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spring 2011

Man on a Mission:

The Presidential Legacy of Robert Holst Concordia University, St. Paul President (1991-2011)

Concordia university, st. Paul

275 Syndicate Street North St. Paul, MN 55104-5494

2 651-641-8810 1-866-GROW-CSP Publisher

Keith Stout, Vice President for University Advancement editor and writer

Lindsey Brown (M.A.’10) Contributing writer Kaytie Spangler ’11


Design and layout

Jennifer Stricker



Lindsey Brown, Greg Helgeson and Andy Wyss ’10 Printing


Ideal Printers Inc. St. Paul, MN

about us

Concordia University, St. Paul is a member of the Concordia University System, a national network of 10 colleges and universities of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Concordia University, St. Paul admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin. mission statement

The mission of Concordia University, St. Paul, a university of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, is to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living, for dedicated service to God and humanity and for the enlightened care of God’s creation, all within the context of the Christian Gospel.

© 2011 Concordia University St. Paul



2 cover Story: man on a mission: the presidential legacy of robert holst, concordia university, St. paul president (1991-2011) 19 news 20 class notes

A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESS As I write my last introductory note for the Concordia St. Paul magazine, I sense the power and purpose of the Biblical words, “Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). From my years at Concordia as a student and for the last 20 years as president, a great cloud of witnesses have shared knowledge, wisdom and a variety of skills embraced in hope, trust, love for others and love of God. It has been an enviable experience. As a student, the Concordia faculty witnesses introduced me to Greek, Latin, German and led me to grow, seeking greater knowledge of history, literature, music, art and science. My classmates and I grew in faith as we shared chapel services, classes, dormitory life, choir rehearsals and performances, intercollegiate and intramural athletic activities, roles in student government and extracurricular clubs. Continued contact with some of my college friends demonstrates that the seeds planted at Concordia bore great fruit in marvelous career accomplishments in places around the world. For the last 20 years, my life and vocation were blessed by the daily witness of inspiring and enthusiastic faculty, staff and students. From the students, I learned of study habits, personal issues, the joy and fatigue of learning, the tension of fiscal challenges, the security of satisfying family life and the trauma of dysfunctional family relations. They shared the blessings of faith and, at times, the struggle to believe. Almost every year we discovered one or more students who were or had been homeless. Their tenacity and courage gave a powerful witness and called on us to witness to God’s love by acting out His care for the hungry, thirsty and hurting. On a lighter note, the students’ amazing knowledge of technology meant that when I had computer problems, often a student came, saw and conquered the problem. I invite you to treasure student achievement. In the last 20 years nearly 11,000 students received Concordia diplomas. For that achievement I praise God and congratulate not only the students but also our faculty, staff, Board of Regents, President’s Council and many gracious benefactors. Education, like the light of God’s love, is not something to hide under a bushel but an opportunity to give access to opportunity for excellence in education and vocation. Many blessings of the past 20 years are intangible but will live on as memories. Daily chapel services led by colleagues, students and guests, by God’s grace, promoted our mission’s pledge to do “all in the context of the Christian Gospel.” My wife Lynne and I treasure memories of traveling with the Christus Chorus on several national and international choir tours. I witnessed three of the four consecutive women’s volleyball national championship victories. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, now a sainted witness, inspired people with Biblical faith, hope, love and humor at many of Concordia’s Hoffmann Institute gatherings. Local, national and global information shared at the three international Hmong conferences held on campus taught much about immigration issues, personal courage and group loyalty. Such knowledge reinforced my Christ-given drive to learn from and share God’s love through Concordia’s blessings with people of different backgrounds, traditions and languages. Many blessings of the past two decades are also tangible and visible. Graduates serve God and lead people as pastors, teachers, business persons, doctors, lawyers, actors, musicians, artists, coaches, missionaries, professional care givers, administrators, civil servants and in many other vocations. New and renovated facilities on campus bear witness to the diligent fiduciary responsibility of the Board of Regents; the encouragement, wisdom and philanthropy of the President’s Council; and the generous care of benefactors. To step on the CSP campus is to be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses! Gratefully celebrating Concordia’s past, present and future, I conclude with a prayer by Martin Luther that I used to close my inaugural address in 1991. “Dear Lord, this life is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it. The process is not yet finished but it is going on. This is not the end, but it is on the road. All does not yet gleam with glory but all is being purified.” Thank you for your witness and may God bless you, especially in your relationship with Concordia University, St. Paul. In Christ, Bob Holst (’54,’56) President 1991-2011


Man on a Mission: The Presidential Legacy of Robert Holst Concordia University, St. Paul President (1991-2011)


hroughout The Rev. Dr. Robert Holst’s 49 years of service to the church, one thing has been evident; he has been on a mission to share Christ’s love. “Christ is in my life and I want other people to know that love,” Holst said. “People are not standing and waiting for me to share my faith. I have to find

opportunities to share that and that means I have to build relationships with them.” From the mountains of Papua New Guinea to the urban campus of Concordia University, St. Paul, Holst has built relationships with people from all walks of life, especially those from cultures and backgrounds different from his own. Knowing relationships could not be best built from behind the presidential desk, Holst has regularly been seen eating lunch with students in the Dining Hall, cheering at athletic events, applauding at fine arts performances, welcoming faculty and staff into his home for lunch and reaching out to community leaders to integrate their initiatives with Concordia. It has been relationships that have helped Holst shepherd the institution through significant development and growth and weave an attitude of access and inclusion into its culture.



54 The year Holst graduated from Concordia Academy and his age when he began his Concordia presidency

The Early Years

In 1936, Robert A. Holst was the second child born to Arthur Holst, a Minnesota farmer, and his wife, Lucinda, a homemaker.

