As freelance journalist Roxana Saberi '97 stepped off the plane May 30 in Fargo, N.D., she was overwhelmed by the cheering crowd and the faces of many close friends. It was yet another sign of the outpouring of support she'd received since the world learned of her arrest in Tehran, Iran, four months earlier.
“We have celebrated many memorable homecomings, but none of them tops this day.”
Snow pelted the face of Todd Reynolds '11, Plymouth, Minn., as he tossed sandbags onto a dike built in north Moorhead to hold back the rapidly rising Red River. As the day went on, sandbags grew heavier and footholds became slicker when 7 inches of snow fell on volunteers already exhausted by round-the-clock flood preparations.
“We're a part of this community. It's our responsibility to do this.”
As the cantankerous Red River threatened to reclaim the cities along its banks, its volatility merely inserted an exclamation point to an already uncertain and fearful time. Unemployment in the U.S. has hit a crest of its own, soaring to its highest level in decades. Few have escaped the jolts of a global economy that stands as fragile as a Tinker Toy tower.
“We set out to escape routine, what is safe, and what is known in order to grow as individuals, as a couple, and to serve where we are called along the way.”
Ask Stephanie Anderson '09 about the most formative experience of her college career and she'll tell you about a snuggly 2-year-old, a soda can served on a tray, eight children passing around Beanie Babies and a family that stole her hear.
“We built a friendship on gestures and nonverbals. It felt really human, really basic.”
On May 3, 518 Concordia seniors embarked on a new journey. Many are already beginning exciting careers in business, education, communication and dozens of other fields. Others are pursuing degrees at top graduate schools for medicine, law, ministry and aerospace engineering. Here are some successes already achieved by recent graduates.
“I'm looking forward to real-world experience and applying what I've learned to Concordia.”
While sitting on the banks of the Turtle River Lake at Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji, Minn., villagers will often spy bald eagles gliding majestically over the water. Donna Clementi knows the awe of watching something beautiful take flight.
“As I was looking for a program, I found I could do a Spanish master's or an education master's, but I couldn't do both. I could through Concordia.”
An inauguration of any sort marks a beginning, a time of change. In January, an estimated 1.8 million people descended upon Washington, D.C., to take part in the inauguration of the country's 44th president. Barack Obama shattered more than 200 years of history when he became the first black man to serve as the nation's leader. Witnessing the significant moment were Cobbers.
“It was one of the greatest privileges and proudest musical moments of my life.”
Though unable to attend Concordia himself, Don Larsen, 79, of Casselton, N.D., has always looked with favor on the college and that’s especially true today. His gifts, which two years ago earned him the Soli Deo Gloria award, are now reaching even more students in the form of scholarships.
“His desire is to make a Concordia education available to the greatest number of students so cost isn't an inhibitor the way it was for him.”
Graduation for Darcy Swagger '08 and Jenna Thureen '08 meant they could immediately begin pursing their passions – nursing and a medical mission abroad.
“All along during our education we knew we wanted to practice our nursing skills together in another country.”
Dear Gordon, I remember well the December day you unexpectedly came to my office. "I have a brain tumor," was all you managed to say. In the weeks that followed, doctors confirmed a stage IV malignant brain tumor – a prognosis that left you devastated. Since then, I visited you many times, and I saw the strength, courage, and even joy with which you faced each day.
“The very example of your life influenced students as much as your passion for the topics you taught.”
Alan Kircher '95 was routinely earning promotions by managing a multimillion dollar asset portfolio for a large Denver bank when he figuratively climbed atop a diving board and took the entrepreneurial plunge.
“I was exposed to so many different ideas and I learned a little about everything.”