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Moravian to Celebrate Inauguration of President Christopher M. Thomforde

College and seminary to hold weekend of inaugural festivities April 19-22

Bethlehem, Pa., April 18, 2007—Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary will celebrate the installation of Dr. Christopher M. Thomforde as the 15th president of Moravian College on Saturday, April 21 at 10:00 a.m. in Johnston Hall located on the Main Campus.  Inauguration festivities will span 4 days beginning on Thursday, April 19 with Scholars Day at Moravian, a program that will feature students’ presentations on honors and undergraduate research. The weekend will culminate on Sunday, April 22, at 4 p.m. when the Moravian College Choir will perform Carmina Burana in Foy Concert Hall located in Historic Bethlehem.

Celebratory events will include an inauguration parade on Friday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. along the “Moravian Mile” that runs from Main Street at the College’s Main Street Campus to the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus in downtown Bethlehem. Legendary basketball coach Pete Carril, who coached Thomforde while an undergraduate at Princeton University, will serve as Grand Marshal of the parade. The public is invited to line Main Street as the Moravian College Marching Band leads a cadre of participants including student clubs and Greek organizations, Greyhound student athletes, cheerleaders, mascots, the Liberty High School Bagpipers. After the parade, a barbecue will be held for the campus community, followed by a fireworks display on the Quad to close Friday’s activities.

Three former presidents, Ervin J. Rokke (1997-2006), Roger H. Martin (1986-1997), and Herman S. Collier (1970-1986) will be among the presidential party processing on Saturday morning.

Priscilla Payne Hurd, chair of the Joint Board of Trustees, will preside over the inaugural proceedings and welcome the college and seminary trustees, members of the faculty and administrations, student leaders, alumni representatives, and delegates from colleges and universities attending the ceremonies.  Mrs. Hurd will be joined by Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth ’68, chair of the seminary Board of Trustees, who will deliver greetings from the seminary trustees.

Others dignitaries who will extend greetings are: Kay B. Somers, professor of mathematics, representing the college faculty; Sabrina K. Boyd’82, assistant to the director of advancement services, will speak on behalf of the college staff; Patrick D. McDermott ’08, president, United Student Government, will deliver the students’ welcome; and Glenn H. Asquith, Jr. professor of pastoral theology, will speak for the seminary faculty.  Nancy A. Lynch, president, student executive committee, will provide greetings from the seminary students. Richard C. Subber ’69, ’95, president of the Moravian College Alumni Association will deliver regards on behalf of the alumni. The Rev. Bernard F. O’Connor, O.S.F.S. president, De Sales University will offer welcoming remarks on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, and The Honorable John B. Callahan ’91, Mayor, City of Bethlehem, will extend community greetings.

After the investiture led by Priscilla Payne Hurd, President Thomforde will deliver his Inaugural Address that will highlight four central themes, community, liberal learning, service, and stewardship.

The inauguration ceremony will be followed by an outdoor luncheon on the plaza of the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex. Saturday’s events also will feature on-campus displays by members of the college, seminary, and Comenius Center, as well as a number of athletic events including the Greyhound Invitational Track and Field Meet.

During the afternoon, a number of student performances in the vicinity of the plaza of the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex will entertain the guests, including a strolling Dixieland band, Gary Dee and the Dixie Dandies; the student band Waterfront; Broadway tunes by Footlights Musical Theater Group; Wind Trio; Clarinet Ensemble; Monteverdi Ensemble; Brass Ensemble; Irish Dancers; and the Classics Society, reading from Aeneas apud Inferos. 

Student art will be displayed in the Atrium at the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex and the Senior Class Art Show will be exhibited in the Payne Gallery on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus.

Moravian Theological Seminary’s Bicentennial Display will be shown in the Air Products Room in the Haupert Union Building. Other special works created by student groups for the inauguration will include exhibits featuring the work of the Society of Physics Students, community service groups, study abroad programs, the Leadership Center, the United Student Government, Scholar’s Day participants, the Environmental Coalition, student organizations (fraternities, sororities, clubs), and the Comenius Center for Continuing, Graduate, and Professional Studies.

