One of the very best and most supportive professors I had in college, Rev. Dr. Martin Schramm, died recently of cancer. Dr. Schramm was one of the founding five faculty members1 at Christ College Irvine (now Concordia University Irvine) a private liberal arts university of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Professor Schramm earned his doctoral degree in communications at the University of Southern California and selflessly served Concordia University (CUI) in many significant roles for more than forty years. Among his achievements, he established the university’s popular and successful communications program.2
I was fortunate to have been an undergraduate student of Professor Schramm’s in the mid-1980s. He was my advanced public speaking professor and his instruction helped me improve significantly as a speaker. He always had high expectations and he knew how to get the best out of his students. He challenged me intellectually and encouraged me in my growth first as a student, but then later in my vocation as an educator and scholar. He was a mentor to me and later graciously worked to have me serve briefly as an adjunct instructor in philosophy at Concordia University. My own lengthy Christian apologetics career as a public speaker and debater was decisively shaped in Professor Schramm’s class almost four decades ago.
Professor Schramm was a diligent, inspirational teacher and an ardent advocate of skillful communication. He was deeply committed to the historic Christian faith with confidence in the gospel of grace and a lifelong connection to the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Dr. Schramm was a no-nonsense educator but also a humble and encouraging Christian person. He was a wise man who loved his family and was devoted to them.
The motto of CUI is “Developing Wise, Honorable, and Cultivated Citizens.” Professor Schramm was exactly that and he helped instill those important values into generations of students including me and my daughter Jacqueline, who graduated from CUI thirty years after me. She can attest that she also benefitted from the institution Professor Schramm helped to establish and build.
I will miss my teacher and mentor. He was another “faithful Martin” who faced death with faith and courage. His wife, Conni, told me that Crean Lutheran High School, where she teaches, uses my book Without a Doubt for their senior course in Christian apologetics. I was honored to hear that one of my books was being used at such a fine Lutheran school.
Professor Schramm has now gone to be with the Lord he loved and served. I am grateful for my friend and early educational advisor. May he now rest in peace with Christ and then rise in glory!
Reflections: Your Turn Do you have a beloved mentor or teacher or spiritual advisor who has significantly influenced you?
- Concordia University Irvine, “Marty Schramm: The Last of the ‘Founding Five,'” Faculty News and Notes, accessed March 18, 2022, https://www.cui.edu/academicprograms/provost/faculty/index/id/25717.
- Concordia University Irvine, “Called to Glory: Rev. Dr. Martin Schramm, Founding Faculty Member,” press release, February 20, 2022, https://www.cui.edu/aboutcui/news/view-article/ArticleId/273/called-to-glory-rev-dr-martin-schramm-founding-faculty-member.