Recent News from Campuses
Storvick was an important presence at Concordia for more than 60 years. He has been widely recognized as one of the giants in the history of the college for his superb teaching and scholarship and his active engagement of students, together with his service to the college, the ELCA and society. He joined the Concordia faculty in 1955 after earning his bachelor’s degree from Luther College in 1949 and his master’s degree in Greek from the University of Michigan in 1950. He was a Fulbright and Danforth Scholar and, while teaching at Concordia, went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1968. He served Concordia in many leadership capacities, including twice as the associate dean of the college.
Storvick’s scholarly work relied on extensive research that placed him in worldwide libraries and in fields far-flung. In 1971, he began a long-standing association with archaeological expeditions in Israel. In 1993, he and a group of Concordia students discovered 99 fourth-century Byzantine gold coins at an excavation site at Caesarea Maritima in Israel. This was one of the largest hoards of privately owned gold coins ever discovered from this period, and the finding was highlighted by the international and national media as well as documented in scholarly articles by Storvick and his collaborators.
Storvick held memberships in several organizations of classical studies, archaeology and biblical literature. In 1988, he received the Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professorship in recognition of superior classroom teaching and significant service to the college and the church. In 2002, the Olin J. Storvick Endowed Chair of Classical Studies was established. The criteria for the chair in honor of this stellar teacher-scholar reads: “a faculty member who models Concordia’s mission as a college of the church, is a teacher of unusual competence, has made a sustained contribution to teaching, is an active scholar, has contributed significantly to his area of study and expertise, and teaches classical studies courses.” That description is fitting since it so well describes the man for whom it is named and who serves as the model for future generations of Concordia College professors. In 2017, Storvick received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Concordia College.
He served in the military during World War II as a platoon sergeant in the 27th Infantry Division and was awarded a Purple Heart. Some of Storvick’s recollections of the war can be found in a book by Dr. James Hofrenning ’50 titled, “Cobbers in WWII: Memoirs from the Greatest Generation.”
He was a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead and was extensively involved in the Boy Scouts. Storvick and his wife, Ruth, who passed away in 2014, have five children: Helen, Rolf, Solveig, Karen and Eric.college-giant-storvick-dies-at-92
During their time on campus, they’ve been rehearsing and discussing faith and the religious backgrounds of the music they will be performing. Students in 10th-12th grade from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Mississippi gather each morning for Sung Morning Prayer in the Centrum followed by sectional community time and rehearsals.
At the end of each day, everyone gathers together for an evening service of Compline, a 12- to 15-minute evening experience where students discuss the highs and lows of their day. Camp Chaplain Simon Fensom, senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, leads discussions of scripture relevant to the lives of the young students.
Diamond Tello of Paynesville, Minn., has appreciated all the opportunities the MASLC has to offer.
“Being able to sing gospels, get involved with the church, and have a pastor come speak with us has been very meaningful and different from what I was expecting,” Tello said.
Dr. Michael Culloton, artistic director and conductor, sees the unique opportunities presented by the choir experience emphasizing the opportunity for young students to share a dialogue with one another.
“We can openly discuss issues of faith and spirituality and do that in the context of the musical background,” Culloton said.
The Minnesota All-State Lutheran Choir was founded in 1969 by Mark Aamot. The choir developed from the concept of providing young students with the opportunity to grow deeper in their faith and share their spiritual experience with congregations on tour.
While looking to create new traditions as Concordia becomes the new home to the MASLC, Culloton has been mindful of the long-standing traditions that have been practiced by the choir for many years.
One long-standing tradition with a powerful impact is the hymn sing performed at each church, where students disperse and join the congregation in the singing of hymns together. It’s an experience witnessed by Culloton as a member of a congregation, and now as conductor of the choir.
“It really introduces young people to some of the old standard favorite hymn tunes, but it also allows audience members to feel the joy and shared mission of singing these hymn tunes with students side by side,” Culloton said.
The choir begins its eight-day tour of Minnesota at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead on June 16.
The Phillips Scholars Program supports potential leaders with outstanding academic credentials who intend to dedicate a portion of their lives to community service. Each year, sophomores from 16 eligible private colleges and universities submit proposals outlining specific actions they would take to make life better for people with unmet needs in Minnesota communities.
“I loved what the foundation stood for and the thought that I was going to be able to represent the Phillips Foundation made me so excited for what was to come,” Krattley said.
Krattley was one of five students selected to receive the award, which includes a monetary scholarship for her junior and senior years at Concordia, as well as a stipend and project resource funding that will allow her to dedicate her time to develop her project.
“The proposal, which I will be executing in the summer of 2019, will be to provide a website, ‘College Connected,’ that will allow students and parents access to information on the college process,” she said.
This online resource will be especially helpful for first-generation college students like Krattley whose families are navigating the college selection and admission process for the first time.
“I’m proud that I will be able to represent Concordia in the Phillips Foundation,” she said. “I’m also humbled by this award after hearing and reading about all the scholars that came before me. I feel very lucky for the opportunity I have not only through the Phillips program but also through Concordia.”
Krattley’s work as a Phillips Scholar begins this summer as she researches the needs of the community she hopes to support.
The Joyner Spirit Award is given to one enthusiastic participant each semester who embodies the spirit of Joyner, the first- and longest-serving dean and executive director of the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS) program.
Emma Eckberg ’18 received the Spirit Award in fall 2017 and Reyna Bergstrom ’18 in spring 2018. Nominated by faculty, staff and peers, this award represents the positivity and enthusiasm spread by both Eckberg and Bergstrom during their time with LCWS.
Eckberg double majored in German and political science at Concordia and interned with the Office of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration in Washington. Bergstrom double majored in communication and religion and interned in the office of North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven in Washington.
