Concordia University, Nebraska celebrated the generosity of its donors at its annual Thank You Celebration on March 21 at The Cornhusker, a Marriott Hotel, in Lincoln, Nebraska. During the event, Concordia presented Dr. Paul and Susan Dumke of Fort Collins, Colorado, with its Sower Award, which recognizes prolonged and significant service or giving to the university.
“Everyone who supports Concordia’s mission of equipping men and women to learn, serve and lead in the church and world, both through prayers and financial gifts, is an essential partner,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kurth Brashear. “It is a blessing to gather with the university’s generous alumni and friends and thank them in person for their support, which enables the Christ-centered, academically excellent education and life-shaping experiences we provide our students. We are grateful for their partnership.”
After opening comments by Paul Peter, chair of Concordia Foundation Nebraska, a brief video thanked those in attendance for their support during the Blessed to be a Blessing campaign. The video featured students, faculty and staff discussing the impact those gifts have had on the Concordia community. In February Concordia announced that the five-and-a-half-year campaign was the second-largest campaign in the university’s history, raising $42.3 million in gifts, pledges and deferred commitments for capital projects, operations and endowment.
Concordia senior Kara Einspahr of Seward, Nebraska, then thanked the donors on behalf of all Concordia students for their generosity. Einspahr, who is pursuing degrees in biology and Spanish and plans to attend The University of Nebraska Medical Center in the fall of 2015, recounted how her four years at Concordia have shaped her life. “I was blessed with opportunities to grow personally, spiritually and professionally. … The Concordia environment has reminded me time and again that everything I do is for the glory of God who gave me these blessings, and for the opportunity to share His love with each person I meet.”
Brashear then recognized the Dumkes’ service to Concordia and the community. Concordia President Brian Friedrich presented the couple with the 2015 Sower Award.
“Paul and Susan have faithfully blessed Concordia for over four decades with their prayers, service and generous support,” said Friedrich. “It was an honor to recognize them for their partnership in our educational ministry. Faithful servants giving all glory to God, they are such a blessing to Concordia.”
The Dumkes have generously provided for scholarships both through gifts to the Concordia Fund and through the Paul and Susan Dumke Church Worker Scholarship Endowment. “Without help I would not have been able to attend Concordia, and I want other young people to have that same privilege,” said Susan, a 1967 graduate of Concordia. “Since we realize our money is undeserved and is something lent to us by a loving God, we know we are only able to give through His generosity to us.”
The Dumkes are passionate about supporting church workers. Susan has served the church by teaching in Lutheran schools; singing in choir; teaching and playing piano for Sunday School; and working with her mother in music, Vacation Bible School and other church activities. “I know the challenges that face those who work in the church,” Susan said, “and I appreciate the education I had that gave me confidence to answer when God called.”
Susan was the first woman to serve on Concordia’s Board of Regents and also served her alma mater as both a director of Concordia Foundation Nebraska and as the Colorado alumni chapter president. She also served on the Concordia University System board of directors. Paul served The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod on the Rocky Mountain District board of directors.
Paul and Susan have two daughters, Christine Dumke and Emily Fox, a 1999 graduate of Concordia University, Nebraska. Emily and her husband Terry have two sons, Patrick, 6, and Brady, 3.