An admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve and high-ranking military chaplain has been elected to serve as Concordia University's 11th president.
Rev. Daniel Gard, 60, was unanimously elected by the university's Board of Regents on May 30. He was one of three candidates on the slate for the presidency of the institution, according to a news release from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, of which Concordia is affiliated, according to a news release issued by the LCMS.
According to LCMS bylaws, Gard has until mid-June to decide whether to take the position. If he accepts it, his installation will most likely be this August in River Forest at the opening service of the new school year, according to a spokesman of the LCMS.
He will succeed John F. Johnson, who retired last Aug. 16 after serving a decade as Concordia's 10th president. Johnson steered the university through economic challenges and academic growth.
Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the LCMS, noted that Gard's leadership quality comes only occasionally in the church. "He is an outstanding choice," Harrison said.
President-elect Gard brings outstanding academic credentials and rich administrative experience, said the Rev. Dean Wenthe, president of the Concordia University System.
Gard comes with a varied background. The holder of a doctorate in Hebrew Bible/Judaica with minors in New Testament and Liturgics from the University of Notre Dame, he has been a professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, in Fort Wayne, IN, since 1989.
Gard has earned meritorious medals during his extended military career. As a chaplain, he comforted grieving families at the Pentagon on 9/11 and ministered to Guantanamo detainees. He currently splits his time between his offices in Ft. Wayne, IN, and his office at the Pentagon, where he tends to the pastoral care of sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. He was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in the fall and is Dean of Military Chaplaincy programs. President Barack Obama recently nominated him to be the 18th deputy chief of chaplains for reserve matters. He also served as a pastor in Woodland, IN.
"Concordia University Chicago is an historic Lutheran school with a long and distinguished record of service to the Church and to the world," Gard said in the same news release. "For 150 years, Concordia has exemplified the Lutheran tradition of serious scholarship… rooted in the certain conviction that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. By keeping Christ at the center and with a strong identity as a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod university, that record of service will continue far into the future."
CUC is the oldest of the ten colleges and universities that comprise the Concordia University System (CUS). More than 5,200 full-time students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral study through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Graduate and Innovative Programs at CUC.