Concordia held its 107th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, in the Walz Human Performance Complex arena.
Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International Inc., presented the commencement address. Sorenson and his wife, Ruth, challenged five Lutheran universities to raise funds for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, an organization working to eradicate malaria in Africa. Concordia students raised more than $50,000, and the Sorenson family matched the amount.
Sorenson also received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Concordia. The Doctor of Laws degree is conferred upon individuals who have distinguished themselves through prolonged superior service and dedication to a field of study.
In addition to Sorenson, four other individuals received honorary degrees or awards during commencement. Those receiving the honors are Dr. Kenneth Follett, the Doctor of Letters degree; Dr. Ellwood Ziegler, Jr., the Doctor of Letters degree; Randal Gast, the Master Educator Award; and Kristi Matus, the Distinguished Service Award.
Concordia alumni from the class of 1964 who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation also will be honored.
The ceremony will be webcast live.
A baccalaureate service was held at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 9, at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward. Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, senior pastor at Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, served as preacher for the service. Rev. Ryan Matthias, campus pastor at Concordia University, Nebraska, served as the liturgist.
Music for the ceremony was provided by Dr. Jeffrey Blersch, professor of music and university organist; the University A Cappella Choir, conducted by Professor of Music Dr. Kurt von Kampen; and the Concordia Brass Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Wendy Schultz, adjunct professor of music.
A reception followed the service, hosted by the Concordia Tower Guild, and the A Cappella Choir and select musicians gave a short concert.