Our 2017 lineup of commencement speakers is sure to inspire. Speaking to the Friday evening undergraduate class will be 2009 CSP alumnus Kirk Ingram. A wonderful student and talented athlete during his time at Concordia, Kirk incurred a life-changing spinal cord injury several years ago. He will talk about how his faith, family, friends, and determination have kept him focused on the future.
Addressing the Saturday morning undergraduate class will be The Honorable Elizabeth Kautz, who has served as mayor of the City of Burnsville, Minnesota for 22 years. Mayor Kautz has displayed a servant-leadership approach throughout her years of public service and views her work as mayor as “her ministry.” She has helped Burnsville, one of the Twin Cities older outer-ring suburbs, continue to grow and reinvent itself, and integrate tens of thousands of first-generation Americans into the community
Colonel Kevin Olson will speak at the Saturday afternoon Graduate School commencement, Col. Olson earned his masters degree at Concordia University and at the time of his commencement was on active duty in Iraq. He will speak about how his education in a Christian academic community designated as a “yellow-ribbon” school has enhanced his life, career, and service.
A number of inspiring individuals will receive honorary awards. CSP alumnus Fred Voightmann and his wife Paula Voightmann are the 2017 recipients of the Aeterna Moliri Award, recognizing exemplary lives of service to Christ. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Fred has been a practicing attorney working in Asia for the majority of his career. He has helped establish numerous Lutheran schools in Asia, and continues to serve on the boards of a number of them. Paula established a ministry to help the abandoned children of Taiwan, which has impacted thousands of “the least of these.”
Several distinguished individuals will be awarded honorary doctorates. Mr. Rich Robertson had a long and productive career in business before being named as President of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. LCEF fosters Christian ministries throughout the world, and Rich has expanded the scope and impact of this important ministry during his tenure as president. He is also an active member and leader in the congregations where he and his wife Cindy are members. Dr. Loren Leslie, a veteran of the United States Navy and board-certified physical therapist, has served on the Concordia University Board of Regents for the past nine years. He has been instrumental in helping Concordia expand its academic offerings in health care, most notably our Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Dr. Jeffrey Burkart, CSP emeritus faculty member and artisan extraordinaire has had an incredibly productive life sharing the Gospel through the written and spoken word, and through music and drama. More importantly, he has equipped untold numbers of others to share their faith using their own God-given abilities.
With respect to Edward Pola and George Wyle, at a university commencement time is truly The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! We look forward to celebrating with all of our graduates, and their families and friends, and saluting the class of 2017!
Grace and peace.