Keith Hacker (left) learns Chinese calligraphy during International Education Week at Concordia this past November.Keith Hacker (left) learns Chinese calligraphy during International Education Week at Concordia this past November.

Dedicated volunteers help make life on the CUW campus a meaningful experience for international students.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the spring 2023 edition of Hearts Together. a publication of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor.

One thing that makes the Concordia on-campus community so distinct is a robust international student population. On average, more than 350 students from other countries live on the Mequon and Ann Arbor campuses while in pursuit of their degrees.

To help these students adapt to a new cultural, educational, and spiritual environment, the Concordia International center (CIC) is blessed to have a team of dedicated volunteers to guide and mentor students as they navigate new and exciting waters.

Don Bader

As a professional chef by training, Don Bader said he has often worked with a lot of people for whom English is not their native language. Later when he wet into ministry, it became natural to reach out to non-Americans and help them acclimate to life in the United States. His service to CUW began when he and his wife, Terry, invited two international students to their home—or so they thought.

“We met a group of Taiwanese students and meant to invite two of them to our home,” he recalled. “And then 11 of them showed up! I remember watching at the window as one car after another pulled up and saying, ‘Terry, we’re going to need to get more snacks!'”

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson is a retired CUW faculty member who was a military engineer before he came to Concordia to teach physics and computer engineering in 1991. Many of the computer students came from other countries, so he developed international friendships right away. The mentoring began while he was teaching, and he loved it so much he kept doing it after he retired in 2011.

“In many respects, it’s like a ministry,” Johnson said. “It’s a ministry to help these students get kind of acclimated to Concordia and give them an example of an American who likes to be helpful to international students.”

Keith and Ann Hacker

Keith and An Hacker have been hosting international students almost as long as they’ve been married (more than 30 years)—first at UW-Milwaukee and later at CUW. In fact, working with international students is how they met. These days, hosting CUW students at holidays is a favorite time because it makes it that much easier to share God’s Word as part of the festivities.

“As Paul said, we are the body of Christ, the church is the body of Christ,” Ann explained. “He needs people to love these international students, so we’re happy to volunteer, to serve God in that manner.”

Want in?

We know it takes courage to step into a new world. That’s why we’re here! Explore CUW’s international programs and all that the Concordia International Center has to offer you.

The spring 2023 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in April. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email