Lutherans in Wisconsin founded Concordia College in 1881. Thirteen students began their instruction in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee. In 1882, property located on 31st Street between State and Highland Streets was purchased to start a permanent campus.
In 1886, Concordia received a perpetual charter from the State of Wisconsin which authorized it to provide "classical, technical, and religious instruction to young men and students who desire to prepare themselves for the ministry of the Lutheran Church." For approximately eight decades, Concordia offered high school and the first two years of a liberal arts college program.
In the 60's and early 70's, a lay ministry program was incorporated in the curriculum along with co-educational programs for those interested in becoming teachers, deaconesses, or social workers in the Lutheran Church. Concordia also added a full complement of business and secretarial courses to its curriculum.
In 1978 Concordia was authorized by the Missouri Synod to become a 4-year accredited college providing education in teacher education, nursing, medical assistant, social work, and engineering.
In a farsighted move in 1982, the Missouri Synod purchased the former campus of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mequon, Wisconsin. The attractive campus consists of 192 acres on the shore of Lake Michigan, just 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee.
On August 27, 1989, changing the college to university status was approved by the Board of Regents. Concordia University Wisconsin became the first University in the Missouri Synod college system.
Even with all these changes Concordia seeks to develop mature Christian students by sharing the teaching of Jesus Christ in all of its educational programs. This prepares students to competently communicate their vocational knowledge in the written and spoken Word by serving the Church and society throughout the world.