The Servant Leadership Award honors recipients for their continued demonstration and commitment to their faith, putting the needs of others first, and whose activities have had significant effect on the lives of others through leadership by serving. Immigrants from Korea, Phillip and Michelle Chang opened their first Yogurtland in Fullerton, Calif., in 2006. Yogurtland locations support schools, children’s hospitals, fire and police departments, and other non-profits in a variety of ways.
Grateful for the opportunities afforded to them in the United States, Phillip and Michelle Chang of Irvine have committed personal and professional resources to helping others. Following a visit to Thailand, the Changs became involved in the plight of human trafficking victims, particularly women and children. Recently, they announced plans to donate a portion of the company’s revenue to organizations that help victims of human trafficking. In addition, the couple supports over 800 Christian missionaries in third world countries. Today, there are over 320 Yogurtland stores in 17 states and five countries. Phillip is a member of the Concordia University Irvine President’s Advisory Council and was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.
“Concordia University Irvine has made it a priority to instill in students an awareness of their responsibility to become wise, honorable, cultivated world citizens and to take on leadership in whatever they do,” said Concordia University Irvine President Kurt Krueger. “Phillip and Michelle Chang’s vision and leadership, Christian business ethics and humanitarian efforts are the reason they have been chosen for this award.”
Other honors during the evening included Great Commission Award recipients John and Linda Friend of Dana Point for their demonstration of commitment to furthering Christ’s Great Commission by noteworthy service through involvement and support of missionary activity and evangelism. Their desire to see art pieces demonstrating God’s inspiration led them to establish an art collection at CUI consisting of textiles, ceramics, water features and sculptures. John is a past member of the Board of Regents and Board of Trustees for Concordia University Irvine, as well as founder of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Center for U.S. Missions.
The evening also featured Concordia’s Performing and Fine Arts students joined by Broadway star, Ivan Rutherford, who has played the lead role in Les Miserables in over 2,000 performances. Nearly 360 guests attended the gala which included silent and live auctions.
Proceeds from the Gala of Stars benefit Concordia University Irvine’s student scholarship fund to assist with the education of future leaders. With more than 97 percent of Concordia undergraduate students supported by some form of financial aid, scholarships serve as an important resource to ease the financial burden of higher education.
About Concordia University Irvine
Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a private non-profit Lutheran Christian four-year university that prepares students for their vocations—their calling in life. Concordia offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in education, nursing, theology, business, and athletic administration. CUI's undergraduate program is distinctive because of its nationally recognized core curriculum, Enduring Questions & Ideas, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of "Grace Alone. Faith Alone." Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. Marking its 40th anniversary this year, the university enrolls over 4,000 students annually and is in year two of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Membership Process.
Sabrina Suarez, Echo Media Group
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Lizz Mishreki, APR, Concordia University Irvine