Concordia College 2022 magazine

Page 1

M O O R H E A D , M I N N E S O TA // 2 0 2 2 M A G A Z I N E









A Message from President Craft Greetings to you from Concordia College. This year has been one of endurance — a marathon, not a sprint. What began in the spring of 2020 became the most sweeping and significant disruption of higher education since the Second World War. Yet, in the midst of uncertainty, not only did we endure: we advanced Concordia College. I write to you in continuation of my promise to report on the progress of our strategic plan, Concordia Leads: The Plan for 2030, and share with you updates on defining goals for transformational learning, excellence through diversity, community health and wholeness, and a strong financial foundation. These remarkable achievements are advancing our mission, our students, and the recognition of the excellence of a Concordia education. Through work on and off campus, we are moving with energy to fulfill the four goals of our strategic plan. To influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life is why we are here. Our purpose is compelling, and our mission is clear. Before us lies great opportunity — and I am pleased to share a brief glimpse of our work to seize this opportunity. Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions On June 10, the college formally announced a defining gift from and partnership with Sanford Health to name the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions. Through this expanded partnership with Sanford Health, we will build upon our excellence in health professions education by renovating and innovating learning spaces, hiring new faculty, building program enrollment, and developing new programs to meet student and workforce needs. Graduate and Continuing Studies We continue to expand graduate programs and increase the diversity of the college’s graduate student population. The Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program received approval from the Higher Learning Commission in March 2021. The new Master of Music in Music Education program is expected to launch in summer of 2022, with applications opening this past fall. Faculty members and the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies have advanced the work to add licensure to the college’s Master of Education programs and have collaborated with Concordia Language Villages to launch the Concordia Language Institute.

A Diverse and Inclusive Learning Community Through the college’s new membership in the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), we have expanded our capability to conduct campus climate surveys to help assess our organizational performance with adapting to a diverse learning community. Concordia’s Office of Diversity will expand professional development opportunities for students, faculty, and staff by providing new diversity, inclusion, and equity learning sessions. Commitment to Wellness The 2020-21 academic year presented the college, the community, and our world with many unknowns and stressors. While so much of our work was rightly focused on ensuring in-person living and learning, maintaining college operations and services, and minimizing the negative impact of COVID-19, faculty and staff also collaborated to make an adjustment in the academic calendar to bring a new wholenessand health-focused learning opportunity to the campus community through a dedicated Wellness Day. Wellness Day was held on Feb. 5 and featured speakers, concurrent sessions, and virtual resources. Advancing the Institution The Board of Regents, the college’s governing board, made a strategic decision to revise its committee structure and created a new Institutional Advancement Committee. The purpose of the Institutional Advancement Committee is to advance the educational reputation, stature, and market position of Concordia College, attending to the strategic direction of enrollment, fundraising, alumni/ae engagement, corporate relations, constituent relations, and external communications in order to guide the institution’s acquisition and stewardship of resources to ensure mission attainment and organizational excellence. The new committee represents a significant organizational structural change to bolster the college’s goals of achieving growth and diversifying sources of revenue to fulfill the mission of the college. Dear friends, we continue in mission — we learn, work, and lead for the sake of the world. Hearts together, we change student lives, and those students change the world. Soli Deo gloria.

President William J. Craft On the Cover A rendering of the Heimarck Center, future home of the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions


Mentorship Matters



Preparing for the Future of Healthcare Historic gift a game changer


Cobbers Connect Across the Ocean Three alumni meet while working at island hospital

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: Anna Benson ’19, James M. Cella, Kayley Erlandson, Gunnar Fering ’23, Candace Harmon, Brenden Jankowski ’25, Kim Kappes, Mya Lysne ’23, Nick McGinley ’23, Eme Otto ’17, John Phelps, Kyle Ronsberg ’19, Jordan Ryan, Alexandra Samion ’18, Zoe Schwab, Kirsten Stave ’18, Lori J. Steedsman


Projects for Peace Scholar Promotes Food Security Student implements life-changing plan


A Global Correspondent with Hometown Roots Reflecting with Roxana Saberi

Concordia Magazine 2022 Volume 60 Concordia Magazine is published once a year by 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 or update your record online at

© 2022 Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota 924822/38.6/0322


| 1


Craft Announces Retirement In December, Dr. William Craft, the 11th president of Concordia College, informed the Board of Regents and the college community that he will retire at the end of his second presidential term, on June 30, 2023. With this early notice, President Craft has given the Board extended time to ensure a successful search and for all at Concordia to prepare for an effective transition. The Board of Regents has already begun the work of seeking Concordia’s next president and looks forward to continuing the partnership with President Craft as the search for new leadership continues.

Larson Named Provost Dr. Susan Larson, dean of the college and professor of psychology, has been named provost and dean of Concordia College. In Spring 2019, the Board of Regents affirmed a new college plan for leadership in Academic Affairs, naming Larson dean of the college for a two-year term. President William Craft appointed Larson provost and dean for a four-year term beginning in June 2021 following her term as dean.

“Dr. Larson exemplifies the life and work of a teaching scholar called to collegiate leadership, and continuity in academic leadership will enable us to fulfill more completely and more quickly the transformational learning, excellence through diversity, and community well-being goals of the strategic plan,” Craft says. Larson says she is eager to continue the implementation of “Concordia Leads: The Plan for 2030” and to prepare students for responsible citizenship with the college’s exceptionally strong academic and cocurricular programming.

Two Master’s Degrees Added This Year The college announced approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for a Master of Education with a concentration in Teaching and Learning, and approval from the HLC and the National Association of Schools of Music to begin offering a Master of Music in Music Education degree. The new Master of Education degree is unique in that it will be completely online. It was developed because of the proven track record with the Master of Education in World Language Instruction, which is in its 16th year. There is also the possibility of putting together cohorts for a reduced cost and customized delivery. Dr. Cassandra Glynn, director of graduate education and associate professor of education, is the director of the new program.



Dr. Nat Dickey, chair of the music department and professor of low brass, says his predecessor, Dr. John Roberts, put in the hours of work to start the process for the Master of Music in Music Education degree years ago and Dr. Shauna Pickens, assistant professor of music education, was tasked with successfully bringing it to fruition. Pickens will be the program’s director. The new program can be accomplished without taking time off from teaching, is robust in terms of the level of instruction, and is diverse while also being affordable. The college received requests to add the program not only because options were limited, but due to the reputation of its music department and the teachers that have graduated and become music educators.


Concordia Launches Language Institute The Concordia Language Institute (CLI) is a collaborative program offered through Concordia’s department of world languages and cultures in partnership with Concordia Language Villages. This unique summer program gives individuals the opportunity to explore new languages interactively with others in an online learning environment. Additional languages and course options are in progress, but 12 languages will be offered as interest arises: Arabic, BCMS (Bosnian-CroatianMontenegrin-Serbian), Bulgarian, Chinese, Dakota, ELL, French, German, Korean, Ojibwe, Russian, and

Spanish. All are offered for undergraduate credit or as a non-credit option and open to anyone with a high school diploma. There is a critical need for people with knowledge of a second language. The American Association of Colleges and Universities confirms that 96% of employers place a great degree of importance on areas such as intercultural skills and 55% believe global knowledge is important, yet only 20.7% of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home and only a fraction comprehend a second language well enough to use professionally.

