Concordia University (Saint Paul, Minnesota)

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Concordia University

"In litteris proficere volo, malo diligere Jesum"

"It is good to pursue knowledge, better to know Jesus"
Type Private University
Established 1893
Affiliation Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Endowment $36.2 million[1]
Budget $54.9 million (2017)[2]
President Rev. Tom Ries
Students 4,792 (2017)[3]
Location St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Campus Urban, 41 acres (17 ha)
Mascot Golden Bears

Concordia University is a liberal arts university located Coordinates: 44°56′59.22″N 93°9′17.75″W / 44.9497833°N 93.1549306°W / 44.9497833; -93.1549306 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Concordia University was founded in 1893 and currently enrolls approximately 4,800 students[4]. The institution is an affiliate of the ten-member Concordia University System, which is operated by the second-largest Lutheran church body in the United States, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).


Early history[edit]

Concordia University was founded in 1893 to provide a Christian learning environment for high school students preparing to enter the professional ministries of the LCMS. The first students were welcomed to class on September 13, 1893, in temporary quarters next to Zion Lutheran Church in St. Paul. The following year, Concordia spent $22,000 to purchase 5 acres (2 ha) and several buildings previously owned by the state training school for boys in its current location midway between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In the next decade, Concordia continued to grow, adding a fourth year of high school, and then freshman and sophomore college years. Concordia's early success fueled new construction projects on campus, including the Gymnasium (converted in the 1950s to Graebner Memorial Chapel) and Recitation Hall (now Meyer Hall). Dr. Theodore Buenger served as Concordia St. Paul's professor and first director.

Concordia earned accreditation as a two-year college in 1921. The change made it possible for Concordia High School students to remain at their high school alma mater to complete their first two years of college work before transferring to a Concordia senior college where they would finish their studies in the church professions or teaching. Rev. Martin A.H. Graebner was installed in 1927 as Concordia's second president, serving until 1946.

Through the Depression[edit]

The college continued to thrive until 1931 when the effects of the financial panic of 1929 and the Great Depression caused enrollments to drop precipitously from 282 to 131. There were far fewer pulpits available than pastors to fill them, and the LCMS considered closing the college for a year or two to wait out the financial slump. Budgets were slashed, three residence halls stood empty, students worked around campus without pay, and food donations from congregations helped supplement the school's food service. It was, perhaps, the most difficult era in the history of Concordia, but the college survived.


As the United States entered World War II, Concordia St. Paul's fortunes once again shifted in a more positive direction. Enrollment was on the upswing and Concordia was poised to help respond to a growing shortage of pastors in the LCMS. In 1943, Concordia St. Paul celebrated half a century as an institution. During this time, planning and fundraising for a new library began in earnest, but the project stalled for nearly a decade in the wake of post-war inflation and growing enthusiasm for another new construction on campus - the Lutheran Memorial Center, a gymnasium/auditorium and memorial to those who served in the war. Rev. W.A. Poehler was installed in 1946 as the third president at Concordia St. Paul, serving the campus community until 1970.

Concordia admitted its first class of female students in fall 1950, much to the delight of the young men on campus and to the dismay of coeducational opponents who predicted a significant drop in academic achievement. Despite this new "distraction," students continued to excel in their studies. Concordia entered a decade of intense expansion and growth. The college began granting Associate in Arts degrees in 1951 and began seeking North Central Association accreditation for the junior college in earnest. Major changes in various administrative functions and academic management, more manageable teaching loads and greater emphasis on faculty with graduate degrees finally produced the desired results and Concordia College earned accreditation in 1959.

New buildings dedicated during the 1950s included Buenger Memorial Library (1951), Lutheran Memorial Center (1953); Centennial Hall (1957), Minnesota Hall (1958), and Walther Hall (1959). In addition, the original gymnasium was converted into Graebner Memorial Chapel.

