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Presidential Search

Toward uncommon leadership

Concordia University Wisconsin | Ann Arbor (CUWAA) has embarked on the search for its next president to boldly lead our critical Christ-centered mission. As the Church’s school, our next president must accelerate Concordia’s forward movement to educate 21st-century learners who go forth and lead uncommon lives of service and leadership for the sake of Christ throughout the Church and the world.

Indeed, selecting the next president is the most important decision our Board of Regents will make. We are committed to this search. It will be a collaborative and transparent process that engages the Concordia community as, together, we seek God’s direction and leading.

Our search will be successful by His ordaining and through the contributions of our students, faculty and staff, alumni, and friends.

Please visit this webpage often for updates about the search and for details about how to engage in the work.

Most importantly, I invite you to commit to fervent prayer for God’s guidance as we discern the way forward at Concordia University. We are, and will remain, one Concordia—hearts together.

Yours in Christian Service,
Richard Laabs
Chair, CUWAA Board of Regents

Your Voice

We invite every Concordian—students, faculty and staff, alumni, and friends—to complete our community survey as we begin our search for Concordia’s next president.

The community survey was available from March 1st through March 30th, 2021. The results will be posted soon.

Presidential search committee

The Board of Regents, at its February 2021 meeting, identified the members of the Presidential Search Committee and charged the committee to lead the search process. The committee members meet the criteria for membership set in the by-laws of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod (LCMS) **, represent CUWAA’s values, confession, and culture, and know the university well. The committee will determine how students, faculty and staff, alumni, and friends can become involved in the search.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the committee here.

** LCMS bylaws require that members of the search committee represent the Board of Regents, the faculty, and the staff. Faculty members and staff members must be members of LCMS congregations.

  • Richard (Dick) Laabs
    Chair, Board of Regents
  • Harriet Pedersen
    Vice Chair, Board of Regents
  • Dwayne Jobst
    Secretary, Board of Regents
  • Jon Schumacher
    Regent, Board of Regents
  • Mark Polzin
    Regent, Board of Regents
  • Dale Robertson
    Regent, Board of Regents
  • Rev. Dwayne Lueck
    President, LCMS North Wisconsin District
  • Christine Specht-Palmert
    Chair of the Foundation Board
  • Terry Donovan
    Member, Foundation Board
  • Gretchen Jameson, Ed.D.
    Agent of the Board, Senior Vice President
  • Rev. Daniel Paavola, Ph.D.
    Professor and Chair, Theology Department
  • Leah Dvorak, Ph.D.
    Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor
  • Cynthia Fenske, DNP, RN, CNE
    Assistant Vice Provost of Academics, Ann Arbor
  • Kimberly Masenthin, MBA, SPHR
    Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
  • Sarah Holtan, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor and Chair, Communications Department
  • Beth DeJongh, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCPP
    Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice

Search Process

Select a step to learn more...

In this phase, the Board of Regents establishes its search committee.

Together, the Board and committee solicit input from the university community to clarify the needs, challenges, and opportunities that will face the next president and identify the skills, abilities, qualities, and experiences the next leader must possess.

Listening sessions

March 25 through April 19, the Search Committee will host 24 listening sessions (via Zoom) that give students, alumni, and friends of the University the opportunity to convey their expectations and hopes for our next president. Registration for these sessions closed March 23. Watch the website for our summary report.

The committee, with input from students, faculty, and staff, will create the Presidential Profile and may elect to engage support from a search consultant to support its work.

LCMS bylaws specify the process by which candidates may be nominated for president at Concordia University.

Candidates may be nominated by congregations of the Synod (LCMS), the Board of Directors of the Concordia University System (CUS), the Board of Regents, and the faculty.

Candidates are notified of their nominations and may accept or decline.

The Board of Regents forwards the names of willing nominees to the President of the Concordia University System.

The CUS President, with the President of the LCMS and the chairman of the CUS Board of Directors, meet to consider the submitted nominees. The panel may choose to remove names from the list by its two-thirds majority vote. The list of prior-approved nominees is then returned to the university Board of Regents no less than sixty days from the receipt of the initial list.

The list of approved nominees will be published on this website.

The Presidential Search Committee will advance its work among the list of prior-approved nominees.

The Committee will review candidate materials, recommend finalists, conduct interviews and other open town-hall styled sessions, review feedback of these engagements, and recommend a final candidate.

Throughout the process, candidate materials and updates will be available on this webpage.

Search documents

Presidential search updates

  • 04/08/21
    Work continues; status update

    The work to identify the next president of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor (CUWAA) continues.

  • 02/09/21
    Interim president selected

    The Concordia University Board of Regents has unanimously selected William Cario, Ph.D. as the university’s interim president.

  • 09/18/20
    Rev. Dr. Patrick Ferry to retire

    Dr. Patrick Ferry recently informed the University’s Board of Regents of his intention to retire.

View Archived Updates