News & Events at Concordia

Concordia confers graduate and undergraduate degrees at commencement

Saturday, May. 4, 2019
Rev. Dr. R. John Buuck of Germantown, Wisconsin, a 1958 graduate of what was then known as Concordia Teachers College, presents the commencement address at Concordia University, Nebraska’s ceremony May 4.
Rev. Dr. R. John Buuck of Germantown, Wisconsin, a 1958 graduate of what was then known as Concordia Teachers College, presents the commencement address at Concordia University, Nebraska’s ceremony May 4.

Concordia University, Nebraska held its 112th commencement Saturday, May 4, awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees to more than 300 May graduates.

Graduates receiving a degree in August 2018 or December 2018 were also invited to participate in the ceremony. Rev. Dr. R. John Buuck of Germantown, Wisconsin, a 1958 graduate of what was then known as Concordia Teachers College in Seward, presented the commencement address, and Concordia also presented additional honorary awards and degrees.

In his commencement address, Buuck told the graduates they have completed act one of their lives, while those receiving their master’s degrees are in the second act.

“You have your dreams about going to act two,” Buuck said, “which will be the most productive stage of your life. You’re prepared for a particular degree, but your major, your program, will not define you. The truth is, for some of you, 20 years from now, you will be in a career or occupation that hasn’t even been created yet.”

“But have no fear. Here at Concordia, you have received a broad, liberal arts education that has prepared you to be creative, to collaborate, to write critically and to speak confidently for you to be successful. Success depends on excellence, and excellence depends on a process.”

Buuck mentioned the 2018-2019 national champion Concordia women’s basketball team and how they achieved their success by staying committed to a process.

“That is to work one day, one practice, one skill session at a time,” Buuck said. “If you try to skip steps and activities like this, you will inevitably skip steps in other parts of your career.”

Attitude, Buuck told the graduates, will be one of the biggest factors in the amount of joy they receive in their occupation.

“Another factor in determining the amount of joy you will have is your relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” Buuck said.

Reflecting on his time at Concordia as a student, the education he received prepared him for everything that followed, Buuck said. But the most important event that happened to him on campus was meeting his wife, Lyla. The couple have been married for 60 years.

“You will have your own stories to tell about your life here on campus,” Buuck said. “You’ve been able to build relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. When you’re in act three, your retirement years, you’ll be able to think back to choir tours, to musical events, to drama productions, athletic victories. You will remember the inspiring lectures from the classroom and the spiritually enriching chapel services.”

Buuck closed his speech by telling the graduates their gifts will not be wasted.

“When God calls you in to your life’s work, he won’t waste your gifts,” Buuck said. “God’s blessings to you on your way, make a difference in this world, walk with Jesus all the way, and thank you for the opportunity of being with you.”

Six individuals received honorary degrees or awards during commencement. Those receiving honors include Rev. Dr. R. John Buuck ‘58 of Germantown, Wisconsin, the Doctor of Laws; Ruth Henrichs, of Omaha, Nebraska, the Doctor of Letters; Jerrita Staehr ‘95 of Grand Island, Nebraska, the Master Educator Award; Dr. Elry Plinio Orozco Aguirre and Deaconess Liz Jauregui Cisneros of Cuidad de Guatemala, Guatemala, the Crest of Christ Award; and Dr. Gary R. McDaniel ‘83 of Cypress, California, the Distinguished Service Award.  


Concordia Nebraska graduates recognized at the 2019 commencement ceremony as earning their degree include (listed in alphabetical order by state [exception: Nebraska first and international locations last], city and last name):


Note: Appearance of a name in this news release is not official acknowledgement of completion of the degree, certificate or diploma indicated.



Salem Kruse, Ames, Neb., B.S.

Walker Fisher, Ashland, Neb., B.A.

Kennedy Garner, Ashland, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Chelsea Willard, Ashland, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Josiah McAllister, Atkinson, Neb., B.S.

Rachel Hinrichs, Auburn, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Jose Flores, Bellevue, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Brittny Fox, Bellevue, Neb., M.B.A.

Mallory Rengo, Bellevue, Neb., M.Ed.

Tyrell Reichert, Benkelman, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Emma Dannehl, Bertrand, Neb., B.F.A.

Jadyn High, Bertrand, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Erin Neely, Bridgeport, Neb., M.Ed.

Drew Luebe, Columbus, Neb., M.B.A.

