Concordia University
Concordia University Portland logo
MottoChristi Crux Est Mihi Lux
Motto in English
The Cross of Christ Is Light to Me
Religious affiliation
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Endowment$7.2 million (2009)[1]
Students5,342 (2019)[2]
Undergraduates1,501 (2019)
Location, ,

45°34.097′N 122°38.218′W / 45.568283°N 122.636967°W / 45.568283; -122.636967Coordinates: 45°34.097′N 122°38.218′W / 45.568283°N 122.636967°W / 45.568283; -122.636967
CampusUrban, 13 acres (5.3 ha)
Colors   Navy & white[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division ll

Concordia University was a private Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) university in Portland, Oregon that closed in Spring 2020. One remaining program, the accelerated bachelor's degree, continues to operate under another Concordia University System school. Opened in 1905 as a University-preparatory school, the institution added college classes in 1950 and the high school formally split from the college in 1977. The school of approximately 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students was affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Concordia University System. Located in Northeast Portland, the school had branch campuses across Oregon and operated the Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho. The university had four colleges and eighteen majors. Its athletic teams, known as the Cavaliers, competed in NCAA's Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level.

The university closed most of its schools after the completion of the spring 2020 semester when its parent, the LCMS, withdrew major financial support. Concordia University, St. Paul now operates the School of Nursing and offers a program with an accelerated bachelor's degree.[4][5][6][7]


Concordia Academy was founded in 1905 by a growing Lutheran community in the Pacific Northwest to meet the need for pastors and parochial school teachers. The school added a junior college by 1950 and women were first admitted to then Concordia High School in 1962. Concordia became accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges in 1968.[1][8]

Concordia Academy, circa 1907
Concordia Academy, circa 1907

In 1977, an association of local Lutheran churches, the Portland Lutheran Association for Christian Education, assumed ownership and management of the high school as Portland Lutheran High School. At that time, Concordia separated from the high school and became a four-year institution, graduating its first baccalaureate students in 1980. Concordia College became Concordia University in 1995 and converted to the semester calendar. The next year the school added master's degrees in teaching and education, followed by a Master of Business Administration program in 2001.[1] In 2002, the master's degree in education became Concordia's first program to also be fully online.[8][9]

The university added a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2005 and then started the College of Health and Human Services in 2007. The nursing program was the first new program in the state in 40 years. In 2009, Concordia started a program for conferring a bachelor's degree in music. By 2012, enrollment at the private school was about 3,100, almost doubling its enrollment over the past five years.[1]

In the early 2010s, the enrollment in the university's online programs, particularly its Master of Education, grew rapidly. In the fall of 2009, the university enrolled approximately 1,100 undergraduate and 800 graduate students; five years later, the university enrolled approximately 1,300 undergraduate and 5,400 graduate students. In 2016, The Oregonian reported that Concordia University awarded "more Master of Education degrees than any other public or private nonprofit school in the country." The university expanded its online programs through an agreement with HotChalk, a private contractor. The university's $160 million deal with HotChalk drew scrutiny, including a two-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Education and a federal lawsuit that was settled for $1 million.[10]

The Concordia University School of Law was located in Boise, Idaho, and graduated its first class of students in August 2015.[11] Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Cathy Silak was the dean of the law school.[12]

In February 2020, Concordia University's parent entity, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, reneged on a promise of continued financial support, and the university announced its plan to close after the completion of the spring 2020 semester, with a shut down as of April 25. The university's board of trustees voted to close the university "after years of mounting financial challenges, and a challenging and changing educational landscape".[5][6]


East residence hall
East residence hall

Located in Northeast Portland in the Concordia neighborhood, the university sat on a 13-acre (5.3 ha) campus near U.S. Route 30 Bypass (Lombard Street).[8] The George R. White Library & Learning Center, a $15 million, 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2) structure, opened across from the campus green in 2009.[1][13] Other amenities on the campus included a 60-foot (18 m) tall bell tower and the 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) Concordia Place Apartments, a residence hall.[1][13]


Concordia University contained four undergraduate colleges: College of Education, School of Management, College of Health and Human Services, and College of Arts and Sciences. Through these colleges the university offered a total of 18 majors and 20 concentrations.[13] Additionally, the university offered graduate degrees in education and business administration and developed a law school, the Concordia University School of Law, in Boise, Idaho.[14][13] Concordia had a dual enrollment agreement with Portland Community College.[15]

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Concordia as 80th best among the regional universities in the west.[16] Concordia University was accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.[17]


Main article: Concordia Cavaliers

Concordia–Oregon teams, nicknamed athletically as the Cavaliers, were a member of the Division II level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA),[13] primarily competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) from 2015–16 to 2019–20.[18][19] They previously competed as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) from 1993–94 to 2014–15.

