'Update the Jake' Project Begins
The college had a groundbreaking ceremony for the "Update the Jake" outdoor facilities project May 5. The ceremony was held on the football field of Jake Christiansen Stadium. The event was the kickoff for the first phase of the $5 million project to update the Jake Christiansen Athletic Complex.
Concordia President Pamela Jolicoeur, Provost Mark Krejci, Athletic Director Larry Papenfuss, as well as head football coach Terry Horan and baseball coach Bucky Burgau were on hand to dig the first shovels of dirt for the FieldTurf portion of the project.
The first phase will include replacing the natural grass on the football field and the entire baseball infield with FieldTurf. In addition, a new electronic wireless timing system will be installed and used at all track and field competitions held at the stadium. Parking spots at the Jake Christiansen Athletic Complex will be paved.
The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion Aug. 1.
Fellowship Allows for Study in Thailand and China
Five students and a faculty member will travel to Asia in July to study a culture and religion shared by a group of people who are physically separated. Dr. Tamara Lanaghan, assistant professor of religion, and the students from a variety of majors, received the ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellowship to look at the culture in northern Thailand and extreme southwest China that rarely interacts because of the border that separates them.
The group will study the Buddhist temple and how it has established and enhanced connections. Students will examine the culture from their respective disciplines, including music, nutrition, communication, religion and pre-med.
Findings will be presented on a website, to classes on campus and at a conference in Chicago in 2011.
From working closely with student life for 36 years in Student Affairs to reshaping the nutrition and dietetics department, developing the CHARIS and F/M Communiversity programs, counseling students and guiding students through music, the five Concordia faculty and administrators who retired this year played varied but important roles at the college. They were honored at the annual spring faculty and administrator appreciation dinner April 13.
Pictured are Dr. Barbara Ronningen Torgerson, nutrition and dietetics, 32 years; Jim Meier, Student Affairs, 36 years; Dr. Arland Jacobson, CHARIS Ecumenical Center and F/M Communiversity, 30 years; and Dr. Luanna Stroh, music, 12 years. Carol Sandgren, Counseling Center, 14 years, is not pictured.
Dr. Arland Jacobson
Dr. Arland Jacobson began his tenure at Concordia teaching in the religion department from 1979 to 1983. In 1983 he became director of the CHARIS Ecumenical Center and F/M Communiversity.
CHARIS provided continuing theological education in the Fargo-Moorhead area and the upper Midwest, and F/M Communiversity, a "university for the community," was launched in 1965 and provided non-credit liberal arts courses for learners of all ages.
With specialties in the New Testament and Early Christianity, Jacobson has numerous publications, publishing some of the formative work in the field and has given many presentations.
"A trademark of his scholarly work has always been the clarity of his writing, the insight of his ideas, and his willingness to cut across the grain of conventional thinking," says colleague and longtime friend Dr. James Aageson, dean of Arts and Sciences and professor of religion.
In retirement, Jacobson plans to travel to the Holy Land and Egypt, and he is working on a book with a colleague from Maryland about the emotional intelligence of Jesus. Long-term plans involve a book of his own about Palestinian Christians and doing lots of reading with a sprinkle of relaxation mixed in.
Jim Meier joined Concordia's Student Affairs staff in 1974 as director of on-campus housing. He was promoted to assistant dean of students and director of Residence Life in 1979 and then became associate dean of students in 1984. He assumed the role of dean of student life in 2005.
Meier earned his undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College and his master's degree in counseling and student personnel from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
"During his 36 years of service at the college, Jim's contributions have been truly exceptional and he has played a key leadership role in creating a great student learning environment at Concordia College," says Dr. Mark Krejci, provost and dean of the college.
Meier and his wife, Sue, will be enjoying a new home on the lake in Illinois, which will be closer to family and golf courses with longer seasons.
Dr. Barbara Ronningen Torgerson
After earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in food nutrition at North Dakota State University, Dr. Barbara Ronningen Torgerson completed her dietetic internship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She earned her doctorate in human development at the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif.
During her tenure, Ronningen Torgerson also worked as a family therapist and her continuing education and research includes numerous papers and presentations. In 1990, she conducted research on the homeless under a Bush Grant, which led to one of the early Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposiums with a focus on the homeless.
Before starting teaching at Concordia in 1978, Ronningen Torgerson worked for the NDSU Extension Service and as food service director at St. Ansgar Hospital, Moorhead. She worked with Dr. Betty Larson, professor of nutrition and dietetics, to develop a traineeship between St. Ansgar and Concordia because there weren't any internship opportunities in the Fargo-Moorhead area at the time.
Ronningen Torgerson is one of the team leaders starting the BeFriender lay pastoral ministry in her church, Cormorant Lutheran, and will be working with the program in her retirement.
Carol Sandgren's main area of responsibility while at Concordia has been providing direct counseling services to students, substance abuse screenings, and consultation to faculty, staff and parents. Her areas of professional interest and expertise include eating disorders, depression, relationship issues, sexual assault and women's issues.
