Concordia Magazine Winter 2021

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C O N C O R D I A C O L L E G E / / M O O R H E A D , M I N N E S O TA / / W I N T E R 2 0 2 1


















A Message from President Craft What a year it has been for our college, our community, our country, our world. This has been an exceptional time in all our lives. A time like no other, but precisely the time for us to continue to build together the Concordia the world needs now. Last year, I wrote to you about our strategic plan, Concordia Leads: The Plan for 2030. I included a promise to keep faith with you and report on the progress we are making together on these defining goals for transformational learning, excellence through diversity, community health and wholeness, and a strong financial foundation. During such a year as this, where the inclination may be to press pause on visionary goals in order to focus on present matters, I am encouraged and pleased to share that not only did we not press pause, but we pressed on as pioneers. Disciplined, forward-looking use of our resources is fundamental to our capacity to fulfill Concordia’s mission to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life. I cannot imagine a time in Concordia’s history when this purpose was more compelling. Before the pandemic, and now, we stand at a threshold moment for higher education and for the future of this college. The Concordia the world needs now will be far more than one letter can encompass, but today I name three defining opportunities: (1) a new architecture in three outstanding schools within one college, (2) a new pricing structure offering clarity with a straightforward price, and (3) a new generation of students, diverse and committed to making their world more joyful and just. Three Outstanding Schools The college recently completed an academic reorganization to clearly name three schools that lift up the long-standing and emerging academic strengths of Concordia: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Health Professions, and the Offutt School of Business. Concordia’s three schools, one college model will enable us to trumpet our strengths to prospective students and their families. Three schools, one college will enable Advancement to partner with donors to underwrite the work of each of the schools – and I can tell you that this is already happening and will continue to gain momentum.

New Pricing Structure Beginning in fall 2021, Concordia will take a new approach to the price of tuition for college. The price for annual tuition will be $27,500, which is more than $15,000 lower than current tuition. This new pricing structure is in direct response to the confusion and anxiety so many students and families experience during the college search process. In addition to the new tuition price, Concordia will continue to offer its own scholarships and aid to help students meet their college costs – and to graduate on time, ready to begin their lives as citizens and professionals, whether in first jobs or grad school. The change in our pricing model will benefit continuing students as well. Historically, students have seen an average annual tuition increase of 4%, which for next fall would be $1,700. However, with this change, current full-time enrolled students will have an inflationary increase of $800 in 2021-22 and no more than $1,000 for 2022-23 and 2023-24. A New Generation of Concordia Students How does Concordia serve this new generation and the world they will lead? Fulfilling our mission in this still new century requires us to appeal to a broader and more diverse range of prospective students. Of equal importance, we must continue to increase the diversity of our faculty and our staff. And now, right now, we must stand together against racism and all forms of bigotry and social hatred. I can think of no other matter calling all of Concordia to learn, work, and lead more urgently. As Edward Antonio, Concordia’s chief diversity officer, told us this summer, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, “We as a college, as a society, and as a country are not where we should be in terms of racial justice … Racism ruptures the bond of our shared humanity. We must show up, stand together, and change.” So, dear friends, we press on – with enduring gratitude for the gifts and strengths of our students, faculty, staff, and supporters and in unity to build the Concordia the world needs now. Soli Deo gloria.

President William J. Craft

On the Cover Masked and distanced, students walk through the first snow of winter. The mix of cold weather and warm autumn colors reflect a year of challenge and change, hardship and hope.






Concordia’s Response to COVID-19 Cobbers approach life together in new ways features


Now is the Time Becoming the Concordia the world needs now


Cobbers on the Front Lines The crucial role of Cobber health professionals during COVID-19

VP for Enrollment and Marketing: Dr. Karl A. Stumo ’92 // Associate Vice President for Communications; Chief Marketing Officer: Joshua Lysne ’96 // Managing Editor: Kelly Heyer // Art Direction: Caleb Fugleberg // Content Editor: Tracey J. Bostick Editorial and Design Team: Amy J. Aasen ’95, Lindsay Arbach, Anna Benson ’19, Reyna Bergstrom ’18, James M. Cella, Kayley Erlandson, James Fullah, Kim Kappes, Amy E. Kelly ’95, Nick McGinley ’23, Justin Monroe ’21, Eme Otto ’17, John Phelps, Jordan Ryan, Alexandra Samion ’18, Eli Simonson ’20, Katelynn Smith ’22, Lori J. Steedsman


Dismantling Discrimination and Injustice Aspiring to be a more diverse community


A Shared Entrepreneurial Mindset The lifelong impact on three students

Editor’s note: Photos without masks were taken prepandemic.

Concordia Magazine Winter 2021 Volume 59 Concordia Magazine is published once a year by the Office of Communications and Marketing, Concordia College, 901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562. To change your address or unsubscribe from the mailing list, contact Alumni Records at 218.299.3743,, or update your record online at

© 2021 Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota 924117/38.1M/0121


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Concordia Listed in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges Concordia College is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features Concordia in “The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition.” Concordia is one of 416 colleges profiled in the guide. The schools chosen for the guide received Green Rating scores of 80 or higher (on a scale of 60 to 99). Editor-in-chief Rob Franek noted that The Princeton Review has seen a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents in colleges with green practices, programs, and offerings and the Review strongly recommends students study at a green college. The college also recently launched Carbon-Free Concordia, a campaign to reduce carbon emissions through behavior and systems change bringing attention to Concordia’s commitment to reaching carbon neutrality. Under this initiative, students will be able to submit ideas for reducing carbon on campus, receive support for how to develop those



ideas, identify funding sources, and eventually put the ideas into action. “Via a partnership between Dining Services and the President’s Sustainability Council, we will be relaunching an improved Green-to-Go program this spring,” says Jackie Maahs, sustainability coordinator. “Green-to-Go is a reusable take-out container program in The Maize where participants pay a small refundable deposit then request reusable containers when they pick up food, reducing the college’s use of disposable take-out containers.” In March, Concordia also became an official Bee Campus USA member. “The Bee Campus certification highlights our commitment to supporting pollinator populations that are vital to the success of our local ecosystem,” Maahs says. “Concordia has always focused on pollinator friendly landscaping but is now voicing its commitment to educating the college community about pollinators and expanding our efforts to support pollinator populations in a variety of ways.”


Concordia Language Villages Names Executive Director Concordia Language Villages selected Mary Maus Kosir as its executive director. Kosir was a marketing and sales executive at Log House Foods and was co-founder and CEO of WholeMe, LLC. She spent more than 20 years at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management as both director of international programs and assistant dean of the undergraduate program. Kosir oversees all areas of the Language Villages, which includes enrollment, donors, and alumni. “Concordia College is delighted to welcome Mary Maus Kosir as executive director of Concordia Language Villages,” President William Craft says. “She brings to that role an informed passion for global learning, long-term success in university leadership, and an entrepreneurial mindset that match this moment and the mission of the Villages.” Originally from Bemidji, Minn., Kosir’s extensive experience in higher education, along with her entrepreneurial and business background, will be key to the continued advancement of the Language Villages as the premier language and cultural learning organization in the United States. “I’m thrilled to help Concordia Language Villages deliver on its mission of inspiring courageous global

citizens, at the nexus of where culture and language come alive,” Kosir says. “The rich history, along with the passion and diversity of the people engaged with the Villages over the decades, has created a strong foundation that I’m honored to help sustain and grow.” Kosir holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and German from the College of St. Benedict and a Master of Arts degree in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota. She was also the recipient of a Fulbright to Austria and Bosch Fellow to Germany. She began the executive director role in October. Christine Schulze retired as executive director in May and moved to a part-time position as the director of development for the Villages.

Awards Presented at Concordia The prestigious Ole and Lucy Flaat awards and the Reuel and Alma Wije Professorship were presented to faculty and staff during fall semester.

Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Teaching Award Dr. Amy Watkin Professor of English

Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Service Award Joseph Kennedy

Instructional Designer/Academic Technologist, Solution Center, Information Technology Services

Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professorship Award Dr. Mary Rice Professor of Spanish

The Flaat awards were endowed by Ole and Lucy Flaat, lifelong farmers in the Red River Valley. The Reuel and Alma Wije Professorship recognizes superior classroom teaching and significant service to the college and the church.


