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Poehler Lecture

The Poehler Lecture Series is an annual event designed to explore how students and faculty in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Education, College of Business & Technology and College of Health & Science have connected their Christian faith with their academic discipline. Speakers are selected based on excellence in their academic discipline and the maturity of their Christian faith.

Poehler Lecture

  • Communication in the “Called” Community

    Dr. Marilyn Reineck, Professor Emerita of Communications and former Vice President of Academic Affairs, began her teaching career at Concordia University St. Paul in 1980. A distinguished professor and scholar, she became department chair in 1995. Widely regarded as the epitome of servant leadership, Dr. Reineck was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2009, a position she held until, in 2011, Concordia University Chicago called her to be their Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. In this role, she earned the respect and admiration of administration and faculty alike. Dr. Reineck returned to St. Paul as Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2015. She oversaw the updating of the faculty handbook and its tenure and advancement in rank policies, implemented a program review process, and was instrumental in Concordia receiving full accreditation from all its accrediting agencies, including the Higher Learning Commission. Dr. Reineck also helped expand degree offerings, CSP’s college structure, and its graduate and continuing studies schools. She has also provided leadership for professional development for faculty staff in examining their vocational callings. After spending a semester as Special Assistant to the Provost, Marilyn retired in the spring of 2021. Her accessibility, humility, integrity, and empathy have made her a much-admired leader in university and synodical circles.



    Dr. Mary Ann Yang enjoys her identity as a Christian female scientist. Over the years, she has passionately mentored many students to pursue their health and sciences careers, while walking alongside them with her Christian faith. She pioneered the Biology Research Program at CSP to provide students with the opportunities to engage in cutting-edge and clinically-relevant research. She continues to fuel the program through securing various internal and external funding and establishing collaborative efforts with the Mayo Clinic and international research universities. Her work has earned her the 2018 National Science Foundation’s Research Opportunity Award. Additionally, she was recognized by the INSIGHT Into Diversity with the 2016 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. Being a female minority faculty, Mary Ann is particularly aware of the barriers faced by underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines and is striving to be a positive role model and advocate for her students.

    Keith J. Williams has been an artist and educator since the late 1970s. He taught four years holding a University of Wisconsin, Madison B.S. in Art Education before earning his M.F.A. in Ceramics from the University of Iowa. As a dedicated teacher and administrator, he has helped shape the growth of the Department of Art and Design at Concordia University, St. Paul, serving as the Chair of the department 23 of the last 28 years. Williams served the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts as Director at Large, in the six-year presidential cycle, and as Conference Planner for the 2019 Twin Cities conference. He is now a Fellow of the Council. He is also a golfer and church musician who loves to play jazz on vintage saxes, but primarily he loves teaching.

    An accomplished and highly respected member of the faculty since 1994, Dr. Mark Schuler’s passion for Biblical Greek, the New Testament, and archaeology, have inspired a generation of students. Dr. Schuler is the co-founder of the university’s Honors Program, in litteris fidique, and between 2001 and 2016 led annual trips to the Hippos Excavations, allowing students, faculty, staff, and community members to work alongside partners from the University of Haifa to uncover the ancient city of Hippos. He also pioneered classroom and other educational uses of information technologies.

    Among his publications is Called by the Gospel: An Introduction to the New Testament, with Michael Middendorf. Dr. Schuler is a member of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the American Institute of Archaeology, and the Society of Biblical Literature. His transition to collegiate education came after eight years of experience as a pastor at Lutheran congregations in Iowa and Missouri.

  • About Professor Hanson

    Professor Thomas Hanson has more than 30 years of teaching experience at Concordia, helping to develop the University’s first accelerated adult undergraduate and graduate business programs. He served as the chair of the MBA program at Concordia for several years and also has served as Dean of Enrollment Management, Associate College Dean, College Dean and Executive Director of University Marketing.

    Establishing his first business at the age of 16, he went on to earn advanced degrees in his field and has spent decades guiding future entrepreneurs. He has earned certification as a Christian Reconciler to help congregations and other church entities manage times of crisis. He served six years in the US Air Force, flying as a navigator on KC-135 airplanes.

  • About Dr. Barb Schoenbeck

    Since her arrival at Concordia in 1978, Professor Emerita of Education Dr. Barbara Schoenbeck established a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding educator, a compassionate and influential mentor, a cherished colleague, and a humble, inspirational servant-leader passionately driven to promote positive, inclusive social change.

    Dr. Schoenbeck served Concordia St. Paul with distinction for twenty-seven years before her retirement in 2005, but has continued playing an essential role in Concordia’s graduate program and as supervisor of practicum students and student teachers.