The Holst children, Helen, Robert, Donald and John, grew up on a Brownsdale, Minn., farm where they milked cows and raised calves, pigs, chickens and sheep.


obert A. Holst remembers sitting in the pew of his church in rural Brownsdale, Minn., swinging his youthful legs and wondering how long it would be before he would be big enough for his feet to touch the floor. He was a boy on a mission—the first of many he would embark on throughout his life. Faith, family and farm were of utmost importance during Holst’s childhood. He was born in 1936 to Arthur and Lucinda Holst. He and his sister, Helen, were soon joined by two more brothers, Donald and John, who completed the ranks of their hard-working family. Holst helped milk cows by hand and care for the family’s calves, pigs, chickens and sheep on their 200-acre farm outside of Brownsdale, Minn. He also worked in the fields driving tractor for his neighbor and helping his family plant and harvest their own corn, oats, hay, soy beans and flax. The farm work had to be done in time for church which the family attended each week without fail. Holst walked and later rode a pony to the local one-room public school for his early education but his parents believed strongly in the importance of a Christian education and began sending him to St. John’s Lutheran School in seventh grade. It was there he received confirmation preparation and much encouragement to pursue pastoral ministry.



Number of times Bob put a dime in the Seminary pay phone before reaching Lynne to ask for their first date

Holst was very active in campus life while a student at Concordia Junior College from 19541956, including Student Senate, pictured here (back row, second from right).

Three years after meeting at a picnic while playing surf circle games, Robert Holst and Lynne Grabowski wed.

Thoughts of ministry did not dwindle throughout his time at Austin High School from 1950-1953. Feeling that there was no better place than Concordia, St. Paul to prepare for ministry, Holst transferred to Concordia Academy for his senior year of high school and graduated in 1954. He remained on campus to earn his associate’s degree through Concordia Junior College. Holst built lifelong friendships through academics, on-campus living and his involvement on various councils, committees, athletic teams and choir. He fondly remembers the caring community, good friends, quality faculty and the joy of learning Biblical languages. “Concordia laid a solid academic foundation for further education for pastoral ministry,” Holst said. “It was an enriching experience.” After graduating from the Junior College in 1956, Holst ventured out of Minnesota to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. During his second year at the seminary, he met a nursing student named Lynne Grabowski at a picnic sponsored by her nursing school. “I kinda fell bonkers for him,” Lynne said. “He seemed very well grounded and his sense of fun really intrigued me.” For Holst, it was Lynne’s joy for life and intellectual curiosity that captured his attention. On Aug. 13, 1960, after Lynne finished nurse’s training and Holst completed his vicarage in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the two married.



Number of years Holst served the church as an ordained clergy


Papua New Guinea’s tribal people held spirit ceremonies to offer sacrifices in an effort to rid themselves of the bad that permeated their lives.

Holst worked with Ipili men to learn the Ipili language and to translate Biblical materials.

Upon arrival in Papua New Guinea, the Holsts lived in a small thatched-roof house with a dirt floor until Bob built this more modern home complete with a pipe that fed water inside from the rain barrel.


olst’s ministry to the church began in 1960 in Hardin, Ill., where he served as assistant pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. While there, Bob and Lynne welcomed their first son, Mark, into the world and Bob completed his Master of Divinity degree and Master of Sacred Theology degree at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. In 1962, Holst was called to serve as an international missionary in the mountainous rainforests in Papua New Guinea. Feeling young and adventurous, moving to a new place never frightened Lynne. “I had a fellow beside me who would make everything all right,” she said. The Holsts were the first missionaries in the Ipili area which was administered by the Australian army. The Ipili spoke a language known only to them and lived as subsistent agriculturists. The people suffered from malnutrition and feared clan warfare and troubles from evil spirits. “I felt called by God to try to help the Ipili people in a rapidly changing time to understand God’s love,” Holst said. “I thought Christianity could help them have a better life.” Holst often hiked for weeks through the rain-soaked hills and valleys, building relationships with the Ipili people. Through such contact with the people, he learned the Ipili language and culture while developing an orthographic system so the people could read and write their language. Lynne helped the sick, injured and malnourished, and cared for their young sons, Mark, who was born just weeks before leaving for Papua New Guinea, and Thomas, who was born while there. Holst credits the Ipili people for helping shape his perspective on life. “I learned much from the wisdom of people that some in my culture considered primitive or even savage,” he said. “I saw how isolated families or clans shared and worked to build consensus on important issues. I saw how God could help them.” After baptizing nearly 800 people, the Holsts returned to Minnesota in 1968 and Bob studied Greco-Roman classics for one semester at the University of Minnesota.


800 Approximate number of people Holst baptized in Papua New Guinea

Concordia University Irvine (formerly Christ College) recently honored its founding five faculty members, Dr. Martin Schramm, The Rev. Dr. Shang Ik Moon, The Rev. Dr. Charles Manske, The Rev. Dr. Robert Holst and Dale Hartmann. Holst was also presented the Great Commission Award for his missionary work and service to the church.

Nearly 800 people were baptized during the Holsts’ six years in Papua New Guinea.

