As a historian, I am quite used to observing both continuity and change from one time period to the next.
As Concordia’s interim president, I have the unparalleled opportunity to view Concordia University as it experiences significant changes. While change can be difficult, I know that the Concordia community will endure and thrive, in great part because its mission endures, and its ministry continues.
Two of our more challenging current changes are the continuing COVID impact and our CUWAA presidential transition. Not only has COVID affected us individually, it has changed the way that universities like Concordia pursue their mission. And a presidential transition is a significant change at Concordia in great part because we have not experienced that transition for 25 years.
This letter is not the place to provide updates on either of those challenges; nor is it the venue to share how well our community is responding to either change. Instead, I wish to remind you that amidst all of the changes going on around us and the changes that Concordia itself experiences our ministry will continue. There are structural reasons for this assurance of mine—dedicated and excellent faculty and staff members, a strong and experienced leadership team, a position of comparatively strong financial strength, and a history of our institution adapting to change and growing—but I want to focus on a more fundamental reason.
As the chosen theme verses for the 2021–22 academic year remind us, we have a God who is in charge! The Ann Arbor campus theme verse, 2 Corinthians 4: 7–9, focuses our attention on an “All-Surpassing Savior,” while the Mequon campus theme verse, Isaiah 64: 8, describes that we are “Shaped With Purpose.” In a world where change seems the only constant, the knowledge that our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter does not change gives the Concordia community a foundation on which to continue its educational mission. The theme verses also remind us that our God loves us so much that He is willing to continue to mold and shape us toward His purposes. That is true of Concordia, as well; as much as it might change, its mission and ministry to our students will endure.
I look forward to seeing what God has in store for Concordia University as it adapts and changes to address challenges like COVID. I also look forward to seeing the impact of the next generation of Concordia leaders that God has planned for our institution. Most important, as always, I look forward to seeing the impact that Concordia has on its students. By God’s grace, Concordia will continue to have that impact on the world.
In His service,
WILLIAM R. CARIO, PH.D.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the fall 2021 issue of Hearts Together, a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor Special Magazine edition. The fall/winter issue hit mailboxes in early October. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.
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