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Chair of Nursing Named Dr. Stephen Stapleton has been named the chair of the nursing department. Stapleton, a professor of nursing, will serve full time in this role. He previously served as director and associate professor at the Missouri State University School of Nursing. He earned a B.S. and M.S. from Western Illinois University, a B.S.N. from St. Louis University, an M.S.N. from Aurora University, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing.

Retirees Recognized Sixteen members of the faculty and staff retired during the 2019-20 academic year. They have a combined total of 416 years of service. Honored retirees include Suzanne Anderson, library, 46 years; Karen Bertek, Student Development and Campus Life, 26 years; Dr. René Clausen, music, 34 years; Mark Dixon, Facilities Management, 30 years; Diane Holmquist, Registrar’s Office, 16 years; Roger Koppang, Facilities Management, 22 years; DeeAnn Krugler, President’s Office, 39 years; Dr. Betty Larson, Nutrition, Dietetics, and Exercise Science, 37 years; Karen Lee, Financial Aid, 16 years; Kent Loken, music, 13 years; Deborah Monson, Facilities Management, 13 years; Dr. David Mork, chemistry, 30 years; John Pierce, Advancement, 50 years; Warren Solberg, Dining Services, 21 years; Claire Voisine-Fear (not pictured), Dining Services, 12 years; and Carolanne Volness, Facilities Management, 11 years. Photos are left to right in order of those named.




Cobber Football Has Record Recruiting Class In the age of diminishing college recruiting numbers at small colleges, head football coach Terry Horan ’89 continues to buck the trend and return stronger every year. The 2020 recruiting class was the largest in the history of the program and surpassed the 50 student-athlete mark for the fifth straight season. The class includes 56 new freshmen, which is one more than Horan recruited in 2018. Horan adds that as area programs get more involved in recruiting, he looks to other parts of the country that would be a good fit. Concordia continues to see success in Arizona and added multiple recruits from Florida and Nevada for the first time this past year. The Cobbers welcomed 16 first-year student-athletes from states outside of the immediate Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota area.

Horan says he will continue to recruit the best talent from the local area and relies heavily on talent from Minnesota and North Dakota. Of the recordsetting 56 incoming student-athletes, 26 are from Minnesota and 11 hail from North Dakota, which gave Horan 37 new athletes from the foundation of Concordia recruiting. “We addressed every position group in the class,” Horan says. “We have a lot of depth at each position and I am very excited to see how this class will develop over the next four years. I can’t thank my assistant coaches enough for the effort and hard work they put in during this difficult time. They are the backbone of the program and continue to exceed my expectations.”


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Students Awarded Scholarships Highlighting some of the students who were awarded scholarships during the past year

Seven students were awarded funding from Sigma Zeta: Faith James ’21, Olivia Vergin ’21, Lauryn Petrich ’21, Andre Schaum ’20, Vanessa Petrich ’21, Lauryn Hinckley ’22, and Jessica Skindelien ’21. Sigma Zeta National Science & Mathematics Honor Society, a national undergraduate honor society, encourages and fosters scholarly activity and recognizes academic scholarship in the natural and computer sciences and mathematics.

Kenny David ’21 was selected as a Goldwater Scholar for the 2020-21 academic year. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is one of the premier research scholarships in the country. He is working on studies of multiple sclerosis and autism spectrum disorder.

Nassima El Kasmi ’22 was named a 2020 Phillips Scholar and awarded $6,000. The Phillips Scholarship’s theme for the past three years has addressed Minnesota’s achievement/opportunity gap. She is spending the year working through the logistics of launching the Women in Business Mentorship Program for female minority students at Moorhead High School.

Bailey Klause ’21 and Benjamin Bogart ’21 were named 2020-21 Rossing Scholars. Bogart was one of five students awarded $10,000 and Klause was one of six receiving $5,000 from the Thomas D. Rossing Fund for Physics Education. The fund’s scholarships are designed to be used for tuition for students studying physics.



Austin Grove ’19 is the recipient of the Torrison Scholarship, which is a $4,000 award that provides grants for students pursuing careers in medicine. He is attending the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus.


Food Pantry Launched for Students The Office of Student Engagement, in partnership with Health Services and Sustainability, launched the Cobber Food Pantry last summer to help meet food insecurity challenges that Concordia students face. Food insecurity among college students is a growing challenge, which was made even more apparent during the pandemic. Being food insecure means having limited or uncertain access to a sufficient quantity of healthy food (USDA, 2011). Data shows that approximately 32% of Concordia students experience food insecurity in some form. The goal of the pantry is to help reduce the barriers and challenges that college students face with food insecurity. The Cobber Food Pantry is a welcoming, judgment-free, and easy-to-access resource where Cobbers are supported in meeting their need for healthy food. The pantry is located in the Parke Student Leadership Center, Knutson Campus Center. All students are welcome and donations are accepted.

Concordia Receives Presidents’ Engaged Campus Awards Concordia received three Presidents’ Engaged Campus Awards from the Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact. IAMNCC strengthens the capacity of colleges and universities to fulfill the public purposes of higher education through its network of 58 campuses. Abigayle Reese ’20 was honored with the Student Leadership Award for her work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability; Dr. Joan Kopperud ’75, professor of English, received the Civic Engagement Leadership Award for her work in integrated learning and for Concordia’s Taste Not Waste campaign; and the Community Partner Award went to Concordia’s Science Academy, led by assistant professor of chemistry Dr. Graeme Wyllie, for science outreach to thousands of students of all ages here in Fargo-Moorhead and beyond. “In these challenging times, this is a wonderful opportunity to take this moment and recognize those who have directed their lives to the good of all in our community,” says President William Craft. Online recognition occurred in spring 2020, including video messages for and by awardees, virtual message boards, pictures, and descriptions of awardees.


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NOW Becoming the Concordia






the World Needs Now By Kelly Heyer


OR NEARLY 130 YEARS, Concordia College has been preparing its students to be ready for anything. And in a time when truly anything is possible, this seems more important than ever. As we welcome the next generation of Cobbers, the college seeks to build upon its rich traditions to become the Concordia the world needs now. To promote the academic strengths of Concordia College and to bring clarity and accessibility to potential future Cobbers, Concordia announced three changes to be implemented in Fall 2021: the launch of a new pricing structure for tuition, a change to its academic framework by establishing a schools model within the college, and the introduction of the Cobber Flex Year.


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Beginning in Fall 2021, the price for annual tuition will be $27,500, which is more than $15,000 lower than current tuition – a reduction of over 35%. As a priority identified in the college’s strategic plan approved in May 2019, this new pricing structure is a response to the confusion and anxiety many students and families experience after decades of rising tuition prices. In addition to decreased tuition, Concordia will continue to offer scholarships and aid to help students meet their college costs. “With this new tuition price, Pell Grants, state aid, and external scholarships will go further toward reducing costs and limit the need for student loans,” says Dr. Karl Stumo, vice president for Enrollment and Marketing.

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35% LESS

The change in the college’s pricing model will benefit continuing students as well. Historically, students have seen an average annual tuition increase of 4% or about $1,700. In the upcoming year, the increase in the out-of-pocket tuition costs for continuing students will be limited to $800 and no more than $1,000 for 2022-23 and 2023-24. “Our campus leadership and our governing Board of Regents have worked together to frame Concordia for this new and changing time: to position Concordia strongly to serve our students, and the communities they will lead, as we send them out to influence the affairs of the world,” says President William Craft.


To further prepare students, Concordia implemented an academic reorganization to clearly name three schools. Under the new academic model, Concordia introduced the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Health Professions. These two new schools join the Offutt School of Business to encompass all areas of the college. In addition to lifting up academics at Concordia, the three schools model also enables Advancement staff to partner with donors to underwrite the work of each of the schools. “The schools model more clearly showcases the academic strengths of Concordia College and will help to engage philanthropic activity for innovation



in teaching, learning, and applied problem-solving,” says Dr. Susan Larson, dean of the college. “Additionally, the three schools model enhances our commitment to students’ career exploration, preparation, and on-time graduation – so critical for the economic vitality of the region.” As Concordia worked to fulfill its mission in innovative ways, the college also looked for ways to support students’ education during a pandemic. As a way to accomplish this, Concordia established a Cobber Flex Year option. The Flex Year option offers current students and those enrolling in Fall 2021 two tuition-free semesters of study beyond their anticipated graduation date. The Cobber Flex Year allows students whose college experience


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has been affected by the pandemic expanded possibilities to learn – both in the classroom and beyond – in ways they find most compelling. Students may use the Cobber Flex Year option to complete degree requirements, add an additional major or minor, participate in a PEAK integrative learning opportunity or research experience with a faculty member, or take on an internship or service project that is not currently available. They may also have additional time to participate in music ensembles, fine arts, or athletics when tours and competitions have resumed more traditional schedules.

