national tournaments in which to qualify.
“Our success was a team effort,” says Christopher Scott, assistant director of forensics. “Everyone who went earned points. That’s significant.”
In addition, two Cobbers claimed standout performances. Alex MacArthur '12, Marshall, Minn., made quarterfinals in three events: informative speaking, program oral interpretation and poetry interpretation. Andrew Eilola '12, Eveleth, Minn., made it to the quarterfinal round in after-dinner speaking.
Women’s Hockey Makes History
The women’s hockey team made program history by playing in their first-ever NCAA Tournament.
The Cobbers earned their trip to the national playoffs by posting a 15-5-5 overall record. Under second-year head coach Brett Bruininks, the Cobbers have recorded 30 wins and participated in two straight MIAC playoff tournaments. Bruininks was named the MIAC Coach of the Year.
The Cobbers faced the top ranked team in the country, Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, which went on to win the national championship. Concordia lost 5-2 at Ritter Arena in the NCAA Quarterfinal.
College Expands Ties With China
Concordia expanded its connections to China by securing an educational agreement with a university in Chongqing, China.
Delegates from Sichuan International Studies University visited Concordia in November to participate in a signing ceremony with Provost Mark Krejci and Steve Schuetz, vice president for Enrollment.
The new agreement allows students from SISU to apply to attend Concordia. Concordia students currently have the opportunity to study at SISU, one of the first three universities in China allowed to teach foreign languages.
“Concordia already leads the way regionally in providing opportunities for students who wish to learn about China,” says Dr. Kenneth Foster, director of Concordia’s global studies program. “This new agreement shows how the college is continuing to pursue innovative partnerships that benefit students.”
Concordia has ties with several international universities, including another one in China, United International College in Zhuhai. Adding students from SISU will enhance the cultural exchange between Concordia and China.
SISU is known for programs in international business and international relations. Delegates from the Chinese university say Concordia will be a good option for their students.
“When I get back to my university, I will tell students, ‘This is your best choice to come to Concordia,’” says Lunan Wang, vice president of SISU.
Peace Scholars to Study in Norway
Adam Mousel '13 and Howard Mukanda '14 will represent Concordia in the 2012 Peace Prize Forum Scholars program.
The program will be June 18-Aug. 3 at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School. Students will receive a general introduction to peace and conflict studies, and to the work of peace organizations and institutions in Norway.
Mousel, Northfield, Minn., is majoring in history and psychology. He wants to continue the dialogue of peace across campus and the community by hosting panel discussions, leading a Tea House dialogue and designing training opportunities for residence hall staff.
Mukanda, Zimbabwe, is majoring in global studies and management information systems. Growing up, Mukanda was exposed to violence as a way of resolving conflict and believes that peace can be attained if the global community invests in teaching and demonstrating nonviolence.
Glas Named Athletic Director
Rich Glas succeeded Dr. Larry Papenfuss as the new director of athletics. He began his duties March 15. Papenfuss is the new director of The Concordia Annual Fund and External Relations in the Office of Advancement.
Glas will continue as head men’s basketball coach.
“Rich is ideally suited to lead our athletics program,” says President William Craft. “He brings the skill and passion of a gifted coach, the devotion to student learning that marks a true teacher, and strong leadership experience to help us maintain momentum and build on our tradition of excellence.”
Craft praised Papenfuss as a leader who helped create and implement a strategic vision for Cobber athletics and who helped the program achieve academic and athletic success. Papenfuss has been instrumental in fundraising for the Update the Jake campaign that is renovating and improving outdoor recreation facilities and constructing a new football locker room.
National Book Event Held
The seventh annual National Book Awards at Concordia event was March 29-30.
Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for poetry, and Thanhha Lai, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for young people’s literature, were on campus for a residency that included master classes, presentations, and a reading and conversation with the authors hosted by National Public Radio’s Lynn Neary.
Finney, author of “Head Off & Split,” is a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky.
Lai, author of “Inside Out & Back Again,” a novel in verse, was born in Vietnam, the youngest of nine children. She lives in New York City and teaches writing at Parsons School of Design.
Lana Gyamera ’13, Ghana, attended a master class led by Lai.
“I felt like I could actually get into her mind and understand what she was thinking when she was writing,” she says.
Sustaining Campus Energy
Kristin Brethova was hired as Concordia’s first sustainability coordinator. She received her master’s degree from The University of Chicago in environmental science and public policy and bachelor’s degrees in biology, Germanic studies and psychology from Indiana University. She has worked as an energy consultant as well as in research.
Brethova is coordinating Concordia’s sustainability policies and procedures. She will work with the president’s sustainability council, the Student Environmental Alliance, environmental studies faculty, the president’s cabinet and many other partners across campus to further Concordia’s sustainability efforts.
Two of a Kind
Dr. Sonja Wentling, associate professor of history, has kept the publishing world busy. She published two books this spring. Wentling co-authored “Herbert Hoover and the Jews: The Origins of the ‘Jewish Vote’ and Biparisan Support for Israel” along with Rafael Medoff. The book is published by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
Wentling also was one of two editors for the book “Impact and Images: U.S. Cultural Diplomacy in Occupied Austria and Germany.” The book was published by Österreichisches Institut fur Zeitgeschichte.
A Step of Faith
Dr. Jacqueline Bussie is Concordia’s new director of the Forum on Faith and Life and an associate professor of religion. The Forum on Faith and Life seeks to provide a space for reflection on faith and spirituality. By doing this, it hopes to foster greater intrafaith and interfaith understanding.