Concordia Receives Mellon Funding for Racial Reparations Work Concordia College has been selected to participate in a $5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Part of the “Just Futures Initiative,” the grant was awarded to the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Solutions, which will partner with 10 higher education institutions around the country to work with minoritized communities to counter the effects of past and current oppression. The Center for Social Solutions, directed by Dr. Earl Lewis ’78, has created a national network of college and university-based organizations,

each of which will develop research-informed reparations plans in partnership with local community organizations. Concordia’s team of scholars will collaborate with Indigenous leaders and members of the Native American community to enhance the lives and opportunities for Native Americans in our region and will concentrate on issues related to generational trauma caused initially by cultural genocide in mandatory-attendance boarding school education.


| 3


From left: Nelson Weniger, Sam Holmberg, Molly Wilde, Dr. Mark Causapin, Emily Miller, and David Miller (Not pictured: Isaac Fisher)

Noyce Teaching Scholarship Addresses Math Teacher Shortage Dr. Mark Causapin, assistant professor of mathematics, was excited to share that they were able to recruit six students for the inaugural Mathematics Teacher-Leaders Honors Program and the scholars are interning at area high schools this year. In March 2020, Concordia College was awarded a $1.2 million National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship grant to implement the Mathematics Teacher-Leaders Honors Program. The goals are to address the critical shortage of mathematics teachers in rural school districts in Minnesota and North Dakota and produce teachers who will be leaders in their schools and in the field of mathematics education. Concordia plans to produce 16 highly qualified mathematics teacherleaders within five years, with degrees in both mathematics and education, who will work in highneed schools. Juniors Molly Wilde, Emily Miller, and Nelson Weniger are interning at Detroit Lakes High School

(D.L.), Detroit Lakes, Minn., while David Miller, Isaac Fisher, and Samantha Holmberg intern at Fargo North High School, Fargo, N.D. The six are working with two recipients of Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching: Lisa Conzemius ’89, at D.L. and in her 32nd year of teaching, and Michelle Bertsch at Fargo North. The National Science Foundation (NSF) promotes science and funds research at colleges and universities, and the Noyce program supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers. The Noyce program was named for Robert Noyce (1927-1990), co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, who invented the integrated circuit or microchip, which set off the computing revolution that still continues to this day.

Concordia Creates New Policy for Transfer Students The new policy makes transferring to Concordia easier. Students transferring in with Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees or those who have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) will have completed general education requirements that fulfill the majority of Concordia’s Core Curriculum requirements. In the past, each general education course was evaluated to determine transferability and core



equivalency. Now, students will know exactly how those credits will meet Concordia’s curriculum guidelines. A.A. degrees are based in the liberal arts and designed to transfer directly to liberal arts four-year majors. This new transfer pathway allows students who have earned their A.A. degree at a community college to finish a major at Concordia in two years.


Culloton Honored with Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair of Choral Music Dr. Michael Culloton ’98, associate professor of music, was presented with the Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair of Choral Music Medallion. The award, established in 1992, has previously been held by only one other person, Dr. René Clausen, who retired in 2020 after more than 33 years at the college. Culloton, director of choral activities and conductor of The Concordia Choir, also teaches vocal music education and church music courses, serves as a campus supervisor for student teachers, and advises the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). “It’s my great honor to continue the traditions that have made The Concordia Choir what it is and to build upon the traditions as Dr. Clausen did when he followed Paul J. Christiansen,” Culloton says.

Awards Presented at State of the College

Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Teaching Award

The prestigious Ole and Lucy Flaat awards were presented to faculty and staff at the annual State of the College celebration.

Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Service Award

From left: Dr. Gay Rawson, Dr. Faith Ngunjiri, William MacDonald, and Nathalie Rinehardt

Dr. Gay Rawson, Professor of French and Chair of World Languages and Cultures

Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Scholarship Award Dr. Faith Ngunjiri, Associate Professor of Ethics, Offutt School of Business

William MacDonald, Director of Security and Public Safety

Ole and Lucy Flaat Inclusive Excellence Award

Nathalie Rinehardt ’04, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Engagement The Flaat awards were endowed by Ole and Lucy Flaat, lifelong farmers in the Red River Valley.


| 5


Retirees Recognized Thirty-one members of the faculty and staff retired during the 2020-21 academic year. They have a combined total of 843 years of service to the college. Honored retirees include: Dr. Per Anderson, Global Learning/Religion, 34 years; *Susan Anderson, Dining Services, 12 years; Angie Bainer, Financial Aid, 13 years; Ron Balko, Information Technology Services, 36 years; Dr. Michael Bath, Political Science, 25 years; Dr. Jean Bokinskie, Nursing, 24 years; Penny Burgau, Registrar’s Office, 43 years; Dr. Mark Covey, Psychology, 32 years; Paulette Dixon, Post Office, 25 years; Dr. Mark Gealy, Physics, 30 years; Dr. Debra Grosz, Education, 21 years; Dr. Patricia Gulsvig, Education, 20 years; Vincent Hackey, Facilities Management, 26 years; Dr. Roy Hammerling, Religion, 29 years; *Mary Hovelson, Facilities Management, 24 years; Dr. Polly Kloster, Nursing, 20 years; Dr. Peter Knudsvig, Music, 14 years; Dr. Joan Kopperud, English, 31 years; Dr. Hilda Koster, Religion, 15 years; Carol Krabbenhoft, Library, 11 years; Connie Kubitz, Financial Aid, 28 years; Cheryl Marvig, Advancement, 13 years; *Nicholas Maynard, Facilities Management, 35 years; Deb Peschong, Athletics, 31 years; *Jeanette Ramsdell, Facilities Management, 22 years; Dr. Donald Rice, CSTA, 33 years; *Lee Schott, Facilities Management, 44 years; *James Simonson, Facilities, Concordia Language Villages-Bemidji, 33 years; Dr. William Snyder, English, 25 years; Dr. David Sprunger, English, 28 years; Lucy Thrasher ’76, Music, 35 years; Dr. William Todt, Biology, 31 years. Congratulations to all the retirees! Photos are left to right in order of those named. *Not pictured




2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Concordia inducted four former standout student-athletes into the Athletic Hall of Fame: two-time volleyball All-American Jackelyn (Barten) Thielen ’05, men’s hockey AllAmerican Rob Gramer ’00, women’s track and field All-American and NCAA Woman of the Year finalist Angie Pfeiffer Bedard ’06, and two-time MIAC MVP in football and two-time All-Region baseball honoree Brian Schumacher ’06. All four were honored as the newest members of the Hall of Fame at a ceremony during Homecoming weekend.

MIAC Sports Scheduling Gets Boost From Math Students

A project by a mathematics class will be used in 2022 to schedule sports for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). Dr. Nathan Axvig, associate professor of mathematics, mentioned to Rachel Bergeson ’05, Concordia’s athletic director, that his students could work on something like sports scheduling. At the same time, MIAC Commissioner Dan McKane was looking for a fresh start with scheduling. McKane sent Axvig three Excel spreadsheets: one with men’s teams, one with women’s teams, and one with dates for games. Axvig then divided the 16 students in his Introduction to Operations Management/Research class into five groups with each taking a sport. Next, they had to model a lengthy list of complex constraints. To model just the first half of the season’s schedule for basketball, students wrote 1,937 lines of code with 2,365 variables. It took half a semester to create a workable schedule for the MIAC. For more than 20 years, McKane has used a matrix of schedules that basically alternate every year, meaning there isn’t much variety in the schedules. The class’s algorithm starts each year fresh. Each team will have everything they want, but it won’t look the same. Axvig notes that people can hamstring themselves by not using computer programs for tedious things they’re spending many hours of time trying to do by hand. The MIAC schedule now takes approximately three to four minutes to solve once you get the three Excel spreadsheets. “Working with the class was so great,” McKane says. “And I think it’s who we are. We’re about athletics and education, so if we can give real-world experience to students in the MIAC this really falls in line with that. That’s a really cool process.”

Concordia Sends Three Students to Scripps Research

With an acceptance rate of just under 8%, Concordia was thrilled that three students were selected to complete the 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program at Scripps Research. Seniors Reilly Mach and Leo Smith spent their summer at Scripps’ California location in La Jolla, while Luke Bergstrom completed his 10 weeks on the opposite coast in Jupiter, Fla. Scripps Research is introduced regularly to Concordia students through Dr. Mark Sundrud ’00, associate professor at Scripps, who visits campus to talk with students about research opportunities and saves one SURF position each year for a Concordia applicant. Mach studied neurodegenerative diseases and their molecular mechanics, focusing on the reaction S-nitrosylation. Smith studied the central nervous system of mammals, specifically the chemical synthesis of alkaloids and their impacts. Bergstrom worked in a radar laboratory helping to develop a novel conjugation of chemotherapy drugs to monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy.


| 7


Preparing for the OF


HEALTHCARE Historic gift a game changer for Concordia’s School of Health Professions By Kelly Heyer and Kirsten Stave ’18

Now more than ever, Concordia recognizes the need to expand on the college’s strong history of educating sought-after health professionals and administrators.