Cobbers have shown impressive creativity and resilience in this challenging time and the Cobber Flex Year ensures that all students will have options when they need flexibility to get the most out of their Concordia education. In a world that is ever-changing, some things remain constant – including how Concordia’s rich heritage and meaningful traditions create an educational experience like no other. Through the gifts and talents of our faculty and staff and support from alumni and friends, we are building a Concordia that the world needs now. Learn more at

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NEW DEANS By Amy E. Kelly

The new schools model resulted in the appointment of two new deans. Dr. George Connell is serving as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Dr. Cynthia Carver is dean of the School of Health Professions. They began their work in these roles in July. As school deans, Connell and Carver join Christopher Mason ’84, who was appointed dean of the Offutt School of Business in January 2020.

Dr. George Connell

Dr. Cynthia Carver

Christopher Mason

Connell has served as chair of the philosophy department, director of the Credo honors program, and division chair of Humanities. As a division chair, Connell was significantly involved in a number of cross-division initiatives, including a digital humanities grant with participation from across campus. In his own teaching, Connell has demonstrated a commitment to creating community-engaged and integrative learning experiences, such as through his Home and Homelessness course. A committed scholar, Connell’s most recent book, “Kierkegaard and the Paradox of Religious Diversity,” was published in 2016. Carver has served as department chair of communication studies and theatre art and division chair of Professional Programs and Communication Studies. She is a professor of communication studies with teaching and scholarship specialization in organizational communication. She served as co-chair of the New Ventures Task Force in 201516 and has played an important role in the expansion of Concordia’s footprint in graduate and post-baccalaureate education and online teaching and learning. During her time as division chair, the college has seen expansion of its nursing, nutrition and dietetics, and exercise science programs and she has worked with programs in the division on accreditation reviews. As associate professor of finance, Mason led the development of the school’s finance program. He is also a founding member of the Global Leadership Council at the OSB, the group that envisioned the business school, and served as the Offutt School’s interim director from 201820. He is a champion for the value of studying business in a liberal arts context and collaborates enthusiastically with the Enrollment and Marketing division on recruitment of students to the OSB. Mason has provided leadership on the development of an entrepreneurship minor and undergraduate certificate and has more than 35 years of experience in finance and entrepreneurship.


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EVER HAS THERE been a time quite like right now – both in our world and on our campus. Our former way of life was uprooted with the reality of a pandemic and the world has learned to adapt to a new “normal” way of living. In the midst of a pandemic, Concordia continued its work to support the vitality of our faith and learning mission. In March 2020, as the realities of COVID-19 swept the nation, Concordia transitioned

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to distance learning. This was a challenging time for our students. Many faced serious hardships that made continuing their education difficult. During this time of uncertainty, students needed our most compassionate and creative support to safely and successfully finish their second semester. With the help of Concordia alumni and friends, Concordia responded to student needs with crucial financial aid, academic guidance, and emotional care. In addition, emergency funding was provided to the most vulnerable Cobbers.

PICTURED: The Concordia Choir, directed from home by Dr. Michael Culloton, records hymns for the 2020 virtual Christmas concert.


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ATHLETICS The spring 2020 athletic season was cut short for our Cobbers after the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced cancellation of all spring sports in mid-March. In the fall, the MIAC postponed the fall 2020 athletic season to the spring. While it has been a disappointing time for athletes, coaches, and fans, it’s a reminder of the importance these programs play in the life of student-athletes. Rebecca Quimby, head women’s soccer coach, saw this firsthand with her players. “This has been hard on our student-athletes and drastically changed their college playing experience,” she says. “As we finally returned to practice, we were reminded of just how important these programs and the memories are to those who are or have been a part of it.”

“During these challenging times, we are focused on providing a high-quality experience for our players.” – Rebecca Quimby Although competitions were postponed, teams were able to meet and practice during the first semester by implementing safety precautions. Teams practiced outdoors in small groups, socially distanced, and wore masks throughout practice. Recently, the MIAC approved a plan to start the winter 2021 athletic season with a condensed schedule. Although there are no plans for spectators to attend winter competitions, all basketball and hockey games will be streamed live on Concordia’s website. A plan is in place to administer consistent 16 |


testing among athletes, which allows them to play unmasked. “We did everything we possibly could to make a winter sports season happen,” says Rachel Bergeson ’05, Concordia’s athletic director. “Even though it is limited, we are going to be providing an experience for our students in the safest way we can. We are making progress to return to play, which is a positive step.” FIRST SEMESTER With creativity and determination, Concordia was able to transition back to campus in August 2020. In-person instruction and residential living were offered with modifications to academic and campus life. In an effort to offer in-person instruction safely, several measures were put in place. Each teaching space was measured to determine appropriate occupancy and classes were held in larger spaces when necessary. In addition, some courses were offered as a hybrid approach and virtual learning attendance was available for those who could not meet in person. Residence halls were opened with carefully planned changes to promote student health. The density was reduced on each floor and enhanced cleaning regimens were implemented in common areas. Students were able to request single occupancy rooms as available. Faculty and staff worked diligently to provide rich and meaningful learning experiences while caring for the health and well-being of students. REIMAGINED CHRISTMAS CONCERT Months before Christmas is on most people’s radar, plans were well underway to continue Concordia’s long-standing tradition of providing one of the

area’s largest Christmas celebrations. With more than 425 student musicians, this was an ambitious undertaking. Precautions were taken to ensure the health and safety of students and staff while continuing to deliver a superior quality concert that Concordia is known for. “We knew pretty early on that if we were going to do a Christmas concert it was going to feel different,” says Dr. Michael Culloton ’98, director of choral activities and artistic director of the Concordia Christmas concert. “Plans had to be designed for how to do this as a virtual concert.” The biggest challenge was completely rethinking the format of a beloved tradition that was established more than 90 years ago. Rehearsals took place in the concert hall with choir and orchestra members at least 6 feet apart and masks worn. Strict safety protocols were put into place to ensure the health and well-being of the students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Kevin Sütterlin, director of orchestral activities, notes that finding solutions for all orchestra members required innovative thinking. “We followed specific performing arts studies that had been executed by other universities,” he says. “With wind and brass performers also masked, we had to come up with some creative ways to design and produce face coverings that would work.” While the concert was performed in Memorial Auditorium as usual, the setup was very different. Choral members sang in the permanent seating spaced 6 feet apart and the orchestra, also physically distanced, performed from the floor in front of the seats. Even more challenging, neither Culloton nor Dr. Kira Winter, assistant professor of music, were able to be physically present for the recording of the Christmas concert. However, with technology

and quick thinking by Wyatt Steinke ’17, manager for choral activities, Culloton and Winter were able to direct the choirs virtually from their homes via monitors. “While it was weird not having them there, the entire choir was really focused and the faculty and staff were well prepared,” says Mallory Rabehl ’21, student manager of The Concordia Choir. The concert was filmed during a weekend in November. The video was then edited to include elements of the concert that were special traditions to many. The virtual Christmas concert was released online and initially available Dec. 18-27; however, due to high demand and positive feedback, it was extended to Jan. 1. SECOND SEMESTER Second semester began Jan. 7, 2021. In an effort to safely start a new semester following a holiday break, Concordia adjusted the return to in-person academics and activities. All classes had a oneweek period of online learning followed by a staggered start to classroom learning. Students, faculty, and staff continue to be required to wear masks in public spaces and maintain social distance. A mix of hybrid, in-person, and online courses are available. Although it looks and feels different, the Cobber community remains strong and connected and is approaching life together in new ways. The world around us has changed so much the past several months – yet Concordia’s mission remains the same. Now more than ever, our world needs leaders who will serve, lead, and influence the affairs of the world.


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FRONT LINES The Crucial Role of Cobber Health Professionals During COVID-19

By Reyna Bergstrom Since the beginning of the pandemic, many Concordia alumni and students have been thrust onto the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. With determination and perseverance, they have engaged and helped not only their own communities but have made an impact that has extended around the world.