Both earned accolades from Dr. Douglas E. Clark, the dean and executive director of LCWS.
“Emma was a standout student during the fall 2017 semester. She was always willing to break the ice, be a volunteer, and generally encourage participation from her peers,” Clark said. “Reyna was one of the most committed students in LCWS this semester and clearly embodied the spirit of the award.”
Bergstrom was humbled and honored to be recognized for such an award by her professors, mentors and fellow classmates during her time in the Capitol.
“It was a huge affirmation and honor to be voted by my peers for this award,” Bergstrom said. “We had an amazing group of individuals who participated in the LCWS program this past spring semester and I was so happy to be able to experience life in Washington, D.C., with all of them.”d-c-joyner-spirit-award-winners
Performing at the Kennedy Center was “absolutely wonderful,” said Christopher Kenney ’14. His last performance was with Patti LuPone, Nathan Gunn and Isabel Leonard at the Washington National Opera gala, which raised $1 million for the company's educational programs.
After the Hawley, Minn., native graduated from Concordia with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance, he took first place in a competition and won a scholarship to grad school at the University of Kentucky School of Music. At the end of graduate school, he didn’t receive any major offers so he decided to spend a year of study at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
It was through contacts in Philly that Kenney auditioned for the Washington National Opera in D.C. In addition to a three-month apprenticeship in Santa Fe, N.M., he performed for nine months with the WNO in its Young Artist Program.
Kenney was fortunate to take part in multiple performances during his time in Washington, including the main stage and some of the smaller stages in the Kennedy Center. He also performed at multiple events and historical places. By request, he sang at the Lincoln Theatre for the Frederick Douglass 200th birthday celebration, as well as at multiple events and parties in donors’ homes who are patrons and trustees of the WNO.
One of the main stage roles he had the opportunity to perform was in “The Barber of Seville” as Figaro, a role he was anxious to play.
“Honestly, I had my most fun playing Figaro because that is a role that I long wanted and having the opportunity to get to do that is stellar,” Kenney said. “I also got to work with some very talented colleagues and friends that have become very close friends of mine, so that was a wonderful opportunity.”
Though there is a lot of role prep and working with coaches, Kenney said he’s having quite a bit of fun.
“One of the things that people forget in general is if you quit having fun it becomes work,” he said. “I’m not saying you don’t have to work at it, but it was a ton of fun.”
Out of hundreds of applicants from around the world, Kenney was accepted into one of six coveted spots in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s prestigious Ryan Opera Center professional artist development program. He signed a one-year contract with the expectation to stay two or possibly three years.
After that, the sky is the limit. Literally. An avid licensed pilot in his spare time, he’s considering getting into aerobatics and instructing.
“There are really so many opportunities out there in life that I’m excited to find them all and I’m really lucky to have the ability and the chance to explore all of my passions in music and aviation,” he said.
Kenney’s new apartment in Lincoln Park, Ill., has a gorgeous view overlooking Lake Michigan. It’s his sixth place in five years, but it’s part of the job. Living in Chicago, however, will make it a little easier to get back to the Fargo-Moorhead area and visit family and friends.
“Living in different cities can be an advantage, but it can also be a disadvantage,” he said. “It’s hard to settle down and find your roots. Most people my age are thinking about buying houses and staying in one place.”
Although, he did find his roots in a way. He is adopted and was able to reconnect with his biological family in Pennsylvania, something he said wouldn’t have happened had he not gone to Washington.
Before the season starts at Lyric, he’ll be traveling for a concert he was invited to do in Seattle in June. To catch his upcoming performances for the season, visit Lyric Opera.
“I’d love to come back to Concordia and sing with the choir again, so you could put that bug in Dr. Clausen’s ear,” Kenney added.
Graduates lined up inside the Integrated Science Center before they walked their way under the Dovre Campanile toward Memorial Auditorium. Nearly 4,000 family and friends of the Concordia community came out to support the graduates on commencement day.
Dr. Martha Nussbaum, American philosopher and professor at the University of Chicago, gave the commencement address. She affirmed the value of the liberal arts and challenged the graduates to use their education to its full potential.
“The future is in our hands and especially in the hands of all of you graduating,” she said. “You know the value of this education. It will become even more and more apparent to you in the years to come. Liberal arts is the preparation for the whole life.”
Nussbaum and John Meslow received honorary degrees. Meslow is a retired executive for Medtronic Inc., the founder and program director for the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, and a former member of Concordia’s Board of Regents. Corinne Burrell ’18 gave the student response.
“You are ready,” she said. “Use your liberal arts education to change the world for the better. I can’t wait to see what you do.”Photo Gallery
Temple is a leader in the widespread #YouAreWelcomeHere social media campaign, which encourages international students to study in the United States. This new scholarship will provide financial support for international students who are committed to furthering the #YouAreWelcomeHere message through intercultural exchange that bridges divides at their future campuses and beyond. Participating colleges and universities will offer an annual, renewable scholarship for a select number of students that covers a minimum of 50 percent of recipients’ tuition. Each institution will determine the exact number of #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship recipients.
“Concordia College is proud to join in launching the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship, advancing our college’s commitment to international students and to campuswide internationalization,” says William Craft, president of Concordia College.
Temple University’s director of international admissions and originator of the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, Jessica Sandberg, says the original initiative has built bridges between U.S. higher education and students worldwide and now is the time to do more.
“This scholarship is our way of meeting students halfway across that bridge,” she says. “It advances the campaign through meaningful action, adding concrete support for international students to our already well-received message and providing those students with a way to expand the conversation.”
Sandberg, along with Concordia’s director of international admission, Dr. Matthew Beatty, will present more details of this new initiative to their international education colleagues at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference May 29 in Philadelphia.