Concordia expanded its curriculum in 1962 to include a four-year college degree and awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degrees two years later. By 1967, Concordia had earned accreditation for its four-year liberal arts program, which allowed the college to join the Minnesota Private College Council. Concordia High School officially separated itself from the college, moved to its suburban location in Roseville and adopted its new name, Concordia Academy.

With mushrooming enrollment, Concordia St. Paul enjoyed another decade of expansion with the construction of another student residence, Wollaeger Hall, and Arndt Science Hall. The Poehler Administration Building, Buetow Music Center and the Student Union were constructed and dedicated in the 1970s.

The college responded to a growing need for minority teachers in the public schools by forming Metropolitan Teacher Education Program Selection (M-TEPS), which enrolled African-American and other under-represented students in a program designed to supplement the curriculum with personal counseling, tutoring as needed, academic planning and similar services. The program was reformed in 1983 as the Southeast Asian Teacher (SEAT) Licensure Program, which serves Hmong and other minority populations in a similar fashion.

Concordia University is also home to the Center for Hmong Studies (, the only one in the world. The center is host to the International Conference on Hmong Studies, which takes place every two years. The conference brings scholar of Hmong studies together to share research as well as promote the field of Hmong studies. The center also offer a Minor in Hmong Studies, the first in the world.

Concordia was served during these years by four presidents: Rev. Harvey Stoegemoeller (1971-1976), Rev. Gerhardt Hyatt (1976-1984), Rev. Allan Harre (1984-1989) and Dr. John Johnson (1989-1991).

Recent history[edit]

E.M. Pearson Theatre

Rev. Tom Ries became Concordia University, St. Paul's ninth president on June 1, 2011.

Concordia inaugurated Rev. Dr. Robert Holst as its eighth president in 1991 and celebrated its centennial in 1993. The college launched a successful fundraising campaign that would provide for additional building and expansion. The major curricular development of the period was the formation in 1985 of a pioneering program that allowed students to complete their B.A. degree and, later, their M.A. degree, in an accelerated format. The first of its kind in Minnesota, today the College of Business and Organizational Leadership, which administers Concordia's accelerated degree completion and master's degree programs, represents more than half of the institution's enrollments.

Hyatt Village residence hall was dedicated in 1984, and in the 1990s, Gangelhoff Center and the theater addition to the Fine Arts complex were dedicated.

As the university moved into the new millennium, the institution implemented a number of important changes that would reflect the changing needs of the students, the church and the community. Foremost among these was restructuring that enabled Concordia to become a university. In 1997, the college became Concordia University, St. Paul, and adopted the semester system. The university also developed its current mission and vision statements and refined its strategic priorities. Its new focus led to the formation of departments in three colleges: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. In 2002, the College of Vocation and Ministry was added to coordinate the university's programs for church professionals and to enhance the understanding of all Concordia students of how they serve God and humanity in whatever vocation they choose. In 2006, the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies was refocused and many of the programs that were in that college are now in the College of Business and Organizational Leadership. Concordia University in St. Paul was also the first university to cut tuition by 1/3 effective fall 2013. The new price is now approximately $19,500/year.

In 1999, Concordia became the first NCAA Division II university in the Twin Cities. Since the switch, Golden Bears teams have brought home NSIC championships in softball, volleyball, baseball, basketball and football. Concordia's Women's Volleyball team won the NCAA Division II National Volleyball Championship in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 becoming the first school in Division I, II, and III history to win seven consecutive championships in volleyball. The team added two more national championships in 2016 and 2017 . [5]

In 2003, Concordia celebrated the conclusion of Enlightening Individuals, Enriching Generations, a five-year, $32 million, comprehensive campaign - the largest in Concordia history. Gifts from alumni and friends, which totaled $35.5 million, allowed the university to build a much-needed and long-awaited Library Technology Center, dedicated in 2003. The 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2) building includes seven new classrooms, centralizes technology support staff (HelpDesk) and provides an appealing new entrance point to campus.