Holst received a full scholarship to Princeton Theological Seminary and the family moved to New Jersey. In addition to earning his doctorate degree, Holst advised and mentored underprepared students. In seeing how they could excel, he developed the passion and understanding for underprepared students that would eventually become the backdrop of his Concordia presidency. In 1969, just before completing his degree, the Holsts adopted their daughter, Ruth, who was nine months old. The family, now complete with three children, moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., and Holst began teaching and coaching track at Concordia Senior College. By this point in his ministry, Holst had developed a strong belief that cultural immersion is vital to life. “If you know just one culture,” he said, “you know no culture.” To impart this lesson on his Senior College students, Holst developed and led interim courses to Selma, Ala., Miami, Fla., and Jamaica. After six years at the Senior College, Holst was called to serve with four other professors to start Christ College (now Concordia University Irvine) in Irvine, Calif. “Although I had started schools in Papua New Guinea,” Holst said, “helping start a college was a culture shock. Everything was new with many goals and policies to be developed.” In 1976, the academic year kicked off with one building and 37 students. Lynne said everyone was close-knit, including the faculty wives who cooked for the students. Holst enjoyed the peer-like relationships he developed with students. “He has always just been bugs about students,” Lynne said. “From the time he started teaching, he has really related to them and really had a heart for them.” Throughout his 15 years in Irvine, Holst served as Dean of Students, Multicultural Director and Professor of Biblical Languages and Literature. He continued to share his passion for cultural immersion with students by establishing and teaching extension programs in Mexico and Israel. Holst anticipated spending life in Irvine, but moving to St. Paul became a real possibility when he was nominated as a candidate for president at Concordia. Although Holst did not feel worthy of the helm, he sensed the important and unique mission of his alma mater and accepted the nomination. He then left for Korea on sabbatical where he taught at Korea Lutheran Seminary. He returned to St. Paul for an interview and learned soon after that the electors agreed he was the man for the mission.


th 99 The academic year Concordia was celebrating when Holst became president

Casting Concordia’s H

olst’s presidency began on June 1, 1991. Not wanting the fanfare of an inauguration, he opted to hold a simple installation ceremony in conjunction with the annual Festival of Beginnings that fall. Recognizing the important role Concordia could play in supporting the growth and vitality of a rapidly diversifying city, Holst immediately began to emphasize what he felt to be God’s vision for Concordia—fostering community outreach and cultural diversity. “I firmly believe,” Holst said upon his arrival, “that any Christian education today that is not integrated into a global vision is not only a tacit denial of our basic Christian creeds, but also an academic failure.” Dr. Kay Madson, former executive vice president, recalls many discussions during Holst’s early tenure that focused on providing curricular programs that addressed the needs of students and the larger community while also emphasizing enrollment growth, academic excellence and education in the context of the Christian Gospel. To lay the foundation to achieve this vision, the University developed its first formal vision statement and modified its mission statement, both of which are still in use today.

Holst’s children, Ruth, Mark and Thomas, are grateful that his presidency did not stand in the way of him attending their children’s confirmations, family trips to the Boundary Waters and other important family functions.

“College leaders believed a vision statement could help achieve the College’s mission by basing decisions on shared priorities and goals,” Madson said. The new mission and vision served as the framework for many future innovative and promising initiatives. Holst believed Concordia needed to become a University to help differentiate it from competitors and be recognized as an institution granting four-year degrees. The University also underwent a significant restructure to implement a change from the quarter to semester system, grouping academic programs within colleges and driving significant decision-making down to the college level. More than 1,300 students ushered in the 1997-1998 academic year at the newly renamed Concordia University, St. Paul complete with a new logo that visually reflected key elements of



Number of private colleges in Minnesota with Division II athletics

Vision In 1994, Holst helped bring part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Statewide Celebration to campus in the newly constructed Gangelhoff Center—one of the many efforts over the years to show support for students as they live out their dreams. This year, representatives of the Governor’s Commission for the celebration, Concordia’s Executive Vice President Cheryl Chatman and W Rayford Johnson, honored Holst for supporting the event for 17 years and for his leadership, service and commitment to students in need.

In 1997, Concordia changed from a college to a university and became a laptop campus—both pretty new concepts at the time. While not the primary motivator, these changes kept Concordia on the leading edge, just as its introduction of accelerated degree completion programs to Minnesota had the decade prior.

Concordia’s mission. That same year, Concordia became the state’s first private college to become a laptop campus, providing all full-time traditional undergraduate students a laptop as part of their tuition. With the academic structure in place, Holst turned his attention to Athletics. He felt strongly that switching from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division III to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II, would help elevate the institution’s profile and lead to increased visibility and enrollment. In 1999, Concordia became the state’s only private Division II university. This era of change brought skepticism and challenges as well as excitement and promise, but Holst was confident that the challenges of rapid change would lead to continued positive growth for the University in the coming century.


145% Increase in enrollment during Holst’s presidency

Leading a Growing

Offering online degree programs has allowed veterans, like Travis Pike (OMC752), to work toward their degree while deployed. In 2009, Concordia became a Yellow Ribbon University, allowing eligible veterans to earn their degree tuition-free. Concordia also opened its Veterans Resource Center to provide veterans with information and assistance regarding benefits and resources to meet their unique needs.

The Hmong Culture and Language Program summer day camp participants engage in activities to better understand the Hmong culture. In 2010, the Program presented Holst with the Faith Builder Award for his consistent support of the program from its inception and through financially difficult times that threatened its existence.