“I’m very excited for Concordia College to be part of this pioneering scholarship program from its point of inception,” Beatty says. “#YouAreWelcomeHere is a message of welcome from a community of U.S. higher education institutions to prospective students. I’m confident the new scholarship program will not only enhance this collective message but also make a meaningful difference to hundreds of students and families from around the world.”
The other institutions in the partnership include Eastern Michigan University, James Madison University (Virginia), Purdue University Northwest (Indiana), Seattle University (Washington), Shoreline Community College (Washington), Western New England University (Massachusetts) and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
About the #YouAreWelcomeHere Campaign
Following expressions of apprehension by some international students about studying in the U.S., in November 2016, Temple University expanded the #YouAreWelcomeHere hashtag into an international campaign to ensure that international students at U.S. universities and colleges feel welcome in the United States. Since then, more than 350 colleges and universities, 60 international education companies and organizations, and 20 high schools have joined. In recognition of its leadership efforts, the campaign has received several national awards.
For more information, visit ConcordiaCollege.edu/yawh.new-international-scholarship-launched
Alongside associate professor of biology Dr. Joe Whittaker, Francis has been researching campus squirrel behavior and habitat in relation to climate change. Her work builds off of previous Sigma Zeta-funded projects.
Her research, “Comparative Analysis of Squirrel Behavior and Habitat use in Light of Climate Change,” focuses on various breeds of squirrels, including eastern gray squirrels, American red squirrels, and northern flying squirrels. Minnesota is one of the fastest-warming states with an increasing growing season, which is predicted to impact squirrel behavior and habitat use.
She chose squirrels as her focus because they are one of the few mammals that can thrive and establish niches in urban settings such as college campuses, making them an excellent group to study differential behavioral and habitat use.
“I have always loved squirrels, and animals in general, and am very fascinated with how humans can have an impact on animal behavior,” Francis said.
Throughout her research, Francis monitors squirrels through an ethogram and tracks them individually using radio telemetry. The behaviors she examines are foraging, nesting, caching, movement, interactions, and handling food. Each observation, repeated throughout different times of the day, is five minutes in duration with behavior recorded every 20 seconds.
Sigma Zeta is a national undergraduate honor society created to encourage scholarly activity and recognize academic scholarship in the natural sciences, computer science and mathematics. Concordia’s Sigma Zeta chapter, Gamma Gamma, was founded in 2012 and received the Founders’ Cup Award in 2015 and 2017 at the Sigma Zeta National Convention. A chapter is not eligible to win the award two consecutive years.
Dr. Graeme Wyllie, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Joseph Whittaker, associate professor of biology, accompanied the students to the Minnesota Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium in St. Paul, Minn.
Breann Adamek ’19, Gift Ben-Bernard ’19, Brooke Maruska ’18, Elli Strand ’20 and Chloe Whitten ’19 presented original research for biology, and Alexandra Ward ’19 presented on a new laboratory and teaching pedagogy for chemistry.
Maruska won a Best in Session Award for her presentation on the “Characterization of Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Leaf Nests on an Urban College Campus.”
Ward won a Judge’s Choice Award for “Bioplastic: Combining Seaweed and Lobsters to Create a New General Chemistry Laboratory Pedagogy.”
“There was a lot of competition (and with some with much larger schools), so both of these are big feathers in our caps,” Whittaker said.
Wyllie said Ward’s award is well-deserved.
“Lexi’s research on bioplastics in the summer of 2017 has been critical in the redesign of the research component of the general chemistry lab this past spring,” Wyllie said. “After seeing our students engaging with this topic in the teaching lab this last semester, I’m especially proud of the excellent job Lexi did in sharing the results of this with the broader science community, both students and faculty, at an event like the Winchell.”
The annual meeting and Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium provides a forum for undergraduate students to present research in the sciences, learn from professionals in fields they aspire to enter, and receive recognition for their accomplishments. The first annual meeting of the Minnesota Academy of Science was held on April 15, 1933, at the University of Minnesota.
There are four main components of the meeting and symposium – a keynote lecture, poster presentations, oral presentations, and breakout sessions. More than 125 students, research advisors, members of MAS, faculty members, and other interested members of the community attend the symposium each year.
They are Laurie Bedford, Dining Services, 10 years; Kathryn Benson, Health Center, 50 years; Cherryl Braton, Business Office, 50 years; Donald Brummond, Physics, 19 years; Cheryl Christianson, Health Center, 17 years; Renae Conyers, Business Office, 32 years; Steven Frank,Information Technology Services, 42 years; Dale Griffin, Dining Services, 22 years; David Grund, Facilities Management, 32 years; Mike Reese, Student Success and Retention, 10 years; Ernest Simmons, religion, 39 years; David Stalcup, Dining Services, 11 years; William Tomhave, mathematics, 33 years; and Bruce Vieweg, Information Technology Services, 11 years.Kathryn Benson
Kathryn Benson, Health Center administrator, graduated from Concordia in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology before completing her nursing degree from Fairview Hospital School of Nursing, Minneapolis, in 1967.
After working as a staff nurse at Fairview, Benson returned to Concordia in 1968 when she accepted the position of hall director for the newly opened East Complex. Benson said the hall director job was perfect for her at the time with a new baby – she always had babysitters (both male and female) offering their free services. The family lived in the women’s hall until Benson was offered the position of staff nurse in the campus health center in 1971. She was promoted to health center administrator in 1978.
“Kathy’s long career in nursing aligns with her deep vocation of helping and caring for others,” said Lois Cogdill, dean of students. “It also aligns with her strong faith, which she carries out in action.”
