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Townsend Institute Names New Dean

Townsend Institute Names New Dean
Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas

IRVINE, CA, November 3, 2023 — Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas, with 25 years of experience leading educational and counseling organizations, is the newly-appointed Dean of the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine.

Dr. John Townsend, founder of the Townsend Institute, says, "I am very excited that Dr. Christmas will be our Dean at the Institute. Her authentic warmth and care for others, her high level of competence and leadership, and her personal and spiritual maturity make her a great fit for the task. She is the perfect person to continue our growth in training professionals in counseling, coaching, consulting and organizational leadership."

Christmas, who most recently served as Interim Dean and Associate Dean of the Townsend Institute, was a leader in starting the Institute. She has been instrumental in program design and launching each of the programs in the institute, and was most recently faculty sponsor of the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.

Provost Scott Ashmon says that Concordia is blessed to have Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas as the new Dean of the Townsend Institute: "She brings years of experience leading academic programs and counseling services in K-12, university, national, and international settings. Margaret is filled with professional integrity, dedication to Concordia's mission, and expertise in counseling and helping professions. She is driven to change the face of counseling through the faculty, programs, students, and graduates of Concordia's Townsend Institute."

Before joining the faculty at Concordia University Irvine, Dr. Christmas provided national leadership, technical assistance, training and consultation for ResCare operations across the United States and Internationally. Early in her career she also served as a school principal with at-risk and juvenile justice populations.

"I feel truly blessed to be a part of Concordia University Irvine,” says Dr. Christmas. “In our School, the Townsend Institute, our vocations focus on helping, and in a world with so many hurting people, it is an honor to help shape and equip the future counselors, coaches, leaders, and counseling educators that will touch thousands of lives."

Christmas notes, "My favorite part of my role is that I get to lead a multidisciplinary team of highly talented, creative, and thoughtful leaders, coaches, and counselors. Our calling is to help our students prepare for their own callings in these professions and impact the world around them in ways that heal, help, and support."

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine, part of the Concordia University System, is a private, nonprofit Christian university that is proud to be one of the founding institutions of higher education in Irvine, California. For nearly 50 years, we have prepared students for lives of learning, service, and leadership through distinctive Lutheran education.

Today, we educate nearly 5,000 students on campus and online, and our alumni network has grown to over 25,000 worldwide. Ranked nationally among the “Top Performers on Social Mobility” universities by U.S. News & World Report. Once you become a Golden Eagle, you’ll be part of a close, caring community that’s committed to helping you grow personally, professionally, and spiritually.

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