President Rast Honored as Distinguished Alumnus
FORT WAYNE, IN, September 30, 2021—The Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr., president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by his alma mater, Concordia University Chicago (CUC), on September 25, 2021. “This award honors individuals who have enhanced the prestige of the University by virtue of their character, integrity, and personal accomplishments,” explains CUC President Russell Dawn. “Dr. Lawrence Rast exemplifies the spirit of leadership and service we hope to instill in each of our graduates.”
Several friends, fellow alumni, and colleagues spoke about Dr. Rast in a special video: youtu.be/thkccsPWctQ. The Rev. Greg Alms (CUC ’85) called him “friendly and down to earth” and believes that “his collaboration and listening is a big part of what makes him a great leader.” The Rev. Roger Gallup (CUC ’79) called Dr. Rast “one of the most gifted—if not the most gifted— church historians in the Synod today” and said Rast “exudes Christian love and care for those he’s speaking with in a way that even those who disagree with him, like him” which he felt “shows great churchmanship.” The Rev. Dr. Ron Garwood (former chair of the CTSFW Board of Regents and former district president of Wyoming) continued, “As president of the Seminary, he’s done outstanding work indeed. He is well regarded in Christendom around the world. I think there is much ahead of him in serving Christ and His Church.”
Dr. Rast replied that anything he has done at the Seminary has been because of the support of his wife, Amy, and the incredible gifts God has given to his CTSFW team. “Receiving this great honor was profoundly moving and yet “undeserved,” he continued. “For it’s not about the individual, it’s about the team. It is about the people of God that He draws together to enable greater things to happen. An individual can do wonderful things. A team can do miracles through the power of God in Christ—and that is what Concordia Chicago is all about.”
Rast went on to thank President Dawn, the Board of Regents, the Alumni Association, faculty, staff, and students of CUC. “This institution has shaped everything that I have done in my career and in my service to our Lord. So thank you, Concordia. And thanks to all of you for the way you help bring future leaders forward and help prepare them through the gifts that you give so that Christ can continue to use more and more people to ensure that His Gospel goes out into all the world.”
Dr. Rast received his BA in Theological Languages with a minor in Theology from Concordia College (now University), River Forest, Illinois in 1986. Following CUC, President Rast completed his MDiv (1990) and STM (1995), both with a major in historical theology and a minor in systematic theology, from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. In 2000 he received the MA degree and in 2003, he successfully defended his dissertation, “Joseph A. Seiss and the Lutheran Church in America,” and earned his PhD in American church history from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. He serves as the sixteenth president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and professor of American Christianity and American Lutheranism.
Soli Deo Gloria