Cogdill said she doesn’t know anyone who loves being a Cobber more than Benson and that Concordia students are her extended family.
“She loves them as her own,” Cogdill said. “Thousands of students have benefited from a dose of Kathy medicine – whether it’s a flu shot, a much-needed hug or a dose of her legendary good humor.”
Benson’s three favorite times of the year at Concordia are opening convocation, looking at those beanies and thinking about the opportunity and promise ahead; commencement, looking at the square hats with gratitude and wondering if we’ve served them well; and, of course, the Concordia Christmas concerts, which she has attended since 1956. Benson has also been “choir mom” to generations of students in The Concordia Choir.
Benson’s service in the community included two terms on the YWCA Cass-Clay Board of Directors, a term on the YWCA National Board of Directors and active involvement at Trinity Lutheran Church. She has fond memories of working with youth in the Migrant School Program for 25 summers, recalling that time as tiring but meaningful because she learned so much from the kids.
She has been recognized as the YWCA’s Woman of the Year in Health and was the recipient of Concordia’s Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and the Soli Deo Gloria Award at Founders’ Day in 2017.
“Friendship with Kathy is an incredible gift,” Cogdill said. “She is loyal, giving, forgiving and feisty. One of her colleagues recently said, ‘she doesn’t look her age, dress her age or act her age!’”
In retirement, Benson said she would like to find “meaningful volunteer opportunities that provide a different feeding for my soul.”
She also plans to catch up with friends and family, especially her 13 grandchildren ages 2 to 19. Benson has four sons, all Concordia graduates, and two of her daughters-in-law are also Cobbers. They are spread out across the Fargo, Brainerd, Minn., and Twin Cities areas.
“I also plan to start an exercise program, tend to my flowers and I’ve already bought four books, so I plan to do more reading,” Benson said.Cherryl Braton
Cherryl Braton, office manager and bookkeeper in the Business Office, is retiring after 50 years serving in various roles.
Braton graduated from Barnesville (Minn.) High School before attending Moorhead Area Technical Institute (now M State), where she completed the clerical course. She started working at Concordia immediately following graduation.
“The way in which we ‘do business’ has changed drastically during the time Cherryl has served this institution and she faced each change as a new challenge to conquer,” said Mark Lillehaugen, controller.
Perhaps the biggest change during Braton’s tenure, in addition to new buildings and renovations, updated processes and machinery, and personnel transitions, was the introduction of and dependence on computers.
“Cherryl embodies the concept of dependability. She has been relied upon to carry a task through even when roadblocks (or snowstorms) were thrown her way, especially at the end of each month and each year at fiscal year-end,” Lillehaugen said. “At the forefront of her involvement is a desire to help others and do what is best for Concordia and the people here,” he said. “This was confirmed in 2007 when she was recognized with the Flaat Distinguished Service Award. Her unquestionable loyalty and dedication to the college is further evidenced by her financial support and her attendance at Concordia functions.”
Braton was the first to welcome Linda Brown to the Business Office when Brown started at the college as controller in 1985.
“Through all the changes and the years, Cherryl has never wavered in her commitment to this place and to her special work in the Business Office,” said Brown, vice president for finance/treasurer. “The college thanks you. I thank you.”
Staff accountant Catherine Dickey has worked alongside Braton for the past seven years.
“In that time, Cherryl has become a teacher, a mentor and a friend. Her knowledge of not only how we do something but why we do it is unparalleled,” Dickey said. “She is patient and caring. You always feel you are her top priority no matter how busy she is. I will miss her.”
In retirement, Braton plans to volunteer and read, something she said she hasn’t had much time for in the past. She also plans on doing some traveling.
“I’d like to go to Washington, D.C., and travel to the New England states in the fall,” she said.Renae Conyers
Renae Conyers, cashier in the Business Office, was hired by Linda Brown as a temporary employee 32 years ago and never left.
Prior to coming to Concordia, Conyers worked in various positions for nearly a decade at Fargo National Bank & Trust, as well as part time at J.C. Penney Co. for two years. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in textiles and clothing from North Dakota State University in 1976. She also attended the American Institute of Banking at Moorhead State University (now Minnesota State University Moorhead).
Many changes have occurred in the Business Office in 32 years. Conyers used to have long lines of people waiting to cash paychecks on the 16th of each month before electronic funds transfers were introduced. She also used to stamp checks individually to endorse them. Checks are now endorsed through scanning. Students used to come to her for their tuition questions. Now questions can be answered online without a visit to the Business Office.
The entire time Conyers spent in the Business Office she worked alongside long(er)-time (50-year) employee Cherryl Braton, office manager/bookkeeper. Together they celebrated Concordia’s 100th anniversary, learned the new Banner program instituted by the college, and now they retire together.
“As the primary cashier, Renae has touched the lives of many people over the years,” Braton said. “She is dedicated to her work and is dependable, organized and accurate. Thanks for your years of service.”
In retirement, Conyers plans on spending more time with her grandchildren, dog sitting, and a little traveling around the area – Duluth, Minn., and Rapid City, S.D. Next winter, she would like to spend some time in Sun City West, Ariz., and Palm Springs, Calif. As a loyal Bison fan, a few football games will also be in order.
“I’m looking forward to some reflection and relaxation,” Conyers said. “I have no plans right now other than gardening, drinking coffee and reading. I’ll make it up as I go along and enjoy every moment. Who knows? I may even get on the declutter bandwagon and clean out closets."Steven Frank
Steven Frank, systems analyst with Enterprise Systems and Services, graduated from Concordia in 1969 with a degree in mathematics. He began his career teaching junior high mathematics in Buffalo, Minn. He returned to Concordia in June 1975 after earning a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Moorhead State University (now Minnesota State University Moorhead).