Allison Mackie, Columbus, Neb., B.Mus.

Philip Oehlrich, Columbus, Neb., B.A.

Kathrine Olsen, Columbus, Neb., M.Ed.

Dane Pedersen, Columbus, Neb., B.S.

Paige Stadler, Columbus, Neb., B.Mus.

Katrina Svitak, Columbus, Neb., M.Ed.

Jill Wurdeman, Columbus, Neb., M.Ed.

Jamie Lefebure, Crete, Neb., B.S.

Macey Kroeger, Dannebrog, Neb., B.A.

Jill Schroeder, Davenport, Neb., B.S.Ed. and B.A.

Leah Werner, Deshler, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Dylann Baker, Deshler, Neb., M.Ed.

Neleigh Lehr, Duncan, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Dylan DuRee, Elkhorn, Neb., B.S.

Emma Smith, Ericson, Neb., B.S.

Madison Horne, Exeter, Neb., B.S.

Nathan Klaumann, Fairbury, Neb., B.Mus.

Sidney Pollman, Fairbury, Neb., B.A.

Shannon Sexton, Fremont, Neb., B.S.Ed.

John Vecera, Fremont, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Susan Jensen, Garland, Neb., M.Ed.

Ruth Kowalski, Geneva, Neb., M.Ed.

Tanner Shuck, Grand Island, Neb., B.S.Ed. and B.A.

Caleb Staehr, Grand Island, Neb., B.Mus.

Grant Suchanek, Grand Island, Neb., B.A.

Brisco Schaefer, Gretna, Neb., B.A.

Britnee Fear, Hershey, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Courtney Kuehn, Kenesaw, Neb., B.F.A.

Kindra Brooke, Lincoln, Neb., M.Ed.

Derek Eitzmann, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.

Philip Grothaus, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.

Nicholas Heinzman, Lincoln, Neb., M.B.A.

Chelsea Irwin, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Emily Kohl, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Raymi Marquardt, Lincoln, Neb., B.A.

Fabricio Mendez, Lincoln, Neb., B.A.

Johanna Mundt, Lincoln, Neb., M.B.A.

Scott Neihardt, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.

Sadie Oppegard, Lincoln, Neb., M.P.H

Mar’Lakuittia Overstreet, Lincoln, Neb., M.Ed

Elizabeth Phillips, Lincoln, Neb., B.A.

Jacob Rodgers, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.

Hannah Sain, Lincoln, Neb., B.A.

Michael Waldron, Lincoln, Neb., B.S

Shelbey White, Lincoln, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Rebecca Blank, Madison, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Marissa Fuchser, Malcolm, Neb., B.F.A.

Taeva Hoppe, Milford, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Sarah Rogge, Milford, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Leah Larson, Norfolk, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Abby Protzman, Norfolk, Neb., B.S.

Arianna Rathke, Norfolk, Neb., B.A.

Katherine Draucker, Ogallala, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Tyler Ehresman, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Heather Engdahl, Omaha, Neb., B.A.

Anna Headlee, Omaha, Neb., B.S.

Amber Hinchik, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Leah Kalkwarf, Omaha, Neb., B.S.

Katherine Lange, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Josie Mottl, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Taylor Roby, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Ryan Sanchez, Omaha, Neb., B.S.

Jared Schipper, Omaha, Neb., B.S.

Madeleine Shafer, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Nicole Taylor, Omaha, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Jennifer Thompson, Omaha, Neb., M.Ed.

Nolan Zikas, Omaha, Neb., B.A.

Tori Beran, Ord, Neb., B.S.

Thomas Taylor, Papillion, Neb., B.A.

Jenna Habegger, Pawnee City, Neb., B.S.

Samuel Ferguson, Pilger, Neb., B.S.

Jamie Nikodym, Red Cloud, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Madalynn Fousek, Saint Paul, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Aaron Blersch, Seward, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Faith Bohaty, Seward, Neb., B.A.

Megan Boye, Seward, Neb., B.F.A.

David Dieckhoff, Seward, Neb., B.S

Britton Goldsmith, Seward, Neb., B.S.

Terrance Kenow, Seward, Neb., B.A.

Cameron Loges, Seward, Neb., B.A.

Cassidy McLaughlin, Seward, Neb., B.A.

Zachary Moll, Seward, Neb., B.F.A. and B.A.

