Concordia University Wisconsin is pleased to announce this year's Distinguished Alumnus, Christo Et Ecclesiae, and Faculty Laureate commencement honorees: Ken Gaschk ('81, '92), Larry Sohn, and Nicole Muth ('92), respectively.
The special awards are traditionally bestowed each year during spring commencement, but, due to COVID-19 constraints, this year’s awardees will be recognized on Friday, Dec. 4 during a special chapel service. Daily Chapel begins at 9:30 a.m. and is available via live stream here. The Concordia community is invited to join in helping celebrate these deserving individuals.
Ken Gaschk is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, given in recognition to an alumnus or alumna who has consistently demonstrated faithful stewardship of his or her talents and has rendered notable service to the church and to the university.
Gaschk is a two-time graduate of Concordia. He first earned his bachelor’s degree in Business in 1981 from Concordia College. It was also in 1981 that he began work as an admission counselor for Concordia. In 1992, Gaschk went on to earn his master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration and that same year became the Director of Admissions. He became Vice President of Enrollment and oversaw impressive growth in student class sizes. He topped off his Concordia career as a Senior Vice President and, finally in 2017, as Assistant to the President.
Throughout his Concordia career, Gaschk has had a tremendous impact on CUW students, not only through the enrollment process, but also as a coach. He earned the title “Coach of the Year” in 2002 for his work with the women’s golf team. He has served on the advisory council for international study, working on development of global education opportunities for students. Gaschk was the facility chair for President George W. Bush’s 2004 visit to campus and was also the campus liaison for the St. Louis Ram’s training camp in 2008.
An active member of his church, First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cedarburg, Gaschk has served on a number of committees, campaigns, and building projects. He and his wife, Jill, have two children, Emily and Matthew.
Gaschk has dedicated his personal and professional career to the mission of Concordia University and the church at large. He is a great historian for CUW from his days as a student on the downtown Milwaukee campus to his impressive tenure as an employee on the Mequon campus to finishing his Concordia career as a senior administrator. As a proud alumnus, he never shied away from an opportunity to be an ambassador for CUW.
Christo Et Ecclesiae
The Christo Et Ecclesiae Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a high and unusual interest in advancing Christian education by using the talents which the Lord has endowed. Dr. Larry Sohn is the recipient of this year’s award. Sohn’s personal mission of “serving as a resource to others for a rich life in Christ” makes him a truly deserving individual for this honor.
Sohn has worked in education his entire career. He began in 1959 as an elementary teacher at Mount Calvary Lutheran School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He rose through the ranks until he became the principal. In 1980, Rev. R. John Buuck, PhD, then president of Concordia College called Sohn to chair the teacher education program and help develop the college’s teacher licensure process. Even though Sohn had no higher education experience, he accepted the call and discovered a passion for teaching the next generation of teachers at Concordia College.
Sohn continued to teach throughout most of his tenure at the university, and, no matter his title, was tasked to lead Concordia through the ongoing assessment and accreditation processes. He served as executive vice president and briefly as vice president of academics before his first retirement in 2005. Within days of his retirement, President Ferry invited him back to Concordia to expand the official archive department to meet the ongoing accreditation needs of the university and to help future generations to appreciate the cultural legacy of the institution.
After 37 years of faithfully serving the university in a variety of capacities, Sohn retired in 2017. Read more about Sohn here.
Sohn has been a beloved and trusted resource to students, faculty, and staff his entire time at Concordia. And, in return, his life has been richly blessed. He and his wife of 58 years, Ellen, have three living children and three grandchildren. They are active members of their church and in their community.
Dr. Nicole Muth is this year’s recipient of the Faculty Laureate Award. Each year the faculty of Concordia University Wisconsin elects one of its own to receive this honor in recognition of exemplary dedication, service, teaching, and other contributions to the Concordia community. Muth has served within Concordia’s School of Education since 2006, most recently as chair of the elementary education department. She specializes in mathematics instruction.
Muth earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Concordia University Wisconsin in 1992. She went on to earn her master’s in Mathematical Education from the University of Texas, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from North Central University.
Muth is a published author, having contributed to the Wisconsin Teacher of Mathematics Journal. Her passion for teaching is evident in her writing and outreach, and she is highly motivated by her desire to serve as a rich source for effective mathematic teachers.
Muth has also shared her impressive teaching expertise with hundreds of educators over the years through presentations she has given at numerous teachers’ conferences. One of the highlights of her speaking career was the 2014 Chicago Lutheran Education Foundation Networking Conference, where she presented “Streams of Living Water: Designing multi-disciplinary lessons for elementary and middle school students.”
Muth continues to be involved on our CUW campus. She is currently serving as:
- The Online Academy Director of Women’s Leadership Institute
- The Committee Chair Coordinator of assessment and licensure search
- A study abroad advisory committee member
- A member of the Office Continuing Distance Education committee
Muth is an active member at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheboygan, where she has served for years as a Sunday School teacher/Bible Study teacher. She and her husband, Tim, have three children. Their eldest daughter, Erin, is currently enrolled at CUW.
Muth’s colleagues describe her as “the epitome of a caring teacher for her education students.” Her students aspire to teach as she does and imitate the qualities she so readily shares with others. Muth is a wonderful example of success in teaching and research, and is a tireless servant-leader.
— This story is written by Kali Thiel, 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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