Concordia-Chicago’s signature fundraising event, Maroon & Gold: A Million Dreams, will honor four individuals for their faithful service within Lutheran education and their vocations. Awards in four categories will be presented at the Sept. 28 gala at Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, IL:

  • Outstanding Graduate – Dr. Kara Bratton PhD ’20
  • GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) – Katrina Jurica BME ’14
  • Spiritus Christi – Dr. Richard Fischer
  • One Heart – Dr. Kirk Farney

Outstanding Graduate Awardee: Dr. Kara Bratton PhD ’20bratton-kara.jpg

Dr. Kara Bratton PhD ’20 is the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Award for her commitment and leadership within Lutheran education. Dr. Bratton currently serves as an assistant professor at Concordia University Irvine in the EdD Leadership Program. Previously, Kara was the special education director for Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM) for 11 years and spent 11 years teaching K-8 special education in Lutheran Schools in Fort Wayne, IN. She earned her PhD in special education leadership from Concordia University Chicago in 2020.

GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) Awardee: Katrina Jurica BME ’14jurica-katrina.jpg

Katrina (Fricke) Jurica BME ’14 is currently a graduate student at Concordia University Chicago in the process of completing her master’s in music. She graduated with her Bachelor of Music Education in 2014 from CUC. Since then, she has worked to build the music program at multiple Lutheran schools in the Chicago area. She currently serves as the music teacher and chapel coordinator at St. John's Lutheran School in Chicago where she teaches general music, choir, handbells and a middle school drama group.

Spiritus Christi Awardee: Dr. Richard Fischerfischer-richard.jpg

Concordia-Chicago’s own Dr. Richard Fischer is the recipient of this year’s Spiritus Christi Award, an honor presented to an individual whose character, integrity and actions have directly and profoundly impacted the church at large. Dr. Richard Fischer is the Fred and Jane Wittlinger Endowed Chair for Music Performance, and is in his 50th year as director of bands at Concordia University Chicago. Dr. Fischer conducts the Wind Symphony and University Band, and also teaches basic and advanced-level conducting courses. He holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from DePaul University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University where he studied under Eugene Corporon.

One Heart Awardee: Dr. Kirk Farneyfarney-kirk.jpg

Honoring his devotion to faith and service to the community, Dr. Kirk Farney has been named the recipient of the One Heart Award. Dr. Farney is a historical scholar and teacher, and an academic, corporate and philanthropic leader. Dr. Farney currently serves as the vice president for advancement, vocation, and alumni engagement at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.

Join us at the Maroon & Gold Gala

Concordia University Chicago is proud to honor these exceptional award-winners as they have made outstanding contributions to their fields of endeavor, their communities, their churches, and who exemplify the University’s core values of Christian Faith, The Individual, Excellence, Integrity and Service.

For more information about the Maroon and Gold Fundraising Gala, please visit