     Her unparalleled dedication to the church, community, and to social justice, has been an inspiration to generations of students, staff, and faculty.

  • About Dr. Cheryl Chatman

    Dr. Cheryl Chatman has served for 16 years as Concordia’s Executive Vice President and Dean of Diversity.

    Colleagues and students describe Dr. Chatman as the “heart” of the campus because of her warm, welcoming, and inclusive spirit and her invariably affirming words or actions. Students are at the center of all she does. Her work and optimism are rooted in a deep spirituality and in the call to bring the light of Christ wherever she goes.

    Dr. Chatman is a member of the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Black Women in Higher Education, the board of ARTS US, and the Lutheran Education Foundation of Minnesota. Her contributions have been recognized through such honors as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Governor’s Commission for the Martin Luther King Statewide Celebration and the Iowa State University’s Alumni Achievement Award.

    Dr. Chatman works closely with the president to connect the administration, the Concordia campus, and the larger community; and she provides vision and leadership for all of the university’s diversity efforts.

    The title of Dr. Chatman’s presentation is “We are All God’s Poiema:  Can You See His Masterpiece in Me?

  • About Dr. Paul Hillmer

    Since joining the faculty of Concordia in 1991, Dr. Paul Hillmer has distinguished himself in the classroom, in his broad service to the university, and in his historical scholarship. The latter in particular has won him wide and well-deserved acclaim, giving not only Paul but also Concordia University visibility and added credibility with diverse Twin Cities communities.

    His work as historian and teacher has been an extension and outgrowth of the Christian liberal arts education he received at Concordia more than three decades ago. In 2015, whether it is working with today’s students or yesterday’s archives, Dr. Hillmer embodies what, at its best, a Concordia University education can offer to motivated and curious minds.

    The title of Dr. Hillmer’s presentation is Destroying” Education to Save It.

    2015 Video

  • About Dr. David Mennicke

    Dr. David Mennicke, professor of music at Concordia University since 1989 and a recognized leader in the field of choral music, delivered the annual Poehler Lecture on Faith and Learning, Thursday, March 20, 2014. The title of Mennicke’s presentation is “When in our Music God is Glorified: Trinitarion Reflections on Music, Faith and Learning.” Location: Graebner Memorial Chapel.

    The lecture, at which faculty members of note explore the connections they have made between the Christian faith and their academic disciplines through their careers, is in its 13th year and is named in honor of Concordia’s third President Willy August Poehler, who served the university in that capacity from 1946 through 1970.

    2014 Video

  • About Rev. Dr. Robert Holst

    The speaker for the 10th Annual Poehler Lecture on Faith and Learning was Rev. Dr. Robert Holst. The title of the lecture was Faith, Learning and Jesus? Prayer: Luke 11:2-4. President Holst reflected on his education and career as a missionary, a college theology professor, an administrator, and 20 years as president of Concordia University St. Paul.

    2011 Video

Heginbotham Lecture Series

The Heginbotham Lecture Series is made possible by private donors who established an endowment to honor Dr. Eleanor Heginbotham and her distinguished record of teaching and scholarship at Concordia University as well as her many contributions to the literary community in the Twin Cities. Heginbotham is a professor emeritus of English and Modern Languages. She retired in 2004.


Bartling Lecture Series

The Bartling Lecture Series, along with the Fred and Ruth Bartling Scholarship award, were launched in 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Fred Bartling’s arrival at Concordia University. The lectures primarily focuses on issues of human and civil rights; both important themes in Dr. Bartling’s distinguished career as a teacher, scholar, and activist.

Reformation Lecture Series

Concordia inaugurated the Reformation Heritage Lecture in 2012 to highlight the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017.  The purpose of the annual lecture is to inform the CSP community and general public about the life, thought, and influence of Martin Luther and to encourage Lutherans and other Christians to recognize the value of studying our heritage in order to apply the lessons of history to the present and future life of the Church.

2015 – Dr. Daniel A. Siedell: Art and the Lutheran Reformation


Hoffmann Lecture

The annual Hoffmann Lecture seeks to foster CSP’s ongoing Lutheran commitment to Christian mission and outreach. The Hoffmann Lecture Series celebrates the life and ministry of Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann. Ordained a Lutheran minister in 1939, Dr. Hoffmann served The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod as a religious leader and ambassador in a career that included varied roles as an author, pastor, broadcaster, classical and linguistics scholar, and teacher. The Hoffmann Lecture continues the legacy of Hoffmann by equipping students to show Christ’s love in their vocation, service, and care for others. Founded in 1984, the Hoffmann Mentoring Initiative is to prepare students for an active outreach consciousness within the campus community and raise outreach vision, commitment, involvement, and leadership throughout the church.

Concordia Speaker’s Series