Frank started as a COBOL programmer on the Burroughs mainframe until 1981. From 1982-2006, he was director of computer services and a programmer. He retired in April as a systems analyst supporting Banner data integration and automation for a number of campus offices.
His work has influenced the operations of Information Technology Services at Concordia for more than 42 years. He served multiple administrations and has been through many cycles of technology from “punch” cards to real-time interfaces with today’s cloud computing systems. His length of service reflects his strength as a lifelong learner and his ability to adapt to the needs of Concordia.
“To many of us, Steve has been a teacher, mentor, and supporter and for that we are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of his journey,” said Erik Ramstad, director of Enterprise Systems and Services.
Frank’s colleagues have appreciated his thoughtful and calm approach to projects and problem solving. In 2016, he received the Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Service Award.
“If there is anyone more kind, more supportive, more human, and more honorable than Steve Frank, I do not know them,” said Bruce Vieweg, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and chief information officer.
Frank was instrumental in the functionality of Banner for each office and always had a positive attitude.
“Steve Frank, ‘Stevie Wonder’ as I like to call him, has been such a joy to work with,” said Dawn Current, functional analyst in the Registrar’s Office.
He also has hobbies that have nothing to do with computers. For the past few years, he has been involved with Kiddie Land of Cormorant, Minn., helping his brother-in-law construct various buildings for the mini-golf course.
When asked about his retirement, Frank said it’s taking a while to get used to. “At 8 in the morning, aren’t I supposed to be someplace?”
Since retiring, he has found he can work on projects around home without needing to schedule time to fit them in.
“My wife and I look forward to spending more time with our family, especially the grandkids!” Frank said. “We also plan on doing some traveling.”Mike Reese
Mike Reese retired as the director of the Office of Student Success and Retention and head softball coach in July 2017. He came to Concordia in 2007 with a wealth of experience in both the administrative area and coaching.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from Dickinson (N.D.) State University and a Master of Science in education and human services from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Reese began his career as a counselor and teacher in Mandan, N.D.; director of Home on the Range for Boys in Sentinel Butte, N.D.; vice president of program services for Lutheran Social Services in Fargo; vice president of programs for Chaddock School in Quincy, Ill.; associate director for Boys’ Haven in Louisville, Ky.; and dean of students/assistant principal for Holy Cross High School in Louisville from 2000-06.
He joined the college as an admission representative and assistant baseball coach, having played baseball in high school, college and the semi-pros. He also coached for more than 20 years at the high school and AAU levels prior to coming to the college. He was Concordia’s assistant baseball coach from 2007-12 and head softball coach from 2013-16.
When Reese began his work in Student Success and Retention, it was within the Office of Admission then moved to Academic Affairs. Following his retirement, it was renamed the Center for Student Success and is now within the Student Development and Campus Life division.
“Mike inspired a vision for a sharp focus on student success and retention, and that vision continues to propel our work forward each day,” said Dr. Lisa Sethre-Hofstad, vice president for Student Development and Campus Life. “His always-positive attitude and student-focused approach informs our ethos in the Center for Student Success and the work he set into motion continues to positively impact students. We are thankful for his dedicated service to student success at Concordia.”
Reese said he enjoyed his 11 years at Concordia and hopes he made a difference for students.
“I truly enjoyed serving the students and working with my colleagues,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better finish to my professional career.”
And he is very much enjoying his retirement as well, he said.
“My wife and I remain in Fargo but are spending our winters in Florida,” he said. “I’m volunteering at Homeward Animal Shelter and at Touchmark retirement community. I also work part time at both the Fargo Park District and the Fargodome.”
His time at Concordia was formative and memorable, Reese said.
“Concordia College holds a special place in my heart,” he said. “I was fortunate to have been part of the Concordia community.”Dr. Ernest Simmons
The Rev. Dr. Ernest Simmons Jr., professor of religion, retires after 39 years at the college.
Prior to coming to Concordia in 1979, Simmons worked as an interim pastor at churches in North Dakota and California and as a pastor for Carpio (N.D.) Lutheran Church. He was also an instructor for Great Plains Institute of Theology. While at Concordia, he was an instructor for the CHARIS Ecumenical Center, chair of the religion department from 1986-89, and director of the Program on Faith and Learning from 1996-99 and the Dovre Center for Faith and Learning from 1999-2017.
Simmons earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Colorado State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Claremont Graduate School.
Dr. Michelle Lelwica, chair/professor of religion, said Simmons made an impression on her at their first meeting when she was interviewing with him almost 18 years ago at an AAR meeting in Nashville.
“Though I was very happy at the institution where I’d been teaching, I was looking to join a college and colleagues where the study of religion was both rigorously academic but also compassionately engaged in the affairs of the world,” Lelwica said.
She said Simmons embodied and epitomized that blend for her: “a serious scholar of religion with a mind as deep as the ocean, a heart as big as the sky, a sense of grace that’s omnipresent, and a love for learning that never ends.”
When Simmons retires at the end of the contract year in August, he will be designated a professor emeritus of religion and theologian-in-residence at Concordia. As theologian-in-residence, he will be maintaining an office and will continue his research in theology and science.
“I wrote a book in 2014 titled ‘The Entangled Trinity: Quantum Physics and Theology’ (Fortress Press Theology and the Sciences Series) and I am now working on a follow-up book titled ‘The Entangled Creation: Quantum Biology and Theology,’” he said.
Simmons will also continue to work with area churches in pulpit supply and may do some church relations for the college or occasional part-time teaching as requested.
