Concordia University Wisconsin and Michigan campuses forge alliance
ST. LOUIS, June 7, 2012—Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., will become a part of Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, per an “affiliation agreement” recently approved by the Boards of Regents at each school and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Board of Directors.
The affiliation is “a truly historic event,” according to Dr. Alan W. Borcherding, interim president of the Concordia University System (CUS). The Concordia University System includes 10 LCMS colleges and universities nationwide, including those at Mequon and Ann Arbor.
The new affiliation will not be official until the accrediting agency for both schools approves it. That approval is not expected until 2013. LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said the affiliation process between the two universities represents one of the largest and most significant collaborative efforts of LCMS districts, the Synod Board of Directors, the Concordia University System staff, and many others.
“First of all, the faculty and staff of Concordia University, Ann Arbor, are to be commended for their efforts fighting for years against difficult odds,” Harrison said. “It became clear that Ann Arbor alone could not thrive, despite heroic efforts of the school’s supporters.
“Concordia University Wisconsin has developed tremendous capacity in the past decade. In an act of collegiality and love for the church and the mission of higher education, Concordia University Wisconsin’s leadership stepped into the gap at the request of the Synod, and is now sharing its capacity to grow and improve Concordia, Ann Arbor.”
The new legal relationship is seen as beneficial to both schools: Concordia, Mequon (CUW), will broaden its reach into a new geographical area, while Concordia, Ann Arbor (CUAA) – which has struggled for years with financial, enrollment and administrative difficulties – will remain open and continue to provide LCMS higher education to students in the Upper Great Lakes region.
“From our perspective, the relationship is necessary because of the importance of maintaining our Lutheran higher-education presence in such an important geographic and demographic region,” explained CUW President Dr. Patrick Ferry. “Lots of LCMS families live in the fairly near orbit of Concordia, Ann Arbor ... and the mission there is a vital one.” Both schools will operate in their respective locations, but under the auspices of one Board of Regents: the CUW Board of Regents. A “Board of Overseers” will be appointed to handle certain CUAA matters locally.
Likewise, both schools will be led by one president: CUW President Ferry, who will spend time on both campuses. The plan calls for two leaders at CUAA to report to Ferry: a chief academic officer, who will handle all academic matters on the Ann Arbor campus, and a chief operating officer, who will be responsible for all non-academic matters there.
The schools will be restructured so divisions at CUAA will mirror those at CUW, with a “common core of coursework” for general studies at both universities. In the new structure, both universities would offer programs in Schools of Education, Business, and Arts and Sciences.
Each university will continue to have its own faculty and accreditation process, and CUAA graduates will have “Concordia University—Ann Arbor” named on their diplomas.
Randall W. Luecke, CUAA acting president and chief financial officer, said “it has been an incredible experience to watch the hand of God as He brought the leadership of Concordia University Wisconsin; the Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and English Districts; and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to an arrangement whereby God's mission can be continued here at Concordia University, Ann Arbor.
“With His grace and blessings, we will strive to continue to prepare young men and women for a lifetime of service to the church and to the world!”
For more information about LCMS colleges and universities, visit www.lcms.org/cus.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has about 2.3 million baptized members in more than 6,000 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit www.lcms.org.