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2020 Honor Roll of Donors

Concordia University Irvine

CUI Annual Report
Fiscal Year 2020 at a Glance

As we look at the past fiscal year, despite the challenges set before us as a result of a global pandemic, we have much to celebrate.  These pages list just some of the names of the people and institutions that gave so generously to support our University and its mission between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.

  • FY20 started quietly, but in August we celebrated the university’s first-ever $1M+ stock gift.  Additional million dollar gifts or estate pledges followed in October, December, January, and two in June. 
  • Over 5,700 gifts were made, with a median gift size of $83.34.  (We are grateful to those donors who give $83.34 a month for twelve months for a total gift of $1,000!)
  • By June 30, 2020, total philanthropic support for the fiscal year reached a record-setting $15M!

In any given year, these successes would be an amazing blessing.  Given that Concordia was able to set records in a year that included its own presidential transition and all of the challenges of COVID-19, it is nothing short of a miracle.  God truly has Concordia in His hands and is watching over us.  Here are a few more highlights of the year. 

  • Dr. Michael Thomas was elected in October and inaugurated in February as Concordia’s 5th president.
  • In January, Forward in Faith—The Campaign for Concordia exceeded expectations and surpassed its $85M goal, more than 11 months ahead of schedule. The scope and impact of this campaign speaks not only to our historical roots, but also to the point of strength at which we find ourselves today and the bright hope of our future.  The total raised will be announced after the Campaign concludes on December 31st.  
  • In March, as COVID restrictions took over, students were asked to move home, although about 70 who had no place to go or no way to get home remained on campus.  In the span of three days, the Concordia Experience became virtual, with online classes and the vast majority of staff working remotely.
  • Funding for the field lights was secured.  These lights will transform the practice, competition, and academic schedules of our student-athletes, and expand the recreational time available to all students.
  • By June, the value of the Concordia Endowment climbed to nearly $41M.  By comparison, just over a decade ago, the endowment value was $8M.

As you look through this year’s Honor Roll, rejoice with us over what’s ahead as we move Forward in Faith. The foundation you have helped us to lay has become the launching pad for even greater things to come at Concordia University Irvine.

University Income: Investment and Other 1%, Philanthropy 4%, Auxiliary 9%, Student Tuition and Fees 86%
Endowment Value: $12.2 million in 2012, $14.5 million in 2013, $23 million in 2014, $26.2 million in 2015, $26.2 million in 2016, $29.9 million in 2017, $35.1 million in 2018, $36.6 million in 2019, $40.9 million in 2020
Uses of Income: Auxiliary 8%, Institutional Support 14%, Student Aid 27%, Academic Programs and Student Service 51%
Degrees Awarded (by Academic Year): 1,150 total degrees in 2011-12 with 721 graduate students and 429 undergraduate students, 1,274 total degrees in 2012-13 with 836 graduate students and 438 undergraduate students, 1,354 total degrees in 2013-14 with 848 graduate students and 506 undergraduate students, 1,521 total degrees in 2014-15 with 1,045 graduate students and 476 undergraduate students, 1,703 total degrees in 2015-16 with 1,233 graduate students and 470 undergraduate students, 1,801 total degrees in 2016-17 with 1,306 graduate students and 495 undergraduate students, 1,641 total degrees in 2017-18 with 1,160 graduate students and 481 undergraduate students, 1,814 total degrees in 2018-19 with 1,273 graduate students and 541 undergraduate students, 1,649 total degrees in 2019-20 with 1,163 graduate students and 486 undergraduate students
Giving by Source: Alumni 12%, Churches 1%, Foundations 10%, Parents 5%, Corporations 6%, Friends/Other 66%
Enrollment Growth (Fall 2012-18): 3,519 total students in 2012 with 1,781 graduate students and 1,748 undergraduate students, 4,046 total students in 2013 with 2,102 graduate students and 1,952 undergraduate students, 4,327 total students in 2014 with 2,393 graduate students and 1,952 undergraduate students, 4,560 total students in 2015 with 2,566 graduate students and 1,994 undergraduate students, 4,370 total students in 2016 with 2,374 graduate students and 1,996 undergraduate students, 4,320 total students in 2017 with 2,396 graduate students and 1,924 undergraduate students, 4,266 total students in 2018 with 2,374 graduate students and 1,892 undergraduate students, 3,985 total students in 2019 with 2,173 graduate students and 1,812 undergraduate students, 4,123 total students in 2020 with 2,367 graduate students and 1,756 undergraduate students

Give Where Your Passion Is

Learn how donors found a way to commit to their passion and share their heart with the Concordia community.

  • Herb and Kiu

    Giving in Harmony

    Herb and Kiu Geisler, long-time fixtures of the Concordia community, have chosen to honor Concordia by including it in their living trust, ensuring continued support for the university's mission and future endeavors.

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  • Dr. Kenney in a classroom

    Science Professor John Kenney Retires

    Professor John Kenney, who had a strong hand in building the science programs at Concordia while mentoring countless students and fellow faculty members, is retiring after 22 years – and receiving an outpouring of appreciation.

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  • 7th Annual CU Give Back

    Generation Giving: The Gueberts Donor Feature

    Concordia supporters Tim and Sue Guebert raised brilliant musicians — and laid a foundation of generous giving.

    Read Story

  • 7th Annual CU Give Back

    Library Renovation Brings Together Campus Resources

    The newly remodeled and renamed Paul and Cathy Schroeder Library & Learning Commons promotes student learning through a new welcome center, writing center, unity center, career and vocation center, as well as enhanced tutoring services and academic advising. The modern, contemporary design will enrich the academic experience of students for years to come.

