The Concordia University, Nebraska Board of Regents has named an interim president to serve in the role that will be vacated by the Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich effective Jan. 1, 2020.
At its Aug. 2 meeting, the board appointed the Rev. Russ Sommerfeld, assistant professor of theology at Concordia, to serve as Concordia’s interim president while the search is conducted for the university’s 11th president.
“The university is truly blessed to have Rev. Sommerfeld agree to serve as interim president starting in January,” said Stuart Bartruff, chair-elect of the Board of Regents. “Russ has a passion for witnessing Christ that has informed his teaching at Concordia, his leadership of the Nebraska District and his time in the parish. That passion and the breadth of his experience will serve Concordia well during this tenure and the Board of Regents looks forward to working with Russ as the Concordia community faithfully lives out its important mission to provide a Christ-centered education.”
Sommerfeld joined Concordia’s faculty in 2015 after serving 12 years as president of the Nebraska District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Before leading the LCMS Nebraska District, he served as a pastor at congregations in Nebraska and Kansas for 23 years.
Sommerfeld earned a master’s degree in divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1980, a bachelor’s degree in theology from Concordia Senior College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in 1974 and an associate’s degree from Concordia University, St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1972.
Sommerfeld lives in Seward with his wife, Donna “Nino,” and the couple has three children, Alexander, Nicholas and Victoria, and four grandchildren.
“It will be a privilege to serve Concordia in this role while the university searches for its next president,” Sommerfeld said. “I look forward to working with our campus community as we rely on the Lord during this transition.”
The board is forming a presidential search committee that will include two regents, three faculty members and two staff members. Regents Jill Johnson and Tim Moll will serve on the committee, while Dr. Rob Hermann, natural and computer sciences department chair, will chair the committee. Bartruff and Jallah Bolay, Concordia student body president, will be ex-officio, non-voting committee members.
Further information regarding the committee’s process for receiving nominations for president will be shared as it becomes available.