Kayleah Moravec, Seward, Neb., B.A

Alexander Reimers, Seward, Neb., B.S.

Hope Robson, Seward, Neb., B.A.

Jasmine Eickhoff, Sterling, Neb., B.S.

Joshua Nuss, Sutton, Neb., M.Ed

Johannas Hedges, Syracuse, Neb., B.A.

Caden Jameson, Thedford, Neb., B.S.

Emma Heidorn, Utica, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Caleb Ristvedt, Utica, Neb., B.S.

Kelsey Higgins, Valentine, Neb., B.S.

April Bayer, West Point, Neb., B.S.Ed. and B.A.

Sierra Jacob, Winnebago, Neb., B.S.Ed.

Samantha Liermann, Wisner Neb., B.A.

Madeline Smith, Wood River Neb., B.S.Ed.

Jonathan Simonson, Worms Neb., B.S.

Parker Johnson, York Neb., B.S.

Victoria Woodburn, York Neb., B.S.



Charity Rogers, Athens, Ala., M.Ed.



Adam Christiansen, Palmer, Alaska, B.A.



Ladye Hurley, Maumelle, Ark., B.A.



Nicole Affronti, Cave Creek, Ariz., B.S.Ed.

Dalaney Nance, Gilbert, Ariz., B.S.

Michaela Stevens, Mesa, Ariz., B.S.

Michelle Cooper, Phoenix, Ariz., M.Ed.

Brittany Woolridge, Tucson, Ariz., B.S.Ed.

Luis Alvarez, Yuma, Ariz., B.S.



Katherine O’Neill, Apple Valley, Calif., M.Ed.

Kevin Gonzalez, Downey, Calif., M.B.A.

Elizabeth Sibitz Smith, El Sobrante, Calif., M.Ed.

Russell Bunting, Kingsburg, Calif., B.S.

Corinn Selander, La Mesa, Calif., B.S.Ed.

Cecilio Alonso, La Mirada, Calif., M.Ed.

Lori Wickham, Lincoln, Calif., M.Ed.

Jacquelynn Stephens, Orange, Calif., B.S.Ed.

Shane Scott, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., B.S.Ed.

Sarah Weishaar, Salinas, Calif., B.A.

Joseph Hope-Hull, San Diego, Calif., B.A.

Michael McDermott, San Ramon, Calif., M.Ed.

Sarah Huhn, Valley Centery, Calif., B.A.



Lydia Ross, Aurora, Colo., B.A

McKayla Besel, Broomfield, Colo., B.S.

Aidan Moon, Clark, Colo., B.A.

Daniel Hakes, Erie, Colo., B.S.Ed.

Kaylee Brown, Fort Collins, Colo., B.A.

Megan Vieselmeyer, Holyoke, Colo., B.S.

Mary Gaide, Lakewood, Colo., B.A.

Thomas Sautel, Littleton, Colo., B.S.

Ashley Martin, Longmont, Colo., B.S.Ed.

Lauren Martin, Longmont, Colo., B.A.

Melody Easter, Loveland, Colo., B.S.

Paul Hammes, Loveland, Colo., B.A. and B.S.

Payton DeVencenty, Pueblo, Colo., B.A.

Annie Schmidt, Rifle, Colo., B.S.

Makenzie Hofmeister, Westminster, Colo., B.A.

Paul Symes, Woodland Park, Colo., B.S.


District of Columbia

Aaron Cannon, Washington, D.C., M.S.



Katelinn Wurm, Bradenton, Fla., B.A.

Ariane Abolencia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., M.Ed.

Michael Sylvain, Miami, Fla., M.B.A.

Bob Nason, Orlando, Fla., M.Ed.

Alaina Ruszkowski, Orlando, Fla., B.A.

LaBrille May, Pensacola, Fla., M.B.A.



Anna Marie Lee, Mableton, Ga., M.H.A.

Richard Lott, West Green, Ga., M.H.A.



John-Robert Hicks, Ewa Beach, Hawaii, B.S.



Julieanna Lee, Soda Springs, Idaho, M.Ed.



Joella Bogan, Chicago, Ill., M.Ed.

Beth Samuels, Old Mill Creek, Ill., M.Ed.

Lauren Sperry, Oneida, Ill., B.S.Ed.

Megan Green, Poplar Grove, Ill., M.Ed.

Matthew Kortze, Rockford, Ill., B.A.

