Concordia University-Portland holds a special place in the hearts of people across the Northwest – including President Linnemann and Dust Kunkel, who graduated in 1980 and 1996 respectively. As they explain in the latest episode of the NOWLeading Podcast, the NE Portland institution had a great impact on their lives. This is why they are enthusiastic about giving thanks for it during a special tribute at District Convention in June. And they are inviting fellow Concordia friends and alumni to be a part of this tribute.
“I will never forget February 2020 when the decision was made to close the University,” Linnemann said. “It was a very painful time and very difficult. It happened so quickly that I think it caught everybody off guard. And the pandemic that followed right on the heels of that kept us separate and unable to really draw together around what this means and our perspectives on it, so we want to take the opportunity this summer to give people the chance to weigh in and care for each other as we remember the blessing Concordia is.”
Kunkel added: “It’s so important to celebrate what kind of a blessing the institution was in the lives of so many people — your life and my life included.”
On Friday, June 10, at 8 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center, a celebration to honor the legacy of Concordia-Portland will take place. A large part of this remembrance will be to hear from alumni, friends, and supporters about what a blessing Concordia was to you. Audio or video messages are being sought through May 15. Submission guidelines are:
- Use your cell phone or computer to record a digital message of about 2-3 minutes in length and/or any digital photographs you would like to submit. Should you submit a photo it is with the understanding that those pictured have given permission to share their likeness.
- Please identify yourself and your connection to the University
- Upload your recording here.
Note: An option for those who are unable to record a video: Call the NOW District Office and ask to be transferred to a voicemail box to leave an audio message for inclusion in the video. Please start your message with: “My name is _____ and I remember Concordia-Portland.” Keep in mind the overall goal of telling what Concordia means to you and how your experience there was a blessing. The phone number is 503-288-8383 or 888-693-5267
(ask for ext. 125).
During the rest of the NOWLeading Podcast episode, Linnemann and Kunkel talk baseball (Linnemann played for Concordia), meeting spouses (both met their wives on campus), and the impact the University had on their faith. President Linnemann said much of his experience there helped him recognize God’s fingerprint on his life. “I think the thing that really sticks with me is just how personal and real my faith became to me during this time,” he said.
He also noted what a big hole Concordia-Portland left when it closed.
“It’s tragic that we no longer have the opportunity to speak into the lives of young people – well, people of all ages at this point – with the gospel. That to me is the greatest loss,” he said. “It’s not just what I’ve lost personally, but the fact that we no longer have a way to connect with people who we might never connect with now.”
Listen to the full episode below.