Concordia, Chamber talk business over breakfast

Published 8:36 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dr. Tilahun Mendedo, President of Concordia College Alabama, who hails from Ethiopia, has a saying from his homeland that he says truly represents his message for Concordia in Selma. “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion,” Mendedo told the Times-Journal after his speech to members of the Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.

The chamber met at Concordia for the Buttonhole Breakfast to hear about how the college has grown from the school’s administrators like Mendedo, who has a vision city of Selma, local businesses and Concordia College Alabama to unify in growing the city via growing Concordia. The breakfast was to expose locals to the capabilities of Concordia’s students, many of which will graduate with business degrees, and show how they could play a role in Selma’s industries and local businesses.

“If we improve our education then we can improve our local businesses,” he said.

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He told chamber members and those at the breakfast of how Concordia’s enrollment size has greatly increased, they have quadrupled their annual fundraising revenue, expanded their donor database. They have standardized student enrollment and partnered with local businesses like International Paper and Bush Hog.

They have grown their ROTC program, their athletics and their marching band has grown as well.

“The heart of my address, besides campus updates and future plans was making a call to have a positive image about this beautiful historic city,” Mendedo said and listed things he wants to see change like higher educational institutions and local communities communicating effectively, building a better image of higher education institutions through better public education and becoming more conscious of how those outside the campus view Concordia.

Elizabeth Rutledge, who attended the breakfast said she was impressed with all she learned about Concordia and their master plan vision to grow the school.

“His speech was all about unity and unifying the community in order to make it a better community,” Rutledge said. She also liked several ideas that were presented in the larger 10-year plan for Concordia like a coffee shop on campus that would welcome those in the community, especially the elderly, to help teach students history and gain wisdom.

The master plan created for Concordia is also being used as a fundraising tool, Mendedo explained.

While the college wants to build and expand its property and build more infrastructures they are looking to raise funds to do so as well.

The theme of the breakfast was, “A Time To Build,” and Mendedo explained this is the time Concordia is looking to grow and grow the city of Selma.