On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, after a nationwide search process, the 17-person Board of Regents of Concordia University Texas announced its unanimous decision to name Dr. Donald Christian the institution’s next leader, effective Aug. 1, 2014. Christian will follow Dr. Tom Cedel, who is retiring after more than a decade of leading Concordia University Texas, one of the region’s fastest-growing universities.
“We are extraordinarily grateful for Tom’s leadership over the last 12 years,” Keith Weiser, immediate past chairman of the Concordia University Texas Board of Regents, said. “Further, we are fortunate to have someone with Don Christian’s strong capability and leadership skills to take the helm of the University and build upon the remarkable momentum we have going.
During Cedel’s tenure, the University moved in 2008 after 82 years on a 23-acre campus in Central Austin to its current home, a 389-acre property in North Austin. Additionally, Concordia University Texas experienced tremendous gains in undergraduate and graduate-level admissions, growing from 1,073 students in 2002 to nearly 2,600 students in 2013; increased fundraising; saw programmatic growth, including the additions of a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in 2008 and Masters of Business Administration program in 2010, among others; enjoyed ever-increasing prominence of faculty members; and saw unprecedented athletic success.
“It has been a privilege to serve as Concordia University Texas’ leader during these years of exceptional growth and change,” Cedel said. “It gives me great comfort to know that the University will continue to advance its mission of developing Christian leaders and to prosper under Don Christian’s leadership.”
The board of Concordia University Texas has given Christian the title of chief executive officer.
“As CEO of Concordia University Texas, Christian will have all the responsibilities that Cedel had as president,” Albert Carrion, current board chairman of the Concordia University Texas Board of Regents, said. “We wanted to give Dr. Christian a title that more accurately captures a 21st Century university’s need for leadership focused on academic excellence coupled with a business acumen that provides for a strong and sustainable future.”
“Working with Tom for almost a decade has been a blessing, and it has prepared me well for this position,” Christian said. “I have the institutional familiarity and understanding of Concordia’s culture and mission that allows me to build on the solid foundation laid by Tom Cedel. It’s an honor to accept this position.
Christian has served as dean of the Concordia University Texas College of Business since fall 2005. Since then, he has doubled enrollment of the Bachelor of Business Administration program, launched the Concordia MBA in 2010 and provided direction in creating the required leadership curriculum that is used across the campus. Christian has engaged the community in the growth of the College of Business by bringing together multiple program advisory boards, establishing a monthly speaker series that highlights Central Texas leaders and partnering with multiple entities that provide real-world experiences for Concordia students.
Christian teaches leadership and management, focusing on developing the critical and creative thinking process for students.
Prior to joining Concordia University Texas, Christian served in a variety of leadership positions, including headmaster of Lutheran High North in Houston, parish life administrator at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Houston, and as a high school band director in Minneapolis, where he began his professional career. He served as a member of the Board of Regents for Concordia University Texas before taking on the role of dean of the College of Business. He earned his doctorate from the University of Phoenix in management and organizational leadership, his master’s in music and wind conducting from the University of Cincinnati and his undergraduate degree at Concordia University Chicago.
Christian is past-president of the Austin ECHO Board (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition) and serves in an advisory capacity to LINC-Austin. He and his wife, Deborah Christian, who teaches English and serves as the college admissions coordinator at Concordia High School in Austin, make their home in Round Rock.