Bussie is a sought-after speaker and facilitator. Her first book, “The Laughter of the Oppressed” (2007), was the winner of the national Trinity Prize.
Auditorium Added to Offutt School
A gift from The Barry Foundation is being used to fund a new auditorium for Concordia’s Offutt School of Business.
B. John Barry, chairman of The Barry Foundation, is a founding member of the Offutt School of Business Global Leadership Council.
“Mr. Barry has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Offutt School from the start and has played a vital role in shaping this innovative and exciting new program. We are grateful for his abiding generosity and support,” says President William Craft.
Barry Auditorium will be located on the east side of Grant Center, which is being renovated for the Offutt School of Business. The total cost of the Grant Center renovation will be $16 million.
The auditorium will be 8,200 square feet and will accommodate 200 people. The space will include movable seating to allow for flexible event staging and an area for gathering before events.
“This fantastic new space is designed with state-of-the-art technology capabilities,” says Dr. Greg Cant, Offutt School of Business dean. “Barry Auditorium will be the ideal space for business lectures and events.”
Construction on the auditorium began this spring. Renovation of the Grant Center for the Offutt School is scheduled for completion this fall.
Students Participate in Interfaith Institute
Concordia’s Better Together interfaith movement got a boost at the National Interfaith Leadership Institute in January at Emory University, Atlanta. Concordia was one of only 49 schools selected to attend the institute.
Kristi Del Vecchio '13, Bismarck, N.D., was one of Concordia’s four student delegates. She appreciated how people from so many religious and non-religious traditions could take part in constructive conversation.
“We were able to engage with students all over the country, share stories and simply learn from each other, all in the hopes of bringing interfaith dialogue back to our campuses in a more powerful way,” Del Vecchio says.
One of the highlights of the conference was meeting Dr. Eboo Patel, author of “Acts of Faith,” Concordia’s summer book read in 2009. Patel encouraged the delegates to make interfaith dialogue a new civic norm.
The students came back with ideas to fuel Concordia’s interfaith movement. They taught a class session on interfaith dialogue in many Religion 100 classes. A collaboration with the Student Environmental Alliance brought green space to the empty lot next to the Gladys Ray Homeless Shelter in Fargo, N.D.
The Concordia Band Performs in China
The Concordia Band traveled to China in May to host workshops and present a series of concerts. The group is Concordia’s first music ensemble to travel to the country.
“China is a radically different place musically than what we know,” says Dr. Scott A. Jones, conductor. “One of the ways we learn is to go outside our familiarity.”
In preparation for the tour, band members attended Chinese language and culture classes taught by Concordia faculty who have long histories and many connections with China.
They also prepared a musical program that shows where band music in the U.S. is presently heading, Jones says. Pianist Dr. Jay Hershberger performed George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Other selections included music from Sir Arthur Sullivan, J.S. Bach and a new composition by American composer Michael Gandolfi.
The band worked directly with bands from the two universities that have exchange programs with Concordia: United International College in Zhuhai and Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing.
Dreams Realized at Naturalization Ceremony
Dreams of many kinds were realized March 9 as the Centrum was transformed into a temporary courtroom for the first naturalization ceremony held on campus.
Judge John R. Tunheim '75 presided over the ceremony in which 31 people from 15 countries became U.S. citizens.
He encouraged the country’s newest citizens to get involved in civic life and was proud to usher them in as brothers and sisters.
“This is the spirit of America,” he says. “We are welcoming people from so many parts of the world. It is a very exciting day.”
One new citizen, Gloria de la Guardia, left civil war in her home country of Nicaragua to come to the United States. With tears streaming down her face, she shared how she accomplished her vision to go to college in her adopted country. She went back to school at age 45 and is now a phlebotomist.
“When I came here, my dreams came true,” she says.
Music in Minot
A student work team, college administrators and The Concordia Orchestra traveled to Minot, N.D., to offer a message of hope, healing and solidarity to the community in late March.
Last fall, Concordia representatives visited with Minot pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and asked how they could support Minot, which was devastated by a flood in 2011.
The Rev. David Maxfield, pastor of Christ Lutheran, asked if one of the musical groups could come to Minot.
“All we did was plant a seed of a possibility,” Maxfield says. “The faculty, students and administration have seen this and grown it into an amazing thing. I am so humbled by this response.”
More than 30 students spent a day cleaning at the flood-ravaged Roosevelt Park Zoo and another day working with homeowners in cleaning and rebuilding efforts.
Brianna Johnson '14, a Minot-area native, was grateful to see her classmates come together to help her hometown. She said the energy of the students provided a much-needed boost in an exhausted town.
“It is such a long battle back for the area,” she says. “It is a good feeling to know that there are so many hands that are helping Minot to come back.”
Administrators preached at four of the area ELCA churches affected by the flood. Some also served communion, spoke at Sunday school and shared meals with the congregants.
Each church was offered a financial gift – a combination of a freewill offering taken at the college’s Senior Honors Concert and the generosity of individual donors.
The music of The Concordia Orchestra later that afternoon provided joy and a lifting of spirits grown weary on the long road to recovery.
“During the flood in Minot, in a way, we lost a bit of our music,” says the Rev. Mark Narum, bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. “I thank the orchestra for bringing it back.”