A recent trip to Nicaragua is just one of the many service-learning opportunities made available by Concordia’s Community Action Leadership and Learning Center that was developed in 2008.


vidence of change and growth during Holst’s tenure exists in Concordia’s academic offerings, community partnerships, student body and campus. “The institution is thriving,” said Board of Regents member Joan Miller. “Bob has stayed in the posture to see changes as opportunities God has given him to minister to a variety of people.” The age and academic interests of students have dramatically diversified during Holst’s presidency and the student body has more than doubled in size. The University now boasts nearly 3,000 students, more than half of which are non-traditional students. Adult students now have 14 accelerated undergraduate programs and 13 graduate programs to choose from—a dramatic shift from the handful of programs available on his arrival. Advancements in technology during Holst’s presidency have allowed the University to expand its delivery options for non-traditional students, making a Concordia education possible for those not within physical reach of the campus. Most of Concordia’s accelerated degree completion and graduate programs are now also offered online or in a blended in-class/online format, accommodating the life and learning styles of students and growing the student population. The number of traditional undergraduate majors has swelled to nearly 50 and now includes an honors program.


Concordia The Holsts were the fourth presidential family to occupy the on-campus president’s house, which was built in 1927. Although fond of living among students, the Holsts purchased a home adjacent to campus in 2004. The move allowed room for the world’s first and only Center for Hmong Studies, led by Lee Pao Xiong, pictured here with Holst.

111% Increase of students of color during Holst’s presidency

“I think President Holst fosters an environment that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ and that manifests itself in a variety of ways,” said Kelly Matthias who directs Concordia’s Community Action, Leadership and Learning (CALL) Center. Established in 2008, the CALL Center creates opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning through leadership development programming, service-learning and studying abroad— experiences not very different from Holst’s ministry. One of Holst’s earlier efforts came in 1996 when Concordia joined Minnesota Campus Compact, an affiliate of a national coalition promoting community service in higher education. “President Holst has deliberately connected Concordia with its neighbors, making the campus an important gathering place and offering students the chance to learn with and contribute to the surrounding communities,” said Julie Plaut, the coalition’s Executive Director. “His support has been vital to the development of truly dynamic partnerships and an inclusive institutional culture.”

Holst’s work to connect with the greater community did not stop there. Prompted by the scarcity of fully-licensed Southeast Asian educators in Minnesota schools and backed by state appropriated funds, Concordia launched its Southeast Asian Teacher Licensure Program (SEAT) in 1998. More than 100 people working in educational settings have prepared for teacher licensure through the program. SEAT students gain valuable classroom experience through another program that has thrived during Holst’s tenure—the Hmong Culture and Language Program. Holst initiated the development of programming for children K-12 to celebrate and preserve the Hmong people’s heritage. In 2003, the Hmong Culture and Language Program began with 30 youth. Now having reached more than 3,500 students, the program teaches children from multiple cultural backgrounds about the Hmong people through culturally significant activities. “The goal has been to help people continue to have a strong ethnic identity,” said Sally Baas, the program’s director. Baas also said the program naturally plants the seeds of higher education in the minds of Hmong students. In 2004, Concordia deepened its connection with the Hmong community by establishing the world’s first and only Center for Hmong Studies. This hub for studying, understanding and promoting the Hmong people’s legacy and complex heritage has helped Concordia position itself as the university of choice for Hmong students and Fulbright scholars. “I think the Center for Hmong Studies has put us on the map not only in terms of people who live here and attend Concordia but in academic circles throughout the world,” said Marvin Suomi who helped found the Center.


10,705 Number of degrees awarded during Holst’s presidency

Holst enjoys connecting alumni and friends with the wider world. In conjunction with the Alumni Office, the Holsts have led international tours to places like Egypt, Greece and Russia and will lead a group to New Zealand this fall. To engage and get perspectives from those outside the University, Holst sought experienced leaders with varied backgrounds. In 2002, he formed the President’s Council—an important source of guidance and support throughout his tenure. Much of Concordia’s recent growth and outreach has been made possible through the support of the Council and other benefactors who strongly believe in Concordia’s mission. Since 1991, Concordia has conducted two multimillion dollar comprehensive campaigns supporting capital projects, growing the endowment and moving from a denominational support system to one of individual benefactor support. With significant benefactor contributions, Holst led the University through several renovations, acquisitions and major construction projects that considerably enhanced the campus to accommodate a growing student body and enhanced Concordia’s academics, spiritual life, athletics, fine arts, student life and its presence in the community. “He has really invested in facilities that are core elements to the academic experience,” said Eric LaMott, Vice President for Administration and project lead for multiple campus building projects. “That investment has been crucial in the very competitive environment we are in.”

The 70,000-square-foot Gangelhoff Center, named after benefactors Ronald and Doris Gangelhoff, was completed in 1993 and gave the University a state-of-theart athletic facility. The building also serves as a tool to raise awareness of Concordia and is a place where the Concordia community can provide Christian witness to various groups from the greater community that utilize the facility.


The Concordia Theatre Arts Center, which is connected to the Buetow Music Center, was completed in 1994. The facility, utilized by the Theatre Department and various community organizations, has elevated Concordia as a key player in the Twin Cities performing arts scene.

20.1 Number of acres added to campus during Holst’s presidency

The Library Technology Center, completed in 2003, is home to hundreds of thousands of traditional and electronic resources while also providing classroom, study and office space. The building is a 43,000-square-foot affirmation of Concordia’s commitment to providing resources to achieve academic excellence.

Property purchased from the City of St. Paul in 2003 added four acres to campus, further expanding the University west of Hamline Avenue and deepening Concordia’s presence in the community. The acquisition included what is now the Fandrei Center, a building used primarily by Athletics and named after alumnus Philip Fandrei ’55 and his wife, LaVerne.

The Residence Life Center, an apartment-style residence that can accommodate 300 students, was completed in fall 2008. Each suite includes a kitchen, a living room, bedroom furnishings and private bathrooms. Popular among current and prospective students, the RLC boasts many 21st-century amenities and provides the convenience of oncampus living with the amenities of off-campus housing.

