Editor's note: This story first appeared in the spring 2021 issue of Hearts Together, a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor Special Magazine Edition.

It is not about me. Forewarned about the direction of this edition, I can understand how one might come to a different conclusion. While I am truly grateful for kind words and tributes, I appreciate the chance to clarify. It is not about me.

It never has been about Pat Ferry. Ultimately, Concordia has always been and will always be about the students. Concordia is about helping to bring meaning and purpose to their lives by connecting them to Jesus. Others like me, including all of us on the faculty and staff, are blessed to be part of the process. For 30 years, nearly half of my life, this ministry has been an extraordinary privilege. Even though it was never about me, I have surely received more than I have given, and I am grateful. Words cannot express.

For a moment, I suppose, it is okay to look back and reminisce. I am a historian, after all, and when I first showed up on campus in 1991 my specific job was to teach history—but it was my singular joy to help connect students to Jesus. Over the years, including the past 24 as president, I have accumulated enough wonderful memories to reflect upon for as long as I live. Some of those are captured in these pages, and I thank our staff for their efforts to pull this together.

The memories always involve people. “Thank you” hardly seems adequate, but I am thankful for all who have shared with me in this noble work for three decades—students, alumni, colleagues, Board members, donors, friends. A special thanks to my family—my wife, Tammy (who works harder for Concordia than anybody I know), and our daughters and sons, who have been supportive all along the way. Above all, I am grateful to the Lord Jesus, whose faithfulness endures forever.

So we look back but only for a moment! So much more remains to be done. While it is time for me to go, it is also time for Concordia to go forward! The same mission that has always driven us inspires us now. Concordia is well positioned to have a far-reaching impact—in the lives of students and through them to others. The love of God in Christ Jesus compels us and is Concordia’s reason for being. That is what this is all about.

The spring/summer 2021 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in early 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 Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.

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