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Home News CUNE says goodbye to beloved President Friedrich

Photo courtesy of CUNE Marketing Department.

By Autumn Johnson

President Brian Friedrich announced in July that he will be leaving CUNE to accept the call as president of Concordia University, St. Paul. He will transition after the fall semester.

Friedrich has been at Concordia since 1991 when he started as director of the Centennial Campaign. Since then, he has been dean of development and college relations, assistant to the president and vice president, and he has served as president for the last 15 years. 

Friedrich’s accomplishments are not limited to the university. He is a member of the Nebraska Independent College Foundation Board and Seward Rotary Club, and was a member of the Association of Lutheran Development Executives Board of Directors. He is also Concordia University System Vice President. 

Although the fall semester will be his last, Friedrich has plenty to do. He will continue to impact Concordia and its students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways.

“This is a very exciting year at Concordia,” Friedrich said. “I look forward to the start of Concordia’s 126th academic year, homecoming in September when a contingent of former faculty and staff members will return to campus, celebrating Concordia’s 125th birthday, dedicating the Dunklau Center for Science, Math and Business, and completing EXCEL 2025, Concordia’s new strategic plan as well as spending time thanking students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University who have blessed Laurie and me in many ways during our years here.”

The Board of Regents announced Aug. 16 that Assistant Professor of Theology Rev. Russ Sommerfeld will serve as interim president while it searches for the next president. Sommerfeld will start as interim president in January 2020. 

“The appointment to serve as interim president of Concordia University Nebraska will be both a privilege and responsibility,” Sommerfeld said. “As I anticipate temporarily serving in this role, I do so with confidence in the Lord because Concordia is his Christian community of higher learning. Most of all, it will be my joy to serve Concordia’s remarkable student body through this transition.”

Students will miss Friedrich and his incredible ability to remember everyone’s names. 

“It is sad to see him move on, but I will be forever grateful to have met such a great man and a great steward of God’s church,” sophomore Brandon Timoney said.

Students feel Friedrich will continue impacting others in Minnesota.

“I think that it is sad to see him go, but Concordia is still Concordia without him,” junior Dane Wolfgram said. “He will be missed, but I think we can take comfort in knowing that another Concordia will be in his good hands.”

Students can rest assured they have played a big role in Friedrich’s 28-year career at Concordia.

“I love Concordia’s students,” Friedrich said. “They inspire me, motivate me and are so kind to me. . . Concordia’s students are awesome and I am grateful for each and every one of them.”

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