Dr. Alan Borcherding
Undergraduate Commencement Speaker
Alan Borcherding, PhD, since 2010 the interim president of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod’s Concordia University System, earned a master of divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1982. He continued his advanced studies at St. Louis University, where he earned his master’s in medieval philosophy (1984) and a doctorate in modern German philosophy (1987).
After serving two parishes in Illinois from 1987-1990, Borcherding became Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne from 1990-1996. Since 1996, he has served as Director of University Education for the Concordia University System, focusing on the business and information technology affairs of the universities.
Graduate Commencement Speaker
Dr. Daniel R. Tomal
Daniel R. Tomal, PhD, is a professor of educational leadership at Concordia University Chicago, an award-winning author and a widely sought after speaker on education topics.
Tomal has written 15 books and more than 150 research studies and articles, including Every Parent’s Nightmare and How to Finish and Defend Your Dissertation. His research book, Action Research for Educators, received the distinguished Choice Award for outstanding academic books by the American Library Association’s Association of Colleges and Research Libraries.
Tomal has made several guest appearances on national television and radio shows, including CBS This Morning, NBC Cover to Cover, ABC News, the Les Brown Show, Chicago Talks, CNBC 700 Club and the Joan Rivers Show, to lend his professional insight to a variety of current education-related topics.
In his career, Tomal has also testified before Congress on behalf of education and education training and has spoken at more than 100 schools about educational leadership, school improvement and student motivation. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education from Ball State University and his PhD in Education Administration and Supervision from Bowling Green State University.
Tomal has been part of the Concordia-Chicago family for 19 years and currently teaches school leadership and research in the graduate program. He is a member of St. John Lutheran Church, is married to Annette Tomal, PhD and lives in Wheaton, IL.
The Spiritus Christi Medallion is presentedto an individual who has performed his/her responsibilities with unusual effectivenessand influence, and with the highest quality of service to the church. Dr. Peter Renn will accept the award for the Christians in absentia.
Spiritus Christi Recipients
Robert and Arleen Christian
Bob and Arleen Christian, both graduates of Concordia University Chicago, have spent 62 years together in Christian Ministry. They spent 17 years at Our Savior Lutheran parish in Bronx, NY, before the couple accepted a call in 1960 to open a K-12 Hong Kong International School for the LCMS Board of Missions (with four children in tow and one on the way). The Christians taught students from more than 35 countries and saw enrollment grow to 1,300 students before leaving in 1977 for a call in Seattle, WA.
While Bob opened Seattle Lutheran High School, Arleen taught kindergarten at Hope Lutheran School until they retired in 1994. Even after retirement, Bob spent eight years doing foundational work and planning for the opening of Mount Rainier Lutheran School in Tacoma, WA.
While having a heavy hand in the opening of new Lutheran high schools, Bob was involved in nearly every step, including finances, construction, teacher recruitment and student counseling. Bob says his priority, however, was strengthening the need for Christian schools, focusing on the gospel-orientation in Lutheran education and helping students experience the joy and freedom of living in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
In all these ministries, Arleen and Bob were deeply involved in the Lutheran congregations. The couple raised five children all while incorporating their own personal Christian ministry in schools, churches and communities worldwide. The Christians are proud grandparents of nine and great-grandparents of two and currently live in Seattle, WA, where they are members of Hope Lutheran Church.
The Alumnus of the Year Awardis presented to a graduate of Concordia whose service to the church and community has brought honor to Concordia University Chicago.
Alumnus of the Year Recipient
Dr. David M. Stocker ’61
Dr. David Stocker is the former Director of Choirs and professor of Choral Music at Arizona State University (ASU) where he conducted the Concert Choir, taught graduate courses in conducting, choral literature, rehearsal techniques and seminars in music education.
As coordinator of the ASU graduate choral program, he chaired over 80 Doctor of Musical Arts dissertations, doctoral and masters committees, and served as an evaluator of school music programs nation-wide.
Stocker received his bachelor of science from Concordia University Chicago, and his PhDfrom Northwestern University. He taught at Concordia College and the University of Alberta in Canada and at the University of North Dakota before assuming his duties at ASU in 1978. His ensembles have premiered major orchestral works and have performed regionally, nationally and internationally in Poland, Estonia, Russia, and Greece. In addition, Stocker has participated as either a panelist, advisor, clinician or adjudicator in international music festivals in Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Russia, Greece, Poland, Romania, Canada and Hong Kong.
He has been active as a guest conductor and adjudicator in more than 300 clinics, honor choirs, all-state choirs and festivals across the country.
Stocker has almost 200 pieces in print and contributes compositions, editions and arrangements to a wide variety of school, community and church ensembles. Stocker is published by 12 major publishing houses and, until 2006, held the position of Senior Editor for Choralweb.com. Stocker continues to serve as Editorial Associate on the editorial staff of the American Choral Directors Association He is married to Gwen (nee Beisel) ’61 and has four children and eleven grandchildren.
The honorary Doctor of Letters degree is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Christian education through scholarly research and publications that are widely recognized and appreciated in the church and/or nation.
Doctor of Letters Recipient
Dr. Donald K. Taebel ’53
Donald Taebel, PhD, earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Concordia Teachers College (now Concordia University Chicago) in 1953, his master’s in music from Northwestern University and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California Los Angeles, where he was awarded the Distinguished Graduate Student in Music Education citation.
Taebel taught at Lutheran high schools in both Chicago and Los Angeles from 1953-1959 before transitioning to higher education. He then served as an associate professor at Concordia Teachers College in Seward, NE, where he received a research grant and was member of the college’s Executive Committee. While at Georgia State University, from 1975-1997, Taebel was Director of the School of Music and was awarded Professor Emeritus status upon retirement.
He has written several educational articles that have appeared in the Journal of Research in Music Education and Music Educator’s Journal and has made presentations at state, national and international meetings of the Music Educators National Conference, the International School of Music and the American Educational Research Association.
In retirement, Taebel has continued with his devotion to music, serving as choir director and chair of the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, AL before moving to Virginia, where he actively serves at Bethany Lutheran Church and directs music programs at the Kendal at Lexington Retirement Community.
He is married to Alleane (nee Roegge), also a Concordia Teachers College graduate and has two children, Jeffrey and Kim.