On Saturday, Concordia University Wisconsin will honor 407 graduates at commencement. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming ceremony.

Commencement Ceremony, Graduate and Undergraduate:

Saturday, December 16 | 1:30 p.m. | R. John Buuck Fieldhouse

Tickets are required for guests. Each graduate can request up to a total of eight tickets, which are free. For details regarding how to secure your tickets, please visit here.

For those unable to attend in person, the event will also be livestreamed, beginning five minutes before the start of the ceremony:

Commencement Speaker: Rev. Dr. Dan Paavola

Our commencement speaker this year is definitely a popular favorite on campus. Like many great men, he rose from humble beginnings, in this case, growing up on a dairy farm outside New York Mills, Minnesota. After graduating from seminary, he accepted a call to pastor a church in tiny Butternut, Wisconsin, up in the Wisconsin North Woods. It was there he developed a fondness for using “show and tell” in his preaching. If you’ve ever seen him preach in Chapel, you know he always has something with him besides just his sermon notes. After 12 years in Butternut, Dr. Paavola came to CUW to teach theology in 1996—and we’ve reaped the benefits of his faith and wisdom ever since.

Student Speaker: Sandra Quaintance

Sandra Quaintance is originally from Indiana, but now lives in Milwaukee with her three teenage boys and her husband of 24 years. But her journey is anything but a straight path. After receiving an Associate of Theology Degree from Murrieta California’s Calvary Chapel Bible College in 1999, Sandra went to work as a phlebotomist first in Cottonwood, Arizona and then in Wausau, Wisconsin. In 2003, she turned her attention to being a full-time homemaker and home school teacher to her children. In 2019, she went back to school, completing a B.A. in Human Development from San Diego Christian College in 2021, followed by the Master of Science in Education, Professional Counseling she will officially receive on Saturday from Concordia.

Master Educator Award, Elementary: Kathy Adams

Kathy Adams graduated from CUW in 1985 and recently retired after 30 dedicated years of service in Lutheran elementary school ministry. Nearly all of those years—all but one semester, in fact—were teaching second-grade at Trinity Lutheran School of Freistadt in Mequon, Wisconsin. During her many years as an educator, Kathy made a concerted effort to meet the educational needs of all children across the full spectrum of ability while also making sure her students had a strong foundation of knowing Jesus as their Savior.

Master Educator Award, Secondary: David Black

David Black graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin in 1988 with a double major in history and theology. He later received a Master’s in American history from Butler University. He has been teaching in Lutheran schools for 36 years, including the last 11 years at Lutheran High School in Parker, Colorado. He was nominated by CUW’s Dr. Jim Pingel, Dean of Education, who wrote: “In all things, David puts faith integration at the center of his content and pedagogy—a truly shining example of how to teach and live the faith.”

Baccalaureate Ceremony and Student Awards

Saturday, December 16 | 10:00 a.m. | Chapel of Christ Triumphant

At CUW, the baccalaureate ceremony is a Christian worship service with hymns, scripture lessons, a message, prayers, and special recognitions. It is an opportunity for our Christian community to celebrate all of God’s blessings associated with higher education and the earning of a degree. It is also a time to recognize and to thank God for all our vocations, what we do in our various careers to honor and to serve our Creator and Redeemer.

Baccalaureate Speaker: Rev. Eric Nelson

Rev. Eric Nelson graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis with a Master of Divinity degree in 1995 and a Master of Sacred Theology degree in 2000. Since then, he has served parishes in Western Montana—Mount Calvary Lutheran in Polson and Zion Lutheran in St. Ignatius—before returning to Minnesota, where he has served St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie for more than 19 years.

The Marsha Konz Graduate Educator Award:

Madelaine Trewin

for outstanding performance as an educator and as a student in graduate education studies

Want in?

Concordia University Wisconsin is a Lutheran higher education community committed to helping students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world. Want to learn more or apply? Just click the link below!