In June 2021, Concordia announced the School of Health Professions would be renamed the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions to honor Sanford Health’s support of Concordia health professions education and its efforts to meet the critical workforce needs of the region. Sanford’s historic commitment to Concordia over the next 10 years invests in Concordia’s health professions programs to help meet the rising need for a health professions workforce and improves the health and well-being of our surrounding community.

as they prepare for future careers in the health professions. “The school prepares students for a diverse range of health-related career paths — from leadership to direct care,” says Dr. Cynthia Carver ’74, dean of the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions. “The curriculum is designed to emphasize collaborative ways of learning that mirror the team-based approach used in most health professions organizations today.”

In addition to this defining gift, Sanford has also donated the land and building just south of Concordia’s campus that will house the school after renovations are complete in 2023. The building will be named the Heimarck Center in honor of Dr. Theodore Heimarck, who founded Concordia’s healthcare administration program in 1966 — the first undergraduate program of its kind built on a liberal arts education.

All programs in the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions have a strong grounding in the liberal arts. Within the school, you will find undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, and graduate programs, including clinical laboratory science, exercise science, food/nutrition/dietetics, healthcare leadership, nursing, social work, and preprofessional advising programs for athletic training, chiropractic, dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and veterinary medicine.

With record demand for health and social services, Concordia recognized the importance of offering programs that provide interprofessional, interdisciplinary, and team-based approaches for students

With acceptance rates into graduate and professional schools that continually exceed the national average, Concordia has what it takes to provide the health professions leaders of tomorrow.

Rendering of the main level atrium in the Heimarck Center


| 9




Retain a strong liberal arts grounding in all health professions programs with special emphasis on vocational discernment, ethical and innovative leadership, and the development of transferable intellectual capacities. Allow students to learn about the many health professions and social service fields prior to deciding on a major. Provide opportunities for students to develop an understanding and appreciation for the range of health professionals they will be working with during their careers. Develop interdisciplinary programming, including case studies and simulations, joint class projects, team teaching, shared speakers, and workshops. Raise the profile of Concordia College as a leader in health professions programming through the growth of current curricula, as well as new program options.



The Heimarck Center will provide immersive learning experiences for health professions students.

NURSING SIMULATION LAB The nursing lab will create “hospital rooms” with high fidelity simulators to simulate high-risk medical situations in a low-risk environment.

NUTRITION ASSESSMENT LAB This lab will include a BOD POD for measuring body composition, an exam room for nutrition-focused physical exams, and a dietetics consult room to provide students with hands-on clinical and counseling experience.

10 |


HOME HEALTH SIMULATION ROOM This room will simulate a home setting where social workers, dietitians, nurses, and other health professionals might do a home visit to assess and counsel patients or clients.


HUMAN PERFORMANCE LAB This lab is designed to enhance the teaching and training of applied aspects of exercise science by integrating lecture and lab. Students will cultivate practical skills and detailed knowledge of specialized equipment related to exercise physiology, human performance, health promotion, and fitness testing for healthy and clinical populations. The lab will also serve to prepare students for national industry certifications in exercise testing and prescription and strength and conditioning.



The boardroom will create real-world space where students will build 21st century leadership skills, engage in complex decision-making, and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to prepare students to be future leaders.

This space will simulate a telehealth video conference with a patient, a form of direct care that is growing rapidly in the region and beyond, especially in rural areas.

INTERACTIVE INTERDISCIPLINARY SPACES These spaces will provide numerous informal gathering and study spaces for students and faculty to interact within and across disciplines.

INTERVIEW AND CONSULTATION ROOMS These rooms will simulate one-on-one interviews or consultations with patients and/or clients and allow for interprofessional collaboration including debriefing rooms and consultation rooms.

Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions programs and cutting-edge learning opportunities in enhanced facilities will ensure students are ready for the workforce as they apply their classroom learning in internships and clinical experiences. With interprofessional and interdisciplinary education as the guiding vision, students will be prepared to ethically and innovatively lead diverse teams and multifaceted health systems. Our world has an urgent need for highly trained, ethical, compassionate health professionals. With the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions, Concordia students are ready to meet that need.


| 11



LEADERS IN HEALTH By Kayley Erlandson Top left: Aerial rendering of the Heimarck Center Top right: Rendering of the lower level atrium in the Heimarck Center

Throughout the years, Concordia’s healthcare leadership program has been a driving force in the local community and region, placing dozens of leaders in top posts in healthcare administration organizations. Sanford, in particular, has a long history of Cobber alumni in leadership positions. Currently, two of the five major market CEOs of Sanford Health and its affiliated Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society are proud Concordia graduates. Paul Hanson ’86 is president and CEO of Sanford Sioux Falls. Nathan Schema ’05 is the current president and CEO of the Good Samaritan Society and, before him, David Horazdovsky ’78 had

12 |


been in the role for more than 15 years. In addition, Bryan Nermoe ’95 served as Sanford Fargo’s president and CEO from 2019 until March 2022. Kelby Krabbenhoft ’80 was president and CEO of Sanford Sioux Falls for nearly 14 years before becoming the chief executive of Sanford Health after its merger with MeritCare in 2009, serving in that role until 2020. Dr. Roger Gilbertson ’59 was MeritCare Health System’s president and CEO from 1993 to 2009. “Everybody says that it’s a small world, but I don’t know that I truly believed that until I started running into Cobbers all over the place, especially in healthcare,” Schema says. Although these Cobbers all achieved the highest leadership roles in their organizations, their roots ultimately travel back to the same place: Concordia College. Restructuring to move all of the health, wellness, and social service academic programs within one school at the college is an important step for the future of health professions at Concordia and meeting the crucial health-related workforce needs of the region.


Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions Names New Dean By Candace Harmon

Concordia is pleased to announce that, after a national search, Dr. Gwen Wagstrom Halaas ’75 has been named the new dean of the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions. She will begin the role July 1.

“With a record demand for healthcare services, weaving health professions together is really important for the future — especially with the inclusion of healthcare administration. That collaboration is essential,” Nermoe says. “The liberal arts foundation of the health programs gives Cobbers a broader perspective of the healthcare industry and is beneficial to them.” The healthcare leadership program currently has between 20 and 30 full-time interns placed each year, many of them in facilities with Concordia alumni ties. “It’s amazing to bring students into your operation, to know where their foundation is,” Hanson says. “And Concordia will benefit because it is a strong program. It’s a win-win for both organizations.” The liberal arts foundation of a Concordia education gives Cobber graduates more comprehensive knowledge of the health professions industry not available to students at many other undergraduate institutions. The combination of interprofessional, interdisciplinary education with a team-based, collaborative approach is essential for preparing future health professions leaders focused on influencing the affairs of the world.

Halaas currently serves as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and is a professor in the College of Nursing at Washington State University Health Services Spokane. Prior to Washington State University, Halaas held leadership and faculty positions at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the University of Minnesota Medical School and Academic Health Center. Halaas earned her medical degree at Harvard and trained in family medicine at the University of Minnesota. She received an MBA in healthcare from the University of St. Thomas. This marks a return home for Halaas, who grew up in Fargo-Moorhead and graduated from Concordia. In 2021, she was honored with the Alumni Achievement Award and says that after reflecting on that experience she realized Concordia is where she wants to be. The college is grateful for the contributions of current dean Dr. Cynthia Carver ’74 who, as part of a phased retirement, will continue to assist with academic affairs during the 2022-23 academic year.


| 13


LEGACY OF TED HEIMARCK By Kirsten Stave ’18 Dr. Theodore Heimarck came to Concordia in 1961 to teach economics and business administration, and the tenure that followed has shaped healthcare by improving the human condition — both in the Midwest region and around the globe. As a visionary leader, Heimarck worked with others from the college to institute the healthcare administration program in 1966 by securing funding for program and curriculum development through the Higher Education Act of 1965. Concordia added hospital financial management and long-term care administration in the 1970s. Even during the program’s fledgling years, President Emeritus Dr. Paul Dovre ’58 credits Heimarck and his openness to new ideas for the forward momentum of the program. “We developed a national reputation,” Dovre says. “We were the first undergraduate program in healthcare built on a liberal arts education.”