She served as a counselor in the Concordia Counseling Center for 14 years, beginning in the fall of 1996. Prior to joining the staff at Concordia, she worked as a counselor for Lakeland Mental Health Center in Detroit Lakes, Minn., for six years. She also has worked at Discovery Counseling, Red River Human Services Foundation, Southeast Human Service Center and Children's Village Family Service, all in Fargo, N.D.
Sandgren received her bachelor's degree in theology, with a minor in sociology, from Augsburg College, Minneapolis, received her master's in counseling for human development from NDSU and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota.
"I am grateful for the time I had at Concordia and now plan to spend more time with my kids and grandkids and begin reading the stack of books I have waiting for me," Sandgren says.
Dr. Luanna Stroh
For more than a decade Dr. Luanna Stroh has been the spokesperson for Concordia music in dozens of school districts throughout the Northern Plains, where she has placed, supervised and guided hundreds of student teachers.
Stroh arrived at Concordia in the fall of 1998 with a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris, a master's degree from St. Cloud State University, a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and years of experience in the classroom.
Students have recognized her as a wonderful role model and creative teacher. In addition to teaching, Stroh oversaw the Board of Teaching and licensure standards for music programs, standards that are ever changing.
"In her own quiet way, Luanna has assumed the mantle of leadership with grace and integrity, and has become a trusted voice for music educators far too numerous to mention," says Dr. Robert Chabora, chair and professor of music.
Stroh and her husband look forward to traveling and spending more time with their six grandchildren. She also plans to take a more active role in the music ministry of her church.
Nursing Students Work in Simulated Reality
The nursing department launched its new simulation lab in the Jones Science Center. The lab gives nursing students more hands-on experience to put their studied skills into practice.
"It allows for on-site practice in an environment that looks like the real thing," says nursing department chair Dr. Polly Kloster.
The lab is set up like a wing of a hospital. Students can listen for virtual sounds on the manikins, check their heartbeats, listen to their lungs and practice inserting IVs.
Kloster says it\'s a way for students to experience many of the same situations they will later come across during their clinical rotations at local hospitals and clinics.
Dakota Medical Foundation and Bremer Foundation helped fund the project.
Flood Efforts Lead to Scholarship
The kindness of students during the spring flood led to a gift for the music department. When Dr. Rod Rothlisberger of Moorhead needed help to build a dike to save his home from the flood, Concordia students were there to help. In fact, they built his 1,500-bag dike with gusto.
"They were wonderful kids," Rothlisberger says. "They stayed the day until it was done. Because of their help, I had very few expenses this year related to the flood."
The music professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead returned the favor with a $1,000 check. The money will contribute to the Gay Mohr Voice Scholarship Fund, named for his late wife and former music faculty member at Concordia. Rothlisberger is also a former Concordia faculty member.
Concordia students, faculty and staff gave many other hours of their time throughout the days of flood preparation, culminating in the March 21 crest at 36.99 feet. More than 70 students turned out for a March 10 sandbag-filling college night sponsored by the City of Moorhead. Hundreds of others – freed from classes on March 16 – helped build sandbag dikes along the rapidly swelling Red River in Moorhead.
Watch a video of students sandbagging at Rothlisberger\'s home.
O'Toole Receives Fulbright
Jennifer O'Toole '10, Minnetonka, Minn., was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. The Spanish education major will be teaching high school students at the Instituto De Educacion Secundaria Maria Zambrano in Leganes, Spain, a suburb of Madrid. She will leave this fall for the 10-month program.
O'Toole, who studied in Segovia, Spain, in 2007, says she is excited to return to Spain. "I can't wait to learn more about the culture, while having the unique opportunity to share my own in a meaningful way as well," says O'Toole.
In addition to teaching, O'Toole plans on pursuing music or dance instruction at Maria Zambrano and taking some classes.
Out of the approximately 7,500 new grants the Fulbright Program offers internationally each year, Concordia has averaged about one Fulbright winner a year since 1980, says Dr. David Sandgren, the Fulbright adviser on campus.
Lintelman Wins Minnesota Book Award
History professor Dr. Joy Lintelman won the Minnesota Book Award in the general nonfiction category for her work "I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson." The winners were announced April 17 at a gala award ceremony.
Lintelman's book traces the story of Mina Anderson a writer who emigrated from Sweden to Wisconsin and then to the Twin Cities. Anderson worked on a farm with her husband in rural Mille Lacs County. She raised seven children and contributed to rural Swedish life through her fiction, poetry and letters to Swedish American newspapers.
Saberi Book Tour at Concordia
Roxana Saberi '97 visited Concordia this spring while on a tour to promote her book, "Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran."
Saberi participated in a question and answer session with President Pamela Jolicoeur before signing books and visiting with audience members.