HROUGHOUT THE CHALLENGES of the past year, countless Cobbers have persistently worked on efforts to combat the virus. Although everyone has been affected and professionals across every industry have been forced to adapt, healthcare workers have been submerged in the realities of COVID-19 from the start. Three Concordia alumni share their experiences and perspectives working on the front lines of the pandemic. CONFRONTING A CRISIS Dr. Amy Kircher ’97, co-director of the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative at the University of Minnesota, has a lot to say when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the response team for the U of M’s research office, her team has been tasked with hibernating research (e.g., labs) and ramping up research to deliver solutions for the COVID-19 response. She has worked on drafting several response plans and

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templates to support organizations and institutions in implementing public health measures to protect their employees and remain operational. These plans have included templates for food processing plants, religious facilities, and restaurants and have been shared with government organizations, industry, and nonprofit organizations to build their customized plans. Additionally, part of Kircher’s job at the U of M has been to start research that fills an operational need to support real-time decision-making, such as the creation of novel face shields and risk communication. When making response decisions, she says that “critical thinking and judgment are so important – you need to know the whole context. Being flexible, adaptable, and having a willingness to respond to meet the mission” are important factors in formulating effective responses. However, making quick and informed decisions is no easy task. Clear communication is key and, yet, communicating quickly becomes complicated due to the vast amount of information being shared. One of the primary obstacles for Dr. Michelle Isley ’97 has centered around communication as well. As an associate professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the medical director for Labor and Delivery and Inpatient Obstetrics, she has found that when too much information arrives at once no one seems to see or hear anything. “Communication is so important. Remote meetings and emails have multiplied during the pandemic,” she says. “Things are changing quickly and there is a need to communicate with staff and faculty quickly but also strategically. Learning to communicate effectively and not flood people’s email in-baskets is key.” Isaac Triebold ’03, an epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), also heads the charge on much communication and decisionmaking responsibility. As senior epidemiologist in the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division, Triebold covers 16 counties in West Central Minnesota and is a resource for providers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and local public health on infectious diseases. “When a disease is reported, I ensure that the case is treated appropriately and make sure to slow or stop the spread of the disease by instituting public health interventions like exclusion from activities and treatment of others who may have

been exposed,” he says. “Our division is the lead organization responding to this emergency in Minnesota. We actively monitor cases and their contacts, make recommendations on infection prevention, and work with our partners across MDH and in local public health to make sure people in quarantine have their essential needs met.” An unprecedented experience guarantees new challenges and figuring out creative ways to meet those challenges.

Dr. Amy Kircher ’97

FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE Despite challenges, there is reason to remain optimistic going forward. “I have seen firsthand the strength and dedication of the people I work with in continuing the care of our patients,” Isley says. In continuing this care and carrying out the plans that healthcare teams have in place, Kircher says to remember that “the public only sees a slice of the entire picture, mainly through the lens of the media, so it’s difficult for us to make judgments of what health professionals are doing – but there are plans in place.” She reassures, “Know that there are incredible public servants and people in the industry who plan and work on this. There are career government service people that are working hard, implementing plans, and being flexible and adaptable.” Because it’s impossible to communicate the entire story to the public, it’s important to trust leaders and professionals.

Dr. Michelle Isley ’97

Isaac Triebold ’03

In a pandemic that has affected everyone in some capacity, there have undoubtedly been many sorrows. However, while uncertainty, chaos, and conflict have seemed to infiltrate every aspect of our lives, there have also been moments of hope to remind us of the goodness that continues to exist in the world. Healthcare workers along with countless others – educators, business owners, and community leaders to name a few – have inspired us by rising to the occasion and creating new methods for us to safely go about our lives in a “new normal.” Healthcare workers in particular have tirelessly prevailed and been on the forefront of the crisis, risking their own lives by working to ensure our safety and health. Because of their efforts, these front-line workers – including Cobbers – have inspired us to adapt, persevere, and withstand hardship.

Read more about how Cobbers responded when the pandemic began at


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DISCRIMINATION AND INJUSTICE Aspirations, questions, and challenges surrounding racial injustice and religious prejudice at Concordia College

By Michelle Brislin

Concordia College aspires to be a diverse community that affirms an abundance of identities, experiences, and perspectives in order to imagine, examine, and implement possibilities for individual and communal thriving. Critical thinking grounded in the liberal arts compels us to participate in intentional dialogue, careful self-reflection, and honest interactions about difference, power, and inequity. As responsible engagement in the world calls us to recognize worlds that are familiar or unfamiliar, visible or less visible, Concordia will act to increase and support diversity in all areas of college life. Concordia College Statement on Diversity, adopted Spring 2018

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SPIRING TO BE something is one thing. Doing the work to get there is another. We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions, set goals, or had dreams that didn’t pan out and, oftentimes, the reason why is simple: we didn’t have a plan or, if we did, we didn’t follow it. Aspiring to be a more diverse community is an ambitious goal for Concordia College and one that has required a plan and a leader who is diligent about following it. Since Dr. Edward Antonio was hired as the chief diversity officer in 2017, he has been working to develop and implement a robust series of programs and plans to “increase and support diversity in all areas of college life.” Highlights of this important work include:

Dr. Edward Antonio

In-person (prepandemic) and virtual conversations to share and learn from one another in an environment that allows students, staff, and faculty to be real, honest, and supportive.

Community action plans with Fargo-Moorhead leaders that turn research and dialogue into action for change. (See sidebar story: “Compassionate Justice”)

Exploring ways and providing opportunities to call on the arts – music, theatre, fine arts – to express and engage in the diversity of American and world cultures.

Implicit bias training for all staff and faculty to help us recognize our own culpability in systems of racial injustice and faith intolerance.

A change in our curriculum, core, and majors to include a focus on the beauty of diversity and understanding of power and privilege.

Investing financially in scholarships, staff and faculty positions, and partnerships to increase diversity on campus.


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This is a good start. But there is more work to do. Unfortunately, our students can face discrimination on campus. They deal with comments and behavior that are rooted in ignorance, bias, and racism. This may be hard to hear and, for many, a little shocking and difficult to believe. Concordia College is known for being welcoming and supportive. The college can be described in this way for the majority of students but, for some, it is not. “When you are treated a certain way, you are being told that you are unwanted. This is not a good feeling, but something I am accustomed to,” says a sophomore student who is Muslim. “I am grateful for the staff and cohort of students who are supportive and who keep me motivated to finish my education.” To combat religious prejudice, religion professor Dr. Jacqueline Bussie is leading the Forum on Faith and Life, which focuses on interfaith understanding. One example of her work includes collaborating with Dining Services to address the dietary needs of Muslim and Hindu students on campus. Students are taking charge as well. The Concordia chapter of Better Together is working to promote interfaith relationships on campus and in the community and, this past academic year, students formed the Muslim Student Association. In an effort to create a more diverse population of students, Concordia’s culture is shifting in positive ways. As with many changes, there are some difficulties and challenges throughout that process. “Dismantling discrimination isn’t an easy thing to do and change doesn’t happen overnight. True transformation takes time – we have to allow our community the time to learn, to change, and to grow,” Antonio says. “This is not just about programs where we share meals and shake hands. This is about policies and procedures in our strategic plan. We are requiring training. We are providing workshops and gatherings that are well attended. I believe we will continue to make progress if we can do the hard work together.” Last semester, the Alumni Relations Office hosted a virtual event featuring two members of the National Alumni Board (NAB) – the Rev. Kenneth Wheeler ’74 and Ashley Thompson ’16 – who

shared their thoughts and led a conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Wheeler illustrated how racial injustice has prevailed through the years dating back to slavery and rearing its ugly head time and time again, recently culminating with the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. He asked participants to consider the past and present, their own privilege, and what the college must do moving forward to be an anti-racist organization. “I hope this will not be the last conversation,” Wheeler said as he concluded the virtual event. “We are fighting for our humanity. I want this nation to see me as a human being. It is time for America to make black, brown, red, and white people whole. That is my hope.” Thompson shared her perspective as a more recent graduate, as a former staff member in the Admission Office, and as a member of the NAB. She also provided practical tips on how to be an ally to people of color: • Educate yourself – reach out to the alumni office for a list of books and resources. • Learn about historical achievements and contributions by people of color that are underrepresented in textbooks and in the classroom. • Explore other cultures through art, music, movies, and literature. • Be an advocate – use your voice, share ideas, take action. • Learn about your own biases and engage in training for correction. • Listen – ask questions and seek truth. “Programs are one thing; lived experience is something else,” Antonio says. “What is needed is change in culture and attitudes, as well as the courage and willingness to develop meaningful relationships across religious and other kinds of difference.”

