Dr. Bernard Bull, Concordia University’s new president, shared his background and first impressions of the community with Seward Rotary
Dr. Bernard Bull addressed the Seward Rotary Club on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.  He was introduced by Rotarian and Concordia Regent Dr. Jill Johnson of Seward. 
Dr. Bull has been “on the job” for about one month and wanted to share his life story to give the people of Seward some insight into who he is and what has influenced him.  He was born in Alton, Illinois but grew up “all over,” living in 12 states in 12 years.  His father was a meat broker and he followed his major customers. 
Bull attended a Lutheran elementary school in Illinois, across the river from St. Louis, Missouri, when he was 12 and commented that its faith foundation supported him to overcome the difficult times in his life, including later that year when his father suddenly died.  Eventually, his mother remarried and his stepfather, a farmer, was a great role model.  Now living on a farm, he learned all the chores of farm life, including baling hay, cleaning hog pens, and the seasonal activities, forming a strong character base.
He went on to Metro East Lutheran High School where, like his elementary school, he had wonderful role models and mentors that impacted his life.  Reflecting back, Bull noted that these role models made him very appreciative of Lutheran education and that many were “alumni” of Concordia University.  
Bull was a scholar and athlete in high school, playing both basketball, being named Honorable Mention All-State, and a member of the track and field team, competing in the long jump, high jump and the 800.  He noted he could “dunk” the basketball by the time he was in the 8th Grade - a “claim to fame” for him at that age.
Bull earned a bachelors in education, theology and history from Concordia University Wisconsin in 1994, where he also played basketball.  He earned a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University Chicago in 1997, a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005 and a Doctor of Education in instructional technology from Northern Illinois University in 2007.   He noted that a key mentor at Concordia Wisconsin was Seward’s own Jim Juergensen, a Concordia Nebraska alum and the son of the late Dr. Jay and Fritzie Juergensen of Seward.  Bull said he called on Juergensen, a "lifelong mentor and role model," many times for advice and help in making difficult decisions.
After graduation from Concordia Wisconsin, Bull taught for many years in Lutheran schools, becoming intrigued with business as well.  As a part time project, he began a consulting service, assisting many nonprofits to “prepare them for the uncertain future and assist with technology issues.”  Now, twenty years later, he is still consulting, however he has a much stronger client base today.
Bull said that one of his interests and skills is working with forecasting, future trend analysis, and application to education.  Using those skills, he served Concordia University Wisconsin  from 2006 to 2018 in a variety of roles including vice provost for curriculum and academic innovation, chief innovation officer, assistant vice president of academics and associate professor of education. Prior to that, he served in Lutheran middle and high schools in Illinois and Wisconsin. 
In 2018, Bull was named president of Goddard College in Vermont.  He shared that Goddard had many challenges that he had to face “head on” and he is most proud of turning that college around from imminent risk of closure to being re-accredited and with a strengthened financial base and enrollment growth. 
Bull is actively involved in the higher education landscape regarding educational innovation, futures in education, nurturing learner agency and ownership and the intersection of education and digital culture. He is a regularly featured presenter at national education conferences and has authored and edited several books and publications, many of which are used by Concordia instructors. 
He is excited to be at Concordia and in Seward, saying he accepted the call to be “mission minded with a quest-based mindset.”  He looks forward to partnering in and connecting with many projects in the area.  Bull and Dr. Joyanna Bull, his wife, have two children.