Our History

How We Began

  • 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 was purchased on 31st Street between State and Highland to start a permanent campus.
  • In 1886, Concordia received a perpetual charter from the State of Wisconsin, authorizing them to provide instruction to students who wanted to prepare themselves for the ministry in the Lutheran Church.
  • For eight decades, Concordia offered high school and the first two years of a liberal arts college program.

How We Grew

  • In the 1960s and early 1970s, a lay ministry program was incorporated into the curriculum along with co-educational programs for people interested in becoming teachers, youth workers, or social workers in the Lutheran Church.
  • We added a full complement of business and secretarial courses to our curriculum.
  • In 1978, Concordia was authorized by the Missouri Synod to become a four year accredited college offering programs 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 campus consists of 200 acres on the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan, just 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee.

How We’ve Changed

  • On August 27, 1989, our Board of Regents approved changing the college to university status.
  • Concordia University Wisconsin became the first university in the Missouri Synod college system.
  • Today, Concordia has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 2,500 students and continues to thrive as a place where young adults grow into careers in the community or vocations in the ministry.