“True transformation takes time – we have to allow our community the time to learn, to change, and to grow.” – Dr. Edward Antonio 22 |


Compassionate Justice Turning Research into Action for Change

Heather Ukaonu ’22

Heather Ukaonu ’22 and Maggie Pfeffer ’21 collaborated on a research project with Dr. Michelle Lelwica, professor of religion, last summer that focused on a compassionate approach to juvenile justice. Funded by a Concordia Centennial Research Grant, they researched how the juvenile justice system works and how youth are affected by it. “The Compassionate Justice research project emerged from a sense of responsibility I feel to better understand the young peoples’ lives, to examine the systems in which they are caught, and to explore alternatives that might foster compassionate justice and healing – one that takes seriously the layers of suffering surrounding the lives of at-risk youth,” says Lelwica, who started visiting the West Central Regional Juvenile Center (WCRJC) in Moorhead in January 2018. “Young people are more motivated to stop blaming others when they are not worried about being harshly judged or punished for what they did. And they are more inclined to take responsibility for their harmful actions if the painful circumstances that contributed to those actions are acknowledged.” The trio met with a group of 12 youth twice per week at the WCRJC. Their work centered on mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, book club and well-being discussions, and writing projects to develop skills that facilitate critical thinking and introspection. In the course of the research, some of what they found was that compassion and accountability are not mutually exclusive but, in fact, need each other. “We spent time with youth to gain firsthand knowledge on what they think about the current justice system and how they respond to a

Maggie Pfeffer ’21

more compassionate approach that Dr. Lelwica constructed,” Ukaonu says. “During our time with them, we saw a caring, strong, intelligent side of the youth that many people don’t normally see.” Ukaonu, a psychology and Spanish double major from Kulm, N.D., says the project fueled her passion to work with at-risk youth. She plans to return to the WCRJC to visit with the youth she spent the summer with, continue to research approaches to juvenile justice that are constructive and compassionate, and spread awareness about the issue. “Every youth has the potential to be successful if given extra attention by those who really want them to succeed,” Ukoanu says. “Their skills for understanding their feelings and handling difficult situations in safe ways need to be cultivated more than ever. They need more mentors, and their families need more professionals who will help the family get on the right track.” Pfeffer, an English and global studies double major from Alexandria, Minn., says she learned what it means to be brave, honest, and strong, that life isn’t easy, and that laughter heals. “There is such power in listening. The youth taught me to erase boxes, to not make assumptions, to keep trying, to dream bigger, to be true to myself, to trust, to forgive, to be better,” she says. “I am grateful for knowing all of them. They made a mark on my heart and an imprint in my memory that I will never, ever forget.”

Those interested in supporting Dr. Lelwica and her work with the WCRJC can contact Michelle Brislin for more information at


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LEARNING TAKES FLIGHT Out of the Classroom and Into the Competitive World of Drone-Building

By Justin Monroe ’21

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E ALL KNOW about planes, trains, and automobiles, but what about uncrewed aerial vehicles? Jamie Van Overschelde ’21 and Benjamin Bogart ’21 know quite a bit about drones. They designed, built, and competed in the 2019-20 Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC) Intercollegiate Quadcopter Challenge. Led by faculty advisor Dr. Thelma Berquó, associate professor of physics, Van Overschelde and Bogart constructed their quadcopters using a kit provided by MnSGC. The students designed and built kit components using a 3-D printer and laser cutter. MnSGC is part of the NASA-funded National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. MnSGC looks to advance programs offering a well-rounded experience in STEM, encompassing the disciplines of research, design, and teamwork. Identified as being of particular interest was a competition led by Concordia College. The competition was composed of nine teams across Minnesota, each challenged to design, construct, and explore an unknown environment with their respective quadcopters. In addition to participating in this competition, Van Overschelde and Bogart also served as tech advisors for the MnSGC. “As tech advisors, it was our responsibility to build and test the kit for the teams,” Bogart says. The work involved everything from deciding which components to include to experimenting with different cameras, sensors, and other pieces, making it possible for each team to build their own unique machine with the same parts. Not only are teams challenged with building their own custom drones, but they do so with a conglomerate of parts and no instruction manual. “There was no singular set of documentation that took us completely through building the drone. Many of the struggles for us came when we had to get different parts not from the same kits to ‘talk’ to each other,” Bogart says. “One of the reasons competitions like this are so important is because they teach students skills that they may not have the opportunities to otherwise learn.” Van Overschelde, who is double majoring in mathematics and computer science with a concentration in data analytics, traveled to Washington, D.C., in February 2020 for the 30th anniversary of the NASA Space Grant program.

“Students and professors presented Space Grant-funded projects they were working on at a convention and I presented the quadcopter project,” he says. “It was a great experience and I am grateful for the opportunity.” A fly-off was scheduled for March 2020 but was canceled due to the pandemic. For Bogart and Van Overschelde, this was by no means the end. They asked each team to produce a video documenting what they learned, how they would like to further develop their drones, and what advice they would give to future competitors. While Bogart is pushing for a possible fly-off sometime in the near future, there are no official plans yet. Competitions such as these teach students in STEM fields lessons they may not learn in the classroom. Not only are Bogart and Van Overschelde applying their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, but they are among a small group bringing this competition to fruition. Getting students out of the classroom and into the world to fine-tune their collaboration, leadership, and problem-solving skills is one of the core objectives of a liberal arts education in STEM fields.

“Being an effective communicator in a STEM setting is a tough skill to develop in any way other than through experience.” – Benjamin Bogart “As an aspiring researcher and professor, these skills will be essential,” Bogart says. “I am thankful for all the firsthand experience my role in the MnSGC Quadcopter Challenge has given me and the communication skills it has helped me develop.” The challenge has been a pivotal experience for these Concordia students. Until the drones can take flight once again, Bogart says he will continue his studies in physics and mathematics and pursue a research career with hopes of becoming a professor.

Left: Jamie Van Overschelde ’21 Right: Benjamin Bogart ’21


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Max Mona ’21

Madi Hagen ’22

Júlia Ozaniaková ’21




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O SOME, ENTREPRENEURSHIP creates the freedom to pursue their dreams, untethered from the constructs thrust upon them by a society that often tells them “no.” For others, entrepreneurship provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes and grow through triumphs in a fashion that is simply impossible to experience any other way. For all of us, though, it’s hard to deny that entrepreneurship is unwavering in its impact on our day-to-day routine, casting a spotlight of innovation, value creation, and positive change that reverberates across generations.

Mindset Undergraduate Academic Certificate and an entrepreneurship minor – both of which are open to students of all disciplines on any career path.

Concordia College recognizes the profound impact developing an entrepreneurial mindset can have on the future endeavors of its students. In response, Concordia’s Offutt School of Business (OSB) has developed and implemented the Entrepreneurial

Max Mona ’21, a finance major from Annapolis, Md., has firsthand experience studying entrepreneurship in the OSB. He took the introductory Entrepreneurial Mindset course when it launched in Fall 2019.

Within the nine-credit requirement of the certificate is coursework designed to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. The curriculum, effectuated by the OSB, was developed with the goal of making a lasting, positive impact on the lives of students as they venture out of the forgiving sanctuary of Concordia’s classrooms to navigate a world of uncertainty.

“I was very happy this course was available as entrepreneurship is essential no matter what you study at Concordia,” he says. “Having students from different disciplines helped strengthen our entrepreneurial teams by recognizing the skills and abilities each team member brought to the group.” This recognition of how each team member can be valued in ways respective to their strengths is precisely what the OSB’s entrepreneurship curriculum was designed to foster in students like Mona. As an undergraduate looking to enter the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive business world following graduation, Mona recognizes the value of entrepreneurial skills for his life going forward. “I learned that entrepreneurship applies to any discipline, any workplace, and any position,” he says. “The skills I gained from creative problem solving, collaborating in teams, and adapting to change will be key to my future success.” Mona is not alone in his sentiments. Madi Hagen ’22 has taken full advantage of opportunities for entrepreneurial excellence during her educational experience. Originally from Detroit Lakes, Minn., Hagen is a business management major with a minor in interfaith studies. She is also taking coursework for the Entrepreneurial Mindset Certificate. “After a couple of weeks in Entrepreneurial Mindset I (the first requirement toward the fourcourse certificate), I realized this was something that would change my life and not just my career,” she says. “It shapes your mindset. Every situation that you go through in your day-to-day life could be different if you look at it through an entrepreneurial lens.” Life changing. As an academic institution dedicated to challenging students to become responsibly engaged in the world, can a more positive outcome be achieved? With synonyms such as powerful, transformative, and metamorphic, establishing a life-changing college course is no small feat. For the OSB faculty, creating the opportunity for students to develop skills such as selfawareness, creative problem solving, resilience, and self-efficacy is central to the cutting-edge entrepreneurship curriculum.

