Manny Dominguez

CUAA's May 2020 graduation candidates are students who have spent their years at CUAA developing in mind, body, and spirit for uncommon lives of service and impact.

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories highlighting Concordia’s May 2020 graduates.

Not much rattles Emmanuel “Manny” Dominguez. Whether he’s on the court, in the classroom, or on stage in front of 25,000 enthusiastic high school students, Dominguez keeps his signature cool and is always open to assist.

The Psychology major and Cardinal basketball player is a member of Concordia University Ann Arbor’s 2020 graduating class. Despite the extra challenges that he and all his classmates are navigating due to the Coronavirus, Dominguez maintains a steady, positive vibe and a bright eye towards his future.

From his family home in Florida where he resides with his mom, stepdad, and brother, Dominguez offers some perspective during his final days as a Cardinal. Among the long list of attributes, gratitude is at the top. He is grateful for the people who helped him figure out his purpose and his plan for the future.

Related: The uncommon social worker bringing people together

“There are so many people who believed in me and recognized that I had potential beyond the basketball court,” says Dominguez.

He singles out Psychology Professor Christian Stark, PhD and Marv Fox Jr, basketball mentor and ’04 graduate of CUAA, specifically.

“Dr. Stark really helped me make sure I had my classes aligned so that I could succeed,” says Dominguez.

“Marv taught me a lot about how I should look at basketball and life. He honestly is one of the biggest influences in my life,” describes Dominguez.

Dominguez enrolled at CUAA site unseen as a basketball recruit from Florida upon referral from his high school basketball coach who is a CUAA alumnus.

“It was hard to be so far away from my family,” says Dominguez. “I had to get adjusted to going to school in Michigan without a job or car to help me get around.” Because of his busy basketball schedule and his parents’ work commitments, they went long stretches without reconnecting.

Fortunately, his Concordia family would stand in quickly.

“Manny is a really great guy and a big contributor to Concordia’s uncommon culture,” says Stark. “He’s also a role model for hard work and determination. Not everything comes easy for him but he doesn’t get flustered. He takes care of things and seeks out the help and resources he needs to succeed.”

Dominguez has many CUAA memories that will be etched in his mind for the rest of his life, including:

  1. Having his mom in the stands at a home game against Madonna University for the first time in three years.
  2. His 2018 CIT game winning steal in the final seconds of the semifinals game. The team went on to win the tournament the next day in an epic finals game verses Concordia University Wisconsin.
  3. Representing CUAA at the LCMS National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, MN. “Being able to speak to thousands of teens about God is something that I’ll never forget,” he enthuses.

In the future, Dominguez plans to attend graduate school to pursue his personal training certification and then work towards a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. It was through his relationships at Concordia that he realized that counseling was his true calling.

“Manny will make a great psychologist one day because he is kind and authentic and takes the time to really get to know people and show them that he cares,” says Stark. “His body language is always relaxed and positive; he has a great calming demeanor.”

When asked about his calling to Psychology, Dominguez responds:

“I really enjoy being that friend that people can come to when they need to talk or want advice. I love to understand people’s true feelings so that I can support them as best as I can.”

Dominguez and his 2020 classmates will be honored at a virtual degree conferral ceremony on Sunday, May 17. They will be celebrated in person at the December commencement celebration. These changes are in response to the Coronavirus. To learn more about Concordia’s response visit here.

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