Alumnus Molly Kenow McWilliams fondly recalls her time at the university, especially Christmas at Concordia

Published by Amy Crawford 1 month ago on Mon, Mar 11, 2024 6:15 AM

Molly (Kenow) McWilliams ’15 was involved in a variety of activities on campus during her time at Concordia Nebraska. A member of the university’s A Cappella Choir for four years, she was also a member of the dance team and participated in a university-facilitated Disney College Program internship at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Although she had many remarkable experiences during her time at the university, she said the thing that she recalls most fondly is the university’s annual Christmas at Concordia music event. 

“My favorite part of being in the A Cappella Choir was without a doubt the annual Christmas at Concordia event,” she said. “The hymns we sang and the music at that event were just so powerful. The music program at Concordia gives you an opportunity to meet a lot of different, wonderful people. A lot of people in choir with me were also in my music courses, so we were able to get to know each other really well. The choir tours and music performances were challenging and fun, but Christmas at Concordia was the most anticipated and wonderful part for me. Christmastime is such a magical time of year, and the night concert was my favorite one. At the end of the concert, all of the music groups singing and performing together…what camaraderie! We were celebrating the birth of Christ all together…that’s so special!” 

McWilliams has a bachelor’s degree in communications with minors in Spanish and music from the university.  

“I grew up in Seward and honestly always planned on going to Concordia,” she said. “I grew up going to CIT, to Christmas at Concordia and to many other things on campus. But I decided to do an actual visit day visit in order to experience more of the campus than the things I’d seen growing up in the area and seeing the university through the eyes of my family and friends.” 

She said that visit day tour solidified her choice to attend the university. She was impressed by the professors she met on campus and impacted by the powerful sense of loving community at the university. 

She said that her time at the university had a profound impact on her faith. 

“One thing that makes Concordia Nebraska different and special is the Christ-centered community feel on the campus,” she said. “I grew up in Lutheran schools and in the church. At Concordia Nebraska, everyone genuinely cares about you as a person, and it reflects so much the light of Jesus. In every class, in chapel and elsewhere, that was definitely my favorite part.” 

The university’s Old and New Testament classes made an impression on McWilliams, as well 

“Even though I grew up in Lutheran schools, I learned so much in those doctrine classes,” she said. “I knew the basic Bible stories, but these classes gave me the historical background and went so much deeper. That definitely impacted my faith. I gained so much more knowledge, and it just provided a framework for everything else I was learning.” 

She said all of her professors were caring, patient and loving during her time on campus.  

“I loved going to class because I loved the way they taught,” she said. “They really cared, they invested in me individually and they helped me grow.”  

She cited former university communications professor Dr. Bruce Creed as one of many who encouraged and supported her, always treating his students with respect. Former university Spanish professor David Subiabre encouraged McWilliams to slow down and enjoy her classes instead of racing through to-dos.  

“He reminded me that education is about the journey,” she said. “In addition to learning the language, he encouraged me to learn about the culture, to think about why I was studying these different subjects. It helped me realize that education is about more than checking off boxes. It’s truly an experience. That really effected my life and how I do other things.” 

She said university professor of music Dr. Jeffrey Blersch was always encouraging, even when she would call out a incorrect answer in class. 

“He made me enjoy learning,” she said. “They all helped me to truly dig into the process of learning and the power of education. They helped me to be myself and to enjoy the journey.” 

Following graduation and her time with Disney, she returned to campus to serve in the admissions office as a visit coordinator. McWilliams is the oldest of four children. Her parents, siblings, several cousins, an aunt and an uncle all attended Concordia Nebraska. Her father – Pete Kenow – serves as an advancement officer for the university. She and her husband Joseph have four children and live in the Lincoln area. They visit Seward often. 

McWilliams said she heartily recommends the university to anyone searching for a college, and she hopes her children all attend Concordia Nebraska. 

“It’s remarkable in today’s world to see an institution stand firm on their unwavering belief in the Bible. No matter the political climate or the whims of culture, Concordia Nebraska is so Christ-focused,” she said. “No matter what, the university stands firm in their identity, always using the Bible as the ultimate authority. The students there will without a doubt have an education steeped in Biblical values. That’s so impressive to me. Not only does the university have beautiful facilities, small class sizes and a matchless sense of community, they put Christ first in everything.” 


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