Concordia University Wisconsin

Concordia University Wisconsin
Concordia University Wisconsin
Established 1881
Religious affiliation Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
President Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry
Academic staff 277 [1]
Students 7618 (2011) [2]
Undergraduates 4344 (2134 Traditional) [3]
Postgraduates 3091
Doctoral students 178
Location Mequon, Wisconsin, United States
Former names Concordia College Milwaukee, Concordia College Wisconsin
Colors Blue, Orange, and White
Nickname Falcons
Mascot Freddy the Falcon

Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) is a private liberal arts college located in Mequon, Wisconsin. The school is an affiliate of the 10-member Concordia University System, which is operated by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS).

CUW Campus - Health and Fitness Facility and Chapel (background)

The university is a coeducational institution, accredited by the NCA, with 78 undergraduate majors and minors, 17 graduate programs, eight accelerated adult education programs and three doctoral/professional programs. Doctoral degrees are currently offered in Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and Nursing Practice. There are also a variety of accelerated evening and e-learning programs. CUW also has 10 classroom centers providing community outreach with full adult education and post-graduate programs available. CUW's School of Pharmacy is one of only two Pharmacy Schools in the state of Wisconsin - the other being located at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The university is structured into five schools or colleges including the School of Education, the School of Business and Legal Studies, the School of Human Services, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Adult and Continuing Education. In the fall of 2010, the university welcomed matriculating students to the new School of Pharmacy which will award the Doctor of Pharmacy degree after a four year period to students who have completed their pre-pharmacy coursework. The second cohort of pharmacy students started on August 22, 2011 in the recently completed 57,000 sq/ft School of Pharmacy building that features state of the art lecture halls, classrooms and research facilities.

The university's mission statement reads: "Concordia University Wisconsin is a Lutheran higher education community committed to helping students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world."



The university is in Mequon, Wisconsin, a city of just over 20,000 citizens north of Milwaukee. Residing on the shore of Lake Michigan, the university owns a 192-acre (78 ha) campus with over 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of indoor walkways.


CUW School of Pharmacy.

Concordia was opened in 1881 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee. Classes were taught in the basement of the building, with only 13 students in attendance. One year later, the college, known then as Concordia College, purchased nearby land to erect a permanent facility. The college was located between 31st and 33rd streets and State Street and Highland Boulevard in Milwaukee until 1983. These facilities are now partially occupied by the Indian Community School.


Seeing an opportunity for growth, the college, under the direction of President Wilbert Rosin, asked the Missouri Synod to become a four-year institution for its programs in engineering, social work, teacher education, and nursing. In 1978, the request was approved. In a farsighted move in 1982, the Missouri Synod purchased the former campus of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mequon, Wisconsin. This location has now become the permanent home of CUW.

On August 27, 1989, the college sought approval from the Board of Regents to gain university status and The Board approved the request, making Concordia University Wisconsin the first among the 10 colleges of the Concordia University System to achieve this standing, after which President Dr. R. John Buuck led the university in its transition from the old Milwaukee campus to the current Mequon facility during his 18-year presidency.


CUW Enrollment 1990 to present

Following the installment of its current president, the Rev. Dr. Patrick Ferry, the university saw tremendous growth in enrollment. Since 1995/96 CUW has doubled in total enrollment from 3719 to 7485 students in 2010-11. Also expanded were the adult education programs, which are among the largest in Lutheran higher education. Concordia's total enrollment makes it the largest Lutheran university in the United States.[4][5]

In keeping with its liberal arts tradition, Concordia's largest undergraduate majors as of the 2010-11 school year were:

Major area Students Percent
Health Professions 623 29%
Education 425 20%
Business 268 13%
Theology/Religious vocations 81 4%
Public administration and service 125 6%
Biological and biomedical sciences 137 6%

Other key demographics for CUW students: (a)

  • Lutheran 50%
  • Minority 11.5%
  • International 1.6%
  • Church work 15.1%
  • Boarding 57% [1]

(a) Note: Source of data traditional undergraduate students only.


