During his inaugural address, Dr. William J. Craft described Concordia as a communal act of faith, “a heritage not to barricade or to give away, but to cultivate so that our graduates become responsibly engaged in the world.”
Craft was inaugurated as the 11th president of Concordia College April 28.
He leads the college at a time when the value of a liberal arts education is often questioned, a challenge Craft assuredly countered.
“Now is the time for liberal arts,” he said. Concordia is a place where students can develop the “competence, character and good judgment students will need to thrive as citizens and professionals.”
The liberal arts are particularly well-suited to transform students.
“This is the odd thing about the arts and humanities: they invite us to play – to try on others’ lives and new ideas. And in that imagined world we can discover who we are and might become,” he said.
Craft is an articulate and passionate advocate for the importance of liberal arts colleges of the church, according to former colleagues.
Dr. Thomas Flynn, president of Alvernia College in Pennsylvania, described Craft as a collegial and collaborative leader who has the “wit and wisdom and willingness to support what is right.” Flynn was one of several dignitaries who gave greetings during the ceremony. He represented the Council of Independent Colleges.
Flynn’s observations have already been noted by members of the Concordia community.
“We live out the vocation we’ve chosen, rooted in faith,” Kristi Wieser, president of the National Alumni Association, said during her greeting. “You have claimed and embraced our mission. Let us go forward, seeking together.”
The ceremony also included several greetings from international students in their native languages. Flags of countries represented by Concordia’s international students also led the procession of faculty, administrators and other dignitaries.
Craft served the reminder that the work of the college can’t be done alone.
Referring to a character in the movie “Sweet Land,” Craft said “no one of us has the resources – in money, in labor, ideas – to sustain our sweet land. But together we do.”
View the inauguration gallery for more stories, photos and videos.