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LaVeda Carter's Leadership, Long Tenure Celebrated at Retirement

June 21, 2021 - 3 minute read

LaVeda Carter Receiving Award

CUI’s longest-serving employee retired last fall and was given the 2021 Servant Leadership Award. LaVeda Carter, who held many positions and was the quiet, driving engine behind events such as the Gala of Stars, served Christ College/Concordia University Irvine for more than 40 years, as one of its first employees.

“LaVeda was there when I came in 1978,” says longtime board of trustees member, Paul Schroeder. “One of our favorite stories was when a friend of our family, Ray Grimm, popped by my office in 1978 and said, ‘Paul, we’ve been looking for some younger guys for the board of trustees. Would you consider going on our board?’ I said, ‘Let me think about it.’ That was on a Monday. On Friday, I got a letter in the mail from LaVeda saying, ‘Thank you for joining the board of trustees. Your first meeting is…’”

Forty-two years later, Schroeder continues to serve on the board and has been the chairman of the Investment committee for many years.

“LaVeda is an inspirational person,” he says. “She took on lots of problems, developed support for the college, and fundraisers. She started as the secretary for Dr. Manske, the first president, and she was always very faithful and hardworking.”

Christ College “founding five” member Dale Hartmann recalls that LaVeda “was working for the [LCMS Pacific Southwest] district when Charles Manske went up there and stole her out of that position. She had so many jobs at Irvine. Ray Halm, Concordia’s second president, used to say, ‘Give LaVeda a job, no matter what it is, and she can do it.’”

Tim Jaeger, Concordia Vice President for University Advancement, Marketing and Communications, worked with LaVeda for 22 years.

“Her tireless commitment to the mission of Concordia University Irvine was driven by her commitment to God’s calling in her life,” he said at a recent ceremony to honor her. “LaVeda served in many ways, from her early roles with the Foundation, to serving as a resident counselor with her husband, Terry, to director of public relations, and a host of other titles. She has been the foundation of the Foundation.”

Her vision for many special events she led throughout the years, including the Gala of Stars, Concerts on the Green, and Women’s Faith and Friendship Connections, “inspired the countless volunteers, donors, friends and staff who delighted in her presence and her leadership,” Jaeger says. “Many marvel at how well-organized the events are. So much of that has been due to one person — LaVeda.”

Her motivation was the knowledge that her efforts assisted students to find their vocation and receive a Christ-centered education.
LaVeda Carter Posing with Friends outside of CU Center

Schroeder agrees that Carter has been “the power behind the Gala each year, coordinating everybody, getting people to make contributions.”

Linda Friend, in video remarks shown at the award ceremony, said that, “Under LaVeda’s direction, Galas have been creative, musical and successful for many years. Her heartfelt generosity enriches the lives of all those who know her. She gives so much but asks for so little, and I’m proud to call her my friend.”

In receiving the award, LaVeda said, “For those of you who know me well, you know that my being up here is out of my comfort zone. I enjoy being in the back of the room, or behind the stage telling Tim it’s time to start, or in the kitchen checking on the food. I am humbled and honored by this award.”

She recalled working with CUI’s first four presidents, and being part of the inaugural activities for the fifth president, Dr. Michael Thomas.

“Not everyone in life has had a wonderful staff to work with like I have,” she said. “God has blessed me beyond measure.”

Over the years, Carter also served as a church organist. “When my daughter was five years old, LaVeda was the organist at our church in Irvine,” Schroeder remembers. “My daughter would sit on the bench with her and watch her play.”

Jaeger said Carter “cherishes her role as wife, daughter, sister and aunt. For me, she has been a wise mentor, a trusted confidant, a tremendous example and a dear friend.”

At CUI, for four-plus-decades, she has been “a true servant- leader… Her motivation was not praise or recognition, but the knowledge that her efforts assisted students to find their vocation and receive a Christ-centered education.”

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