Student/Faculty ratio: 12 to 1
Average class size: 19
Full-time faculty with terminal degree: 74.2%

School presidents

  • Rev. Christoph Henry Loeber - installed 1885
  • Rev. Max Albrecht - installed 1893
  • Rev. G. Christian Barth - installed 1912
  • Dr. Walter W. Stuenkel - installed 1953
  • Dr. Wilbert Rosin - installed 1977
  • Rev. Dr. R. John Buuck - installed 1979
  • Rev. Dr. Patrick Ferry - installed 1997 (current president)

Student Media

Concordia University Wisconsin is home to several student publications, including the official student newspaper,The Beacon , which was founded in 1984. Prior to The Beacon's first publication in 1984, papers like The Courier and The Quidditch made up the student news publications. An underground publication at Concordia is The Shadow, which contains humorous fictional stories and is distributed by secret editorial staff, is currently in its third incarnation, following in the foot steps of the original but renamed as The Shadow Reborn.

Prior incarnation of the modern campus - The School Sisters of Notre Dame

The current location of Concordia University Wisconsin was once a campus formerly owned by the Roman Catholic Church, housing a convent as well as Highland Bluff Academy a then-novel Alternative Education Center operated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame from 1969-83.

In the days before the Individuals with Disabilities Act was passed in 1977 and for several years afterward as it was implemented, the Alternative Education Center Day Program operated from 1969 to 1983 on a portion of the 2nd floor directly above the lobby and stairs of what is now the residence halls in the W building.

Educating a mixed bag of 50 to 75 students from both genders and all types of non-physical disabilities (children with physical disabilities were enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools' Gaenslen Elementary School located forty miles to the south) ranging from the ages of 6 to 21, the nuns and other lay personnel working therewith had their hands full.

Some students were nonverbal, others were barely verbal, some were verbal to the point of post-doctoral levels, and as such, many would come to be classified later as being on the Autism spectrum or having Asperger's syndrome thirty years before that knowledge was widespread.

Other students' disabilities fell inbetween disability classified areas of the time, such as the hard-of-hearing, learning disabled but not retarded and partially-sighted, and so rather than sequestering these children in basements and attics or sending them off to be cared for custodially in state institutions, these nuns and those working with them decided in 1969 to try and give these students a future.

Staff and program offices occupied much of the first floor, however students were not permitted access down those halls without an escort as much of the construction had yet to be completed.

The once-huge rooms on the second floor main hall of the W building provided a collage of various programs and services in an unstructured environment, pioneering the Michigan concept of adapting education to the children rather than forcing the children to adapt to the education in Wisconsin, a concept that is still in development and gaining popularity across the country over 40 years later with the advent of home-schooling, charter schools, conservatories, and adapted-educational centers.

When the school was opened, the original nuns' dorms sequestered behind the huge wooden doors halfway down the 2nd floor hall on the right side as you exit the stairs were perfectly preserved just as they had been over 40 years earlier when the young postulants had last slept in the beds or stored their extra habits in the lockers next to them.

Even though these rooms were off-limits to students, nuns often allowed children that would later be diagnosed with disabilities such as ADHD or Tourette's Syndrome to work off their extra energy by running around the empty dorms or bouncing on the beds, or relax and let the tics of Tourette's play out naturally, something that would have never been allowed in even the most progressive of conventional schools of the period.

You may notice the crude murals painted on the walls of the 2nd floor of the W building. Students painted these over the period 1973-75 under the direction of their new art teacher, a progressive thinking nun on loan from the Michigan convent.

As more and more public schools began to understand and accommodate the educational needs of these children, and they became able to find places for themselves in the public school educational system, the need for independent alternative education centers was seen as duplication of services by the funding sources responsible for their continued operation, the school closed after the 1982-83 school year and all the remaining children were mainstreamed into public schools or returned to the state institutions from which they'd come.

Today such concepts are integrated into Charter Schools and Advanced Learning Academies in order to reduce or eliminate the stigma of children riding the short bus to school.

Notable alumni

  • André Carson, U. S. Representative, second Muslim elected to Congress
  • David A. Clarke, Jr., Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin[6]
  • Rev. Ken Klaus, speaker on The Lutheran Hour worldwide radio broadcast
  • Martin E. Marty, theological scholar and philosopher
  • John Scardina, NFL player[7]
  • Walter Wangerin Jr., award-winning American author and educator
  • Norman Wengert, political scientist
  • Ty Schill, switch-hitting Minor League baseball shortstop.
  • Kurt W. Schuller, Wisconsin politician
  • Nathan Boeckers, Portland Timbers Major League Soccer

Notable faculty

  • Curt Gielow, dean of school of pharmacy, Wisconsin politician


External links

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