The 3,500-square-foot Cross of Christ Fellowship Center addition to the Graebner Memorial Chapel was completed in 2008. Chapel chimes were also added and can be heard from all corners of campus. Whether the Cross of Christ is used by students for late-night worship services or fellowship for the entire Concordia community, it fulfills its role as a gathering place to help foster a greater sense of Christian community.

When major gifts for a stadium came from benefactors in the fall of 2008, Holst was adamant that Sea Foam Stadium be ready for play by fall 2009. The seemingly audacious goal became reality when the football and soccer teams took the field that fall. An inflatable dome used during the winter months makes the facility usable year-round. Visible to more than 180,000 I-94 travelers daily, the stadium has increased Concordia’s visibility and provided further community outreach opportunities, in addition to enhancing campus pride and recruitment efforts.


417 Number of monthly faculty and staff birthday lunches Holsts have hosted in their home

Since going Division II in 1999, the Golden Bears have garnered 16 conference championships, made 23 NCAA tournament appearances and captured four national titles, all of which have made Concordia more recognizable on a regional and national level.

The Holsts have enjoyed watching many student theatre productions over the years. Their miniature schnauzer, Tucker, even appeared in the fall 2010 production of “Tartuffe.”

Obtaining Division II classification has been another source of pride. The change has helped the University more than double its number of student athletes to 300. It has also created opportunities to elevate Concordia on a regional and national level. Particularly noteworthy are the Golden Bears’ 16 conference championships, 23 NCAA tournament appearances and the volleyball team’s four consecutive national championship titles. Equally impressive is the academic strength of the student athletes. In 2006, the volleyball team held the highest grade point average (3.69) in all of Division II volleyball and nearly 30 student athletes from eight sports have achieved Academic All-American status. The Holsts are a fixture at athletic events, theatre productions, concerts, lectures and more, all with an eye toward building a sense of community. They regularly eat with students in the Dining Hall too, and invite faculty and staff into their home for lunch during their birthday month. Their miniature schnauzer, Tucker, accompanies Bob to many meetings, shadows him during daily walks on and around campus and even appeared in a Concordia theatre production. These efforts to integrate his family with the Concordia family have helped develop a sense of community that resembles his experience as a Concordia student. One dramatic difference from the 50s, though, is college affordability. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod tuition subsidy, which allowed Holst to attend Concordia nearly tuition-free, has virtually disappeared. Financial aid now comes from many generous benefactors, including Holst, who remains dedicated to providing students access to a Concordia education regardless of their family’s income. At Concordia, 33 percent of traditional students’ family income is less than $30,000. Holst knows significant support is needed to maintain his legacy of outreach-focused education.


Leaving a Legacy Concordia is now the most ethnically diverse private college in the state.

65% Percent of traditional Concordia students who are first in their family to go to college

Israel Lopez ’10 was one of many students whose life was transformed by Holst’s mission to provide students access to excellence in education.


olst said one of the greatest joys of his presidency has been providing students like Israel Lopez ’10 with access to a quality education. A college degree seemed far from possible for Lopez who was molested as a child, had run-ins with the law, and lived out of his car or slept on friends’ couches throughout high school. Scholarship aid from Concordia gave him access to a college education and the prospect of a better life. Lopez said his “gateway out of being a knucklehead” can be attributed to his involvement in football; encouragement from President Holst and the Concordia community; and most importantly, his relationship with God, who ignited his faith during his sophomore year at Concordia. “That’s when I started to take off academically and intellectually and I started writing,” Lopez said. “I was blessed that Concordia gave me a foot in the door,” he said. Now a law school student at University of Wisconsin Madison, Lopez hopes to pay for law school with sales from a memoir he is writing to encourage others to stay positive and make the most of life despite a difficult past. “As I talk with the students who have graduated from Concordia,” Holst said, “it’s just amazing what an education here has done for their lives and through them for the lives of others. When you give access, you also enrich the experience of the student body because you have people of different backgrounds looking at life’s questions from a different perspective.” As Holst formally concludes his 49-year ministry, his prayer is that Concordia will continue to serve God and students in the ministry of education.

learn more about securing holst’s legacy by giving to the holst endowed scholarship


Paying Tribute C

ongratulations, Dr. Holst, as you come to retirement! We give thanks to God for your years of service in the church as a missionary, scholar, and teacher and as President of Concordia University, St. Paul. Already as a student your drive to excel was evident. I remember you running around Concordia’s track, shin splints or not, because you were determined to be the best runner you could be. With God’s help, your determination enabled you to be a good and faithful servant in all that He has called you to do. Paul ’56 and Betty ’58 Dorn, Classmates and friends


remember first meeting Bob when he came to teach at Concordia Senior College in 1970. That was the era when most young faculty prided themselves upon being rather “hip” and “with it.” Bob had no interest in that. He would wear his clothes until they wore out, probably had the same hairstyle he had in the 50s, and spoke as if he had just come from the farm—instead of Princeton. But it was quickly evident that he had a real love for the Lord and those who were training to share the Good News. That was 40 years ago and I am thankful that Bob has not changed a bit! Pastor Jim Heining ’70


raise God dear President Holst for the gifts you have brought to Concordia these many years! I remember your first few years with us at Concordia; I was glad to have an LCMS missionary come to refresh the faculty, staff and students with a humble heart exuding the global Gospel mission perspective. I rejoiced to see the continued development of the church work programs under your leadership. Thank you for personally encouraging and supporting me in going to Seminary despite my concerns and struggles. You and all of my professors were truly many of the “Paul’s” in my life, true “encouragers” of the faith. God bless your future mission work! In the love of our Lord Jesus, Rev. Cory J. Eckstrom ’92



