Editor's Note: This is one in a series of stories highlighting Concordia's 2018 graduates.
Silas Hasselbrook may be one of 12 siblings, but he’s definitely not your dime a dozen.
Throughout his four years at Concordia University Wisconsin, the Montana native has maintained a jam-packed schedule of varied hobbies and responsibilities, ranging from treasurer of Concordia’s Organ Club to lead hurdler on the university’s track and field team.
During the 2017-18 academic year alone, Silas held down four jobs or volunteer positions, participated in four extra-curricular groups, competed on a collegiate-level sports team, took an overload of courses both semesters, fit in about 10 hours of organ and piano practice each week, and somehow managed to spend time with his friends and girlfriend, whom he recently became engaged to.
He also managed to routinely turn out peak performances in each of his endeavors.
The secret to his success: he’s driven to utilize his gifts to their fullest ability in honor of the One who gifted him with them.
“I like to work hard and get as much as I can out of college,” Silas says. “People tell me that I keep a pretty insane schedule and that I’m too particular, but I figure, you only have four years to be in college, so why not get the most of it?”
On Saturday, Silas will cross Concordia’s commencement stage, having more than earned a major in parish music, with philosophy and bioethics minors. While most of his peers will end their tenure at Concordia with around 120 credits under their belt, Silas will walk away with 174.
He didn’t set out to graduate with almost 50 percent more credits than necessary, but a program change his junior year required him to pack in a number of extras at the ninth hour.
Silas originally enrolled at Concordia with plans of becoming a pharmacist. For his first three years at CUW he pursued the pre-pharmacy requirements in addition to a parish music major and bioethics minor. Last summer, he even passed the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), the nationally recognized exam that helps identify qualified applicants for pharmacy schools. Ultimately, however, he felt the Lord calling him into the pastoral ministry.
“With pharmacy, I knew I’d be taking care of people’s physical welfare,” says Silas. “In terms of ministry, it’s their eternal welfare that I’m concerned about, and that’s one of the points that helped me arrive at my decision to switch to pre-seminary. That’s what I’m passionate about, and that’s what I wanted to devote myself to wholeheartedly.”
He’ll be following in the footsteps of his father, who currently serves as a pastor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Iowa District East. Silas says his father’s example played a big part in his decision to become a pastor.
“Having that kind of father figure in my life was such a blessing growing up,” Silas says. “Whatever I asked him, he’d always have a good, biblical answer for it. I want to be able to provide that to my children and congregation.”
His upbringing as a whole has influenced where he is today. As the eldest of the Hasselbrook brood, Silas has learned a thing or two about managing the moving parts of a full house and a full schedule. He often took on the role of caregiver and role model to his younger siblings, which will no doubt serve him well in his vocation as a pastor.
Next fall, Silas will begin his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he’ll no doubt continue to apply himself unequivocally to his pastoral call.
“There’s a need for pastors,” Silas says. “I want to be able to fulfill that calling in a serious manner and be able to help out in the field as much as I can.”
— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-243-2149.
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