14 |


Troy Simonson ’95 CEO of Revo Health “Dr. Heimarck was a tremendous mentor and teacher. His ability to apply practical knowledge to his teaching allowed me to successfully launch my career. The talent he had in bringing the real-life knowledge to a textbook or lecture was invaluable. The healthcare program’s success was ultimately due to his connections across the country and coordinating hundreds of internship opportunities for students over the years. I was one, as were many others, where the internship opportunity turned into a first job. Heimarck led the program for three decades until his retirement in 1998. The program has placed dozens of leaders in top posts in healthcare settings — including David Horazdovsky ’78, who got his start managing a 96-bed skilled nursing facility and four apartments as the administrator of the Good Samaritan Center in Windom, Minn. He recently retired after more than 15 years as the president and CEO of The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. “Dr. Heimarck helped prepare hundreds of healthcare administration graduates who have been at the helm of countless institutions around the world,” Horazdovsky says. “I am one of many who is grateful to Dr. Heimarck both personally and professionally. It is only fitting that his name be part of Concordia’s School of Health Professions.” A steadfast champion of others, Heimarck’s legacy is celebrated for the generosity of his spirit and the depth and passion of his convictions.

My time at Concordia was a tremendous experience that provided me with an education and practical knowledge that has allowed me to be successful in my career, family, and life.” Kyle Hopstad ’73 President/Owner of Outcomes Inc. “Dr. Heimarck’s genius was connecting us with the professionals in the field. He taught through those who were proven successes in the field. He keenly knew that impressing these kids was best achieved by introducing them to real-life pros in the health field. What made Ted special was his incredible dedication to improving the delivery of health services throughout the region. His summer visits to see how we were doing included connecting with each of the administrators — usually over dinner and a drink. He exhibited his genuine care for each of us and we knew it.”

Mary (Berg) Dahlen ’88 Finance/HR “I met Dr. Heimarck when my dad and I traveled to Moorhead to tour the campus. I had been looking at schools that offered hospital administration. Ted was welcoming and passionate about the program which, of course, made me feel that same way. Ted always had his office door open for questions, guidance, and frank discussions on my career path. One of those critical discussions with him happened after my internship. He could tell that hospital administration was not where my passion was based on our conversations. He noticed my passion leaned toward my financial project assignments/classes versus my administration projects/classes. Ted encouraged me to finish the requirements for the healthcare financial management program and to pursue finance as my focus. It was truly a turning point for me, and I was so blessed that he was honest and forthright in his observations of my time during my internship. Ted’s impact was profound on my career as he was able to recognize my interest, skills, and talents in the finance arena and move me onto a path that was much more fulfilling and rewarding for me personally.” 2022

| 15

Mentorship Matters By Michelle Brislin

At Concordia, the relationship between students and faculty members is something that sets the college apart. Wake-up calls from professors to ensure you don’t miss your economics final. Dr. Paul Dovre ’58 calling firstyear students by name as he strolled through campus. Dinners at the homes of professors. Dr. Peter Hovde leading students through life-changing experiences during May Seminars. And today, a notification or “red flag” system that ensures students don’t fall behind and will have the support they need to finish strong. This kind of care and concern has always been at the core of the Concordia experience and has developed into mentorship that starts on campus and extends into the careers and lives of our graduates. Concordia alumni, friends, and current students in health professions have benefited greatly from this point of distinction at a time when health and social services are reaching record levels of demand. Mentorship matters.

Dr. Tim Olson ’83 Retired Pediatric Cardiologist “​​I attended Concordia planning to pursue a major in biology. After taking a few introductory courses taught by outstanding professors, I knew this was my academic calling. ​​I was leaning toward a pre-med pathway, which became a certainty after taking Ivan Johnson’s course on physiology and pathophysiology. Ivan was the consummate educator, combining a passion for teaching, sharp intellect (and tough exams), sense of humor, approachability, and commitment to being a mentor to his students. During a 2019 visit to campus, it was evident that Ivan’s legacy lives on and Concordia remains an outstanding place for students to receive an education in the health professions.” Dr. John Stageberg ’90 Radiation Oncologist

DR. IVAN JOHNSON One name that is mentioned often as a mentor to many at Concordia is Dr. Ivan Johnson. He was instrumental in the success of the health professions program, has been a member of the biology department at Concordia since 1971, and is currently a biologist-in-residence. 16 |


“My whole family went to Concordia — it is a tradition for us — so that was never a question for me. My oldest brother studied business, so that is what I thought I should do. After changing career paths to pre-med, I was assigned Dr. Ivan Johnson as my advisor. Dr. Johnson was a very challenging instructor. He didn’t hand us anything — you had to earn it. Dr. Johnson demanded excellence. His mission was to create healthcare professionals who were not only bright and excellent professionals, but also decent human beings. He modeled that. He made us better people by having such high expectations, giving us the tools to meet them, and truly believing we could.”

Adam Kolling ’17 Pharmacist “Dr. Julie Rutherford was my faculty advisor and taught the yearlong anatomy and physiology course I took in my third year. I met Dr. Rutherford when I attended an info session she facilitated during an admissions preview day. Her familiarity with the health professions application and advising process was evident right away, and I knew she’d be the perfect mentor to guide me through the next four years. When I had a change of heart and decided to pursue pharmacy school rather than medical school, Dr. Rutherford was right there to make sure I had the tools I needed to succeed through the transition. Her influence throughout my time at Concordia prepared me to succeed in any area of practice, so switching gears was seamless. Even more importantly, she was enthusiastic about whatever career path I was interested in and worked hard to find opportunities to help me grow as a pre-professional student. She really cares about the success of her students. As an advisor, she didn’t shy away from my questions about coursework and careers and always made time to walk me through decisions that could impact my future plans.” Mollie Francis ’20 Physician Assistant Student

DR. JULIE RUTHERFORD Dr. Julie Rutherford, associate professor of biology, joined the faculty at Concordia in 1998. She also serves as the director of the pre-health professions program, chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee, and director of the postbaccalaureate pre-medical program.

“In addition to being an excellent and brilliant anatomy professor, Dr. Julie Rutherford also helps her students manage and organize the things they need to be a successful applicant. Her door was always open, literally. She would keep her office door open and welcome student questions about graduate school planning, anatomy, even cat adoption (she helped me adopt my sweet kitty, Oliver). Dr. Rutherford takes so much time out of her personal life to help her students. Concordia was so helpful in setting me up to be a successful PA applicant and now PA student. Being a smaller school, I was able to make really meaningful connections with my professors who provided a lot of 1:1 guidance and connected me to research, shadowing, and job opportunities related to healthcare that made me a successful applicant.” 2022

| 17

Dana Jystad ’15 Emergency Department Social Worker

DR. KRISTI LOBERG Dr. Kristi Loberg ’93 is director of the social work program at Concordia, where she also teaches and provides leadership. She has successfully led the program through two external accreditation reviews. Prior to joining the faculty, she worked as a licensed social worker and continues to maintain licensure as a clinical social worker.

“The social work program originally caught my eye as a hesitant high school student anticipating graduation. Dr. Kristi Loberg and Dr. Laurie Dahley solidified my decision to attend Concordia College after meeting with them prior to enrollment. Concordia offered an accredited social work program, small class sizes, and excellent, engaging faculty. This created a learning environment that allowed me to grow academically, personally, and professionally while developing a foundation for further growth following graduation. Kristi and Laurie are a dynamic duo! They expect and support high standards while creating a welcoming environment for learning, discussion, and growth. Personally, Kristi and Laurie were a sounding board as I struggled with overwhelming questions about what I should do after graduation. They walked with me through the discernment process when I applied for the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program through the Evangelical Church in America. Kristi and Laurie influenced my educational experience with a balance of structure, pressure, and encouragement — pushing me out of my comfort zone into an experience I treasure to this day.”

Sierra Neeland-Martinez ’17 Housing Coordinator and Licensed Graduate Social Worker

DR. LAURIE DAHLEY Dr. Laurie Dahley brings more than 40 years as a social worker to her teaching. She teaches the practice courses in the social work program along with serving as the field director, assisting and mentoring students through their internship experiences. She is the advisor for the Student Association of Social Workers and is highly involved in the interdisciplinary case study work on campus. 18 |


“Dr. Kristi Loberg and Dr. Laurie Dahley have both played a huge role in shaping me to become the social worker I am today. With the small cohort in the social work program, I felt that they got to know me personally, talked about my goals, and supported me throughout my time in the program. I even found my current place of employment through one of the volunteer experiences provided by the social work program. They also offered relevant, real-life experiences and, because of everything they have taught me during my time at Concordia and after, I fell more in love with the world of social work and am proud of where it has led me. Many things make Kristi and Laurie special — they are kind, compassionate, and strong advocates for their students and the social work community. I love the personal connections I have made with each of them, and their passion for advocating and making system changes is contagious.”