cannot believe how fast time has gone. It seems like I was just walking on to campus after a 26 hour ride from North Carolina via Maryland to Minnesota. You were the shining star on our campus—always friendly, caring and concerned. I was so impressed that you knew me by name and I got to know the president of our college. You made me feel important and heard in a time when my family was very far away and things were challenging. I believe you exemplify the graciousness of the one whom you serve. Thank you for your model leadership. May you be blessed in your years to come as you reap the harvest of goodness you have sown into so many! Sara (Stoltenberg) Roberts ’97


hile I was in the process of deciding which college I wanted to attend, I received a call from President Holst. I was shocked! He was very friendly and professional and wanted to express how he thought I would be a wonderful fit at Concordia. I remember I had a huge smile on my face during the entire conversation. Three months later I enrolled at Concordia and had the best experience! I received my bachelor’s degree, met my husband, got married in the Chapel, started working in the Admission Office, and now I’m finishing my master’s at Concordia! If it weren’t for President Holst’s wonderful and encouraging words, my life would be much different! Thank you to President Holst for your devoted love and service to Concordia’s students, faculty, staff and alumni. Leah Martin ’07, ’11, Campus Visit Coordinator, Office of Admission


resident Holst made my dream come true. I really thank him for giving me the opportunity to study in the United States and let me be a Concordia student. I can’t express how much I appreciate him. Jung Eun Park ’11


resident Holst is an incredibly kind and conscientious person. I know of few University Presidents who are as actively engaged with the activities in their campus and as aware of the needs, goals and desires of their students, faculty and staff as President Holst. He has made countless conscientious efforts to develop our University in a way that would cherish the increasingly diverse heritage of our community. His active engagement and care of his community made him among the rarest of university presidents. He will forever be remembered as a genuine example of stewardship at Concordia--someone who actively cared for his community and held the belief that “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1), a belief that human beings are entrusted to care for and be responsible for the wellbeing of others, and for that, he will be sorely missed. Alexander Bednar ’11


ob Holst’s passion for students is what stands out for me. I always saw him as an advocate for and mentor of students, both when I was his student at Concordia Senior College and served in his administration at Concordia. In the classroom, hallway, chapel, dining hall, residence hall, theater, field house, or, perhaps most indicatively, the President’s own home, Bob is comfortably at home with students. He was a mentor for me in appreciating the diversity of gifts that come from the same Spirit and are found in every nation, tribe, language and people (cf. Revelation 14:6). Countless lives have been touched by the caring touch that Bob gave to generations of students from all walks of life. He could be leaving no more important legacy!


wo words summarize my experiences with Dr. Holst—partner and personal. He is a wonderful ministry PARTNER to Iowa District West. He was instrumental in forming a Lay Leadership Institute in partnership with Concordia. He frequently attended our District conventions, pastors conferences and other events presenting a strong Gospel witness and friendly message from CSP. He was a partner in the recruitment of church workers and epitomized churchmanship and ministry partnership. The second word is PERSONAL. Since all four of our children attended Concordia, Dr. Holst always asked about our family and remembered each of our children by name. Dr. Holst was one of God’s instruments for leading son Jonathan into pastoral ministry. Jonathan was at another college studying sociology when Dr. Holst saw him and noted “We need pastors with that kind of background.” Dr. Holst has been a blessing to our family and a great partner to the Iowa District West. Rev. Bob Riggert, LC-MS Iowa District West


any, many thanks for your selfless, faithful and always joyful service to our alma mater and to the Concordia University System. You have returned to the Lord and to us tenfold the talents and gifts God has given you. We thank God for you and celebrate all of the ways He has worked in and through you to touch the hearts and lives of countless thousands of people all around the world with the compassion and love of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. We wish Lynne and you God’s rich and abundant blessings as you transition to a new phase and pace of life! Thank you for your love, Thomas Ries, Former Vice President for Finance and support and constant encouragement of Laurie and me. Our lives are much richer because of you and your Operations service to us, dear friend! May God bless you always.


ob Holst is one of a diminishing breed of presidents who is truly a servant-leader. I have admired Bob since I first met him seven years ago and I look up to him as an example and model for my own leadership. Bob’s special gift is to literally wear his causes on his lapel. He never shrinks from making his opinions—usually to do with social justice—known to all. He doesn’t worry about ruffling feathers, but rather doing what is right and standing up for those who often can’t stand up for themselves. I’ve no doubt that Bob’s leadership will continue beyond his presidency, and I wish him Godspeed in his next great endeavor. MaryAnn Baenninger, President, College of Saint Benedict

Brian ’79 and Laurie ’80 Friedrich, Concordia University Nebraska President and wife


t has been an honor to know you for these past 20 years. Your leadership in our community has been steadfast. In my first years working in the Lex-Ham Community at Youth Express, we always knew you were deeply committed to the ideal that campus and community are integrally connected. The support you have shown for communities of color has been amazing. Every time I have turned around, there you have been, with your quiet ways, guiding and supporting the community in which Concordia resides and thrives. My favorite memories are of you with your students and


the community – walking together in the Rondo Parade, welcoming all at the MLK Celebration in the Gangelhoff and listening earnestly in the audience at the International Conference on Hmong Studies. Peace to you my friend on this next course of your journey.

