News & Events

Four presidential search candidates announced


The Concordia University Chicago Board of Regents has announced that four candidates for the position of University President have received prior approval from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The president is the chief executive officer of the University’s Board of Regents and serves as the spiritual, academic and administrative head of the institution. Concordia-Chicago is seeking to fulfill the presidency following the retirement of President Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Gard.

The candidates are:

Dr. Eric Ankerberg, associate vice president of academics at Concordia University Chicago: Since 2017, Dr. Ankerberg has served Concordia-Chicago in his current administrative capacity, coordinating strategic planning efforts, overseeing accreditation and institutional assessment efforts, ensuring faculty development initiatives, developing new academic programs and strengthening academic advising protocols. His previous experience includes serving as chief academic consultant to the College Consortium, acting as provost of Concordia University Texas and associate provost at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Ankerberg holds a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature and a master’s degree from Marquette University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University Chicago.

Rev. Dr. Jon Bruss, pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church: With a strong background in ministry, he has served in various ecclesial capacities since 1994 at churches in Topeka, KS, Mankato, MN and St. Peter, MN. A well-published Christian author, Bruss also possesses background as an educator having held faculty positions at the University of Kansas, University of the South, St. Olaf College and Bethany Lutheran College. He earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree in classics from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary and his Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College.

Dr. Russel Dawn, associate professor of history and political thought at Concordia University Irvine: In his current role since 2012, Dawn serves as both an educator and in administrative capacities. He currently acts as founding director of the university’s Vision-Mission-Vocation initiative and has served on the advancement rank task force, the Title IX task force, education policies committee and the academic council. He has also acted as assistant professor of religion at Lindenwood University and has professional experience as an assistant general counsel, associate investment banker, associate attorney and assistant bank examiner. Dawn holds a D.Phil., M.St. and B.A. from Oxford University, earned his juris doctorate and MBA from the University of Colorado Boulder, and has a B.A. in finance from Arizona State University.

Rev. Dr. Paul Philp, director of institutional research and integrity for the Concordia University System (CUS): In his role with the university system, Philp has ensured that a strong Lutheran witness permeates the curricula at CUS institutions, helped to establish programmatic goals and outcomes related to Lutheran identity, conducted in-depth institutional assessments, and facilitates collaboration of program delivery efforts via education technologies. Philp previously acted as the director of academic programming and curriculum assessment and as an admission counselor for Concordia Seminary-Saint Louis. He has also served on several congregational advisory boards and was previously called as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Faribault, MN. He holds a Ph.D. in education from Capella University, master’s degrees in sacred theology and divinity from Concordia Seminary-Saint Louis and a bachelor’s in mathematics from Concordia University Nebraska.

The Board of Regents will invite between two and four candidates to formally interview on campus. Presenting candidates will be selected on or around April 8, at which point an interview schedule will be shared publicly. Members of the campus community will be invited to participate in portions of the campus visits.

Subsequent information regarding the presidential search process will be available online at