Jordan Shaver, Rockford, Ill., M.S.

Anne Jesgarz, Shelbyville, Ill., B.S.Ed.

Jonathan Grant, Waterloo, Ill., B.S.



Matthew Gerhold, Atkins, Iowa, B.Mus.

Stephanie Lambert, Bettendorf, Iowa, M.Ed.

Garion Consier, Churdan, Iowa, B.S.

Robin Consier, Churdan, Iowa, B.A.

Tabatha Jones, Churdan, Iowa, B.S.

Elizabeth Bowerman, Council Bluffs, Iowa, B.A.

Tayler Mehsling, Council Bluffs, Iowa, B.S.Ed.

Douglas North, Creston, Iowa, M.S

Tiffany Smith, Earlham, Iowa, B.A.

Jacy Embray, Glenwood, Iowa, B.F.A.

Delaney Doremus, Grimes, Iowa, B.A.

Morgan Consier, Holstein, Iowa, B.A.

Abigail Saehler, Iowa City, Iowa, M.B.A.

Elizabeth Ericksen, Le Mars, Iowa, B.A.

David Epperson, Panora, Iowa, B.S.Ed.

Faith Hanson, Perry, Iowa, B.S.

Tanner Wauhob, Sioux City, Iowa, B.S.

Johnathan May, West Des Moines, Iowa, B.A.

Isaiah Armbrecht, Williamsburg, Iowa, B.A.



Monica Lennington, Atchison, Kan., B.S.Ed.

Jayme Lowe, Atchison, Kan., B.S.Ed.

Casandra Eberth, Basehor, Kan., B.S.Ed.

Mathew Armstrong, Lakin, Kan., B.S.

Joseph Kracht, Marysville, Kan., B.S.Ed.

Joshua Nelsen, Marysville, Kan., B.S.

Nathanael Patron, North Newton, Kan., B.S.

Nathan Matters, Overland Park, Kan., B.A.

Kasaundra Kosberg, Spring Hill, Kan., B.S. and B.S.Ed.

Elizabeth Lange, Topeka, Kan., B.S.

Jacy Johnston, Westmoreland, Kan., B.A. and B.S.Ed.

Sloane Crawshaw, Wichita, Kan., B.A.

Elizabeth Frakes, Wichita, Kan., B.Mus.



Anthony Davis, Baton Rouge, La., M.S.

Shelronder Williams, Monroe, La., M.Ed.




Laura Mellits, Levant, Maine, M.Ed.



Jake Delillo, Baltimore, Md., M.Ed.

Kaitlin Burke, Port Deposit, Md., M.Ed.



Emily Bokankowitz, Pittsfield, Mass., M.Ed.



Jeannie Baracy, Canton, Mich., M.Ed.

Kelsey Baarck, Frankenmuth, Mich., B.S.Ed.

Sarah Mueller, Hemlock, Mich., B.A.

Emma Odorico, Houghton Lake, Mich., B.A.

Candi Harris, Marshall, Mich., M.Ed.



Leah Mussell, Buffalo, Minn., B.S.Ed.

Hannah Davis, Coon Rapids, Minn., B.S.Ed.

Micah Holten, Nicollet, Minn., B.S.

Aubrey Browne, Pennock, Minn., B.A.

Jennifer Pralle, Rochester, Minn., M.Ed.

Rebekah Rusert, Truman, Minn., B.S.Ed.

Jenna O’Laughlin, Winona, Minn., B.A.

Ethan Symmank, Woodbury, Minn., B.A.

Micah Symmank, Woodbury, Minn., B.S.Ed.



Fredricka Owens, Canton, Miss., M.Ed.

Chris Gary, Minter City, Miss., M.Ed.




Logan Smith, Barnhart, Mo., B.A.

Alexis Burrow, Concordia, Mo., B.S.Ed.

Vanessa Marsh, Concordia, Mo., B.A.

Madison Pitsch, Concordia, Mo., B.A.

Andrea McClanahan, Farmington, Mo., B.S.Ed. and B.S.

Kelly Snader, Higginsville, Mo., B.F.A.

Krista Stanford, Jefferson City, Mo., B.S.Ed.

Elanna Osthoff, Labadie, Mo., B.A.

Briana Jordan, Lake Ozark, Mo., B.S.Ed.

Sarah Brutlag, St. Louis, Mo., B.S.Ed. and B.Mus.

