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Concordia St. Paul Celebrates its 125th Anniversary


A partner in the St. Paul community since 1893, Concordia University, St. Paul reflects on its rich history and bright future as it celebrates its 125th anniversary during the 2018-19 academic year.

From its first class of 30 young men preparing for the pastoral and teaching ministry in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, to its present and diverse student body of over 5,000 men and women of all ages and backgrounds, Concordia has prepared thousands of graduates for meaningful and purposeful lives, careers and service in a welcoming environment where Christ has always been honored.

Concordia has emerged as an innovator in higher education since observing the school’s 100th anniversary in 1993, which has helped position it as one of the largest private schools by enrollment (presently) in Minnesota. Here’s a look at some of CSP’s bold moves:

  • Pioneered one of the first degree-completion programs for adults in the mid 1980s.
  • Game-changing laptop initiative in 1998 provided laptops for all full-time students.
  • Moved its athletics programs to the NCAA Division II level in 1999, becoming the only private school in Minnesota to compete at that level. Golden Bears have since won nine NCAA Championships in volleyball.
  • Introduced successful MBA programs in 2006, sparking additional growth and opportunity for adult and online education.
  • Tuition reset in 2013 reduced undergraduate tuition by $10,000, making CSP one of the most affordable private schools in Minnesota and the Concordia University System.
  • Expanded program offerings in the emerging healthcare fields, including first doctoral degree (Doctor of Physical Therapy, Nursing)

The theme for Concordia’s significant anniversary milestone is “Leading in Legacy”, which captures the continuing dynamic that characterizes CSP’s past 125 years, remembering the “Legacy” of past accomplishments and innovations, while also “Leading” toward the future by developing creative solutions to current and future challenges.

A number of events are planned to celebrate Concordia’s 125th anniversary on Founders Day (September 13), marking 125 years to the day the doors first opened to students. Events on this historic date include:

Leaders in Legacy: Presidential Perspectives from Across the Years

The keynote event during the year-long quasquicentennial celebration is a forum featuring Concordia’s four living presidents; Rev. Dr. Alan Harre (1984-88), Rev. Dr. John Johnson (1989-91), Rev. Dr. Robert Holst (1991-2011) and Rev. Dr. Thomas Ries (2011-present). Titled “Leaders in Legacy: Presidential Perspectives from Across the Years”, the four leaders will reflect upon the legacy of CSP’s mission across the years. The presidential forum takes place on Thursday, Sept. 13 (7 p.m., Buetow Auditorium), marking 125 years to the day Concordia first opened its doors to students.

Dedication of the Dr. Cheryl Troutman Chatman Diversity Center
Thursday, Sept. 13, 11:20 a.m., Buetow Auditorium

The mission of the Dr. Cheryl Troutman Chatman Diversity Center is to engage Concordia students, faculty, staff and administrators in building community and creating an institutional culture that respects, values and celebrates diversity, and provides opportunities for everyone to be agents of change in society. The Center will feature a variety of series, presentations and open dialogue where all can share, educate, and learn about each other’s history, heritage, cultures and contributions. It will be an inviting place to exchange ideas, interests and perspectives, and to celebrate the commitment and benefits of having such a diverse and inclusive campus community and environment.

Dedication of 125th Artwork
Thursday, Sept. 13, 11:20 a.m., Buetow Auditorium

For Concordia’s 125th Anniversary Commission, artist Midge Bolt used photos from their archives to create two large fabric hangings. The historic photos on silk hang like scrims in front of the present-day photos printed on canvas. One image will be displayed in the Pearson Commons, while the other will go in the new Cross Roads addition on the north side of Meyer Hall.

A number of other campus events and improvements during the 2018-19 academic year will further celebrate CSPs legacy and vision, including:

  • Opening and dedication of new Cross Roads addition to Meyer Hall (new, modern entryway to include elevator for better access to events in the BEC and expanded restrooms)
  • Improvements in both functionality and the student experience at the Library Technology Center
  • Creation of Community Lounge to better serve the needs of CSP’s nearly 900 undergraduate commuter students.

Visit to learn more about Concordia’s 125th anniversary celebration.