Sydney Weller ’22 Current Concordia Student “Although I haven’t graduated yet, Dr. Shelly Gompf has already impacted my life and future career. She has always been honest with me and given me good advice. I know she wants me to be successful and that has stuck with me. I feel so grateful to Dr. Gompf and Concordia for my experience. I have made lifelong friends, and I feel equipped and ready to enter my career. Dr. Gompf and the healthcare leadership program are the reasons I came to Concordia, and it did not disappoint me. It exceeded my expectations in every way. Classes are small and intimate, the program gets students out into the community to volunteer, my internship experience was incredible, and the coursework is relevant and engaging. I feel blessed to have the experiences that I did because of Concordia.” Blake Kragnes ’20 Care Center Administrator

DR. SHELLY GOMPF Dr. Shelly Gompf ’97 is an associate professor and the director of Concordia’s healthcare leadership program. Prior to joining the faculty, she developed a wealth of knowledge and experience serving in executive roles in several industries for two decades.

“Dr. Shelly Gompf played an essential role in my personal training and development, as well as the training and collaboration with peers. Dr. Gompf has a drive and a vision that is well rooted in success from real-world, lived experiences. When in a class with Dr. Gompf, you have the opportunity to interact with industry leaders, learn about innovative models of care, be a part of leadership positions within organizations, and much more. One of the many great qualities of Dr. Gompf and many professors at Concordia College is the initial connection with students their first year but also their prolonged contact throughout college and long after graduation. Dr. Gompf could be going through a plethora of different tasks with other students or her family, but if you reach out to her she is always willing to help and strategically use her professional connections to be sure your questions are answered effectively.”

Read more about mentors impacting the lives of Cobber alumni:


| 19

Cobbers Connect Across Ocean Three alumni meet while working on tiny Pacific island By Candace Harmon

Dr. David Borge ’76, registered dietitian Kayla Lindquist ’17, and Dr. Mark Hiesterman ’00 all share a passion for helping others. That, coupled with a sense of adventure, brought each of them independently to the same Saipan hospital in the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. While at a work event, Hiesterman was chatting with Borge, an OB-GYN. As usual on an island filled with expats, the conversation turned to home and college days. “I told him that I attended a small, private college in Minnesota right next to Fargo,” Hiesterman says. “He said, ‘me too,’ and my jaw dropped when he mentioned Concordia.” It was a similar reaction when Borge met Lindquist, a new teammate on his outrigger paddle crew, and noticed something familiar on her hand. Borge took a closer look and discovered it was the famous Cobber ring. “David and I instantly had so much to connect about,” Lindquist says. VENTURING TO SAIPAN Hiesterman joined the Commonwealth Health Center, the island chain’s only hospital, as a general surgeon after starting his career in the northwest and Upper Midwest. “I wanted a change and some adventure,” he says.

20 |


“When the chance to move and work in Saipan came up, it seemed like a great opportunity.” Borge is no stranger to living overseas. He grew up in Madagascar with medical missionary parents. His volunteer work and career have taken him back to Madagascar and to Niger, Panama, Cambodia, Mexico, and Haiti. He considered working in New Zealand as a “retirement” adventure, but bureaucratic issues led him to Saipan instead. “I had to investigate more because it definitely seemed too good to be true,” Lindquist says. “My dream job is to be a travel NICU dietitian, so naturally when the Saipan opportunity arose, I couldn’t say no. It’s been such a perfect fit for me so far.” ISLAND LIFE Saipan provides ample adventure opportunities — snorkeling, jungle trekking, cliff diving, and exploring World War II historic sites to name a few. However, life on the tropical island is not always paradise. “The work is challenging with a fairly sick population and few outside resources,” Borge says. The hospital does not have all of the equipment or products routinely used on the mainland. “Despite this, we get the job done and provide the best care possible,” Hiesterman says. “We sometimes have to get creative and go beyond our comfort zones.”












CONCORDIA INFLUENCES With Concordia’s mission to create globally engaged citizens, Hiesterman and Lindquist say their education played a large role in where they are today.

“I believe Concordia really encourages its students to take the world head-on and overcome hardships. With three Cobbers on this tiny island, it’s a testament to those values.” — Dr. Mark Hiesterman Lindquist says the values instilled at Concordia continue to guide her. She points to her work helping solidify a donor breast milk policy at the hospital and an effort that saved animals from being euthanized in a shelter as recent examples. “Concordia taught me that it’s not only important to think critically and holistically about your environment but to take action to create and leave something sustainable in that environment,” she says. Much of Borge’s career has focused on taking care of challenged socioeconomic populations, which he largely attributes to his upbringing. But he says semesters abroad, good professors, and the nurturing and accepting nature of Concordia provided him with the tools to care for others around the world.

FOLLOWING THEIR FOOTSTEPS (IN THE SAND) “We all agree that finding three Cobbers on an island in the middle of the Pacific was so rare,” Borge says. “It had to be significant for some greater purpose.” That purpose, they believe, is to inspire future Concordia graduates to think big and go beyond our borders. “There is a tremendous need for all manner of care and all manner of adventure. The only limit is your imagination,” Borge says. “Going on medical (or other) missions will contribute to your growth as a human being and will provide for a better life for those you serve. Don’t wait — start now.” Lindquist advises students to find their joy in all aspects of life. “We are not guaranteed anything in this life, and the last thing you want is to find yourself regretting missed opportunities and connections,” she says. “Being authentic will make the biggest impact on yourself and others.” Hiesterman echoes those sentiments and adds to not be afraid of the unknown. “Sometimes the best experiences and memories come from the least expected places,” he says.


| 21

Alumnus Leads Way in Biomechanics Entrepreneurship By Gunnar Fering ’23

As we enter a new season with fresh ideas and perspectives, we’re reminded of Concordia alumni who continue to embody those principles and take innovation to the next level. Steve Swanson ’92 has provided breakthrough after breakthrough in the field of biomechanics. While pursuing a master’s degree in biomechanics and kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Swanson created a treadmill design that would later become Treadmetrix, a company he launched himself.

This goal to enhance is well underway, aided by AccuPower’s E-Z 3D module.

Created in 2014, Treadmetrix now has more than 80 units deployed with 20 more shipping this year with customers that include NASA and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Swanson also built a complimentary software company, AccuPower Solutions, which provides biomechanics analyses using high-speed video and force analyses. AccuPower Solutions has more than 300 customers, including major professional sports teams, sports medicine clinics, and research institutions.

“No more putting reflective markers on the body, which is super time-consuming and error prone,” he says. “AI-based algorithms are really changing our field.”

“The basic science behind both Treadmetrix and AccuPower is to utilize technology to better understand human movement and coordination. Our tools allow users to measure aspects of human movement and the forces experienced or produced by the body that cannot be seen even with a well-trained eye,” he says. “Our goal is to enhance how clinicians can help people move better — ranging from a grandma recovering from total joint surgery to the world’s best athletes trying to perform better.” CONCORDIA MAGAZINE 22| | CONCORDIA MAGAZINE 22

“We recently integrated markerless motion tracking with our E-Z 3D module, which can precisely monitor human motion with just high-speed color video cameras,” Swanson says. This integration is set to be the most significant advancement in biomechanics in the last 30 years.

In 2020, Swanson received a grant from the Department of Defense, allowing him to work with Mayo Clinic to build a “fall mitigation system for amputee warfighters.” The objective, he says, is “to integrate Mayo’s proven fall mitigation training protocols with our E-Z 3D product and custom treadmills for medicine/ therapy operations.” Noting the importance of hand-on experience, Swanson is excited for students when Concordia’s Heimarck Center opens in Fall 2023. “The space seems like an incredible opportunity for students to ‘learn by doing.’ Getting a chance to work with state-of-the-art tools while learning

The two screenshots show the raw video of the subject without markers and the markerless analysis that is presented after processing using AccuPower’s E-Z 3D module.


Steve Swanson ’92 Founder, AccuPower Solutions


from experienced professionals and faculty is vital to being prepared for today’s rapidly changing workforce,” he says. “Combined with the breadth of skills learned at Concordia, students graduating from health sciences programs will be even better prepared than in years past. What an opportunity!”

