River Forest, Illinois, June 13, 2014 – Concordia University Chicago is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Daniel Lee Gard, of Fort Wayne, IN, has accepted the call to serve as the University’s eleventh president. The Concordia-Chicago Board of Regents unanimously voted to elect Gard, who will be officially installed at the University’s Opening Service on August 24. He succeeds, Rev. Dr. John F. Johnson, who retired from the University in August 2013.
Gard expressed his commitment to CUC’s distinctive mission, stating, “Concordia University Chicago has both a long and distinguished history and a wonderful future in service to the Church and our world. As the University concludes its first 150 years, I am profoundly humbled to be a part of launching the next 150 years.”
Gard currently serves as Professor of Exegetical Theology and Dean of the Military Chaplaincy Programs at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, where he has taught since 1989. Nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013, Gard serves as Rear Admiral (Lower Half) and only months ago was nominated for and appointed to the position of Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters in the U.S. Navy. In these roles, Gard is responsible for overseeing military chaplain operations in Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Reserve units around the world.
Ordained by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in 1984, Gard has previously served as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mishawaka, IN. He has also held several administrative positions at the Seminary including Dean of the Graduate School, and is an accomplished author and speaker. His experiences are broad and range from ministering to civilian and military personnel to teaching Hebrew to future LCMS pastors, and from comforting grieving families on 9/11 to providing spiritual guidance to his parishioners.
“The breadth and depth of Dr. Gard’s academic, pastoral and military experience will serve Concordia-Chicago exceptionally well,” said Rev. Dan Gilbert, Chair of the University’s Board of Regents. "All the members of the Board of Regents of Concordia University Chicago are pleased to have extended a call to Dr. Daniel Gard to be the new president of the University. We believe both his scholarship and his leadership gifts as a professor and as a Navy admiral will be great blessings to the University, the surrounding community, the Church and the world."
Gard will lead the school through the next phase of its journey, honoring its rich history as a Christian university in the Lutheran tradition as it moves forward with quality and innovation in a rapidly changing higher education landscape. He noted,“In the years to come, the LCMS will continue to receive faithful workers trained at Concordia University Chicago. The world around us will also receive CUC formed individuals who serve in countless vocations. Concordia-Chicago's graduates will continue to bring to the world not only the eternal values of faith but also reason for hope and peace—our Lord Jesus Christ. “
During his time in the military, Gard notably served during the 9/11 Pentagon recovery operations in Washington D.C., during Operation Iraqi Freedom and most recently at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In addition to his various military awards, Gard received the St. Martin of Tours Award in 2008, from the former LCMS Board for Mission Services, for his exceptionally meritorious service.
In accepting the call Dr. Gard said, “I ask for the prayers and support of the Church. Pray for me that I might be a faithful servant of our Lord. Pray for the University that we might move into the future with an ever strengthening Lutheran identity. Help us meet the needs of today and the future through your gifts. And send us students, undergraduate and graduate, to become part of this unique and exciting community dedicated to the formation of both the mind and the spirit. Soli Deo Gloria!”
Gard was awarded his B.A. in History from Carthage College, Kenosha, WI, and his Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary. He earned both his M.A. in Hebrew Bible and Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Judaica with minors in New Testament and Liturgics from the University of Notre Dame.
He and his wife Annette Kay Scheumann Gard have three children – Caleb, Rachel and Hannah, a current Concordia-Chicago student.