Last Friday night Terry and I joined over 500 of our nearest and dearest friends at the annual Concordia University Texas Excellence in Leadership Gala. Okay, not all in attendance were nearest and dearest friends. However, it was obvious that we all had much in common:
- Attendees cared enough about Concordia University to spend a lot more than pocket change for a very nice dinner and more than a very nice contribution to benefit Concordia students.
- All respected Dr. Tom Cedel, this year’s honoree, enough to offer three standing ovations and extended applause when he was introduced and at the end of his brief Christ-centered remarks.
- We all joined in thanking Tom’s wife, Penny, who has worked faithfully at his side voluntarily representing Concordia locally and nationally as a cheerful ambassador of good will.
During Dr. Cedel’s 12 years as president of Concordia, the University has, among other things:
- Moved from its 23-acre site in north central Austin to a 389-acre site near Lake Travis.
- Doubled in enrollment. Ten times more students now graduate from Concordia each year.
- Added several new undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
- Developed the Accelerated Degree program for part-time and adult returning students.
- Formed partnerships with local school districts for teacher education programs.
- Developed a nursing program that is one of the fastest growing in central Texas.
- Achieved numerous academic and athletic milestones.
- Grown in success in achieving its mission of Developing Christian Leaders.
Thanks to God for his healing hand through months of successful chemo and radiation treatment for Tom’s recent illness, discovered shortly after he announced his retirement last summer. Being chosen as honoree at the Excellence in Leadership Gala is an appropriate testimony to the gifts God has given Dr. Tom Cedel and the excellence with which he has used them to God’s glory!
Tom, Terry and I wish you and Penny the best, in the words of a toast learned from my father many years ago. I originally learned it in Spanish, but it’s spoken here in English: “May God bless you with his gifts of good health, much love, sufficient money and enough time to enjoy them all!”