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Commencement speakers named for CUC graduation ceremonies


Two leading educators will serve as commencement speakers for Concordia University Chicago's graduation ceremonies on Saturday. December 15.  Dr. Jacob A.O. Preus, a top executive with Bethesda Lutheran Communities will address the undergraduate event, which begins at 10:30 a.m.  Dr. Isabel Nunez, from Concordia's Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice will be the featured speaker during the graduate school's event at 3:00 p.m.

Gerald Perschbacher will be honored as the Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa recipient . The honorary Doctor of Laws degree is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Christian education through teaching competence, administrative leadership and creativity in educational thought and action.

Dr. Jacob A.O. Preus is the Executive Vice President for Mission Advancement with Bethesda Lutheran Communities. Preus leads Bethesda in the advancement of its mission of enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through services that share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Preus served as the third president of Concordia University Irvine from 1998 to 2009, where grew student enrollment grew nearly 150 percent. Prior to that, he served at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was a Dean of Faculty, Professor and Chair of the Department of Systematic Theology, and acted as liaison to the seminary’s Hispanic Institute of Theology. Preus was also a chaplain in the U.S. Navy (Reserves) and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 24th Regiment of the U.S. Marine Corps during Operations Desert Shield and Storm.

He regularly serves as a speaker on a variety of topics, including the intersection of contemporary culture and faith. Conversant in Spanish and Portuguese, he has traveled, spoken and taught extensively throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia.

Dr. Isabel Nuñez is an associate professor in the Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice at Concordia University Chicago. Her research interests connect education and the individual psyche, leading her to scholarship and activism in a variety of contexts. She presents regularly at the American Educational Studies Association, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing (Bergamo), National Association for Multicultural Education and American Educational Research Association conferences, and has participated on several invited panels. 

Nuñez is an associate editor for Multicultural Perspectives. She edited and introduced a section in Sexualities in Education: A Reader. She is a founding member of CReATE, a group of volunteer faculty engaged in inquiry and dialogue around policy for Chicago schools. The Chicago Sun-Times published her commentary on the role of teacher evaluation in the teachers’ strike. She has been interviewed on issues of education policy on several radio shows and on television’s Chicago Tonight. 

 Since September 1986, Gerald Perschbacher has served as editor of The Lutheran Layman, a publication for members and contributors of the International Lutheran Laymen’s League (Int’l LLL) and its Lutheran Hour Ministries He holds the record as longest serving editor and also conducts chapel operations.

On staff since March 1979, Perschbacher has served as mail counselor and assistant editor. As the co-founder of the Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Research Center Archives, he manages the preservation and display of rare historical documents and materials. The Center has grown to become one of the largest Lutheran reference centers in North America.

A prolific writer, Perschbacher has penned 17 books on curriculum, devotional and Bible study materials, and history. He has contributed to 20 additional books and has had more than 10,000 articles printed regionally and nationally. Perschbacher has been a freelance writer for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and a variety of other publishers for more than 35 years.



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