MOORHEAD, Minn. — Concordia College welcomed its next president during an on-campus program Wednesday.
Colin Irvine, 54, is currently provost and senior executive vice president at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D.
He becomes Concordia’s 12th president on July 1, succeeding William Craft, who will retire June 30 after 12 years as president. Concordia is a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The search for a new president began in January 2022. The search committee consisted of members of the Board of Regents, faculty, staff, alumni and students. Executive search firm Academic Search helped with drawing a national pool of applicants.
The Rev. Gary Henderson, a Board of Regents member and chair of the committee, told the campus audience Wednesday there were many unknowns when the search began.
“We trusted God to place the right person in our path,” he said.
Irvine, who was joined at the program by his wife, Kelly, and their two adult children, Cal and Caroline, said he had not been searching for another job. He drew parallels between the Concordia opportunity and meeting his wife.
“I met Kelly on a Thursday and decided by Sunday this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve had a similar kind of experience with this place,” he said.
Irvine became emotional talking about his late father, who was a janitor and a carpenter.
“He would have been so proud of this opportunity to come my way, to follow in his footsteps, and to serve others with humility and hard work,” he said.
Following the program, Irvine told The Forum that the biggest challenge for higher education institutions is one of perception — a perception nationally about the value of higher education.
Board of Regents Chair Mary Ranum said Irvine understands the challenges, trends and opportunities.
“He brings competency, creativity, resilience, and a wonderful sense of humor to the work of leading Concordia,” she said.
Irvine has 20 years of experience in higher education as a teacher and leader.
Before Augustana, Irvine was senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of Carroll College in Helena, Mon. He taught English, education and environmental studies at Augsburg University in Minneapolis from 2002 to 2015.
Irvine earned his doctorate in English from Marquette University, a master ofaArts in American studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a bachelor of arts in English and history at Carroll College. He’s received three Fulbright awards.
An inauguration ceremony for Irvine will be held after the start of the fall 2023 semester.