December 2018 Commencement Speaker: Dr. Tom Cedel

Dr. Cedel is currently a Co-Director of the Thrivent Fellows Program, Executive Director of Concordia High School in central Texas and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Valparaiso University. Prior to this he was the president of Concordia University Texas in Austin, TX from 2002 to 2014. During his tenure, Dr. Cedel presided over the relocation of the main campus, improvement of satellite centers and a more than doubling in enrollment. His Ph.D. is in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and he was a postdoctoral fellow in biophysics at Carnegie-Mellon University. His academic honors include being elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. He was also designated an Andrew W. Mellon pre-doctoral fellow and National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow. Prior to coming to Concordia, Dr. Cedel was the Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Concordia University Ann Arbor, in Ann Arbor, MI. Dr. Cedel has authored and co-authored articles in publications ranging from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Armed Forces Journal International. 

Dr. Cedel is also a retired Air Force colonel and was a fighter pilot, having flown the F-4, A-7, C-12 and F-16 aircraft. He commanded a fighter squadron and was vice commander of a fighter wing. During his career he was assigned overseas in Pakistan, Japan, Korea, Europe and the Middle East. His last assignment prior to retiring was in the Pentagon working for the Secretary of Defense on strategy and requirements issues. His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. After he retired from the military, Dr. Cedel was head of the Operations Analysis Department at Northrup Grumman-TASC, Inc in Rosslyn, VA for one year.  

Dr. Cedel is married to the former Penny Garrard of Pittsburgh, PA and has a son David and grandson Jacob, and daughter Becky and grandson Rigel.

December 2018 Student Speaker: Elizabeth Ekblad (Rindt)

Elizabeth Ekblad is a Classical Lutheran Education major.  Most recently, Elizabeth moved from her hometown of Sheboygan, WI to Grafton, WI, where she now resides with her husband and CUW alum, Anders Ekblad.  They are expecting their first child at the end of March. 

During her time as an undergraduate student at CUW, Elizabeth served as a student worker in several capacities, including Accounts Payable, Audio Visual, the Music Department, the Learning Resource Center, and as a Peer Leader for Freshmen Seminar.  She has also been very involved in Campus ministry and at her home church, where she serves as the director of vacation Bible school.

Upon graduation, Elizabeth plans to be a stay-at-home mother, focus on her family, and possibly work from home part-time.  She hopes to continue to find ways to serve the church, as is her passion, and have raise more children in the faith.