“My wife, who retired from high school English teaching in West Fargo in 2010, and I plan to do a bit more traveling,” he said. “I am also picking back up my piano playing and oil painting, which have lain idle for far too long.”Dr. William Tomhave
Dr. William Tomhave, professor of mathematics, earned his bachelor’s degree in 1970 from Luther College and a master’s and doctorate from Iowa State University. He taught for Oregon (Wis.) Consolidated Schools, Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota Morris before joining the faculty at Concordia in 1985.
“Bill has established at Concordia a very successful mathematics education program,” said Dr. Douglas Anderson, chair/professor of mathematics. “In some semesters, we have up to 12 student teachers in area schools.”
Tomhave served as chair of the department for two three-year terms and was interim chair in 2010-11 during Anderson’s sabbatical. He also held the Sigurd and Pauline Prestegaard Mundhjeld Chair of Mathematics since 2006.
In the community, Tomhave has served Moorhead Area Public Schools since 2002 as a board member, treasurer and board chair. In 2015, he was selected to the Minnesota School Board Association All-State School Board and awarded the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics lifetime honorary membership.
He has been actively involved in the national and Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, giving more than 40 presentations at regional meetings and area schools. More than $300,000 has been granted to support Tomhave’s workshops and student and teacher development initiatives.
“For many years, he taught overloads or courses for free to ensure students were getting what they needed,” Anderson said.
In 2017, he received the Student Government Association’s Distinguished Service Award for his years of dedication to Concordia students and the profession.
“It was obvious from a student’s perspective how dedicated Bill was,” said Dr. Daniel Biebighauser, associate professor of mathematics. “Now as a colleague, I’ve come to more fully appreciate all of the gifts he has brought to our department and he will definitely be missed.”
Tomhave said his short-term plans are simple and long-term plans far from complete. He plans to fulfill his responsibilities as a member of the school board for Moorhead Area Public Schools and two other boards until he completes his terms. He also plans to stay involved in his church.
“Because our two sons live far away, one in Virginia and one in Texas, my wife, Lois, and I will be traveling to spend time with grandchildren,” he said. “For the long term, I can honestly say that we are looking for God’s guidance regarding our place of residence. Meanwhile, we hope to chip away at a bucket list of places we would like to visit.”Bruce Vieweg
When Bruce Vieweg, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and chief information officer, came to the college in 2007, he was instrumental in leading the campus through the challenges of the Banner implementation.
Prior to Concordia, he worked in administrative roles at Emporia (Kan.) State University, St. Louis University, the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health.
Vieweg earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Lowell State College (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell) and a master’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.
His education may provide a clue to his well-known love of music. During his time at Concordia, he rarely missed an ensemble concert, a cultural event or a theatre performance.
“Given the astonishing number of recitals and other events he attended, you can see why he is considered our number one fan and supporter of performing arts at Concordia,” said Roxane Case, Cultural Events coordinator. “I’m sure I speak for colleagues and students alike when I say that he has made a difference in our lives and will leave Concordia a better place for all who know and love him.”
Vieweg was concurrently appointed as interim dean of Student Affairs from December 2010 through June 2012. He was also on multiple committees and was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the Student Government Association in 2012.
“We live at a moment when many have concerns about how the use of technology erodes social bonds and community,” said Dr. Eric Eliason, dean of the college and vice president for Academic Affairs. “It is a testimony to Bruce’s work that he has shown us that commitment to technology that works, that serves the needs of students, staff and faculty, and can build community rather than tear it down. His avid use of Facebook and his careful use of email haven’t trapped him in his basement office – his is the most recognized face on campus.”
And a certain phrase he started his emails with is also recognized across campus and by alumni from the past decade: “Please excuse my intrusion to your day.” He is also known for his legendary 3 a.m. office hours.
“I think each of us in IT have had our special moments with Bruce where he has lifted us up during difficult times and praised us for our accomplishments,” said Erik Ramstad, director of Enterprise Systems and Services. “As most of you might expect, Bruce cares not only about our professional lives but about our personal ones as well and, for that, we are forever thankful. It has been an honor and privilege to have him as our leader.”
Vieweg and his wife, JoAnne, have relocated to St. Charles, Mo., where they lived for 30 years prior to moving to Fargo-Moorhead.
“We will be close to our younger daughter,” he said. “I have plans to write, write, and write. And probably get a job after a while. Working in a bookstore sounds great to me.”
Hovland earns her first-ever conference post-meet honor and becomes the third Cobber athlete to earn post-conference championship meet honors since 2015. Emma Peterson won the same honor last year to go along with the 2017 MIAC Outdoor Outstanding Performance of the Meet award. Peterson also won the MIAC Indoor Meet Outstanding Field Athlete for the 2017 indoor meet. National champion Cherae Reeves started the trio of award winners by being earning the MIAC Indoor Outstanding Performance of the Meet in 2015.
Hovland started the final conference meet of her career by winning the hammer throw with a new conference record. She then capped Day One of the meet by placing in the discus. Hovland posted her third Top 4 finish on Day Two when she placed fourth in the shot put.
Hovland's hammer throw victory, and new MIAC and school record, was even more dramatic as she posted her winning distance in her final attempt. She entered the last round in second place and then uncorked the new conference record distance of 173-07. Hovland broke the old conference record of 171-05 set in 2011. She also broke her own school record with the final hammer throw.
Hovland then moved over to the discus area and once again waited until her final attempt to move to the top of the competition. She put up a distance of 131-03 in the prelims, which qualified her for the finals.
Hovland then tried to duplicate her hammer throw scenario as she fouled on her first two tries of the finals. She came close to the hammer-discus double, but her final attempt fell just short with a distance 133-03.
Hovland was the only Cobber to score team points in an individual event on the first day of the conference meet. She put up 18 total points to help CC into eighth place in the standings.
