Non-Lutheran named interim CEO of Concordia-Ann Arbor

Concordia University – Ann Arbor announced that they have hired Dr. Russell L. Nichols to serve as the university’s interim CEO. Nichols earned his Doctor of Education from Purdue University and his undergraduate degree from Wabash College. He is the former president of Hanover College in Indiana and served a number of positions at Hillsdale College in Michigan prior to that.

Not mentioned in the Ann Arbor announcement but from other sources we learn:

Active in civic affairs, Dr. Nichols is an ordained elder of Hanover Presbyterian Church.

The Reverend Thomas R. Ahlersmeyer resigned as president of the university at the end of 2009. Senior Vice President Charles A. Winterstein was named acting president at that time. I can’t find any record of Ann Arbor having a CEO previous to Dr. Nichols and I’m uncertain of what his job description is. Concordia Presidents are required to be members in good standing of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.


Non-Lutheran named interim CEO of Concordia-Ann Arbor — 54 Comments

  1. Jim Gallagher :
    Meant no offense to anyone on AA as a “dying institution.” I also have family proudly displaying diplomas from there and I spent much time as a high schooler on campus with various activities. But their future does not look bright and, in this case, numbers do matter significantly.

    If anyone wants them to close, have them issue me an honorary doctorate. Other than Ft. Wayne (perpetually thought to be on the chopping block) every school from which I graduated has closed–grade school through college (two different colleges, too).

    EJG (Norm, instead of an avatar, can I have an ominous chord attached to my posts?)

  2. It would be interesting if the reason for Tom Ahlersmeyer’s resignation were made public. He’s looking for a call from what I hear. I believe the football program was his brain-child. Athletics has been more important at CUAA for a long time! When I was a student in the mid-90’s, the athletes (most of whom were not Lutherans and not going into church professions) received more scholarship dollars, along with the music majors.

    I went to school when the Manor was renovated at the cost of millions of dollars to house the President and the Development office. (Ahlersmeyer changed that back at least). The Student Center also was built. We were told all the money had been raised for those projects. Then 2 years later, the President resigned and CUAA was on the verge of bankruptcy (for umpteenth time…).

    I’ve got no problem with a non-Lutheran administrator/manager…he might actually know what he’s doing.

    Let’s face it, before the Synod closes one of its two seminaries in order to save money, there are some Concordia campuses that should be shuttered. Imagine all the realized dollars from the sale of prime real estate. That could fund seminary education and missionary work for generations.

  3. Wow. Never have I been more disappointed. However, it’s not with CUAA. It’s with its alumni base and ‘supporters’.

    Yes, the university is struggling, but very little financial support comes in from alumni. Rather than support, some cast ridicule. It appears that the LCMS patriarchs simply remain stiff with arms crossed, rather than actively recruit for the school.

    The faculty and staff of the university are there everyday putting forth a maximum effort with love and dedication for Concordia and its mission, but the ‘gawkers’ sit idly by.

    My advice would be to discover a way to help the university rather than consistently seek to bash it. If we lose the institution, you may only have these blogs as a place to voice your disapproval.

    Disapprove of athletics all you want, but Athletes in Action, the on-campus ministry for athletes appears to be growing stronger. In addition, the tuition that goes into the university from student-athletes looks like it is keeping the place viable (which in turn keeps programs like pre-seminary and education going).

    Question for all: Where do you believe the mission field starts and stops?

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