Concordia University Chicago

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Concordia University Chicago
Cuchicago logo.png
Former names
Addison Teachers Seminary, Concordia Teachers College, Concordia College, Concordia University River Forest[1]:7, 95
Motto You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free
Type Private
Established 1864
Religious affiliation
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Academic affiliation
Concordia University System
Endowment $22 Million, June 30, 2017
President Daniel L. Gard, PhD[2]
Provost O. John Zillman, PhD[3]
Students 5,760[4]
Undergraduates 1,463
Postgraduates 4,297
Location River Forest, Illinois, 60305-1499, United States
41°53′59″N 87°48′34″W / 41.89967°N 87.80954°W / 41.89967; -87.80954Coordinates: 41°53′59″N 87°48′34″W / 41.89967°N 87.80954°W / 41.89967; -87.80954
Campus Suburban, 40 acres (0.16 km2)
Colors Maroon and Gold  
Nickname CUC, Concordia-Chicago, CUChicago
Sporting affiliations
Northern Athletics Conference, NCAA Division III
Mascot Charlie T. Cougar

Concordia University Chicago is private, coeducational, liberal arts university located on a 40-acre campus in the suburban Village of River Forest, Illinois 10 miles (16 km) west of downtown Chicago. Formerly a college exclusively for parochial teacher education, Concordia-Chicago is now a comprehensive university offering more than 100 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, with more than 5,000 students.[5] The University is a member of the Concordia University System,[6] a nationwide network of colleges and universities affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Concordia Chicago, originally named Addison Teachers Seminary, was founded in the Lutheran tradition by Saxon German immigrants in 1864.[1]:7, 9 The University continues to maintain strong ties to its faith-based heritage.



Lutheran teacher training in the United States began in Perry County, Missouri; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1839, 1846, and 1855 respectively.[7]:35 In 1857 the responsibility for the operation of the teachers seminary in Milwaukee was given to the denomination. Subsequently, the Milwaukee teachers seminary moved and merged operations with Fort Wayne[7]:35 uniting it with a theological seminary that had been founded there by followers of Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe.

In October 1863, the LCMS in convention voted unanimously to move the teachers seminary to Addison, Illinois, appointed the first Praeses of the institution, and instructed that a new building be constructed on land donated by a local Lutheran congregation.[7]:30

Founding and Addison Campus[edit]

Concordia University Chicago marks 1864 as its founding in Addison, Illinois. Originally called Addison Teachers Seminary the institution is the oldest in the Concordia University System. Construction began on a new facility with a cornerstone laying service held on June 15, 1864. During the construction period, a nearby two-story vacant tavern was rented to ensure the new teachers seminary could carry out its educational training as scheduled, beginning September 1, 1864.[7]:43 The original buildings in Addison are now gone, but a monument stands on the site of the seminary.[8]

River Forest Campus[edit]

On November 12, 1912 ground was broken for a new campus in River Forest, Illinois. More than 8,000 people attended the cornerstone laying service on December 15, 1912.[7]:84 On October 12, 1913, the institution moved to its present campus with an estimated 30,000–45,000 people attending the dedication.[7]:112

Name Changes[edit]

  • In 1913, prior to the dedication of the River Forest campus, much discussion took place regarding a new name for Addison Teachers Seminary. On May 20, 1913 the faculty settled on Concordia Teachers College (CTC) with the official charter from the Illinois Secretary of State's office being issued April 28, 1915.[7]:85
  • In 1979, the institution expanded its education-centered program to become a full liberal arts institution and changed its name to Concordia College.
  • In 1990, having experienced tremendous growth in its graduate offerings, the school reorganized and changed its legal name to Concordia University. Since adopting this name the institution has branded itself as Concordia University River Forest (CURF)[1]:95 (1990–2006) and Concordia University Chicago (CUC), 2006–present[1]:103


Concordia University Chicago has five colleges, each chaired by an academic dean.

  • College of Arts and Sciences: Rachel Eells[9]
  • College of Business: Claudia Santin[10]
  • College of Education: Kevin Brandon[11]
  • College of Graduate Studies: Robert K. Wilhite[12]

Many of these students attend classes online or at Cohort (educational group) sites around the Chicago metropolitan area.

  • College of Innovation and Professional Programs: Thomas Jandris[13]


Concordia Chicago teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. Concordia Chicago was a member of the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference until the spring of 2006, and since 2006 is a member of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. The school colors are maroon and gold.


The current chair of the music department is Dr. Steven Wente. Dr. Richard Fischer is the Director of Bands, where he conducts the Wind Symphony and University Band along with conducting and music education. The Wind Symphony, Concordia's premiere instrumental ensemble, has performed in 43 states, Europe, Asia, and most recently South Africa. The group has released fourteen recordings of sacred wind music. The ensemble has given many premiere performances of compositions by current wind band composers. The Wind Symphony performed at Carnegie Hall on March 4, 2014. The Kapelle, under the direction of Dr. Charles Brown, is the university's premiere choral ensemble, which has performed around the U.S., Europe, and South America. The ensemble also has four recordings to its credit. Other groups include Schola Cantorum (Chapel Choir, conducted by Jonathan Kohrs), Chamber Orchestra (Maurice Boyer), Mannerchor (Men's Chamber Choir with Charles Brown), Laudate (Women's Chamber Choir with Maurice Boyer), Jazz Band (Kirk Garrison), University Handbells (Thomas Johnson), Cougar Band (student-led pep band), and other ensembles.

Alma mater[edit]

"Hail to thee our Alma Mater; Hail to thee maroon and gold! Here we stand thy sons and daughters, thinking back to days of old. Days of joy and happy meetings, days of friendship and of love. As we stand before thy pillars, hail Concordia hail!" —Paul Manz

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kohut, Hannah (2014). Faithfully onward, Ever Upward: 150 Years of Concordia University Chicago. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57864-885-6.
  2. ^ "Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Gard". Concordia University Chicago. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  3. ^ "O. John Zillman, PhD". Concordia University Chicago. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  4. ^ "Undergraduate Fast Facts". Concordia University Chicago. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  5. ^ "Undergraduate Fast Facts". Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  6. ^ "Campuses – Concordia University System".
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Freitag, Alfred J (1964). College with a Cause: A History of Concordia Teachers College. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.
  8. ^ Lutheran Teachers' Seminary Monument. Addison Historical Museum Web site. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  9. ^ "Rachel Eells, PhD – Concordia University Chicago". February 15, 2011.
  10. ^ "Claudia Santin, EdD – Concordia University Chicago". March 15, 2011.
  11. ^ "Kevin Brandon, EdD – Concordia University Chicago". February 15, 2011.
  12. ^ "Robert K. Wilhite, EdD – Concordia University Chicago". March 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "Thomas Jandris, PhD – Concordia University Chicago". March 15, 2011.

External links[edit]