The second day of the conference meet had Hovland earning another MIAC All-Conference award. She placed fourth in the shot put to earn All-Conference Honorable Mention honors.
Hovland put up a distance of 38-02 in her final attempt of the prelims to advance to the finals and then bettered that mark in her final try of finals. Hovland posted a mark 39-11.25, which pushed her into fourth place. The distance on her final try in a MIAC Championship Meet was a personal best and ties for the 12th farthest in school history.
Hovland is currently in the No. 13 spot in Division III in the hammer throw. She needs to be in the Top 20 to earn a trip to the NCAA Division III National Meet, which will be held May 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
2018 MIAC WOMEN'S OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD AWARDS
Outstanding Track Athlete: Katie Murray | St. Thomas (Sr. | Edina, Minn.)
Outstanding Field Athlete: Bailey Hovland | Concordia (Sr. | Willmar, Minn.)
Outstanding Performance of the Meet: Katie Murray | St. Thomas | 200-Meter Dash (Sr. | Edina, Minn.)
Coach of the Year: Donna Ricks | Carleton (25th Season)
PAST COBBER MIAC POST-MEET AWARD WINNERS
2018 – Bailey Hovland – MIAC Outdoor Meet Most Outstanding Field Athlete
2017 – Emma Peterson – MIAC Outdoor Meet Most Outstanding Field Athlete
2017 – Emma Peterson – MIAC Outdoor Outstanding Performance-of-the-Meet
2017 – Emma Peterson – MIAC Indoor Meet Most Outstanding Field Athlete
2015 – Marv Roeske – MIAC Outdoor Coach of the Year
2015 – Cherae Reeves – MIAC Indoor Outstanding Performance-of-the-Meet
2012 – Kaari Jensen – MIAC Outdoor Outstanding Performance-of-the-Meet
2012 – Marv Roeske – MIAC Outdoor Coach of the Year
2007 – Heather Schuster – MIAC Outdoor Meet Most Outstanding Track Athlete
2006 – Angie Pfeiffer – MIAC Outdoor Outstanding Track Performance-of-the-Meet
2006 – Angie Pfeiffer – MIAC Indoor Outstanding Performance-of-the-Meet
2004 – Angie Pfeiffer – MIAC Outdoor Meet Most Outstanding Track Athlete
2004 – Angie Pfeiffer – MIAC Outdoor Outstanding Track Performance-of-the-Meet
2004 – Marv Roeske – MIAC Outdoor Coach of the Year
2000 – Sara Grineski – MIAC Outdoor Outstanding Performance-of-the-Meet
1999 – Marv Roeske – MIAC Outdoor Coach of the Year
1999 – Heidi Brenden – MIAC Indoor Most Outstanding Track and Field Athlete
Kathryn Nicholson ’18 and Colton Dabrowski ’18 were presented with the awards at a ceremony in April. Nicholson and Dabrowski demonstrated excellence in the study of French and speaking the French language.
Dabrowski and Nicholson studied French at Concordia under the mentorship of Dr. Gay Rawson. They both held leadership positions in the French Club.
Nicholson also studied French in high school, studied abroad and worked at the Concordia Language Villages weekend program. She is moving to Paris in August to pursue a Master of Arts degree in international affairs at the American University of Paris.
“After the completion of my master’s degree, I would like to work for international NGOs and nonprofits focusing on advocacy for refugees, women and children’s rights, and education for girls while taking the Foreign Service Exam to eventually become a Foreign Service Officer to the American government,” Nicholson said. “Ideally, I would love to live and work in the French language for the majority of my adult life and career.”
Dabrowski recently moved to Vanuatu, a French-speaking country located between Australia and Fiji, for his Peace Corps assignment at an English school.
“This community has a strong French influence from the Catholic missionaries who used to be here before Vanuatu gained its independence,” Dabrowski said. “Although I’m here to help teach English, I will use French every day to connect with community members.”
The most recent food waste reduction measurement was taken in April 2018.
President William Craft challenged the campus in 2016 to 50 percent plate waste reduction by 2020. The Taste Not Waste program is taking up the challenge, led by Dr. Joan Kopperud, professor of English, and Dr. Meredith Wagner, assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics. The Taste Not Waste campaign attributes this success to the participating individuals and groups on campus.
“The goal is to change the culture on campus surrounding food waste and it is exciting to see the degree to which the campus community has stepped up to the challenge,” Wagner said.
Opening the eyes of students to the amount of plate waste accumulating each day has been instrumental in reducing plate waste. Two events held in Anderson Commons have allowed students to scrape their own plate waste into a clear container and see their contribution. It was highly successful in showing students their role in the Taste Not Waste campaign.
With two years left to reach the goal, the campus community continues to rally behind the Taste Not Waste campaign in an effort to reduce plate waste in Anderson Commons. Kopperud believes active engagement will be key for success within the next two years.
“We will continue to look for ways to engage the campus community in meaningful conversations about reducing food waste, which is a national priority as well,” Kopperud said.
See one of the Taste Not Waste programs through the face of our growers project.plate-waste-progress
The President Pamela M. Jolicoeur Endowed Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Tate Hovland ’20. Hovland is from Willmar, Minn., and is majoring in communication studies and multimedia journalism. The Jolicoeur Memorial Scholarship honors the college’s 10th president, who died in 2010. It is awarded to a student who shows emerging leadership. Jolicoeur's spouse, Mike Doyle, is pictured with Hovland.
Alexis Anderson ’19 of Apple Valley, Minn., received the library’s Exemplary Research Award for her research paper, “The Role of Probiotics in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptom Management.” Layne Cole ’18, Audubon, Minn., was the runner-up for her paper, “The Open-Air Museum: Curation and Conservation of Italian Archaeological Sites and Structures.”
