Dr. Matt Strauser, music professor, is leaving after 14 years of teaching here.
In that time, Strauser has taught choir, music education, and outdoor performance classes like Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, and Back Country Skiing. Since he was recruited by Virginia Cross 14 years ago, his job has become busier with more students, events and lessons.
Strauser focused on his department’s progress with the collaborative efforts of every professor.
“We built two fairly stable choirs,” Strauser said, “and the number of music ed. students grew from less than five to almost 20.”
Music majors have increased almost fourfold during Strauser’s time here, and the chamber choir has gone on two international tours to Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. Additionally, music ed. majors now have membership in professional organizations, allowing them to attend state and regional conferences.
Strauser enjoyed his time here, but said it is time for change.
“We’re ready for some new blood,” said Strauser. “ I’ve done what I can do, but [the department] would benefit from a new person.”
Strauser believes somebody new would bring a unique enthusiasm and fresh ideas to the university, so he is moving on.
The future is uncertain, he said, which makes it hard and scary to enter into.
Strauser has bachelor’s degrees in music education and in geology from the University of Montana, a master’s in theology from Wheaton, and a DMA from the University of Oregon. A man of many interests, Strauser has taught for 30 years: 15 at Santiam Christian, one at a school in Charlo, Mont., and 14 at Corban.
Strauser continues to enjoy outdoor activities and leading students of all ages on exciting trips. His office wall is filled with large pictures of mountains he’s climbed—some of which he’s scaled with students and staff, like Mt. Hood and Mt. McKinley.
More than anything, Strauser said he will miss the people at Corban, both students and colleagues. He’s enjoyed teaching, talking about his faith, and the mutual-growth relationships he’s nurtured at here.
He will certainly be missed. Professor John Scott, fellow outdoors enthusiast and professor, said “He is very gifted, and was generous with his time and helped me on projects when I needed his knowledge.”
Student Kent Wilson adds, “I’ll miss his odd, off-the-wall, pun-littered humor. He’s a great musician, great director, great advisor, and great friend; and he left some pretty big shoes for the next person!”
A natural grieving process will accompany Strauser as he goes on to find a new life adventure, but his optimism burns bright.
“Matt Lucas once said I’m a risk-taker and a rebel,” Strauser said. “And I suppose it is true.”