In the fall 2006, Concordia began construction on a chapel expansion and remodeling project. The new Cross of Christ Fellowship Center provides ample gathering space in the entrance of the Chapel.

Holst Hall
In 2007 the Board of Regents approved a plan to construct a new residence hall in the space originally occupied by Walther Hall, Minnesota Hall, Centennial Hall and "the white houses." The Residence Life Center (RLC) was completed in 2008. The campus community celebrated the completion of the facility with a Service of Dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebratory chapel service, campus picnic and pig roast. The RLC is a three-story apartment-style residence hall that houses 300 upperclassmen in 4-bedroom, 2-bedroom and studio-style units. Each suite includes a private bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom furnishings. Building amenities include fitness center, laundry facility and media room. In May 2011, the Board of Regents renamed the building Holst Hall in honor of the retiring 20-year president, Rev. Dr. Robert Holst. With most residential students residing on the other side of campus, the Student Union was transformed to the Art Center, uniting nearly all of the art work and gallery spaces on campus.

Sea Foam Stadium
Before Concordia's 2008 Homecoming football game, a donation of $5 million was presented by alumnus Phil Fandrei, on behalf of the Sea Foam Sales Company, to build a stadium on-campus that would provide space for the soccer, football, track and field and club lacrosse teams. The stadium, Sea Foam Stadium, seats nearly 3,500 spectators and includes artificial turf, running track, scoreboard, lights, bleachers, parking, concession facilities, press box, outdoor plaza and an inflatable dome to make the stadium usable during the winter months. Construction began after Concordia's 2008 football season. The inaugural football game in the stadium was held on Sept. 19, 2009 and a special military appreciation day celebration was held, complete with fireworks and a ceremony to honor past and present military service men and women.

Tuition Reset
According to Startribune: Concordia University is pairing two words that don't often come in contact -- "tuition" and "cut." this news was published in September 12, 2012 - 12:37 AM here. On September 13, 2012 Online education news mentioned details regarding this news by quoting Concordia President statement about this action: “The economic recession has eroded the financial situations of the students and families we serve, so we recognized the call to respond in keeping with our mission to provide an education of outstanding value at an affordable cost,” said Tom Ries, president of Concordia.


  • Rev. Theodore Buenger (1893-1927)
  • Rev. Martin Graebner (1927-1946)
  • Rev. William Poehler (1946-1970)
  • Rev. Harvey Stoegemoeller (1971-1976)
  • Rev. Gerhardt Hyatt (1976-1984)
  • Rev. Alan Harre (1984-1989)
  • Rev. Dr. John Johnson (1989-1991)
  • Rev. Dr. Robert Holst (1991-2011)
  • Rev. Dr. Tom Ries (2011- )

Academics, accreditation, and enrollment[edit]

CSP offers a wide variety of programs including most traditional majors. They offer many Traditional Undergraduate Majors and Minors, Graduate Programs, Adult Undergraduate Degree Programs, Continuing Education Classes & Certificates, and Licensure & Colloquy Programs.[6] Many of these programs are also offered in an online degree format through the schools online campus.[7]

Concordia University is accredited (among others) by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. Concordia University, St. Paul has been accredited since 1967, with reaccreditation given in 2008.[8]

As of Fall 2017 [9]

2,851 Undergraduate

1,942 Graduate

4,972 Total Enrollment


The Concordia Golden Bears compete in NCAA Division II and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Gangelhoff Center hosts several of the school's sports teams.

Varsity sports[edit]

Notable people[edit]

  • Zach Moore, professional football player
  • Justin D. Eichorn, Minnesota State Senator District O5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2017. "2017 Concordia University St. Paul Financial Statements FY 2016 to FY 2017" (PDF). 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Patrick. "Minnesota Nonprofit 100". StarTribune News. Minneapolis StarTribune. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Paul, Concordia St. "Facts & Stats - Concordia St. Paul". Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 

External links[edit]