This year’s new award was the Heidi Frie Memorial Student Success Award. The award is given in honor of Heidi Frie, who served the college for eight years before her death from cancer. She initially served as the academic counselor and writing center coordinator and later as the director of the Academic Enhancement and Writing Center (now named the Center for Student Success). This year’s winners were Roland Oyou ’18, Andover, Minn., and Munir Isahak ’21, Fargo, N.D. Isahak is a first-year student and Oyou is one of Frie’s former advisees.
The Research Mentor Award for faculty was bestowed upon Dr. Jason Askvig, assistant professor of biology. Askvig joined the Concordia faculty in 2013 and teaches several biology classes and works with students on undergraduate research. He is a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Concordia to provide scholarships, guided career-driven mentoring, and research and internship opportunities for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
The Celebration of Student Scholarship is an annual, full-day symposium showcasing undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all disciplines.
The American Advertising Awards is a competition for design professionals and students. Madeline Malat ’18 and Christina Knutson ’19 both won Silver ADDYs at the North Dakota competition while Brianna Borah ’19 and Isaac Novak ’19 both won Gold. Novak also won Best of Show.
Borah’s and Novak’s work went on to the District 8 competition, which includes the best of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Assistant professor of art Lindsey Brammell, who teaches graphic design, says she is pleased with the showing of Concordia students at this year’s award competitions.
“Their level of craftsmanship, thoughtful design solutions, and use of type hierarchy has made their work exceptional,” Brammell says. “Their accomplishments at the ADDY Awards was impressive but not surprising. They worked hard and presented great designs.”
Novak’s design, which included advertising pieces for a film festival, went on to win a Gold ADDY and Best of Show at the district competition. Brammell says Novak’s package design was innovative and tied together well.
“The presentation was well crafted and the amount of detail that went into the creation of the design and presentation was impressive,” Brammell says. “Every aspect of the design was thought through with great precision.”
Novak is now entered in the national student competition for the American Advertising Awards, which takes place in June.
The grant was awarded to the college in honor of former Mellon Foundation president and Concordia College alumnus Dr. Earl Lewis '78. The grant will be used for college projects that reflect Lewis’ leadership initiatives. Lewis has been a member of the Board of Regents, the college’s governing board, and has previously helped fund diversity scholarships along with alumna Fay Ferguson '73.
The grant will be used for endowment and operating funds to support faculty development, scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds, program planning for the Office of Diversity, and support for the college’s partnership with the National Book Foundation.
“We are pleased to have this new funding to extend initiatives already begun by the college and are grateful for Dr. Lewis’ dedication to Concordia and to the Mellon Foundation,” said Dr. Eric Eliason, dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs. “Each of these projects will expand the college’s reach and benefit the entire campus community.”
The projects selected are intended to enhance faculty innovation, strengthen the college’s ability to include students from a wider range of backgrounds, and supports the arts through the college’s partnership with the National Book Foundation.concordia-awarded-andrew-w-mellon-foundation-grant
Moorhead native Rachel Schaefer ’18 has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and will be working at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales.
Manizales is the capital city of one of the smallest Colombian departments (Colombia is divided into departments instead of states), Caldas, located in the mountainous coffee-growing region of western Colombia near the Nevado del Ruiz volcano.
Schaefer will also be volunteering in addition to her teaching position.
“I am hoping to work with at-risk young people as I did during my time in Rwanda last summer,” Schaefer said. “My idea is to find several organizations already working in the city and see where, and if, they need help.”
Ideally, she would like to assist as a tutor or after-school program leader but is open to other needs.
Schaefer joins the approximately 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists who have had the opportunities afforded them by a Fulbright. They have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. Alumni include 59 Nobel laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. government established in 1946.
A Spanish and education double major, Schaefer studied in Spain for a semester and hopes it helped prepare her for living and working in a Spanish-speaking country. She also taught at a diverse, academically challenging school in Norway and feels her experience there helped prepare her for teaching English to university students.
“I know there will still be a lot to learn when I get there, but I feel confident that with my preparation I will be able to adjust to my new life in Colombia,” she said.
This summer before her teaching assistantship begins, she is traveling to Tanzania with the Concordia Language Villages and the Singita Grumeti Fund to teach English to young students in northern Tanzania.
“After Colombia, I do not have any specific plans, but I would potentially like to serve in the Peace Corps or volunteer abroad for several more years,” Schaefer said. “Eventually, I would like to teach in an inner city area of the U.S. and pursue further schooling.”
In just over four years, Schaefer will have traveled to Norway, Rwanda, Spain, Tanzania and Colombia – influencing the affairs of the world along the way.
“My goal is to end up working as an education advocate for those who do not have easy access to education, potentially as a part of the United Nations,” Schaefer said.
Nysetvold attended the three-day conference with five other Concordia social work seniors and social work assistant professor Dr. Laurie Dahley. She received her award as part of a keynote address for the more than 3,000 social service professionals from across the state.
According to Dahley, the award is reserved for students who “exemplify high academic standards, an ability, desire and commitment to the human service field (as demonstrated by her community engagement outside of the classroom), and is seen as a leader by her peers and faculty.”
Dahley also remarked that the award is a confirmation of Nysetvold’s commitment and skill for the agencies and employers present at the conference.
“For her to be presented with an acknowledgment of what she has thus far accomplished and her potential for future contribution is significant,” Dahley said.
Nysetvold said she was proud to receive the award.
“This recognition means a lot to me,” Nyseltvold said. “I work hard because that is what will get you far in life. Sometimes your work will be recognized and other times it will not.”
After graduating this spring, Nysetvold plans to move to the Twin Cities and begin her social work career working with people with developmental disabilities.