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  • 7th Annual CU Give Back

    Giving Campaign Tops $200,000 in One Day

    The annual CU Give Back campaign raised more than $200,000 in 24 hours from a record number of donors.

    Read Story

  • In Good Hands

    In Good Hands

    Concordia supporters Kim and John Alsop have a long history with Concordia and the Lutheran church and — like generations of family before them — are passionate about Christian education.

    Read Story

  • Jerry Ruud in Tie-Dye

    Heart of a Giver

    Jerry Ruud ‘93 followed God’s calling and found fellowship and support at Concordia. Since graduating and pursuing a successful career in sales, Jerry has maintained strong ties with Concordia, fellow alumni, and has created endowments in honor of people important to him from his time as an undergraduate.

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  • LaVeda accepting her award

    LaVeda Carter's Leadership, Long Tenure Celebrated at Retirement

    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, and longest-serving employees.

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  • Doy Henley

    Still Making a difference

    Doy Henley, an Orange County businessman and philanthropist, has become a generous donor to Concordia University Irvine in his tenth decade of life, knowing that, “You can’t take it with you,” he says. “You’ve got to invest it the best you know how.”

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  • The Howell Family

    Honoring the Legacy of Others

    When the opportunity came to name rooms in the newly-built Borland-Manske Center, retired Los Angeles City firefighter Mark Howell and his wife Lauri chose to honor numerous people who contributed to their faith and love of music.

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  • Miseker Abate

    The Support Of Family

    Siblings Avery, Cash, and Adyson Casteel chose to attend Concordia University Irvine together. Both Gary Casteel, the kids’ grandfather-father, and Claudia Casteel, the kids’ grandmother-mother, were thrilled by the student’s choice. Gary and Claudia own and operate The Shops at Heavenly Village at the popular ski resort in Lake Tahoe, close to where they have lived for 50 years. Along with this, the family has enjoyed traveling often over the years. They have been active in the Lutheran church, where the triplets have been in Lutheran education through preschool into college.

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  • Miseker Abate

    Treating Body & Soul

    Miseker Abate walks in a legacy of godliness and care for others that was embodied in her father’s life. For him, it meant becoming a theology professor in their home country of Ethiopia, and then at Concordia Irvine. For Miseker, the path is in the field of medicine. She recently earned her medical degree from UC Irvine and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. She heads now to Cornell University for her surgical residency.

    Read Story

  • Hank and Dixie Aschbrenner

    God Has a Bigger Shovel

    Hank and Dixie Aschbrenner lead by example when it comes to generosity. Since 1994, Hank has worked with Concordia Irvine to raise funds for numerous projects. But Hank doesn’t just raise funds — the Aschbrenners give around 30 percent of their annual income to Lutheran universities and churches, and encourage others to do the same.

    Read Story

  • Ryan Ellis

    Next Gen Golf Apparel

    When Ryan Ellis ’03 graduated from Concordia Irvine, he decided not to pursue a career in basketball as his father and sister had done, and instead launched into the clothing industry. Today, Ellis is president of Travis Mathew, the hottest brand in men's apparel for work and play, whose fans include actor Mark Wahlberg, TV celebrity Chris Harrison and dozens of PGA players, surfers and pro athletes.

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  • Elayne Lohr

    Shared Blessings

    Elayne and Paul Lohr experienced great blessing from their family’s egg business, which they helped grow from a small farm to a 60,000-bird ranch. That blessing has flowed down in their own family, and in thirty-five years of impact at CUI where their generosity has helped build the campus and support students through scholarships.

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  • Bill and Audrey Dahlgren

    Innovation and Generosity

    Bill and Audrey Dahlgren, long-time CUI supporters, built an industry-leading company and family through a combination of innovation, risk-taking and prayer.

    Read Story

  • Chris and Katherine Pond

    The Business of Giving Back

    Chris ’04 and Katherine Pond ’05 came to Concordia Irvine intending to pursue pastoral ministry and school teaching, respectively, but both wound up excelling in the field of business. Though still in their mid-thirties, they have become strong supporters of Concordia Irvine in a variety of ways.

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  • Virginia Slusser

    Making a Difference

    Not many people outlive their life insurance policies. At 100 years old, CUI donor Virginia Hoffman Slusser just did.

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  • Wooden cross in Good Shepherd Chapel

    Significant Grants Establish Two New Centers

    Two grants totaling more than half a million dollars will allow CUI to streamline and broaden students’ preparation for church leadership, and promote a broader understanding of vocation by exploring connections between faith, work, and economics.

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  • Phyllis Talmage

    Longtime Supporter Helps Upgrade Eagles Nest

    On a mezzanine overlooking the gym is a newly re-designed Eagles Nest, an attractive, glass-enclosed room where CUI hosts special receptions, athletics team meetings, and seating during games. The room’s upgrade came thanks to Phyllis Talmage, a generous donor since 1973.

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  • Kelly and Cheryl Keithly

    Sowing Into the Future: Seeds of Faithfulness

    In the 1970s, Kelly and Cheryl Keithly heard a pioneering educator named Charles Manske, Concordia’s founding president, speak at their church about the vision for a Lutheran university in Southern California. His presentation inspired the young couple.

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  • Ryan and Lyndsay's framed music notes

    "Mighty" Music Inspires Scholarship Support

    Ryan ’97 and Lyndsay (Kahler ’96) Ermeling met in the choir at Concordia University Irvine. Two years after graduating, they started the Ein Feste Burg Choral Scholarship to support the choral department and students with financial need.

    Read Story

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