Honorary Bulldog Alumni Award: Rev. Ryan and Dr. Sarah Matthias: Our vocations are masks of God

Published by Amy Crawford 2 months ago on Tue, Sep 12, 2023 12:04 PM

During the university’s annual homecoming and alumni reunion weekend, the Concordia Alumni Association honors alumni and friends for their outstanding service and accomplishments. Rev. Ryan and Dr. Sarah Matthias received the 2023 Honorary Bulldog Alumni Award. Concordia Nebraska’s Honorary Bulldog Alumni Award recognizes friends of Concordia who have demonstrated faithful and significant support of Concordia through contributions of time, talent and treasure. 

Originally from Rake, Iowa, Rev. Ryan Matthias attended Wartburg College and graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2004. He has served as Concordia Nebraska’s campus pastor since 2008 and is also an instructor in the theology.  

Ryan is married to Dr. Sarah (Zimmermann), who attended the University of Iowa and specializes in pediatrics at Complete Children's Health in Lincoln. Sarah has served with the university’s medical mission trips to Guatemala. They have one son Sam, who is a sophomore at Concordia Nebraska and one daughter, Sophie, who is a high school junior.  

Ryan and Sarah have an extensive history of service to Concordia and to others. Ryan worked at Forest Ridge Youth Academy and Lutheran Social Services Iowa City. Following his time at seminary, he served at Trinity Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa, as associate prior to coming to Concordia Nebraska.   

Ryan said his 31 semesters on campus at Concordia Nebraska have been life changing. He describes the university as a “place of the Word where Jesus is constantly preparing.”  

“This is the most rewarding thing I've ever been called to do other than be husband and father,” said Ryan. “The students change, but their quest for faith does not and that always intrigues me. I love the fellowship and family that is provided in this place.” 

In addition to her service in medical missions, Sarah served her residency at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, worked as an emergency room doctor in St. Peter's, Missouri, worked as a pediatrician at Community Health Care in Moline, Illinois, prior to her current position. Sarah said she has loved her missionary journeys to Guatemala and interactions with the university’s students. 

“I love when students come over to our house to eat or just hang out,” added Sarah. “They are an amazing blessing to our home and great role models for our kids. We have never once regretted coming to this university to serve and to be loved in return.” 

Quoting Martin Luther, Ryan said: “Our vocations are masks of God. Enjoy the place that God has put you at this time.  It is not an accident that we are here.”  

Learn more about on campus student faith life at Concordia Nebraska here