man of determination, wisdom, honesty, humility and integrity. Most of all, I cherish you as a friend. Gretchen Beecroft ’09, Holst’s Former Executive Assistant


orking with President Holst has helped Sundraya Kase, Director of Community Initiatives, me realize how important, beneficial and Minnesota Private Colllege Council, Fund and rewarding it is to truly serve as an instrument Research Foundation for Christ in the work place. He is truly an inspiration to me, the campus, community and hank you for keeping Concordia alive and universe. I am truly blessed to know President relevant within the community. We are Holst and Lynne, who has also been a gift to us called to bring the message of Christ to others all, in ways too countless to enumerate. and that can only be done by being Christ’s Cheryl Chatman, Executive Vice President, Concordia “hands and feet,” wherever the Lord calls us to University, St. Paul be. From Papua to Minnesota, you have “walked the walk.” May the Lord continue to bless you, Lynne and your entire family! erhaps the most amazing gift of your career has been your faith and ability to look to the Louis Johnson ’86, Board of Regents future and promise of the church where race, class and ideology are trumped by the commitment to n institution starts on a course toward the greatest of all the commandments, “love your people-building with leadership that has a neighborhood as yourself.” I pray that God will firmly established context of people first” - Robert bless you in your retirement as you have been Greenleaf. President Holst’s leadership has honored God’s blessing to so many over the years. Cheryl individual differences and created an environment and I are blessed to have served under your where these differences are acknowledged, accepted leadership. Congratulations on a job well done, and blended together for the common good of all. good and faithful servant! No higher form of leadership exists. Pastor Kelly Chatman, Former Multicultural Dean




Jim Storm, President’s Council


t was an honor and pleasure to work with you for almost 20 years. You exemplified a servant spirit, unbridled energy, a generous heart and dynamic leadership while you constantly sought excellence with compassion for any and all in need (even a dog). You showed a negotiating mind, were the calming voice in crisis and all this was punctuated with wit and humor. I admire you as a



thank you for allowing God to utilize your life. Many people in positions of authority talk about their relationship with God and their love for his people. You not only talked about his goodness, but shared his expectations for our lives. These may not always be popular positions, but you challenged us to live out our faith and beliefs in a bold way. Best wishes and God’s richest blessings on this next phase of your life. Clarence Jones ’92, ’02, Alumni Council President

Do you have memories or a tribute you would like to share with President Holst?

Submit online at Or mail your message to Concordia University, St. Paul Attn: Jill Simon • 275 Syndicate St. N.• St. Paul, MN 55104 To be included in his scrapbook, messages must be submitted by Friday, April 1.



CONCORDIA TO ANNOUNCE ITS NINTH PRESIDENT APRIL 4 Check for the news at or, to receive the announcement via your Facebook news feed, “like” Concordia at ConcordiaUniversityStPaul.

HONOR A CLASSMATE FOR EXCEPTIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Do you know an alumnus or alumna who has distinguished his or herself in a particular field of endeavor and upheld Concordia’s ideals in their profession, community and/ or church? Nominations are now being accepted for Concordia’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

Explore New Zealand With the Holsts Join Concordia University, St. Paul and hosts Tour Highlights: • Includes eight nights of accommodations, 20 Rev. Dr. Robert and Mrs. Lynne Holst in a 13-day tour meals and private, deluxe, air-conditioned motor of scenic New Zealand. As experienced travelers and coaches for all transfers and touring tour leaders, the Holsts will take you on an informative and friendly Christ-centered tour, visiting locations on • Cruise of Milford Sound, often referred to as the North and South islands of New Zealand. “the eighth wonder of the natural world.”

October 24-November 5, 2011

• Experience the limestone passages of the Waitomo Caves and a glow worm grotto on an underground boat trip.

For more information, contact Sally Cordes 651-738-6075 or

• Visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites. • Worship and share fellowship with Wellington’s people.

To nominate, visit To receive a paper copy of the application or for more information, contact Rhonda Behm ’88, Director of Alumni Relations at (651) 641- 8894 or


Mary Lou (Schulz) Kaelberer ’69 bought a sweatshirt at the Concordia Bookstore in the late 60’s, hoping to one day have a child to wear it. Her son and daughter wore it in the mid 70’s and now her grandsons are wearing it.

Wade Stockman ’85 and his wife, Eugenia, are proud to announce their daughter Addie began studying Design at Concordia in fall 2010. Addie happily displays her Concordia College baby t-shirt in her room in Luther Hall.

Visit to get your hands on Concordia garb for your children and/or grandchildren.


claSS noteS 1940s Fred wippich (h.s. ’47, J.C. ’49) was a college instructor and administrator at St. John’s College, Winfield, Kan., from 1956-1986 and a Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Independence, Kan., from 1988-1992. He now resides in Forsyth, Mo. Fred was married to Ethel Emberland Wippich until her passing in October 2010.

IN MEMORY richard raguse (h.s. ’51) passed away on Aug. 16, 2010 in Rosholt, S.D. Richard lived in Wheaton, Minn., until shortly before his death. He is survived by two daughters and two grandsons. barbara (olson) schulz ’57 passed away on Oct. 6, 2010 at 73 years of age after a 10 month battle with ALS. She met her first love and the love of her life Larrie Schulz ’55 at Concordia. Their 52-year marriage was blessed with five daughters. For much of her life, she worked as a Lutheran school teacher in California and Minnesota. She loved to cross stitch and was very involved in the church. 2

1950s russell howen (h.s. ’50, J.C. ’52) retired from his position as Intentional Interim Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Gardenerville, Nev., on Oct. 17, 2010. This is his third retirement.

Charles michael lund ’59 passed away on Dec. 14, 2010.


