With a love of learning and a heart for building community, Anne Craft has touched the lives of students, faculty, and staff. Committed to the service of others, she has spent her life enriching the lives of those around her.

Home to just over 2,000 residents, the town of New Wilmington, Pa., sits close to the Ohio border, a 16-hour drive from Concordia College. It is here where Anne and Bill Craft got their start.

Anne’s father was a faculty member at Westminster College in New Wilmington, a Presbyterian liberal arts college founded in the 1850s. She lived on campus, growing up in faculty housing, which has since been replaced with a men’s dormitory. Bill also lived on campus for a time, and his father and grandfather built many of the buildings on campus. Naturally, Anne attended Westminster, graduating in three years with an English degree.

Soon after, the pair were married and began packing for Chapel Hill, N.C., where Bill earned his doctorate degree. From there, they moved to Gettysburg, Pa., where they lived for 20 years.

“It’s a great place,” she says. “He was a faculty member at Mount Saint Mary’s and I was an adjunct at Gettysburg College.”

Anne was also an editor at Gettysburg, ran a peer tutoring center, and taught 10th and 12th grade English. The Crafts’ first taste of Midwest living was in Decorah, Iowa. Used to the milder winters of Pennsylvania, their first Iowa snow season was a bit of a shock. 

“When we moved to Decorah, it was one of those bad winters. It was a big change that way,” she says. “Our son, Josh, who was going to college in North Carolina, where azaleas had been blooming since February, came back to 9-foot snow drifts everywhere.” 

Snowy Decorah was also home to a welcoming community of people. Their daughter, Meg, finished high school there, graduated from Luther, and now lives in Decorah with her family. Josh and his family currently live in Salt Lake City.

“The Norwegian-Lutheran culture, which was new to us, was wonderful,” she says. 

While in Decorah, Anne directed a federal program called Educational Talent Search, which assists people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue and succeed in higher education. She later transitioned to academic counseling at Luther College, where Bill was vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college.

“I was doing a lot of traveling,” Anne says. “I got to know the neighboring communities because I was working in those schools.”

This emphasis on community was similar, culturally, to Concordia. So, when the opportunity arose for the Crafts to move to Moorhead, they pursued it. Right away, it was clear to Anne that Concordia was a good fit for both. The campus community provided a warm welcome.

“I just liked everyone,” she says. “It seemed familiar to me.”

Working as an academic counselor in the Center for Student Success, Anne has served the students of Concordia for more than a decade. Whether taking one-on-one meetings or guiding study sessions, she is ready to lend a helping hand.

Colleague Heidi Rogers ’06, director for student equity and inclusion and assistant director of retention and learning services, wholeheartedly agrees.

“Anne and I shared support for a student during my graduate internship,” Rogers says. “I will always remember seeing Anne and this student huddled around textbooks as she patiently read with them, demonstrated different note-taking strategies, and just guided them in whatever they were tackling that day.”

Anne’s part-time status does little to detract from the positive impact she makes. She continues to support students and team members alike.

“As a team and a center, we’ve all experienced a lot together both personally and professionally,” Rogers says. “Anne has been a constant and affirming presence – always ready to offer a kind word, sit in sorrow, or celebrate joys with individuals or as a team. She is an incredibly important part of the CSS.”

John Andrick, assistant dean of students and director of the Center for Student Success, echoes this statement.

“Anne recognizes that we are whole human beings and not just employees of the college,” he says. “Anne was particularly supportive while my mom was sick. She always made me feel cared for at a time when I really needed it.”

While serving as a source of positivity and support, her expertise in English education has made her an asset to the team.

“With her background in English education, Anne is the go-to person to support students who are multilingual and need some extra guidance in learning their entire degree in a second, third, or even fourth language,” Rogers says.

Throughout her collegiate career, Anne has watched many students grow and mature, something she’ll always cherish.

“I will miss that kind of thing,” she says.

It’s a joy to see people grow up and find their place in the world.”
— Anne Craft

Throughout her life, Anne has served every community she’s been a part of. Her humble kindness, compassion, and intentionality have uplifted students across the country — from Westminster, Chapel Hill, Gettysburg, Decorah, and now Moorhead. She stays true to her character in her goodbye message to the Concordia community.

“Tell them I love them. I loved being among students and faculty,” she says. “I’m just an adopted Cobber, so I can brag a bit. It’s a tremendous college and mission. It’s been a privilege, an amazing privilege, and a joy.”

Upon retirement this summer, the Crafts are excited to spend time at their lake home with their two children and six grandchildren.

Originally published in the 2023 Concordia Magazine