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Dr. Colin Irvine Named Concordia College’s 12th President

Concordia College is pleased to announce that Dr. Colin Irvine has been named the college’s next president. Irvine currently serves as provost and executive vice president at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D. He will become the college’s 12th president on July 1, 2023. Irvine succeeds Dr. William Craft, who is retiring after 12 years of service to Concordia College.

“Colin is the perfect person to lead Concordia in the coming years as the landscape of higher education changes and evolves,” said Mary Ranum ’78, chair of the Board of Regents. “He has a deep understanding of and commitment to the mission, vision, and values of Concordia College and Lutheran higher education. He recognizes the historic relationship between Concordia College and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and will work to sustain and nurture the college’s affiliation with the ELCA throughout his tenure as president.”

The presidential search committee, made up of members of the Board of Regents, faculty, staff, alumni, and students, selected Irvine from a national pool of candidates.

“I am truly honored to be named as Concordia’s next president, and I am excited and eager to bring my passion for the liberal arts, for experiential education, and for innovative and unique programs to the exciting work happening on campus and among the full Cobber community of caring and invested alumni,” Irvine said.

Irvine was drawn to Concordia’s mission to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life.

“As a strong believer in the benefits of creatively integrating the liberal arts with professional and preprofessional programs, I am looking forward to partnering with faculty, staff, and fellow administrators to ensure that Concordia — through its strategic plan and its unwavering commitment to its bold mission — remains a leader in the region and in the world,” Irvine said.

Under his leadership, Augustana redesigned its shared governance system, established a College of Arts and Sciences, created four academic schools, launched a Center for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship, and expanded its International Programs Office.

As an innovative and action-orientated leader, Irvine has championed a number of programs through strategic partnerships with area businesses and hospital systems. The creation of a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies has helped facilitate the design and launch of several new and fast-growing programs, such as medical humanities, environmental studies, multimedia entrepreneurship, neuroscience, and, currently in the works, science writing and criminal justice studies. Additionally, he helped start several new graduate programs, including a master’s degree in nursing, an MBA with a focus on leadership, and a soon-to-launch physical therapy doctorate program, which is the school’s first satellite program.

Aided by the creation of modern majors and minors, in Fall 2022, Augustana saw its largest freshman class in 50 years.

“Colin is a student of higher education who is always seeking to learn more and find ways to do things better,” said Gary Henderson ’79, chair of the presidential search committee and member of the Board of Regents. “He understands the trends, challenges, and opportunities in higher education and will sustain and enhance Concordia’s longstanding track record of delivering an excellent liberal arts education, with a focus on professional development. He will be bold, nimble, and entrepreneurial in leading and managing change, growth, and innovation.”

Geta Almlie ’24, a student on the search committee, said through the interview process, Irvine showed “a true passion for students. He will fit in with the connected campus community well, as he has a commitment to higher education in the midst of changing times.”

Irvine brings a passion and proven track record for increasing diversity to further Concordia College’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

“I have always been a teacher who cares intensely about learners of all backgrounds and who believes that, at its core, education represents the opportunity and the obligation to passionately pursue one’s vocation in service to the self and others,” Irvine said.

Prior to Augustana, Irvine was senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of Carroll College in Helena, Mont., where he founded the Center for Teaching Excellence. He taught English, education, and environmental studies at Augsburg University from 2002 to 2015. Irvine earned his doctorate in English from Marquette University, a Master of Arts in American studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and history at Carroll College. He is the recipient of three Fulbright awards.

An outdoors enthusiast, Irvine is an avid runner, having finished 12 marathons, and loves water skiing and wakeboarding, downhill skiing, and backpacking. Cooking, traveling, reading, and writing are other passions of his, but his favorite activity is spending time with his family. He and his wife, Kelly, the chief marketing and communications officer for the wealth management company Carlson Capital Management, have two children.

Calling his past work rewarding and energizing, Irvine says he’s ready for this next opportunity.