“I have developed the skill of taking the first step. In the entrepreneurial mindset courses, they talk a lot about the importance of taking the first step toward what you want. That step isn’t going to be easy, but if you don’t take it you will never get to where you want to be.” – Madi Hagen During her nearly four years at Concordia, Júlia Ozaniaková ’21 has become a familiar face in the OSB and the Fargo-Moorhead business community. Originally from Turany, Slovakia, Ozaniaková is a business economics and computer science (data analytics) double major with a minor in international affairs. She has fully immersed herself in the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by participating in 1 Million Cups Fargo and other Emerging Prairie programs. Among her many campus involvements is serving as the vice president of public relations for the Entrepreneurial Club. “Entrepreneurship has improved my leadership, collaboration, and interpersonal skills. Being involved in jump-starting the Entrepreneurship Club gave me the opportunity to learn more about strategy building and goal setting, while also listening to the needs and wants of the students who we hope to serve and create opportunities for,” she says. “I know that the experience of creating something new while collaborating with others has improved my confidence as a professional and will greatly benefit me in my future.” The curriculum’s interdisciplinary approach is key to empowering Concordia students to be the leaders of tomorrow as they graduate and enter the workforce. As students like Mona, Hagen, and Ozaniaková enter Concordia’s classrooms with wide eyes and open ears, it is the college’s responsibility to provide integrative opportunities for them to learn and grow. The Entrepreneurial Mindset Undergraduate Academic Certificate is one such opportunity. Going forward, this program will continue to serve as a resource for developing an entrepreneurial mindset and not only encourage students to seize each day but to influence the affairs of the world.


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NEW COBBERS By Dr. Karl A. Stumo

Recruiting this fall’s class of new Cobbers has taken on a radically new look this year. Prospective high school students are experiencing their college search like never before in history. Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, many high school seniors in the region are learning in online environments and trying to find new ways to begin considering college options for the coming year. Access to high schools has been limited and annual college fairs have been canceled entirely throughout the Upper Midwest. In response, the Concordia admission staff has been radically innovative in this year’s recruitment and marketing efforts to meet students where they are – at home. As a result, conversations with prospective high school students and their parents have moved online – relying on multiple channels of digital communication, including Zoom, social media, email, and phone conversations. The admission staff has been doubly diligent in reaching out to prospective students to share the Concordia story and encourage them to complete the admission and financial aid application processes. “This year’s admission work has been challenging and rewarding all at the same time,” says Mike Vandenberg, director of recruitment. “Prospective students and their families are still very interested in Concordia and our admission representatives have created innovative ways to connect with students to share what learning and life is like at Concordia now. We’re still connecting with students and it has been great to hear of their interest in becoming Cobbers this fall.”

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Despite the college being temporarily closed to campus visitors during the spring and summer months, the Office of Admission was able to preserve opportunities for prospective students and families to travel to Moorhead for in-person campus visits in the fall. Important safety protocols were developed to ensure the health and well-being of guests and staff. Students and their parents are completing health screenings the day of their visits, student tour guides are maintaining appropriate social distancing during campus tours, and everyone is wearing masks. When tours are completed, prospective students and their parents are invited to meet with their admission representative, faculty, coaches, ensemble directors, and current students via video conversations while still on campus. Prospective Cobbers are still offered the opportunity to visit the Anderson Commons dining center and tour specially designated residence halls. “The campus visit is maybe the most important part of any college search for a student and parents. It’s so important to come to Moorhead to walk the campus, meet with current students and faculty, and get an in-person perspective of the college,” says Jolee Lilja ’11, associate director of admission. “Our admission team has hosted multiple virtual campus visit events throughout the year and they’re working great. That said, a virtual tour just isn’t the same as being here. We’re proud that we’ve been able to provide students with on-campus visits in a safe and responsible way. The students I’ve been able to work with are really thankful they can see Concordia for themselves.”

SUPPORTING OUR STUDENTS The Cobber community provides crucial resources and transformational opportunities for students during these uncertain times.

THE COBBER FUND In November, the Concordia Advancement team introduced The Cobber Fund.

Along with changes in the campus visit program, the admission staff is also excited about the new approach to tuition and financial aid. In addition to reducing tuition by more than $15,000 for the 2021-22 academic year, students are also being offered the Cobber Flex Year option that provides two tuition-free semesters beyond a student’s expected graduation date to fully engage in life at Concordia. This flex option allows students who have had their college experience affected by the pandemic expanded time and opportunity to learn – both in the classroom and beyond – in the ways they find most valuable. This fall, Concordia is also providing qualified students an opportunity to participate in the CobberAssurance program. This innovative program provides incoming students and families financial assistance in repaying student loans after graduation. CobberAssurance is another example of the college’s commitment to providing students an excellent learning experience at an affordable cost over the long term. There’s no doubt this has been a year like no other for prospective students and the admission staff. In the face of these challenges, the college and our enrollment team is adapting and innovating quickly to help high school students realize the great opportunities and excellent learning experiences that await them here at Concordia in the coming year. We’re ready for these new Cobbers to arrive in the fall.

This special fund provides scholarships to ensure a Concordia education is accessible for students in most need of financial support. It also funds powerful leadership and learning opportunities that equip students to be successful in college and prepare them for lives of meaning and impact. The Cobber Fund is fueled by thousands of people giving what they can each year to provide a Concordia experience for every Cobber. Alumni of all ages, parents, friends, faculty, and staff share gifts of all sizes that add up to more than $2 million in annual support for students. The Cobber Fund celebrates the power of the collective Concordia community and our ongoing commitment to the next generation of Cobbers. Every donor matters. Learn more at

What might happen if 100 philanthropic-minded Cobber women joined together in support of students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? With this question in mind, the Advancement team launched the One aCCord initiative in November. Inspired by a Concordia alumna, One aCCord leverages the power of 100 model to unite and connect Cobber women. The virtual event featured updates from campus, students, and alumnae, and challenged women to make a gift of $100 toward the emergency scholarship fund. The inaugural event had over 120 participants and raised gifts and pledges of more than $16,835. That amount was doubled thanks to the generosity of the Board of Regents’ Giving Day match. Donors received a Cobber face mask as a reminder of their impact on the lives of our most vulnerable students. The next One aCCord event will be March 9. For more details on this and future events, visit


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AWA 2020 Alumni Achievement Awards

The Alumni Achievement Award (AAA), the college’s highest honor, is conferred upon alumni of 20 years or more who have distinguished themselves in their careers and service to others.

Dr. Bennett Larson ’63 is Corporate Fellow Emertius in the Materials Science and Technology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tenn., where he began his 45year career as a research physicist in 1969. His work included development and application of new and innovative X-ray diffraction techniques. He has authored numerous scientific papers, presented at national and international scientific meetings, and won a number of prestigious awards. Although formally retired, Larson remains actively involved in scientific research at ORNL.

Rachel (Nelson) Hollstadt ’70 founded Hollstadt & Associates Inc., an information technology and management consulting company, in 1990 and grew it to more than 185 employees before selling it in 2012. Hollstadt sponsors women in leadership events and has given back to the community, including launching Big Give based on Oprah’s idea. Hollstadt is a former member of Concordia College Board of Regents and a board member of the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, among other organizations.

Robert C. Johnson ’71, retired manager of music organizations for St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., passed away in October 2019 after a yearlong battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Johnson’s office was responsible for managing all aspects of the St. Olaf Band, St. Olaf Choir, and St. Olaf Orchestra, including arranging tours, production of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, and managing St. Olaf Records. He was honored with several awards, including the ACE award for lifetime achievement from the American Choral Directors Association.