The event was part of Saberi's six-week national tour to promote her book that describes the freelance journalist's four-month imprisonment in Iran. The book focuses on the ordeal, her faith and the struggles of her fellow prisoners, many jailed for their pursuit of human rights.
Concordia Breaks Ground on Organic Garden
Concordia broke ground on its organic garden this spring through a combined effort of the Student Environment Alliance, Food Working Group and the history department.
The garden, located at the corner of 11th Street and 12th Avenue, will be used for educational purposes. It also will grow organic produce for Concordia's Dining Services and to be sold at the college's farmers markets. The garden will feature three themed garden beds, including pizza/taco and farmers market.
"When you look at the curriculum angle, I really think the possibilities are amazing and endless," says Dr. Gretchen Harvey, history assistant professor and member of the Food Working Group.
Harvey has created a senior capstone course to accompany the new garden. Students also will have opportunities for involvement with a summer internship program. Shane Sessions '12, Minot, N.D., and Nathaniel Cook '12, Hutchinson, Minn., are working in the garden as the first interns.
Compton Receives German Internship
Kylene Compton '10, Worden, Mont., received an internship in Germany this summer to work at Henkel, a chemical conglomerate that produces cosmetics, adhesives and cleaning products.
Compton, a biology honors major, won the internship through a competitive program sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service.
From July through December, Compton will work in Henkel's microbiology department in Düsseldorf, using classical microbiological, molecular biology and biochemistry techniques to test and substantiate the purity of Henkel's products.
"I like figuring out the unknown and how it might apply to improving the health of people," Compton says. "I like doing useful research. It's like solving a puzzle."
In addition to working in Henkel's lab, Compton will take German language lessons and do some in-country travel.
Building Homes in Guatemala
Every two years, a team of Concordia students travels internationally to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. This spring 19 students and two staff members spent two weeks building houses in Guatemala.
After meeting with Habitat Guatemala's affiliates in Guatemala City, the group took a five-hour drive to the southwestern city of Reu.
The team was split into three groups, each building a house. The students also had the opportunity to meet the families who will live in those homes.
The foundations of the houses were built by digging trenches, placing rebar poles in the trenches, then cutting iron wires and tying them to the poles to reinforce them. A cement mixture was then added to the trenches, passed along a line like sandbagging, and blocks were added to build the home's structure. Students gained experience working in each of the different steps and built houses of approximately 600 square feet.
Students Study Abroad
Led by faculty mentors, 140 students journeyed across the globe this summer. The students participated in 15 May term programs, ranging from a month studying art in London, Florence and Paris to several weeks teaching and volunteering in Rwanda.
More than 80 students traveled on May Seminars, Concordia's long-standing global education program. Some of the seminars were "Global Business in Europe," "Vanished Civilizations of the Mediterranean" and "International Communication in Central Europe and the Arctic."
Four Summer School Abroad programs took 38 students to a handful of cities, giving students more time in one area to explore the surroundings, history, culture and language. Programs included "Accelerated Italian and Italian Vocal Seminar" in Trieste and "Spain Summer Study Program" in Segovia.
Finally, 19 students traveled overseas on three Summer Field Studies programs that took them to places such as the Middle East and Tanzania.
Students on three May Seminars blogged about their experiences. Read more.
Speech Competitors Place at Nationals
Thirteen speech competitors placed 18th in the overall school competition at the American Forensic Association's National Individual Events tournament hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The Concordia effort was spearheaded by four students. Andrew Eilola '12, Eveleth, Minn., and Alex MacArthur '12, Marshall, Minn., advanced to the semifinals of the tournament, placing among the top 12 individuals in the nation. Eilola's finish came in informative speaking and MacArthur's in dramatic interpretation.
Steph Villella '11, Fargo, N.D., reached the quarterfinals in oral interpretation. Jen Pagh '11, Apple Valley, Minn., reached the quarterfinals in dramatic interpretation.
"This award is a testament to the work of all our speech competitors," says Dr. Fred Sternhagen, director of Forensics. "This finish is a tremendous accomplishment by a young group of competitors."
Summer Book Read Explores Faith
Concordia's first-year committee has announced Eboo Patel's "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation" as the 2010 Summer Book Read.
Patel's book is about "how some young people become champions of religious pluralism while others become the foot soldiers of religious totalitarianism. Its thesis is simple: influences matter, programs count, mentors make a difference, institutions leave their mark" (Introduction, XVI).
U.S. News & World Report named Patel one of America's Best Leaders of 2009. He is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based interfaith organization that unites young people of different religions to perform community service and explore their common values. Patel is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio, CNN and also has written for The Chicago Tribune. He is a member of President Obama's Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He serves on the Foreign Relations and Advisory Board of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center.
Since 1999, a committee comprised of Concordia faculty, staff and students has selected one book each year that the campus community is encouraged to read. All new students are expected to read the book, as it is discussed during Orientation and in some first-year classes. Patel's book is available for purchase online at www.CobberBookstore.com and in the bookstore.