After nearly 30 years of service to Concordia’s German program, Dr. Jonathan Clark has announced his retirement following the end of the Spring 2023 semester. The department of world languages and cultures is proud to thank Dr. Clark for his many years of service to the German program. It has been our honor to work with him throughout his time here. He leaves behind quite a legacy. His enthusiasm for teaching and sharing German language and culture has deeply impacted both students and the faculty members that have worked alongside him.
Clark began his work at Concordia in 1994, joining the then-German department as department chair. He served in this position until the consolidation of language departments but continued to be a leader and supporter throughout a number of changes in department structure. He was active both inside and outside of the German program, mentoring students for COSS (Celebration of Student Scholarship) presentations, leading Credo courses and Inquiry Seminars, and partnering with other faculty members for courses with multidepartmental ties.
Clark led a number of study abroad seminars and worked continuously to develop new opportunities for students, including the founding of the Jena study abroad program for German students. He worked closely to help students find the right fit for them, going above and beyond to advocate for scholarships, place them in a university and support network that would provide the best experience for them, and even visiting students while abroad to make sure they were doing well.
Throughout his time at Concordia, Clark has been an incredible mentor. He was recognized in 2015-16 with the Distinguished Service Award from the Student Government Association. His mentorship of the German Club resulted in popular events including the annual Adventskalender fundraiser, cultural celebrations for Christmas, Oktoberfest, and Fasching, a spring celebration. He traveled with students to weekends and retreats at Concordia Language Villages, attended cultural events both in German and in other language programs, and was an enthusiastic supporter of the diversity present in Concordia’s language programs and on campus. A favorite day for many German students was the day he would dress up as Sankt Nikolaus and bring goodies and lead songs.
Outside of his work as a German professor, Clark also worked to research topics including views regarding witches and women’s places in society, women and gender studies, genealogy, and ancestry. In 2015, his expertise was tapped as a researcher featured on the show “Who Do You Think You Are?” exploring Josh Groban’s family history. He has also researched for and published articles and books with the aim of giving a voice to those who may not have had one throughout history so that they are able to tell their own story. He continues to be involved in research and was recently thanked for his assistance in translating family letters from the Holocaust in a Forum article on April 22.
Clark’s love for sharing German language and culture with others and for supporting and inspiring his students was felt across the department and campus. He was generous with his time, inspiring faculty and staff with a vision for what Concordia is and could be and helping students explore and be involved in their world through the lens of languages and cultures. While we are sad to say goodbye, we wish him all the best as he moves on to his next adventure. Viel Glück und viel Segen!
Written by Emma Skuza ’22, World Languages and Cultures administrative assistant