Karen (Quanbeck) Grandstrand ’77, a shareholder with Fredrikson & Byron, is a nationally recognized financial services regulatory attorney and financial industry advisor. Prior to Fredrikson, she had a 14-year career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Grandstrand is a member of the Minnesota State Bar, the American Bar, and the Hennepin County Bar associations. She is a past and current member of several boards, committees, and associations, including the Concordia College Board of Regents, and received the Concordia College Regents Award in 2000.

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Cmdr. Brian C. Kesselring ’00 joined the Navy in 2001. Following fighter jet training, Kesselring served with several squadrons and trained aircrew at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). He has more than 3,900 flight hours, 812 carrier arrested landings, over 120 combat missions, and received several medals and awards. Most recently, Kesselring was selected to serve as the Blue Angels’ commander, leading a team of 141 members serving as ambassadors to the Navy and Marines.

Dr. Tara (Steuber) Wilson ’06 earned a master’s degree and doctorate in mathematical sciences from Clemson University, where she was honored with the Outstanding Citizenship Award in 2009. She is currently senior decision science consultant for The Walt Disney Co., based in Orlando, Fla. Her team performs analytical consultation, research, and applications/ systems development to optimize business decisions for various segments across the company, including several resorts, the Disney Cruise Line, and ABC and ESPN.

Jon R. Pederson ’72 was president and owner of RuffridgeJohnson Equipment Co. until his death in August 2019. As a child, he was active in Scouting and had leadership roles as an adult. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam before returning to Concordia. He was instrumental in a $15 million remake in south Minneapolis, the National Norwegian Center in America – home to Norway House, where he served as board chair and capital campaign chair, and Concordia Language Villages, where he served on the National Advisory Board.

Lynn (Fragale) Foulke ’82 is CEO of RE/MAX Results, the ninth largest real estate company in the nation with more than 1,200 sales executives and 200 employees. Foulke climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and, after witnessing the poverty in the nearby village, she formed a charitable organization, Safaris With A Heart. The foundation raises money for the village of Pasua, Moshi, Tanzania, East Africa, and she leads charity treks where part of the group climbs the mountain while the rest work on community projects.

2020 Sent Forth Awards The Sent Forth Award is conferred upon alumni of less than 20 years who have distinguished themselves early in their careers and in service to others.

2020 Called to Serve Awards The Called to Serve Award is conferred upon alumni of any year who have demonstrated notable commitment to the mission of the college through lifelong service to their faith communities, education, arts, or other not-for-profit activities.


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« memorials


Gladys (Borstad) DeRuwe, 102


Lois (Anderson) Gaskell, 99


June (Marks) Bailey, 98 Viona (Carlson) Lutness, 98 Marjorie (Alme) McAllister, 95


Constance “Connie” (Hagen) Jesperson, 97 Ralph Oehlke, 98


Norma (Westby) Barzee, 97 Laila (Iverson) Lindberg, 96


Elizabeth Strand, 97


Marjorie (Mueller) Carlson, 94 Sidney Engelstad, 97 Arland Fiske, 93 Luther Fjelstad, 96 Ruth (Haaland) Guldseth, 94

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Ruth (Vikse) Loktu, 96 Robert Onkka, 98 John Ordahl, 96


John Abel, 94 Eleanor (Eastvold) Bjornlie, 92 Lorraine (Hildahl) Linné, 94 Gordon Rustad, 93


Betty (Dahl) Dirkes, 91 Leonard Graf, 93 Earl Lee, 92 Winston Rasmusson, 90 Virginia “Ginny” (Groven) Rehder, 92 Barbara (Loy) Stalheim, 91 Wayne Thorson, 93


Duane Ellertson, 93 Chuck Evingson, 90 Louis Clark Tollefson, 93 Mary (Marquart) Trowbridge, 89


Muriel (Geving) Berg, 90 Dennis Ellingson, 89 Gloria (Grindland) Guibord, 89 Gothard “Knute” Knutson, 90

Eileen (Hovland) Rudd, 89 Ardell (Nelson) Strom, 89


Warren “Bud” Abbott, 96 Marjorie (Baeverstad) Johnston, 89 Norma (Bale) Olson, 88 Nellie (Hanson) Sponheim, 88 June (Gjelsness) Tweten, 88 Bryant Ulseth, 89


Solveig (Moe) Bartz, 87 Richard Hegrenes, 87 James H. Johnson, 87 David Kaldahl, 88 Thomas Kloster, 87 Katherine (Jordahl) Larson Maxine (Lee) Shulstad, 87 Joyce (Flom) Stave, 84 Earl Stein Jr., 87 Maynard Tingelstad, 88 Marlys (Clemetson) Vogt, 88


Norman Aarestad, 86 John Dexter, 92 Doris “Dorie” (Gisvold) Holen, 86 Eileen (Larson) Johnson, 95

memorials »

Sister Shawn Carruth, 77, died in March. Carruth, professor emeritus of religion, was a member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Crookston, Minn., where she graduated from Mount St. Benedict Academy. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Catherine, a master’s from St. John’s University, and a doctorate in religion from Claremont Graduate University. She taught in elementary schools and at Mount St. Benedict High School before joining the faculty of the religion department at Concordia in 1989, retiring in 2013. Carruth accompanied students on several global learning semesters abroad and also received Concordia’s Flaat Distinguished Scholarship Award. She had a deep commitment to telling women’s history and promoting their lives and leadership, as well as an attentiveness to fostering community in the department and at the college. She worked as an active member of the Q Project, a reconstruction of a common written source used by the writers of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and served as the managing editor of several volumes that resulted from the study. Her scholarly articles can be found in volumes published in the U.S. and Australia. Though she had never wanted to be involved in administration, she became the prioress of the Sisters of St. Benedict in 2016. She is survived by her sister, Kathleen (Ron) Holtan; her brother, Richard (Patty); and the members of her Benedictine family.

Dr. Hiram Drache, 96, died in October. Drache was

professor emeritus of history and upon his retirement became the historian-in-residence, a title he held until his passing. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as a lead and squadron navigator on B-17s on bombing raids over Germany. He was later promoted to major and, after his combat service, he earned bachelor’s degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College, a master’s from the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate from the University of North Dakota. He rejoined the faculty in 1955 after first teaching from 1952-53. Drache and his wife, Ada, had a farming operation that received nationwide publicity for its many innovations. Drache began researching and writing about agriculture and regional history in the mid-1950s, writing 20 books over the years. In the 1960s, he had a radio program on KFGO; was a presenter at the symposium “Two Centuries of American Agriculture” sponsored by the USDA in Washington, D.C., in 1975; and, in 1976, represented North Dakota on NBC’s “Today” show in its series on the bicentennial. He received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from Gustavus, the Flaat Distinguished Service Award from Concordia, and the Clay County Heritage award. He is survived by his wife, Ada; daughter, Kay (Loren Botner); sons, David (Mary) and Paul (Lisa); seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.


Torrey Berge, 98 William “Bill” Krohg, 90 Bonita (Stutrud) Melting, 85 LeRoy Ness, 85 Paul Teslow, 84 Martin Thompson, 84 Edgar Wright Jr., 86


H. Elizabeth (Tveit) Cowan, 83 Liane (Richman) Denton, 84 Mary (Kloos) Hanson, 86 Ivonne (Borreson) Olson, 84 Betty (Hendrickson) Salvevold, 85 Donald Strom, 85


Richard “Dick” Bjelland, 85 Bruce Bjorke, 83 Margaret (Wammer) Bollingberg, 84 Leon Flancher, 83 Ronald Jorgensen, 89 Dan Kittelson, 85 Gloria (Larson) Ruud, 83


Avella Anderson, 82 Duane Femrite, 83 Marian (Jordheim) Haugen, 83 Joanne (Nord) Hitterdal, 83 Mary Beth (Nyquist) MacMillan, 82 John Matheson, 94 Earl Matson, 83 Jean (Anderson) Rose, 92


Delores (Fueller) Byboth, 84 Norman Danielson, 81 Donald “Donnie” Grages, 81 Myron Johnson, 82 Sandra (Hertsgaard) Marks, 81 Deanne Olson, 81 Norma (Brustuen) Sands, 81 Aileen (Kyvig) Tollefson, 81 Dorothy (Prosser) Westlund, 81


