Commencement is a high point for every university and Concordia St. Paul is no exception. This year nearly 6,000 guests came to campus to honor the graduates in the three ceremonies, one Friday night and two on Saturday. A record 1,263 degrees were granted by the University, awarded to 280 traditional undergraduates, 301 non-traditional undergraduates, and 682 graduate students.
Over the years, many people have commented to me that Concordia St. Paul’s commencement exercises are among the most impressive they have ever attended. This does not happen by accident. The Conference and Events Services staff are the key leaders in making these events the outstanding happenings that they are, but contributions from the Athletic department, Custodial Services, Sodexo Food Services, Security, Operations and Maintenance, Grounds, the Registrar’s Office, the Bookstore, Student Life, Academic Affairs, the President’s Office, University Ministry, the Music Department, and the Academic Events Committee are all necessary to achieve the high level of excellence we enjoy in commencement. Add to that the many faculty members – full-time, adjunct, and retired – who attend one or often all three of the exercises, 94 volunteers from across the campus who helped out this year, and the student musicians who give of their time over the weekend, and you have a small army of people making commencement the special time that it is.
2015 was memorable for many reasons, not the least of which was a gorgeous weekend, the largest attendance and number of graduates ever, and outstanding commencement addresses by our three main speakers – Rev. Tom Evans, CSP alum, retiring Regent, and Pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church, Inver Grove Heights, MN, Ms. Elizabeth Ries, co-host of Twin Cities Live on KSTP Channel 5, and U. S. Congressman Eric Paulsen. Moreover, the spirit of the graduating classes was palpably high, with an abundance of selfies, hugs, and high fives being spread throughout and beyond the Gangelhoff Center.
I wish to offer my personal thanks to everyone in the University community who make commencement so very special at CSP.