President William Craft’s inauguration has been scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012, as part of the Concordia’s Founders Day celebration one week before graduation.
“Inaugurations are a milestone for a college,” said Tracey Moorhead, senior assistant to the president. “It’s a two-way thing – how we greet that leader and pledge our support and how that leader shares what he has learned, what our potential is and where we want to take our institution.”
Each president’s inauguration is different because they are entering into the history of a college at a new point, Moorhead said.
“It really symbolizes the beginning of an era,” Moorhead said. “It is a moment in time when a new president can state his agenda and start talking about the strengths of an institution and where those strengths will take us in the future.”
Craft said that when a college chooses a new president, all of the people in the final group are capable. Being chosen means that you are a strong fit for skills, convictions and experiences to lead that particular institution. Inauguration is a time to affirm the values they chose him to represent.
“This is an opportunity to receive and feel the support of the community,” Craft said, “though we have felt that swell of kindness and hospitality since March when I was chosen for this position.”
Presidents have the opportunity to choose whether they want to be inaugurated at the beginning of the year, in conjunction with homecoming activities, or at the end of the year, as Craft has chosen.
“I will have more knowledge at the end of the year,” said Craft, who began his role as president in July. “I like the idea of focusing on the college more than on a person.”
Founders Day, April 27, honors financial contributors and supporters of Concordia College. Activities will be held on campus that entire week to focus on putting alumni and donors in touch with what is currently happening campus.
“We want to focus on the heritage of our college and the things we hold dear,” Craft said. “Founders Day is a great opportunity to affirm the things fundamental to our college and focus on our heritage, mission, future and aspirations as a college.”
Planning an inauguration is extensive, and it is “much more fruitful” to take a president’s first year at the institution to plan, said Moorhead, one of the core planners of the event. Many people attend, including other college presidents, representatives of other schools associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and family and friends of the president.
“It’s a chance to pull together people from different stages of your life,” Craft said. “It’s an affirmation of the deep value of the academic enterprise as a whole, where we can all sit back and say ‘yes, this is a great and good thing we are doing here’.”
The event will likely include greetings from a local mayor, a student speaking on behalf of the student body, an alumni representative and a faculty representative. Additionally, the Concordia Choir has been invited to perform. The campus community, the board of regents, alumni and the community, in addition to Craft’s colleagues from numerous professional arenas, will be invited.
“This is a chance for us to show off a bit and show everybody what we as Concordia College can do,” Craft said.
Position at the Concordian: PULSE writer; Year in School: Sophomore; Hometown: West Fargo, North Dakota; Favorite Newspaper: The Washington Times; Favorite Magazine: Vanity Fair; Favorite Writer: Jodi Picoult