Concordia University Chicago
Other names
CUC, Concordia-Chicago, CUChicago
Former names
Addison Teachers Seminary (1864–1913)
Concordia Teachers College (1913–1979)
Concordia College (1979–1990)
Concordia University River Forest (1990–2006)[1]: 7, 95 
MottoYou shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free
EstablishedSeptember 1, 1864; 159 years ago (1864-09-01)
Religious affiliation
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Academic affiliation
Concordia University System
Endowment$23 million (2020)
PresidentRussell P. Dawn[2]
ProvostErik P. Ankerberg[3]
7400 Augusta Street
, ,

41°53′59″N 87°48′34″W / 41.89967°N 87.80954°W / 41.89967; -87.80954
CampusSuburban, 40 acres (0.16 km2)
Colors   Maroon and gold
Sporting affiliations
Northern Athletics Conference, NCAA Division III
MascotCharlie T. Cougar[5]

Concordia University Chicago is a private university in River Forest, Illinois. Formerly a college exclusively for parochial teacher education, Concordia-Chicago now offers more than 100 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and enrolls more than 5,000 students.[6] The university is a member of the Concordia University System,[7] a nationwide network of colleges and universities affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Concordia Chicago, originally named Addison Teachers Seminary, was founded in the Lutheran tradition by Saxon German immigrants in 1864.[1]: 7, 9  The university continues to maintain strong ties to its faith-based heritage.



Lutheran teacher training in the United States began in Perry County, Missouri; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1839, 1846, and 1855 respectively.[8]: 35  In 1857, the responsibility for the operation of the teachers seminary in Milwaukee was given to the LCMS. Subsequently, the Milwaukee teachers seminary moved and merged operations with Fort Wayne's[8]: 35  uniting it with the theological seminary that had been founded there by followers of Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe.

In October 1863, the LCMS in convention voted unanimously to move the teachers seminary to Addison, Illinois, appointed the first Praeses of the institution, and instructed that a new building be constructed on land donated by a local Lutheran congregation.[8]: 30 

Founding and Addison campus

Concordia University Chicago marks 1864 as its founding in Addison, Illinois. Originally called Addison Teachers Seminary, the institution is the oldest in the Concordia University System. The West District School Society (today's St. Paul Lutheran Church) sold 6 acres (2.4 ha) to the college for the nominal amount of $10 in November 1863, and construction began on a new facility, with the cornerstone-laying service on June 15, 1864. Zion Lutheran Church donated $3,128 towards construction.[9] The Civil War impeded construction, so a vacant nearby two-story tavern building was rented to ensure the new teachers' seminary could carry out its educational training as scheduled, beginning September 1, 1864.[9][8]: 43  Forty-three men and boys, aged 14-33, were in attendance the first year.[9]

The first building, a three-story structure designed for 60 students, was dedicated on December 28, 1864. Enrollment grew to 110 in 1874 and to 240 in 1885, requiring additional construction. A north wing to the main building opened in 1868, a south wing in 1875, and a separate lecture hall called New Hall in 1885. The Commons Building, containing the dining room, kitchen, and bakery, opened behind the main building in 1886, and the physical education building, called Turnen Hall, opened in 1895. The faculty grew from two in 1864 to nine in 1906, housed in nine faculty residences on the campus. The college acquired additional acreage over time, eventually giving it a campus of 28 acres (11 ha).[9]

A large celebration was held when the final Addison class graduated in June 1913. The campus was purchased in 1914 by the Chicago City Mission Society and became the Addison Manual Training School for Boys and the Industrial School for Girls. In 1924, the original buildings were demolished and replaced by a larger facility.[9] When alumni learned of the planned demolition, they retrieved the cornerstone, 75 stone window sills, the stone steps of the north wing, and the stone slab over the entrance of Old Main on the site of the seminary and constructed a monument.[9][10] The monument was dedicated in 1925 and refurbished in 1982.[9]