“As a young graduate, you tend to be proud of what you have learned and want to show that knowledge, but the real knowledge comes from listening to people who have different experiences, viewpoints, and needs,” Swanson says. “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

Swanson remembers his time at Concordia fondly, especially the variety of academic experiences in and out of the classroom.

His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is similar.

“From field courses in summer school where we were up at 4 a.m. to pack Dr. Nellermoe’s van to watch birds in the wetlands, to studying real human cadavers in Dr. Johnson’s anatomy and physiology lab, to using the western blot technique in Dr. Aho’s cutting-edge molecular biology class, those types of courses and hands-on experiences were really a strong stimulus for developing my professional skill set — which is being inquisitive by nature and not being afraid to challenge norms,” he says. Crediting inquisition in everyday practice, Swanson advises new graduates to expand their viewpoints through genuine inquiry.

“Listening to others — especially those with different viewpoints and experiences — should always be your first move.”

“Listen and learn from as many experts and potential customers as possible,” he says. “Don’t give up too easily or be disappointed when people dismiss ideas.” Swanson says his proudest moments are witnessing the success of others. “Personally, I am proud watching my son and daughter find their own creative passion and have success. My son is a filmmaker studying digital media arts at Montana State and my daughter is a singer-songwriter based in L.A.,” he says. “Professionally, it’s seeing the smiles of athletes and patients that have recovered from major injuries and performed better than before their injury. While they did all the work, I am proud of the tools we provided to help them achieve their goal.”

— Steve Swanson


| 23

Projects for Peace Scholar Promotes Food Security By Anna Benson ’19 and Emily Johnson ’10


24 |


As a high school student at United World College Red Cross Nordic, Fatkhulloeva supported the rural village of Varzi-Kanda by revitalizing a classroom with essential items such as books, desks, computers, and printers. Locals were immensely appreciative of her efforts and went so far as to joke that her next project must be bringing water to the village.

She understood it wouldn’t be easy, but she was up for the challenge and was ready to make her vision a reality. The goal of bringing water to the village of Varzi-Kanda became her focus. In 2019, Fatkhulloeva applied to the Davis Projects for Peace program but was denied due to the project’s ambitious scope. However, she didn’t let this discourage her.

Water shortages in Varzi-Kanda, like most rural villages in Tajikistan, had reached dangerous levels. A simple shower entailed traveling 40 minutes to the nearest city. In addition, Fatkhulloeva noticed that villagers lacked adequate water to irrigate their crops, resulting in livestock not being fed. This food insecurity led directly to extreme malnutrition — an issue affecting more than one-third of all Tajikistan households.

She reapplied the following year to receive funding through Projects for Peace, an initiative with the goal to encourage students to design a project that promotes peace and addresses the root causes of conflict among parties. Projects must be designed to take place during the summer. Her proposal was accepted in 2020 and she was awarded $10,000 to begin implementing her vision to bring water to the village.

Fatkhulloeva knew that Varzi-Kanda, like other villages around the world, relied on rainfall and realized it wasn’t enough. However, she wanted to help and began a conversation with her father about installing a water pump and bringing an irrigation system to the village.

“Almost two years of my energy went to stressing about the project until it was executed,” she says. Due to the pandemic’s ever-changing supply chain issues and to ensure the project would be done to her intended vision, Fatkhulloeva knew the amount

funded would not be enough to cover the project’s total cost. “It’s a cycle,” she recalls. “If one thing is wrong, everything is going to be wrong.” She began working to finance the project and pursued additional fundraising from family, friends, and the Concordia community. In the end, Steve Schaefer ’88, senior associate director of international admission at Concordia, connected her with the Moorhead Rotary Club for the final donation. “Steve took a lot of action to make it happen for me,” she says. “He was there for me. He believed in the project and he believed in me.” With the additional funding raised, Fatkhulloeva was now ready to return to Tajikistan and begin the steps of bringing water to her home village. For more than 10 weeks during summer 2021, the project came to life with the help of her family and an engineering team. By mid-June, the arduous work of preparing the path for the pipeline, building the cistern, and installing the electricity poles and transformer began. The installation process was completed in July; however, as with any project, there were hiccups

along the way. During testing, the water wasn’t to the clarity they expected. It was sandy and would damage the pump over time. A barrel was immediately built to aid filtration and work moved forward. Water from the Margedar River now flows through 1,200 meters of pipe to deliver 600 gallons of water every hour to Varzi-Kanda. The water is used across 70 households, 50 gardens, and two ponds and is used daily for household chores and as drinking water for livestock. This consistent irrigation has enabled farmers to diversify their crop cultivation, feed their livestock, and lift the entire village out of malnutrition.

Above: As president of the Student Government Association, Amina Fatkhulloeva ’22 spoke at the Opening Convocation to welcome new students at the start of the academic year.

To be certain the longevity of the project would be considered, Fatkhulloeva and her team ensured sustainability by using renewable energy, had top engineers in the region implement the system, and established that checkups and maintenance would be performed regularly. For efficient use of water, residents must take turns irrigating their fields. The head of the municipality has been assigned to supervise the project’s operation and update Fatkhulloeva and her father on its status. “As humans, we don’t survive alone and I learned that this is my passion,” she says. “I get such a sense of joy (in helping others). Being useful is my motto in life.”


| 25

A Global Correspondent with Hometown Roots By Reyna Bergstrom ’18

An award-winning journalist for CBS News, Roxana Saberi ’97 has traveled the globe in recent years covering events from the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to the ongoing issues in the Middle East. While her work has expanded cross-continentally, she reflects on her time as a student at Concordia and the impact that it continues to have on her life. What have you been up to in recent years? I moved from New York to London in 2018 to work as a foreign correspondent for CBS News. From here, my colleagues and I travel around Europe and the Middle East to report on news of the day as well as features. My highlights include reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan and traveling to Antarctica with Greenpeace to cover its research on climate change, microplastics, and penguins. We also reported on Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the Women’s Soccer World Cup in France in 2019, (which the U.S. team won), and the recent U.N. climate summit in Scotland. I feel fortunate to work with a talented team and to have had the chance to report on a variety of topics, from arts and culture to the environment. Your path has been anything but ordinary. From being crowned Miss North Dakota to being held captive in Iran, it doesn’t seem that you have much fear. How have you overcome fear and continued chasing your goals?

26 |


I am still learning to overcome fear! (Although, I suppose that I have been partially motivated by “fear” of running out of time to learn and do all I want to do.) A few things that have helped me the most: A supportive family, good friends, generous mentors and role models (people in diverse professions from various parts of the world who embody courage in their own way) People who are more courageous than I (from my cellmates to intrepid entrepreneurs and activists) Inspiring books At various times, faith A sense of purpose — to try to leave a net positive impact on at least my little corner of the world What motivates you in life? The above sense of purpose plus a desire for growth (e.g., intellectual, spiritual, physical, professional) and to strengthen my character. Every year, I make many resolutions — perhaps too many because they require an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of them all. I see a lot of room — but also ability — for self-improvement.

From Concordia to Miss North Dakota Twenty-four years ago, I met Roxana Saberi ’97 when she was Miss North Dakota. It was fall of 1997 and I was at my first Concordia football game. Roxana was back on campus visiting as Miss North Dakota. It’s one of my earliest memories and I wasn’t even 3 years old. (I guess the crown left an impression on me!) It’s funny how some things come full circle. It was a cool moment in October to be standing in the same spot more than two decades later for another Concordia Homecoming — with a similar crown on my head in the same role that Roxana held years previously.

Roxana and Reyna in 1997

Yet, coincidentally, for years Roxana has been someone I’ve followed, admired, and respected — for her journey in journalism and relentless pursuit of sharing the truth. As a student who also studied communication at Concordia, it has been inspiring to follow an alumna who’s making waves on the global stage of journalism. — Reyna Bergstrom ’18, Miss North Dakota 2021

I’m also motivated to surround myself with people I admire — and to be a caring and reliable friend and family member.

My other professors, classes, and mentors: from the late Rusty Casselton to my Principia professor, Richard Gilmore.

And in recent years, I’ve become much more motivated to learn about the threat of climate change, the harm we as human beings are causing to the planet, and what we can do to tackle this problem. I try to report on the environment as much as possible. I can and should do more to lighten my carbon footprint.

And Concordia College’s mission: “... to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women …” It motivated me to reflect on how I wanted to influence the affairs of the world.