Men's sports included baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field;[13] while women's sports included basketball, soccer, cross country, golf, softball, track & field and volleyball.[13]

The official school colors were navy and white. In 2012, Concordia opened a new athletic complex, Hilken Community Stadium, which was built at a cost of $7.5 million. The stadium was referred to as "Tuominen Yard" (for NAIA All-American Jarkko Tuominen) when set up for soccer usage and as "Porter Park" for baseball and softball.[20][21]

Concordia was known for the consistent success of its athletic teams, "The Navy", over the last several decades. Both men's and women's soccer established their programs with titles at the conference, regional and national level. Dan Birkey had coached the men's program for over 30 years and Grant Landy led the women's team for more than 22 years. Along with the successful soccer teams, the Cavaliers golf team dominated their former conference at the NAIA level, with the men winning 13 of 13 Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) titles since its inception in 1997. They were also champions of the 2016 inaugural Cavalier Invite.[22][23] The track and field program included throwing (discus, hammer throw, javelin, and shot put) coach Jarred Rome, a two-time U.S. national champion and two-time Olympian, who ran the Throw Center.[13][24]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bucks, Olivia (April 23, 2009). "Northeast Portland's Concordia expands for future". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  2. ^ Lederman, Doug (February 19, 2020). "Concordia University Portland to Close This Spring". Inside Higher Ed. Washington, DC. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  3. ^ Concordia University Identity Standards (PDF). Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  4. ^ ABSN, Concordia (2020-06-09). "Concordia St. Paul Continues Portland Accelerated Nursing Program". Concordia ABSN. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  5. ^ a b Manning, Jeff (April 21, 2020). "Concordia University parent sued for $302 million; online education firm HotChalk claims it was defrauded". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Concordia University - Portland Ceases Operations after Spring 2020 Semester". Concordia University - Portland. February 10, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  7. ^ Manning, Jeff; Ryan, Jim (February 10, 2020). "Portland's Concordia University will close at end of spring semester". Oregon Live. The Oregonian. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Our History". About CU. Concordia University. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  9. ^ "PLS History". Portland Lutheran School. Portland Lutheran School. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  10. ^ Young, Molly (October 21, 2016). "Concordia gained thousands of new students -- and a federal inquiry". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  11. ^ "Concordia Law Celebrates Inaugural Commencement". Concordia University. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  12. ^ "History". Concordia University. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "Concordia in a Nutshell" (PDF). Concordia University. January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  14. ^ Roberts, Bill (January 16, 2010). "Concordia law school to move into Downtown Boise". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  15. ^ "PCC, PSU renew co-admission agreement". Portland Business Journal. January 23, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  16. ^ Siemers, Erik (September 14, 2011). "UofO 101st, OSU 138th in U.S. News rankings". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  17. ^ "About Concordia University". About CU. Concordia University. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  18. ^ "Concordia University". Quick Facts & Directory. Cascade Collegiate Conference. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  19. ^ Brandon, Steve (Summer 2015). "Concordia moving to NCAA D-II, will join GNAC in 2015-16". Concordia University. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  20. ^ Kish, Matthew (February 3, 2012). "Concordia gets $1.5 million for stadium". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  21. ^ "Concordia University to Name New Soccer Complex for Alum Jarkko Tuominen". The Oregonian. Cascade Collegiate Conference. January 10, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "Men's Soccer News". Concordia University. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09. Retrieved January 23, 2010.
  23. ^ "National Championships; Concordia Wins First Soccer Title". Concordia University Athletics. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  24. ^ "The Official Athletics Site of Concordia Cavaliers - 2016 Men's Track & Field Coaching Staff". Retrieved January 11, 2016.