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A Citation for Honorary Fellow Dr. William Jeffrey Craft


Dr. William Jeffrey Craft, President of Concordia College, is a distinguished educator, scholar and humanitarian. His career has been marked by innumerable and wide-ranging achievements that represent, as a whole, a profound expression of his faith in the liberal arts experience.

His scholarship on early modern poetry and prose comprises several thoughtful studies and a book on the work of Sir Philip Sidney.  His academic leadership has focused on curriculum leadership, faculty development and workload, institutional diversity, and institutional planning.  As Chair of the Wye Seminar Advisory Council, a program of the Aspen Institute, Dr. Craft is a frequent speaker and workshop leader at national meetings for deans and faculty.  He has been a long-standing member of the American Conference of Academic Deans Executive Board and has played an active role in devising and sustaining the Midwestern Alliance for Learning in the Liberal Arts, a group of seven colleges devoted to cross-institutional evaluation of student learning.

In keeping with a notable record of service, Dr. Craft is on the Board of Lutheran World Relief as well as being a member of the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC) and the Great Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Board. Since assuming the presidency of Concordia College in July 2011, Dr. Craft has striven to create vital partnerships with regional, national, and international institutions such as Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College (UIC). Furthermore, Dr. Craft was a founding member of the Center for Ethics and Public Life, a centre dedicated to the promotion of “vibrant interdisciplinary conversations about public life.”

Dr. Craft earned his doctorate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been a Fellow of the Newberry Library and the American Council on Education.  Prior to his election as President of Concordia College, he served as the Dean of Luther College and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, holding a faculty appointment as Professor of English. Before that, he was Chair of the Department of English and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Mount Saint Mary's College. Additionally, in the summer of 2008, Dr. Craft graduated from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Dr. Craft has brought energy and eloquence to his work as a scholar and educational leader. Last November at the MPCC-UIC Annual Conference on Liberal Arts Education, many of us in this audience witnessed his gifts fully on display when he articulated with, in the phrasing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “concentrated fires” on the centrality of whole person education and the liberal arts in a global age.

Mr. Chairman, in view of Dr. William Jeffrey Craft's outstanding achievements as a leader and a scholar and his passionate commitment to the liberal arts and the goal of educating each student as a 'whole person', it is my privilege to present him to you for the award of an Honorary Fellowship.

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