Providence Thanks President
Honouring Providence President Dr. August Konkel
Friends and colleagues came together on Thursday evening, May 24, to honour retiring Providence President Dr. August Konkel at the President’s Appreciation Dinner. A delicious dinner and dessert, served in the Reimer Student Life Centre at the Otterburne, Manitoba campus, bookended the evening’s program, emceed by Providence Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. David Johnson.
The program was launched by a comedic tribute performed by Dr. Bill Derksen, Dr. Henry Schellenberg, and James Fast, featuring a remarkable impersonation of the president by Willie Wiebe. Tributes from Gary Schellenberg on behalf of Providence employees, Cameron McKenzie on behalf of Cabinet, and Don Streuber on behalf of the Board of Governors, recognized Dr. Konkel’s significant and enduring contribution to the Providence community.
Common themes emerging throughout the tributes (aside from a general consensus that time constraints made the already difficult task of expressing gratefulness to Dr. Konkel impossible) included an expression of appreciation for the high value Dr. Konkel has placed on building relationships at all levels and in all aspects of his ministry at Providence; admiration for his humility; recognition of his pastoral attitude and his love for and attention to the study of Scripture; and gratefulness for his contagious enthusiasm for Christian higher education and his commitment to nurturing Christian higher education at Providence, through his involvement in teaching as well as through his vision during his time as President.
Alumnus and Board member Howard Jolly performed “Love is the Best” as a musical tribute, and Dr. Henry Schellenberg, James Fast, Willie Wiebe, and Trevor Schreimer performed Wagner’s “The Pilgrim’s Chorus” accompanied by Kristin Penner.
Alumni Relations Coordinator Susan Meszaros presented the President with an edited volume of collected alumni memories of Dr. Konkel from his time at Providence, beginning in 1970 up to the present, and Roger Gingerich, Chair of the Board of Governors, presented Dr. Konkel and Esther Konkel with the gift of a travel voucher for a trip to the Holy Land.
Board Member Jim Scobbie prayed a prayer of blessing for Dr. Konkel and Esther Konkel, noting that, since he had not been given a time limit, he had the luxury of praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).
The evening wrapped up with an informal time of fellowship over dessert and coffee, during which those in attendance visited and reminisced together, sharing their gratefulness for Dr. Konkel’s contribution to Providence and elaborating on the stories and sentiments shared throughout the evening, many taking the opportunity to approach Dr. Konkel to thank him personally.
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