Saturday’s events will conclude with the Inaugural Gala that will be attended by students, faculty, staff, and trustees. Invited guests will enjoy a reception, dinner, and dancing in Johnston Hall until 11:00 p.m.

Dr. Thomforde, who is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and who received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary will deliver the sermon at the combined worship service on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in Central Moravian Church.  During the ceremony Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth will lead the congregation In Affirmation; Priscilla Payne Hurd, will commend Dr. Thomforde In Commission; and The Rev. Douglas W. Caldwell, senior pastor of Central Moravian Church and Trustee of Moravian College, will deliver In Blessing. The Moravian College Choir will sing with the Central Moravian Church Choir during the service.

After Sunday’s worship service, the Moravian College Choir will perform Carmina Burana in Foy Hall on the Hurd campus. The work will be presented by the Moravian College Choir, members of the Women’s Chorus, Dancers, and orchestra. General admission for the performance is $15, and $10 for seniors, students, and children. For additional information please call (610-861-1650) or visit the website

The Inaugural Committee is co-chaired by Moravian College trustee Cy Krajci ’65 and his wife Brenda. For additional inauguration information, including a list of delegates from colleges and universities, the Inaugural Committee, Class Delegates, Board of Trustees, student displays and performances, academic customs, and other information on the college history and past presidents, please visit the website http://www.moravian.edu/inauguration/index.html.

About Christopher M. Thomforde

Thomforde began his presidential leadership duties as Moravian’s 15th President on August 1, 2006. He came to Moravian College after serving as president of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota from 2001-2006. Thomforde’s presidency at St. Olaf was characterized by significant success in strategic planning, fund-raising, and diversity initiatives.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Thomforde earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in medieval and Russian history from Princeton University in 1969. A member of Princeton’s basketball team, Thomforde was named AP/UPI Honorable Mention All-American in 1969. He received the Franklin Bunn Award at Princeton University in 1969.

Following intensive course work in Mandarin Chinese at Middlebury College, Thomforde taught Western languages and medieval European history at Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan, until 1971.     He subsequently enrolled at Yale University Divinity School, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1974, with concentrations in biblical studies, church history, and philosophy.

From 1974 to 1978, Thomforde was an assistant chaplain and instructor in philosophy and religion at Colgate University. From 1978 to 1986, he served as pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Dansville, New York, where he provided pastoral care and leadership for his congregation, held leadership roles in regional and synod church affairs, and was very active in community organizations. He also did extensive work at nearby Attica prison. From 1986 to 1996, Thomforde served as chaplain at Susquehanna University and taught in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Susquehanna University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2001.

Thomforde also served as president of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, from 1996 to 2000, where he led efforts to reshape academic programs, revise the college’s constitution and by-laws, develop a comprehensive master facilities plan, establish policies for successful endowment management, and to restore fiscal responsibility. During his tenure as Bethany president, Thomforde completed requirements for a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary; he was awarded that degree in 2000.

Thomforde is married to Dr. Kathy Thomforde, former professor of economics and director of management studies at St. Olaf where she taught marketing and arts management, and management policy and strategy. Their children are Rebecca, 32; Sarah, 31; Jonathan, 28; Claire, 19; and James, 17.

About Moravian College

America’s sixth oldest college, Moravian delivers a values-based liberal arts education in a caring environment, through which it nurtures in students the capacities for leadership, lifelong learning, and positive societal contributions.

The College traces its founding to 1742 by followers of Jon Amos Comenius, the 17th-century Moravian bishop whose humanistic ideals helped to shape modern education. Those ideals—that learning should be available to all, that teaching should be in accord with human nature, and that education should be applied to practical uses—are much in evidence at Moravian. Today, the college enrolls students from a great variety of socioeconomic, religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds; provides for highly personalized learning experiences; and offers many opportunities for students to direct their education toward individual and professional goals.

The college expresses its Moravian heritage in musical and artistic programs of great distinction, which are shared with the Bethlehem community. Together with its cultural offerings, Moravian’s handsome historic campuses, the community service of its undergraduates, and its programs of graduate and professional education for adults make it a valued part of the fabric of Bethlehem. Moravian Theological Seminary, an ecumenical learning community preparing men and women for Christian leadership, is a global resource.