Concordia University Irvine Honors Co-Founder With The Dedication of International Center

Moon International Center dedicated to Dr. Moon of Irvine

IRVINE, CA (JANUARY 17, 2020)— Standing room only was available for the Moon International Center dedication on Thursday, January 9. The center honors Dr. Shang Ik Moon’s journey from war-torn South Korea to America, his dedication to help co-found Concordia University Irvine (CUI) and his dedication to loving and caring for CUI’s international students.

This center welcomes students from all countries as well as sends students out into the world. New Concordia University President Michael Thomas reminded the crowd of the Great Commission. “Dr. Moon has dedicated his life to living the great commission. Therefore, it is fitting that we dedicate the Moon International Center in honor of his life and his mission.”

The new center follows in Dr. Moon’s footsteps and is designed to be a home for those studying from abroad inspiring any and all who come across its threshold. “I wish I could describe how I feel at this moment. I am honored at the same time I am extremely humbled,” said the co-founder of the liberal arts university. “Your presence here is a great honor I do not deserve. It is what we as servants of God must do anyway.” 

The dedication included a ribbon cutting of the new patio designed to create a community from Concordia’s international and local students. The center also features photographs taken by the Dr. Moon’s children and even a hand-drawn map by Dr. Moon. Tab Johnson, Dr. Moon’s son-in-law, spoke on behalf of the Moon family and shared his foresight on what they hope the center will do to inspire others. “I hope it creates a story. I hope it provides something that will long-live in the university’s history.” 

Dr. Moon’s story is quite the inspiration. Born in South Korea, he suffered through the outbreak of the Korean War as a boy and found himself alone at the age of 14. He then fled to as U.S. military base and learned English from a chaplain. From this blossomed a relationship with Christ and Dr. Moon found himself in America attending Lutheran seminary in Kansas. He met his wife-to-be in St. Louis and together they moved to Indiana where Dr. Moon spoke to churches about his journey. One day, he was approached by a man with a vision of establishing Christ College Irvine, now known as CUI. That man was Charles Manske who later became president of the institution. 

After establishing the University and becoming one of five founders of CUI, Dr. Moon then served as an academic, dean and a professor. Dr. Moon holds his Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion from St. Louis University. Prior to that he earned his Masters of Divinity in Theology from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and a Masters in Sociology from Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Now the Irvine resident serves as a mentor and donor to the University’s international community. “My wife Sharon and I want newly-arriving international students to be met at the airport, given their first meal on campus with an international host, and shown great hospitality to demonstrate that Concordia is a caring community with a friendly environment, guided by Christian love,” said Dr. Moon. “That’s much the way I was cared for when I first arrived in the U.S.” 

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a non-profit Lutheran Christian liberal arts 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 athletics 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. The university is part of the Concordia University System, the second largest education ministry system in the United States behind the Catholic Church. The NCAA DII private university, which enrolls nearly 4,000 students annually, is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

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