After 30 years under the direction of Dr. Julius Jenkins, Concordia College welcomed a new leader to the school.
Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mekonnen Mendedo and the Concordia College family celebrated the inauguration of Mendedo as the seventh president of the college.
“It’s an important event, not only just for me, but for the entire community of Concordia College and this great city of Selma, and the people and the friends and the alumni and graduates of our college,” Mendedo said. “When you have a new leadership and a new president and the expectation is high that the new president or the new leadership comes with a vision. Then, the question is, is that vision what the people are expecting and that vision deliverable for the public.”
Of the many plans Mendedo has for the college, some of the most important projects he wants to tackle are to work with Wallace Community College Selma in partnership programs, start a graduate program at the Concordia branch here, open a comprehensive child care program at the United Methodist Children’s Home to watch children while single parents attend classes and create counseling programs.
Mendedo assumed the presidency Jan. 1 with an installation ceremony on Jan. 14, as well as four days of inaugural activities this week.
“The first event is the installation,” Mendedo said. “That is very ecclesiastical, very church ordered. But this one is a public event. This one includes everyone. This is a time when most of our college and universities have commencement, and at least they have a break time to come over here and take part in this event.”
Iri Skinner, developing officer for Concordia, attends many official school functions. This was her first presidential inauguration.
“I’m interested in being here to support the president, support the faculty and staff, and do whatever I can to promote this college and keep it flowing,” Skinner said.
Ashley Smith, junior majoring in business management and member of the Concordia Choir, can already see the positive influence Mendedo has on the campus.
“Since he has gotten here, everything is together, they’re getting the campus looking beautiful, and I really appreciate that,” Smith said.
He also holds students to a higher standard.
“I think he is a real respectable man and I know that he has a lot of discipline,” Mendedo said. “He has zero tolerance on campus and I really like that. If you mess up or your grades aren’t up, then he realty sticks to what he believes in. A man that can show that he’s willing to do the work to get things back together, I’m behind him 100 percent.”
Mendedo has also served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Mobile and taught as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College.
In addition to this, he has served in the church as an evangelist, youth leader, church elder, Bible school teacher, project director and curriculum advisor for the theological centers in Ethiopia, school administrator of the Theological Training Center of the EECMY-Central Ethiopia Synod in Addis Ababa, coordinator of the Mobile Bible Schools of the Mekane Yesus Church (the Lutheran Church in Ethiopia) within the past 17 years.
Mendedo has academic memberships in American Missionlogy Society, Evangelical Missionlogical Society, Lutheran Society of Missionlogy and other Academic Societies in the United States, earned his bachelor degree in counseling and a masters in systematic theology and his doctorate in missiology, or mission science, from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind. Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message and work of the Christian missionary.
Mendedo is married to Aberash Aklilu, and they have three children: Hawii, Yeabsira, and Amen. He is a native of the Arssi region in Ethiopia.