River Forest campus

On November 12, 1912, ground was broken for a new campus in River Forest, Illinois. More than 8,000 people attended the cornerstone laying service on December 15, 1912.[8]: 84  On October 12, 1913, the institution moved to its present campus with an estimated 30,000–45,000 people attending the dedication.[8]: 112  Prior to the dedication of the River Forest campus, much discussion took place regarding a new name for the institution. On May 20, 1913, the faculty settled on Concordia Teachers College with the official charter from the Illinois Secretary of State's office being issued on April 28, 1915.[8]: 85 

In 1979, the institution expanded its education-centered program to become a full liberal arts institution and changed its name to Concordia College. Eleven years later, in 1990, having experienced tremendous growth in its graduate offerings, the school reorganized and changed its legal name to Concordia University. Since then the institution has branded itself as Concordia University River Forest[1]: 95  (1990–2006) and Concordia University Chicago (2006–present)[1]: 103 


Concordia University Chicago has four colleges:[11]

Many students attend classes online or at Cohort (educational group) sites around the Chicago metropolitan area.


Concordia Chicago softball (in red) in action against the MSOE Raiders

Concordia Chicago teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. Concordia Chicago was a member of the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference until the spring of 2006, and since 2006 has been a member of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. The school colors are maroon and gold.[citation needed]


The current chair of the music department is Charles Brown.[16] Richard Fischer[17] is the Director of Bands, where he conducts the Wind Symphony and University Band as well as teaching conducting and music education classes. The Wind Symphony, Concordia's premiere instrumental ensemble,[18] has performed in 43 states, Europe, Asia, and most recently, South Africa. The group has released fourteen recordings of sacred wind music. The ensemble has given many premiere performances of compositions by current wind band composers. The Wind Symphony performed at Carnegie Hall on March 4, 2014, and again on March 13, 2019.[19][20]

The Kapelle, under the direction of Charles Brown,[21] is the university's premiere choral ensemble,[22] and has performed around the U.S. and in Europe and South America. The ensemble also has multiple recordings to its credit. Steven Wente,[23] previously the chair of the music department, retired as distinguished professor of music in 2020. Wente continues to teach organ as an adjunct professor and serves as the organist for the Chapel of Our Lord. Other musical ensembles include Schola Cantorum (Chapel Choir, conducted by Maurice Boyer), Chamber Orchestra (Maurice Boyer),[24] Mannerchor (Men's Chamber Choir with Peter Stigdon), Laudate (Women's Chamber Choir with Susan Nelson), Jazz Band (Kirk Garrison), Cougar Band (student-led pep band), and other ensembles.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b c d Kohut, Hannah (2014). Faithfully onward, Ever Upward: 150 Years of Concordia University Chicago. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57864-885-6.
  2. ^ "Dr. Russell P. Dawn, President". Concordia University Chicago. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  3. ^ "Erik P. Ankerberg". Concordia University Chicago. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "College Navigator - Concordia University-Chicago". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "We Are the Cougars!". Concordia University Chicago Athletics. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "Undergraduate Fast Facts". Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  7. ^ "Campuses – Concordia University System". Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Freitag, Alfred J (1964). College with a Cause: A History of Concordia Teachers College. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Addison Village of Friendship - A Centennial Commemorative Book of Addison, Illinois, 1884-1984 (PDF). Addison Centennial Commission. 1984. pp. 32–33.
  10. ^ "Lutheran Teachers Seminary Monument". Addison Historical Society. Archived from the original on December 23, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  11. ^ "Colleges". Archived from the original on March 20, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "College of Business". Archived from the original on August 30, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "College of Education". Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  14. ^ "College of Health, Science & Technology". Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "College of Theology, Arts & Humanities". Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "Charles Brown, DMA". Archived from the original on September 8, 2023. Retrieved September 8, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ "Richard Fischer, DMA". Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "The Wind Symphony is the premiere instrumental ensemble at Concordia-Chicago". Archived from the original on June 8, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  19. ^ "Concordia-Chicago Wind Symphony Announces Carnegie Hall and Home Concerts". Patch News. February 13, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  20. ^ "Free Concert by the Wind Symphony from Concordia University Chicago". Hoosier Times. March 8, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  21. ^ "Charles Brown, DMA". Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  22. ^ "Kapelle is Concordia-Chicago's premier choral performance ensemble". Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  23. ^ "Steve Wente". Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  24. ^ "Maurice Boyer, DMA". Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.