Making a Difference
Our Students, Our Alumni
No one can tell the Concordia-Chicago story as well as our students and alumni. They offer valuable insights into what makes the University unique.
Hear what individuals are saying:
Kenya Chavez ’15 graduated with a double major in Visual Art Administration and Graphic Arts. She is not only the first person in her family to graduate college, but she is also a first generation American. She was born and raised in the United States, Chicago area from Lyons, Illinois. Her mom and her aunts, originally from Mexico, instilled in her the sense she can accomplish anything, especially her education. For Kenya and her family, living the “American Dream” means working hard and praying each generation does better than the next. Kenya’s graduation greatly influenced other members of her family to think about going to college. She is a great inspiration and hopes going to college will become their new family tradition.
When she was finishing Morton West High School, she looked at various colleges in the area and abroad, but truly appreciated the scale and intimacy of the CUC campus. “Receiving the Regents Scholarship to attend Concordia-Chicago made my dream of going to college a reality.” She proceeded to pay for the remainder all on her own with various part time jobs. To keep costs lower and maintain the comforting presence of close family, she decided to be a commuter student.
“During my time at Concordia-Chicago, I realized the importance my faith has been to me through this journey. The support of being on a Christian campus made the choice of attending school here even more special to me. I will always be grateful for receiving my scholarship.”
Upon hearing excellent recommendations for CUC's rigorous English program, Eric Irizarry Garcia '13, a native of Galicia, Spain, who now resides in Elmwood Park, IL, decided to expand his knowledge of vocabulary and creative writing techniques at Concordia-Chicago.
"I'm amazed at how easily I've come to feel part of a second home (at Concordia) and made so many new friends," Garcia says, "I believe I've grown tremendously as a person and that I'm no longer afraid of the unknown."
Future plans for Garcia include possibly moving back to Spain to pursue a career as an English or early childhood teacher. His other ambition is to become a professional writer, producing books for young adult readers.
Christopher Nied '13 of Oak Park, IL, wanted to attend a four-year university where his credits would easily transfer from Triton College in River Grove, IL.
"The professors want each student to do well and will take the time to help them, Nied says, "Having the Early Childhood Center is great, and it allows for additional learning beyond my fieldwork and classroom experiences."
Elisabeth Annice Unruh ’09, attributes her achievements and the desire to continue her education to the faculty and staff at CUC.
“The best part of Concordia is the mentoring that comes from the faculty and staff; David Settje, Michelle Morkert ’92 and Andrew Pollom are the greatest. They provided a space for me to be challenged.” (Settje is associate professor of history at CUC; Morkert is assistant professor of English. Pollom is assistant dean of students for Residence Life.) Elisabeth graduated from CUC in five years with a triple major in history, theology and interdisciplinary women’s studies. She served as the women’s basketball team manager for three consecutive seasons and facilitated events in the development of the University’s women’s and gender studies program. Off campus, she volunteered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America in its archives department.
“My ability to attend graduate school upon graduation from Concordia is witness to [the faculty and staff’s] dedication to the quality of my university education,” Elisabeth says.
Phil Grimpo ’98 was a communications/theatre major with an emphasis in video production, and minors in computer information systems and theology. Just two years after graduation, after serving as director of multimedia at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln, NE, he founded Inspirmedia to provide consulting, video production, Web development and other multimedia services to the church at large. The company, for which Grimpo is owner and executive director, works with numerous LCMS congregations and districts, the LCMS International Center, Concordia Publishing House and other auxiliary organizations, as well as for-profit organizations. In 2008, the young company won two prestigious Telly Awards, which honor the most outstanding television, video and film productions from among more than 14,000 entries across the country and world.
Q: What one, brief statement would sum up your learning experience at Concordia? A: “That it’s really about relationships. I still have relationships with professors and classmates, and they’ve helped me to continue learning through Concordia nearly a decade after I graduated.”