How did your time at Concordia help prepare you for where you are now? My time at Concordia prepared me in so many ways. Soccer: I have continued to play where I live in the world. The sport has introduced me to people I would have otherwise never met (though I do keep getting injured, so I’m taking a break).

What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from the time you left Concordia until now? This is a tough question! How about lessons I’m still learning? I’m trying to be better at listening to my inner voice and conscience. Also, how to let go of what I cannot control. I’m trying to be more present. And, perhaps most importantly, how to be a better listener.

Roxana Saberi ’97 is an American CBS News correspondent and former Miss North Dakota pageant winner. In 2009, she was held prisoner in Iran’s Evin Prison for 101 days under accusations of espionage. Four months after her arrest, she was released and subsequently wrote a book about her experience, “Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran.”

Piano: My professors (starting when I was in seventh grade, the late Inta Stahl Wiseck, and when I was a student at Concordia, Jay Hershberger) taught me skills that have kept me company through the years. French: It’s rusty, but I still use it when I can — at work and at play. Campus TV: That’s where I had my first experience in television.


| 27

Building Back, Together As many of us throughout the world began to re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, so did Concordia Language Villages, welcoming villagers and guests back to the Turtle River Lake site near Bemidji, Minn. While the Villages remained mostly quiet in 2020, last year it witnessed a rebirth from construction and reinvigoration of the site to hosting residential programs. AmeriCorps NCCC members clear debris from trails at the Language Villages.

Korean villagers’ inaugural visit to Sup sogŭi Hosu in Summer 2021.

28 |


As part of a generous $5 million donation from Kenny and Simone Park and the Simone Corporation (Seoul, Korea), construction continues on a culturally authentic site for Sup sogŭi Hosu, the Korean Language Village. Buildings feature both contemporary and traditional Korean elements that embody the time-honored tradition of embracing nature through design. Traditional elements are inspired by the Korean hanok, a solid, one-level construction made of stone, wood, and earth. Upcoming construction will include residences and an activities building, hosting youth residential villagers for the first time this coming summer.

After many quiet fall and winter months, Village Weekends welcomed school groups back from across the region. Students, teachers, and chaperones from Wisconsin, for example, traveled 12 hours each way to join a Spanish Village Weekend. Villagers spent time at El Lago del Bosque, the Spanish Language Village, practicing their Spanishspeaking skills, singing, dancing, and enjoying culturally authentic food. Several students plan to venture back for summer programming in 2022.

For the first time since 2018, Concordia Language Villages welcomed AmeriCorps NCCC members to its cultural oasis. During their one-month stay last fall, seven volunteers assisted in clearing storm debris, restoring hiking trails, refreshing building exteriors, and removing fallen trees alongside paths and roads. Their work built upon revitalization efforts from staff and volunteers pitching in at each of the Villages last summer.


Sup sogŭi Hosu, the Korean Language Village, is the eighth permanent Village on the Turtle River Lake site.

Experience immersive learning at Concordia Language Villages.

School groups resume Village Weekends at El Lago del Bosque, the Spanish Language Village.


| 29

Introducing Academic Pilot Programs

Offutt School of Business Cohorts

By Dr. Karl A. Stumo ’92

Many students hope to feel a sense of belonging and shared interests with others as they begin their college journey. The same is true for new students at Concordia. For this reason and others, five specially designated groups, or cohorts, have been established for Fall 2022. These cohorts may include either first-year students or incoming transfers and range from eight to as many as 20 students. New students will be selected for these cohorts based on their interest in a given academic program or career. This year, cohorts have been established in the Offutt School of Business and the School of Arts and Sciences. The two programs in the Offutt School of Business will focus on developing student leadership skills. The Women in Business Cohort will offer 20 first-year female students an opportunity to work with women in the Fargo-Moorhead area who are leaders in their various career fields. Those selected for the Accelerated Leadership Cohort will work closely with the dean of the Offutt School of Business and other faculty to discuss emerging trends and challenges in various business sectors domestically and internationally. Students in both groups will be offered close support as they consider internships and career development opportunities in the Offutt School of Business. Three programs have been established for students planning on studying in the School of Arts and Sciences. Those seeking leadership opportunities in nonprofit or public service sectors will be considered for the Learn, Work, Lead Internship Program. Eight students will be selected for a paid internship within their first two years to learn more about life and leadership in nonprofit and public service careers. Students passionate about environmental sustainability issues will be invited into the Environmental Leadership Cohort, where they will take a leadership role on sustainability issues and programs on campus. Finally, the STEM Discovery Cohort is specially designated for students of color, new Americans, and other underrepresented students interested in studying STEM or pre-health fields rooted in the natural sciences. Eight students will be selected for this cohort and receive a scholarship, paid internship, and summer research experience with a faculty member. These innovative programs are designed to provide students an immediate sense of community and belonging as they enter Concordia and jump-start their academic success in their first year as Cobbers.



School of Arts and Sciences Cohorts




30 |


Supporting Our Students WITH FOUR AREAS OF FOCUS,


Concordia recently launched the Cobber Ambassador program. Cobber Ambassadors are individuals who believe in the value of a Concordia education — people who share the Concordia story and build lasting connections among students, alumni, and friends. Truly anyone can be an ambassador — and we mean it. Current students, alumni, current and former parents, faculty, and staff alike hold the capacity to impact future Cobbers. The only requirement is that you have a heart for advancing our mission and supporting the students we serve.

Referring and recruiting new students | There’s a strong chance you already know students who will be the next generation of Cobbers — they might just need an invitation. Connecting with current students | Serve as a mentor or provide internship and job opportunities to current Concordia students. Engaging our Cobber community | Connect with alumni by hosting events, volunteering, and giving. Communicating our mission | No one tells the Concordia story better than those who have lived it. We invite you to share your story — whether that is online or during conversation.

THE COBBER FUND The Cobber Fund celebrates the power of the collective Concordia community and our ongoing commitment to the next generation of Cobbers. Gifts to The Cobber Fund are special. They are put to work right away — supporting the heart of the Concordia experience. This fund provides scholarships to ensure a Concordia education is accessible for students most in 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 alumni of all ages, parents, friends, faculty, and staff who share gifts of all sizes that add up to more than $2.5 million in annual support for students. By supporting The Cobber Fund, you help provide the financial resources, experiences, trusted relationships, and resources that students need to thrive at Concordia and beyond. Thank you for your generosity! 2022

| 31

AWA 2021 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.

Fay Ferguson ’73, co-CEO for the Burrell Communications Group, earned an MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She has won many industry awards including Chicago Advertising’s Silver Medal Award. Ferguson is the founder of Allies of Innocence, a former member of Concordia’s Board of Regents, and co-founded Concordia’s first Diversity Student Endowed Scholarship. She was the keynote speaker for Concordia’s 2016 Commencement and has spoken at numerous other colleges. Ferguson makes it a priority to support many charitable organizations.

Dr. Gwen Wagstrom Halaas ’75, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and a professor at Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane, completed an MBA in healthcare from the University of St. Thomas, earned a medical degree from Harvard, and trained in family medicine at the University of Minnesota. Halaas has held leadership roles at the University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and was medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. She has received numerous awards.

Harold D. Pope ’77, senior counsel at Dykema Gossett, PLLC, in Detroit, earned his Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. His areas of practice include commercial, employment, and products liability litigation. Pope served as president of the National Bar Association from August 1999 to August 2000. He served the ABA on its board of governors from 2009-14 and is now the Michigan State Delegate to the ABA’s Nominating Committee. He is also on the board of the American Bar Foundation.

Dr. Corey Teigen ’86, a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist, researcher, and developer, has been appointed chief scientific officer for Penumbra, Inc. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, did his radiology residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and completed his fellowship at the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute. He served as chair of Interventional Radiology at Sanford Health, Fargo, N.D., for 25 years. Teigen has been involved in the development of multiple interventional devices.

32 |



Judge Jade (Collins) Rosenfeldt ’05 earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law. In 2008, she joined Vogel Law Firm managing a high volume of complex criminal and family law cases in state and federal courts. In 2019, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz selected Rosenfeldt for a newly created judicial seat. She presides over the Seventh Judicial District on the bench at the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead.

