Gunnar Fering ’23, Blue Earth, Minn.
Major/Minors: Communication Studies; English Writing and Business

In many ways, my introduction to Concordia College happened naturally. Despite living hours away from the Fargo-Moorhead area, I grew up going to Concordia football games, Homecoming celebrations, and reunions. My parents, who both had attended Concordia, showed me the exact spot in Memorial Auditorium where they met. Right away, it was clear that the campus and the memories they made were special to them.

I have to be honest. When it was time to visit colleges, I was hesitant to tour Concordia. After hearing so much about the good times my parents had, it was difficult to imagine having my own, separate experience. I wanted to pave my own way. But, by the time the tour had finished, I changed my tune. As I drove away with my dad, I turned to him and said, “I’m going here.”

Every faculty member I met on my tour of Concordia genuinely cared to chat with me. The men’s track coach, Garrick Larson, found me on campus, insisting we meet and talk about my future in athletics at Concordia. I ran into Dr. Michael Culloton, the director of choral activities, while touring Hvidsten. He took the time to sit down with me in his office and chat about music, my experience in high school ensembles, and my current director at the time. Then, years later when I arrived on campus as a first-year student, he remembered me. Concordia was the first educational institution where I felt that kind of care, focus, and attention to detail.

Still, when I arrived on campus for my first semester at Concordia, I was definitely nervous. At that time, I was much less extroverted, so I was worried I wouldn’t find my niche. Both of my parents were very involved in Cobber extracurriculars as students. My dad played football and my mom was involved in the campus sorority. Whenever they reminisced about college, their stories were always about those groups and inner communities. Because of this, I felt expectations to reach that level of campus involvement. I was worried that if I didn’t dive into every activity that I would miss out on building friendships. Thankfully, I realized something very important: At Concordia, there’s a place for everyone.

Very quickly, I found out that involvement happens naturally here. Concordia facilitates an environment that encourages personal growth and exploration. From Symposium speakers and plenary sessions to events like MLK Day on campus, we’re taught to examine global affairs with a closer lens. This examination, I’ve found, can also be applied to oneself. In my two years at Concordia, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought possible.

When I first stepped on campus, I felt a sense of community. Throughout my time here, I have found many Cobbers who decided to attend Concordia for the same reason. This shared aspiration seems to cultivate a group of people who value insightful, memorable conversations and relationships. I believe this is why I’ve met so many kind and genuine people here. The friendships made are less about similar interests and are so much more about real connections. I’m confident I’ll enjoy friendships with fellow students I’ve met here beyond graduation and long into the future.

Published September 2021