Robert Behr, 81 Lowell Haug, 82 Donald Just, 80


Paul Allen, 79 Carol (Lehrer) Borchert, 79 John Brady, 84 Russell Hovland, 80


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« memorials


Carl Fischer, 79 Gary Gilthvedt, 78 Gerald “Jerry” Gunderson, 78 Daniel Loucks, 79 Terry Mills, 78 Derry Peterson, 79


Dalton Dirks Patricia (Mulliean) Lehrke, 77 Vincent Lindstrom, 77 Walter “Walt” Olson, 80


John Carlson, 76 Douglas Doughty, 77 Nathan Molldrem, 77 LeRoy Thompson, 77


Larry Barber, 76 Ruthe (Tollefson) Enstad, 75 Sharon (Felske) Erickson, 76


Charles Beck, 74 Mark Carlson, 74 Marianne (Anderson) Nelson, 75


John Hovland, 73


Sharon (Hanlon) Benzel, 87 Marlene (Sather) Colvin, 73 Gail Davison, 73 Sharon (Daehlin) Engh, 80 Darwin Jacobson, 76 Roland James, 74 Mark E. Larson, 72 Enson Maattala, 73 Karen (Lechner) Tosterud, 72 Wilberforce Juta, 76


Vernon Greenquist, 71 Bruce Johnson, 71 Eric Torske, 71


Linda (Tingum) Azure, 70 Faye (Melby) Bjorgan, 70 Grace Horstmann, 71 Jerry Jensen, 69 Willard “Will” Luft, 70 Daniel Skilbred, 70

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Dr. James Hofrenning, 94, died in March. A professor emeritus of religion, Hofrenning was a WWII veteran and, after graduating from Concordia in 1950, earned divinity degrees from Luther Seminary and Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate from New York University. He was a pastor in Brooklyn, N.Y., before joining the religion faculty at Concordia in 1964. Students and colleagues remember him as a wonderful combination of professor, minister, and leader. He was instrumental in developing several new endeavors while at the college, including the Faith, Reason, and World Affairs Symposium, the adult education program F/M Communiversity, and the Charis Ecumenical Center. He received many awards during his nearly 30 years at the college, including the inaugural Fargo Temple Beth El Humanitarian Award for community service and the Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professor award at Concordia. After retirement, he received Concordia’s Alumni Achievement Award. He is survived by his wife, Ingeborg ’82; their children, Kathryn ’79 (Ken Cooper), Dan ’80 (Nancy Brown), and Peter (Stella); three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Dr. Martha Ice, 94, died in September. Ice, professor

emeritus of sociology, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Capital University. After marrying in 1948, her husband began a career in Lutheran ministry that took the family to several postings over the years. Primarily a homemaker her first 19 years of marriage, she became active in church and community services, earning a reputation as a desired speaker. This led to an invitation to teach sociology at Mankato State College in 1967. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from the University of Michigan at the age of 59. She concluded her teaching career with eight years at Concordia, retiring in 1993. She authored two books on life and ministry perspectives of clergy women and men. She moved to Spokane, Wash., where she was active in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, volunteered at Hospice of Spokane, served on the board of Lutheran Community Services, mentored refugees, and tirelessly strove to be of service to others. Ice is survived by five children, Jonathan (Karla), Tim (Priscilla), Rachel Yanıkoglu, Kirsten Mogbo, and Susan (Phil) Shute, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Dr. Gregg Muilenburg, 70, died in May. Muilenburg,

professor emeritus of philosophy, graduated from Calvin College and earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago where he worked with a number of leading philosophers. He joined Concordia in 1977 as a member of the philosophy department, which he chaired for many years. He led numerous study abroad groups to Greece and Italy, as well as full semester programs to Crete for the Credo Honors Program. He later moved to administration as associate dean of first-year programs, retiring in 2013. He is survived by his wife, Pat; children, Megan and Ben; and four grandchildren.

memorials »


Dean “Deano” Hovern, 69


Bradley Jorgensen, 69


William Driver III, 68 Jeffrie Milne, 67


Eugene Powers, 61 Jeffrey Rye, 61


Diane (Nelson) Koznick, 59 Karin (Johnson) Senstad, 59


Tamara Peterson Jones, 59



Dennis Frichtel, 66 Donald Legreid, 67 David Uhlir, 66

Kristin (Stark) Chederquist, 57



Steven D. Nelson, 65 Anna (Nymoen) Robertson, 65 Carolyn (Weberg) Zarling, 65


Janell (Larson) Lyon, 63


Gayle (Sahr) Erickson, 60 Charles “Chuck” Olson, 63

Betty (Fisher) Boulton, 88


Steven Connelly, 54 Carl Smerud, 54


LuraLynn Hodges, 53


Kaia (Nelson) Wilkinson, 48


Brady Nelson, 45


Janet (Waterman) Gallagher, 84


Ryan Tofteland, 40


Ryan Johnk, 37


Justin Wreede, 35





Mark Sawyer, 52

Dawn Swenson, 52

Andresa Carlson, 32

Grant Eggers, 20

IN MEMORIAM Dr. Clarence “Mac” Lewis, 45, died in March. Lewis was assistant professor of classical studies from 2013-17. He directed the Villa Del Vergino Archaeological Field School in Italy, led Exploration Seminars, ran Latin Days, helped create and direct the heritage and museum studies major, mentored Latin education majors, and served on the Curriculum Committee.

Dr. Michelle Marko, 49, died in August. Marko, associate

professor of biology, joined the faculty in 2008 and taught at the college until her death. She was actively engaged in student research, led May Seminars, was a scholarly grant recipient to study invasive species, and was co-director of Concordia’s Long Lake Biological Field Station.


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FOR SUCCESS By Katelynn Smith ’22

The Center for Student Success, which helps undergraduate students define their goals and overcome obstacles on the path to achieving them, provides guidance through key transitions, skill development services, and individualized support. Through collaboration with campus partners and the implementation of curriculum designed to help students meet objectives, the CSS makes a lasting impact on many students. This influence can be seen as students leave Concordia as graduates, community members, and leaders of tomorrow. In March, as the pandemic disrupted the daily lives of our community, the CSS responded boldly. The team, led by John Andrick, assistant dean of students and director of the CSS, regrouped and formed a holistic approach to meet the needs of students who transitioned to online learning and often faced new challenges such as financial management, mental health, and food insecurity. “We had to shift academic counseling, tutoring, and the writing center to virtual services very quickly,” he says. “We also had to rethink how we would plan Orientation and FYT labs to be delivered in a blended or online fashion.”

Although the CSS’s agile methods to issues affecting the logistical aspects of their day-to-day operations have been commended, their response to the physiological disruption caused by the pandemic is worth noting. “As the needs of students shifted very rapidly, we got more engaged with issues like food insecurity and financial hardship,” Andrick says. “We utilized new methods to gather information from both the students and the faculty to help identify students that needed academic support.” During the fall semester, the CSS team used the knowledge they gained in the spring to support students during a difficult time. Their utilization of different approaches to academic counseling helped them meet the needs of students through both Zoom meetings and face-to-face appointments. The CSS’s most important goal for fall semester was to serve students with the best opportunities available while balancing their individual needs. Along the way, the team discovered the impact outside factors brought on by the pandemic could have on student success academically. These factors include but are not limited to physical and mental health, finances, family struggles, and virtual learning. In the hopes of combating these roadblocks, the CSS relied on partnerships with other offices across campus such as Financial Aid, the Counseling Center, and Health Services. These partnerships served as a steady resource to the CSS team as they worked through difficult situations. The CSS team has seen firsthand how one student can be impacted differently than the next. As new obstacles emerge, the team will continue to adapt their strategies to support students.

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TWITTER @Concordia_MN 70 degree November days up north... we’ll take it.

FACEBOOK @concordiacollege Enjoy this preview from the 2020 virtual Concordia Christmas Concert, “Sun of Justice, Reveal the Dawn.”

INSTAGRAM @concordia_mn Without students on campus, the turkeys have taken it upon themselves to keep watch.





Merry Christmas from Kernel Cobb!

Looking forward to more events like this in #2021!

@CobberAlumni Four Cobber alumni found themselves together at a backcountry chalet in Glacier National Park! It’s true, you can find Cobbers anywhere – even in a pandemic.


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901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562

“60 years Proving the bell tower magic. A reminder that there remains love in the world.” @bethylynn13 Pictured: Grandparents of Bethany Stiles ’17 walking under the bell tower together


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