Stephen Letnes ’00 is founder and executive director of Able Artist Foundation, a 501c3 that supports artists with disabilities. He is also a film producer and composer and has won multiple awards for his work in more than 130 films. Being visually impaired, Letnes understands the challenges those with disabilities face. He’s an advisor to a Minneapolis YMCA community board and a founding member of a Los Angeles-based organization that works with Hollywood studios to hire people with disabilities.

Brad Atchison ’77 spent more than 40 years in Clara City and Willmar, Minn., where he taught physical education and health along with coaching football and girls’ basketball. Atchison took six teams to the girls’ basketball state tournaments, received a Girls Basketball Coach of the Year award, and was inducted into the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. After retiring from coaching, he has covered sports for Willmar’s KWLM radio.

Gary Zinter ’63, financial advisor for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and agent for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, taught high school science and math from 1963-81 in Silver Bay, Minn. Zinter has been involved in many community service projects, including Feed My Starving Children, Adopt-a-Highway, and the Zinter Math-Science scholarships. As an active college ambassador, he served on college committees and influenced more than 40 of his students to become Cobbers.

2021 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.

2021 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.


| 33


Esther (Fossum) Holte, 103


Irvin “Cliff” Gronneberg, 103 DeFloren Rude, 100


Lola (Jacobson) Hoganson, 97 Shirley Rockstad, 99 Richard Rodning, 97


Gene (Kvaalen) Carlson, 96


Norma (Fering) Edman, 96


Marvin Hockens, 95 Arne Kvaalen, 97


Barbara “Bobbie” (Jackson) Craft, 95 Olivia “Corky” (Moline) Efteland, 97 Harriet (Field) Johnson, 95


Paul Eidbo, 93 Enid (Jerde) Grindland, 92 Betty (Schroeder) Johnson, 93 Phyllis (Umland) Lehrke, 92 Ardis (Eliason) Nichols, 94 Eunice (Rockne) Stenshoel, 94 Helen (Skrutvold) Thompson, 93 Martha (Moen) Wilson, 94


Viola (Erickson) Bernstein, 92 Elaine (Bry) Coleman, 90 James Dalager, 91 Arthur Gilbertson, 88

34 |


Vivian (Skjeret) Goplen, 93 H. Allen Hanson, 96 Carl Johnson, 92 Daryl Johnson, 94 Myrna (Hanson) Johnson, 92 Roald Selvig, 92 Phyllis (Aaker) Sinkler, 92 C.A. “Carrol” Tollefson, 98



Norma (Jordahl) Anderson, 86 Norman Ellingson, 86 Ethel (Moen) Haakenson, 87 William Krohg, 90 Carl Nelson, 86 Ernest “Jerry” Stomsvik, 87 Roger Swenson, 90

Hazel (Lovdokken) Berg, 93 Gerald Heuer, 91 Lowell “Kris” Kristensen, 92 Violet (Dahl) Sumey, 93 Norma (Grant) Tolo, 91 Valborg “Wallie” (Moen) Redal, 92


Anita (Gisvold) Anderson, 90 Charles Auenson, 92 Evelyn (Hensler) Elton Richard Elton, 90 Paul Gabrielsen, 90 Charles “Chuck” Johnson, 91 Lois Olsrud, 90 Keith Overvold, 90 Paul Schee, 92 Laura (Titus) Schindler, 90 Robert Underdal, 90 Ivan Vraa, 91


Eugene “Abe” Abelson, 89 Janet (Baglien) Baken, 88 Gwendolyn Brown Hill, 90 Donald Erbstoesser, 94 Shirley (Norman) Johnson, 89 Llewellyn “Lew” Linde, 92 Gloria (Brenberg) Mathre, 89 Eleanor Semingson, 94 Jean (Haugrud) Sponheim, 89 Arthur Torgerson, 75

Everett Aarestad, 90 Sally Bethel, 89 Ramona Leer Joan (Knutson) Rich, 88 Nancy (Moller) Sandoz, 88



Elva (Anderson) Bergseid, 85 Beatrice (Leraas) DeFrance, 85 Eldon Kratzke, 90 Richard “Dick” Mathison, 86 Norma (Thoen) Megrund, 85 Janet (Hanson) O’Connor, 85 Shirley (Koeppe) Simonson, 86 James Skjonsby, 85 LaVerne (Stromstad) Sondrol, 86


Anna (Berg) Ellenson, 84 Beverly (Johnson) Forester, 86 Loretta (Pletan) Hoversten, 86 Awad Ismir, 83 Herbert Meier, 91 Laverne (Dahl) Norquist Holmes, 84


John Enger, 83 Craig Johnson, 83 Gerald Markuson, 86 Joann (Steen) Johnson, 83 Carl Rodlund, 83 Shirley (Roe) Sorenson, 84 Eileen (Severson) Wittak, 83

Memorials as of November 2021


Anna (Knutson) Butler, 82 Myron Johnson, 82 Janet (Williamson) Lauzon, 81 Charlotte (Nordmark) Sween, 81


Julene (Grondahl) Cargill, 78 Beatrice (Haugen) McGillivray, 82 Janet (Presthus) Muzzana, 80 Brian O’Connor, 83 Wayne Qualley, 81 Gregory Rufer, 78 Lenore (Flugum) Westman, 81



Arthur Andersen III, 55 Mark Benidt, 74 George Dahl, 75 Byron Franzen, 74 Merrel Kesler, 68 Robert “Bob” Quam, 74


Rachel (Forsgren) Anderson, 79 James Frisk, 80 Gary Gruhl, 77 Allan Hakes, 74 Sonja (Svenkerud) Hakes, 72 Russell Larson, 77


Richard Gunness, 76 Sandra Hollands, 77 Roene (Lein) Hulsing, 75 Rudolph “Rudy” Nielsen, 75 Larry Vinson, 76


Mary (Haase) Dano, 76 Sharon (Nelson) Papic, 75


Steve Danielson, 58


Karen (Mollerstuen) Martin, 72 Karen (Myhre) Seaberg, 73



David Elton, 59


Steve Hogen, 69 Everin Houkom, 66 Gerald “Jerry” Smith, 68

Jean (Svendsbye) Brusven, 78 Marlene (Braaten) Hefta, 78 Bonita (Swanson) Lilly, 79





Steve Nirschl, 71

Gordon Isachsen, 73 Joyce (Waltari) Sutter, 74

Elaine (Overboe) Anderson, 81 Phyllis (Syverson) Engbard, 80 Robert “Bob” Haines, 80 Jean (Ahlgren) Johnson, 81 Mary (Heiberg) Larson, 77 M. Margaret (Upham) McClure, 81 Wallace Olson, 80 Robert “Bob” Wolf, 92

Marshall Haaland, 83 Alvin Hagerott, 81 Lowell Liebenow, 79 Harold Luecke, 85 Rodney Nelson, 78 Penelope (Morrow) Pickett, 80 David Stedje, 81 Roy Toivonen, 79


Larry Hector, 72 Rachel (Pederson) Lottie, 72


Erik Budd, 71



Kirsten (Montgomery) Johnson, 56

Jonathan Pate, 55


Ken Kalvig, 53 Paul Susag, 53


John Waller Jr., 72


Elizabeth (Mommsen) Broich, 47 Stephanie Hoikka, 47


Lewis McLouth, 46

Philip Collins, 69 Philip Johnson, 67 Peter Miller, 82 Mark Wergeland, 69



Nicole (Vetter) Peterson, 43

Dennis Meyer, 69 Janet (Gallagher) Middlebrook, 68 Lynn Ronsberg, 67


Kristofer Gulsvig, 65 Mary Lindberg, 65


Heidi Sheldon, 44

2000 2002

Justin Johnson, 41


Mark Wychor, 28


Andrew D. Johnson, 23

Kurt Teich, 64




David Childs, 82, professor emeritus of music, died in February 2021.

Barbara (Fitzgerald) Harrison, 64

David Oliver, 63


Debra (Hanson) Benson, 62 Ruth (Ronning) Parrish, 62


Craig Kracht, 54

Thomas Richmond, 86, professor emeritus of music, died in October 2021. Robert Ulrich, 86, the first physical therapist and certified athletic trainer for Concordia, died in January 2021.


| 35



2022 | WINTER 2021 | 37 37




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

“7th grade Grace wrote in her journal that ‘college is going to be the best thing ever’, and she was right. #rollcobbs” @gracehalvorsonn


Use #cordmn to share your posts and images with us.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.