Dr. Paul Dovre's Remarks"A Season of Refreshing": Remarks from the memorial service for Pamela Jolicoeur by Dr. Paul Dovre, president emeritus of Concordia College:
— Mike, Jess, Kitty and extended family
— Bishops Hanson, Wohlrabe and Rindy
— Distinguished College and University Presidents
— Members of the Concordia Board of Regents, past and present
— Faculty, staff and students
— And friends of the college
I speak today in behalf of the Concordia community and Cobbers all, Cobbers everywhere. I cannot speak for each of them because Pam’s impact upon each of us was unique—but I will presume to express the gratitude of us all.
Gratitude to God for the life and vocation of Pamela Jolicoeur
Gratitude to Mike for his partnership. Those who have lived a college presidency know that it is not a solo performance.
Gratitude to Jess and Kitty and the extended family for your encouragement and joy.
Gratitude to California Lutheran University for mentoring such an amazing leader.
There may have been some who wondered—can a Californian who spent most of her life living in year round sunshine, driving down the freeways in top down convertibles—hair blowing in the wind, enjoying the beaches and bike trails on any day—could such a person find peace and contentment and joy in a four season land of snowstorms, floods and random days of natural wonder? The answer of course was yes and that was so, we came to understand, because Pam brought the peace, contentment and joy with her. She claimed her place among us immediately, affirmed our mission and added her own exegesis, came to meet us in the hither and yon and embraced our traditions one by one whether it was buttering corn cobs, tossing the golden beanies or attending the bonfire rallies.
Well maybe not all of our traditions. There was one that was problematic. You see there was a sort of tradition of the president leading what we call the Cobber cheer at halftime of each Homecoming football game. Pam, gamely, gave that her best shot. I occasionally sat near Pam and Mike on such occasions. It was clear that for Pam, leading that cheer was her bridge too far. So a couple of years ago when she returned to her seat following the cheer, Mike and I both said, “Pam, you don’t need to do that any more. Your Cobber credentials are already firmly established.”
But it is a challenge to think of anything important that Pam did not do exceedingly well. On her watch we saw the student academic profile improve, a new core curriculum established, completion of a major fund campaign, reconstruction of the Knutson Campus Center, the restructuring of the leadership team, the expansion of an already distinguished international studies program, planning a new school of business and the list goes on. Indeed, the sense of our momentum was and is palpable. And beyond the campus, Pam’s voice and wisdom were sought and valued in national and international conversations. I told Pam’s mother Kitty yesterday that I thought that Pam had given Concordia the best years of her life. Kitty agreed and said, “and they were also the happiest years of her life.”
More than once Pam pondered about how long she would serve as our leader. I said that she should stay until she was at least the age of 70 because she had gotten a late start. But that is not to be. For everything there is a season and this is our season of grief—not because of an act of God but due to the serendipity of a bent reality.
Yes, for everything there is a season. But in our grief let us remember the season Pam ushered in for this community—a season of refreshing. The Apostle Paul wrote these words to his good and faithful friend Philemon, words which apply to Pam: “I have gained much joy and comfort from your love…because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”
Refreshment was Pam’s gift to us. She saw the sacred within us, within this college—the gifts, the vocation—and she enveloped us with her love. For her, leadership was a team sport. She reached out to every member in search of our gifts and out of respect for our sacredness. We grew as we were stretched by this leader and so we were refreshed and made glad.
And my fellow Cobbers—and most especially you who teach and learn and serve here—let us keep this legacy of refreshment alive. In this way we will honor Pam’s memory and, more than that, we shall, as did Pam, make God’s work our own.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Video Archive (full service)
Bishop Mark Hanson
video | written
Dr. Paul Dovre
video | written
Rev. Stephen Wold
video | written
Sue Kremser (family)
video | written