John rohwer (J.C. ’66) passed away on Dec. 25, 2010 after a fall the day prior. He is survived by wife Marletta ’72, sons Brant and Jared, three grandchildren, his mother Annabeth Rohwer, and three sisters, Joan Weismantel, Judy Windorski and Janet Harder. His father, Lawrence, preceded him in death.

rev. robert ’61 and alice (klatt) smith (’62, ’00) have retired in Frankenmuth, Mich., after working for LCMS World Missions in Hong Kong, Nigeria, South Korea and Indonesia. Alice recently published a mystery book for 9-12 year olds to help them better understand Korea’s culture and diversity. “Under the Eye of the Magpie” is available at or

thomas schleif ’71 passed away on Jan. 4. A memorial service was held on Feb. 12 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trenton, Mich. Roy Kronsbein ’70 served as the eulogist and Kim Schutt ’80 was the organist and choral director.

marlene (haut) wirth ’67 and her grade school class from Forest Lake, Minn., recently published the book “China Adventures!” It is available on and in bookstores in the Forest Lake area. rev. richard ’68 and sylvia (wilken) Pape ’68 welcomed their fourth grandson, William Patrick Tucker, into the world on Sept. 29, 2010. Richard had the privilege of baptizing William on Nov. 27 at Pinnacle Lutheran Church. 1

1970s David tank ’73 published his newest book “Wisconsin Wildflowers in 3D.” With 3D glasses included, the book’s pictures appear to come right off the page. His books are available at bob kubiszewski ’79 received the Ramsey County Correctional Officer of the Year award in July 2010. The award was presented by George altendorfer ’79, Ramsey County Undersheriff. George has been with Ramsey County for 30 years. 3

1980s karla konrad ’85 married Craig Rendahl in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2010. 4




James ’88 and teresa (Johnson) reinholdt ’87 announce the birth of their second grandson, Alek-Aiden who was born on Aug. 6, 2010. He joins his father Bill Reinholdt, mother April Reisewicz, and older brother James at their family home in Litchfield, Minn.

1990s Josh schunk ’97 accepted a call to become Senior Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Fargo, N.D., on Sept. 5, 2010. mark moldenhauer ’99 and his wife Allison are asking for prayer support from the entire Concordia community as Mark continues a battle with “Arnold’s Chiari” disease. Mark, Allison and their four children live in Houston, Texas where Mark continues treatment.

CLASS NOTES 2000s David and Anne (Guse) Neilitz ’00 welcomed Samuel Earl Neilitz into the world on March 27, 2010. He joined his older sister, Maddux. Sam Rahberg ’00 was named Director of the Benedictine Center, a ministry of the Bendictine Sisters at St. Paul’s Monastery in Maplewood, Minn. Sam served as Associate Director at the Center for five years prior to his new position. Koryn Saunders ’01 recently earned a certificate in Urban Teaching from Hamline University. Erin and Michael Harvey ’01 are pleased to announce the birth of Caleb Levi Harvey, born on Nov. 3, 2009. He joined siblings Addie, Lily, MJ and Gabriel in their Rochester, Minn., home. Rev. Corey Grunklee ’03 was installed as the fifth Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Lubbock, Texas on Dec. 4, 2010. Grunklee has served as Associate Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bay City, Mich., for the past three years. He is joined in ministry by his wife, Stephanie, and daughter, Abel.


Andrew ’09 and Jayme Wyss ’10 have purchased a home in Wausau, Wis. Andrew works as a Graphic Designer at Footlocker. com/Eastbay and Jayme is a Director of Christian Education at Christ Lutheran Church in Wausau. 7


Mike Laurent ’09 is employed at Ecolab Inc. Paul Reineck ’09 will graduate with his MBA in Healthcare Management from Union Graduate College this spring. After graduation, Paul will become an Administrative Fellow at the Cleveland Clinic where he will help develop future administrative leadership.

Roxanne Konkel ’10 married Jason Fevold on June 19, 2010. They reside in Wright County, Iowa. Roxanne is pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and building a substance abuse program in Wright County. John ’10 and Sara (Sather) Pimental ’10 are pleased to announce their marriage. They wed on Dec. 18, 2010 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. John is a first-year, full-time Physical Education teacher at College Prep Elementary, a charter school authorized by Concordia. Sara is working part-time as the Alumni Relations Associate at Concordia until she assumes her full-time ESL teaching position in June with Teach For America, a national nonprofit division of AmeriCorps. 8

2010s In November 2010, Melissa Burrows ’10 began work with the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program. As a Corps Member, Melissa is responsible for completing a series of six- to eight-week-long service projects as part of a 10- to 12-person team.



Kevin Brinkmann ’05 relocated to India in October 2010 to work on an education project. He was married in February 2011. Kim Acton ’06 married Matthew Rosebrock on July 31, 2010 in Palatine, Ill. The couple now resides in Pasadena, Calif. 5


Katrina (Johnston) Baxter ’07 was married to Darren Baxter on Aug. 7, 2010. They reside in St. Paul. Katrina works for the State Theatre, Orpheum Theatre and Pantages Theatre, all in Minneapolis. 6



__________________ non-profit org.

275 Syndicate Street north St. Paul, minnesota 55104-5494

u.S. postage


change Service reQueSted

Permit no. 1341 St. paul, mn __________________

pleaSe recycle thiS magaZine

Retiremen Service

To Honor President Robert Holst Gangelhoff Center • May 11, 2011 • 7:30 p.m.

Alumni, friends, students, faculty, staff, family and the greater community are welcome to honor The Rev. Dr. Robert Holst for his 20 years of service to Concordia University, St. Paul and 49 years of service to the church.

Concordia university, st. Paul Gangelhoff Center 235 hamline ave. n. st. Paul, mn 55104 a reception will follow the service.

Concordia St. Paul Magazine | Spring 2011  

The Presidential Legacy of Robert Holst

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