Erica Johnson, St. Louis, Mo., M.Ed.

Ann-Marie Hagerty, St. Louis, Mo., M.Ed.

Jan Steinbrueck, St. Louis, Mo., B.A.

Tationa Trice, St. Louis, Mo., B.A.

Erin Rowland, St. Peters, Mo., B.S.



Luke Comstock, Bigfork, Mont., B.F.A.

Alison Ebel, Billings, Mont., B.S.Ed. and B.Mus.

Taylor Grove, Billings, Mont., B.S.

Suzanne Woodburn, Geraldine, Mont., M.S.


New Hampshire

Lianne Mulcahy, Pembroke, N.H., M.Ed.


New Mexico

Felicia Cervantes, Las Cruces, N.M., M.Ed.



New York

Matthew Ward, Amagansett, N.Y., M.Ed.

Tara Devito, Brooklyn, N.Y., M.Ed.

Stephanie Morgan, Cairo, N.Y., M.Ed.

Steven Schlee, Coram, N.Y., M.Ed.

Jessica Fisher, Elmont, N.Y., M.Ed.

Henry Chen, New York, N.Y., M.H.A.

Alexandra Goldman, New York, N.Y., M.Ed.

Courtney McMinds, Reading Center, N.Y., M.Ed.

Gina Polito, Staten Island, N.Y., M.Ed.


North Carolina

George Privott, Ahoskie, N.C., M.Ed.

Amie Hackett, Sanford, N.C., M.Ed.

Laaiq Hedrick, Winston-Salem N.C., B.A.


North Dakota

Chad Berg, West Fargo, N.D., B.A.



Jennifer Jones, Dayton, Ohio, M.Ed.



Jared Woods, Durant, Okla., B.S.

Rebecca Reape, Oklahoma City, Okla., M.Ed.

Bret Keeler, Pawnee, Okla., B.S.

Negin Hosseini Araghi, Tulsa, Okla., M.H.A.



Tammi Leach, Beavercreek, Ore., M.Ed.



South Carolina

Kirk Cannon, Chester, S.C., M.S.

Larry Patterson, Murrells Inlet, S.C., M.S.

Paul Owen, North Augusta, S.C., M.Ed.


South Dakota

Caylee Sorum, Gettysburg, S.D., M.Ed.

Justus Utecht, Rosebud, S.D., B.S.Ed.

Carley Weisser, Scotland, S.D., B.S.Ed.

Devon Thompson, Sioux Falls, S.D., B.A.



Alexis Acomb, Memphis, Tenn., B.S.Ed.



David Woelmer, Allen, Texas, B.A.

Twyla Pollard, Austin, Texas, M.H.A.

D’Mauria Martin, Converse, Texas, B.A.

Alexandra La Plant, Cypress, Texas, B.S.

Angela Griffis, Dallas, Texas, M.Ed.

Patrick Odonal, El Paso, Texas, M.Ed.

Terry McLennan, Fort Worth, Texas, M.S.

Vincent Beasley, Houston, Texas, B.A.

Rachel Dorn, Houston, Texas, B.A.

Emma Gremmer, New Braunfels, Texas, B.S.

Christina Spruill, Plainview, Texas, M.Ed.

Aaron Strackbein, San Antonio, Texas, B.A.

Krista Schmidt, Serbin, Texas, B.S.Ed.

Melissa Smallwood, Sherman, Texas, M.Ed.




Mary Arndt, Sandy, Utah, M.Ed.

Brennan DeForest, West Jordan, Utah, B.A.




Amber Rawson, Buckingham, Va., M.B.A.



Nathan Toenjes, Green Bay, Wisc., B.A.

Kaitlyn Bolin, Kenosha, Wisc., B.Mus.

Ivan Landmark, Kenosha, Wisc., B.A.

Jeremy Parish, Sun Prairie, Wisc., M.S.

Abigail Wisniewski, Thorp, Wisc., B.S.Ed.



Kyle Carey, Lander, Wyo., B.S.



Marcelo Hernandez, Quito, Ecuador, M.B.A.

Amelia Panayi, Liverpool, England, M.B.A.

Jack Bennett, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, B.A.

Jack Arra, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland, B.A.

Thomas Greeff, Pretoria, South Africa, B.S.

Marlene Maier, Uppsala, Sweden, B.S.

Pei-Lan Kao, Taipei, Taiwan, M.Ed.