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Cynthia Reeves | SBJ

2022 Men of the Year: Michael Kolstad

Evangel University

Posted online

When Evangel University reopened its doors for in-person classes after COVID-19 shutdowns, Michael Kolstad was given the heavy task of keeping students safe.

As chief of staff, he runs multiple committees at the university, including the COVID task force made up of 75 people and 11 subcommittees. It’s one way he’s enhanced the lives of staff and students at Evangel since 1991.

In his previous roles at the helm of the university’s Advancement Department and Marketing and Communications Department, Kolstad says he contributed to raising $46 million in funding. He also increased the Music Department enrollment by 72% during his time as chair, something that is personally significant to him as he began his career as a musician. In fact, Kolstad holds a doctorate degree in musical arts from the University of North Carolina, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in music.

“Many times, following a great concert or performance, I would experience an adrenaline rush or buzz,” Kolstad says. “When I began teaching, I discovered that this ‘buzz’ was replaced by something even more powerful: the satisfaction of seeing my students succeed. Over the years, nothing has brought me more joy than empowering my team and seeing them succeed.”

Kolstad represents Evangel on community leadership and education committees and is a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast. He’s also served on the Better Business Bureau Advisory Board and Nixa Community Foundation Advisory Council. He was the director of the 2003 Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and instrumental music director for James River Church in Ozark. Before landing at Evangel, he also gained experience at Missouri State University, Drury University, University of North Carolina, Baptist Bible College, Southwest Baptist University, Elon University and College of the Ozarks.

Looking at his future at Evangel, Kolstad says his main goal is preparing students to make a difference.

“I am passionate for the mission of Evangel University: To produce ethical, values-driven alumni who impact the world and influence society and will continue to strive to make the university as successful as possible,” he says. “I am grateful to be part of an incredible team and continue to look for ways to inspire and empower people to be successful and work for common goals and the most important priority: the success of our students.”

Kolstad says being part of leading this success is his proudest professional accomplishment and what he strives to continue in the years to come. He says he does this by instilling trust, camaraderie and humor in the workplace, by encouraging a sense of ownership, and by fostering teamwork.

“Whether it was establishing new academic or scholarship programs, exceeding fundraising goals, or keeping the campus safe from COVID-19,” he says, “the success of my team has brought me the most pride.”

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