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Office of Alumni Relations
1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612
Since 2002, Concordia University Irvine has recognized distinguished alumni with the Alumnus of the Year Awards in both Professional Achievement and Distinguished Service. In 2020, we also started recognizing a G.O.L.D. (graduate of the last decade) alumni recipient Selected by the CUI Alumni Association Board of Directors, our goal is to pay tribute to alumni and recognize their outstanding achievements and service to Concordia, their community, and/or their professions
Recipients of an Alumni Award will receive:
Professional Achievement Award is presented to an individual who is respected as an exceptional contributor and authority in his or her professional discipline and who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of character and leadership.
2021 Recipient - Evan Neidholdt '05
Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual based on significant contributions through service to his or her community, church, school, and/or alma mater.
2021 Recipient - Dr. Melinda Schulteis '95
G.O.L.D. ("Graduate Of the Last Decade") Alumni Achievement Award: An individual who has graduated within the last ten years and has excelled in his or her chosen profession and/or demonstrated a continued commitment to living a life reflective of Concordia Irvine’s mission & values.
2021 Recipient - Brock Powell '11
This year, Evan Neidholdt ’05 received the award given to an alum “who is an exceptional contributor and authority in his or her professional discipline, and who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of character and leadership.”
“Evan is a world-class scientist and a smart, hardworking guy,” says John Kenney. Neidholdt was Kenney’s first research student and helped him build a research laboratory.
"What he did here at Concordia was so impressive to CalTech that he was accepted to the PhD program,” Kenney says. “It doesn’t get much higher than that."
Neidholdt went on to work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, then in private industry, then at NASA where his work today is closely related to what he did in the lab at CUI. He designs and builds scientific instruments to be shot into space as probes.
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Dr. Melinda Schulteis ’95, professor of mathematics at CUI, received the Alumni Association’s highest honor at this year’s virtual homecoming. The award is given to an alum “based on significant contributions through service to his or her community, church, school and/or alma mater.”
Melinda has served the Concordia community since graduating in 1995, first in admissions, then as a professor, which is her current role. But her involvement goes much further. She volunteers for alumni events, has served as an onstage host for the CUI Gala of Stars, and helped grow the President’s Showcase for Undergraduate Research from a small event to one that hands out over $5,000 in prize money and attracts dozens of student participants. Melinda regularly speaks at math conferences and takes students with her to attend.
Melinda also coordinated the CUI Beikoku Kenshu sister school program with Urawa Lutheran School, Japan, for around eight years, building the University’s relationship with Asia. The campus community knows Melinda as someone who can be counted on to get the small things done right, without acknowledgement.
“I went to school with Melinda, and we were actually in a lot of the same classes as I was pursuing a mathematics minor while she was pursuing it as her major,” says Alumni Association board president, Mark Manning ’94. “We got to know each through choir as well. What impresses me most is Melinda’s genuineness. The joy she exhibits comes from a genuine love for God and for other people. She is not only one of the smartest mathematicians I know, but she gives in so many ways. She is involved at her local church, in the lives of her kids, and in her sons’ Boy Scout and Little League activities. I am thankful to know her on a personal level and I am thrilled to see her hard work and professional achievement honored by the Alumni Association.”
Voice actor Brock Powell ’11 received the award given to an alum who has graduated within the last ten years “and has excelled in his or her chosen profession and/or demonstrated a continued commitment to living a life reflective of Concordia Irvine’s mission & values.”
Powell is known for his work on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019), Hotel Transylvania 3: Monsters Overboard (2018) and Milo Murphy's Law (2016). Brock is also known as "The Kool-Aid Man" and after graduating, Powell got a job at Disneyland doing a voice in the live show, Turtle Talk with Crush, then became a plaid-vested tour guide. He then took a risk and contacted Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, one of Powell’s favorite characters. He has also participated in numerous shows and concerts at Concordia, most recently at the 2020 POPS Concert during Homecoming last year.
“Brock leads by example, encouraging and lifting up everyone around him, treating them all with love and respect,” says fellow alumnus, Nick Scutti ’14.
“For these reasons, and for his continual positive contributions to our culture and the legacy of this university, Brock deserves this recognition. He inspires me with his talent, his dedication to the craft of acting, his humor and his compassionate heart.”
View all past Alumnus of the Year, Distinguished Service, and Athletic Hall of Fame awards.