by: Lauren Erath (CSP Marketing & Communications Intern)
After 30 years of service and academic adventures at Concordia University, St. Paul, Tim Utter, Senior Adult Undergraduate Admissions Counselor, will retire at the end of June.
“I am turning 65 on June 25 and because I am still in good health, I decided it was simply time to start a new chapter in my life,” Utter said when asked why he made the decision to retire.
Utter’s longtime connection to Concordia began as a student at what was then Concordia Academy, an all-boys school located on CSP’s campus. He graduated in 1967 with the school’s last graduating class before it merged with St. Paul Lutheran School in Roseville and became a co-ed high school.
“I felt like I was coming home when I was first hired in 1984,” Utter said. “The academic culture and Lutheran heritage was all so familiar.”
During his lengthy CSP career in admissions Utter has worked with both traditional undergraduate students and adult learners, including a nine-year stint as Director of Admission. A constant connection between students and the university through his many interactions with those eager to pursue their education, Utter admitted he’s always felt like he’s been an ambassador for Concordia.
Utter was given the unique opportunity of leading Concordia’s admission efforts during the beginning of its Southeast Asian Program in 1984 and considers it one of his many highlights of service to Concordia. During this time he worked with colleague Kathyrn Hanges (and later Barbara Beers), recruiting Southeast Asian students who were enrolled in ESL classes.
“I remember reading prospective student writing samples, many of them written about their childhood eye-witnessing of dramatic events related to the war in Southeast Asia,” Utter recalled.
Utter has travelled throughout the world, exploring Egypt, Jordan, France, Italy, and central Europe. While in Egypt, he visited the King’s Chamber of Pharaoh Khufu. He has also taken a car trip westward across the Oregon Trail, driving over 6,600 miles and returning home by the Lewis and Clark Trail. Utter said that during the trip he would stop often at off-the-beaten-path places that still are rich in historical significance.
Having a hobby for history, Utter plans to spend his retirement traveling to historical sites.
“I feel very blessed that the Lord has given me good health to make these future travels possible,” Utter said.
In addition to traveling, Utter looks forward to volunteering at the Men’s Club at St. Anthony Health Center, part of the St. Anthony Senior Living. He started the club two years ago with former CSP chaplain, Steve Arnold. Once a month, Utter helps lead about a dozen male residents in discussions.
“Because they are limited in their dialogue skills, the men depend upon me to bring up interesting topics,” Utter explained. “A regular feature is mixing in trivia questions and short jokes.”
The men, varying in their states of awareness, react well to his discussions, answering the trivia questions with pride and laughing at the jokes.
“Almost on a monthly basis, a member of the group will have either passed away or has been moved to another facility,” Utter said. “Nevertheless, I find it very rewarding that perhaps I brought some small joy in the 11th hour of their lives.”
Although Utter is excited for new experiences, he will cherish his life and work at Concordia.
“I will truly miss, in particular, the congeniality of my colleagues that includes all of the campus-wide staff and faculty departments,” Utter said. “Moreover, I will miss the exciting future in store for Concordia as I have seen how the administrative leadership is in constant search for new and innovative ways to ‘beat the competition’ and better serve our students.”
Recalling all his memories of work with Concordia University, Utter said, “God has richly blessed me as I have witnessed firsthand how He has blessed–and pray He will continue to bless–this honorable institution.”