photo courtesy Goddard College New Concordia President Dr. Bernard Bull
By Keaton Burgess
Dr. Bernard Bull, who arrived in Seward this month to be Concordia’s next president, said students can expect a lot from his leadership.
“They can expect me to be an active and engaged part of the community and life at Concordia, uphold the mission and identity of Concordia, embrace a posture of listening and learning from others that informs our decisions and plans for the future, and work hard to secure a strong and stable future for Concordia,” Bull said.
Bull has been in Lutheran education for 24 years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Wisconsin, a master’s from Concordia University Chicago, and his doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University. He is confident his background can help students achieve and reach their goals.
“I feel that God has called me to serve and lead at Concordia,” said Bull, who comes to Concordia from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. “I bring a passion for Lutheran education that comes from a very deep and personal place. I also feel that I bring many lessons learned from decades of service in many different forms of education.”
Bull has high expectations for students, as well. He said he wants students to be focused academically and also live the word of God.
“I expect and hope to support students to fully embrace their vocation of student, to explore what that vocation entails, to enjoy it, embrace its challenges and to prayerfully consider the neighbors that God calls them to love within that vocation,” Bull said. “At the same time, we are preparing students to take ownership and agency, to be more than complacent and compliant observers in life.”
Bull comes to Seward with his wife Joyanna, to whom he has been married for 25 years, and his two children, Bethany, 17, and Nathaniel, 13.
There will be an induction ceremony for Bull at 7 p.m. on Sunday at St. John Lutheran Church. Rev. Matthew Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, will officiate.
Bull is excited to start the school year and serve the students and staff at Concordia.
“I look forward to joining in Concordia’s beautiful expression of a Christian academic community, seeking to find ways that we can interact with, learn from, serve, and love the many neighbors in the world around us,” Bull said. “I am excited to discover ways that all of us in the Concordia community can further commit ourselves to exploring, understanding, and responding to critical issues in the church and society from a distinctly Lutheran and Christian perspective.”
Aside from his career in education, Bull also has created his own businesses. He started a consulting business in his early 20s and continued consulting in various forms for the next 25 years. He has helped nonprofits and faith-based organizations, as well as education companies, startups, think tanks, professional associations, K-12 schools and universities.
Bull takes over from Interim President Rev. Russ Sommerfeld, who stepped in to lead Concordia in January 2020 after the Rev. Brian Friedrich took the president’s job at Concordia University-St. Paul.