Concordia University, Nebraska
Former names
Evangelische Lutherische Schullehrer Seminar (1894–1924)
Concordia Teachers College (1924–1974)
Concordia College (1974–1998)
TypePrivate university
Established1894; 130 years ago (1894)
Religious affiliation
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Endowment$54 million (2018)[1]
PresidentBernard Bull
ProvostTimothy Preus
Location, ,
United States

40°54′51″N 97°05′27.35″W / 40.91417°N 97.0909306°W / 40.91417; -97.0909306
CampusSeward campus: Rural 85 acres (34 ha)
Lincoln campus: Suburban
Navy Blue & White
Sporting affiliations

Concordia University, Nebraska is a private Lutheran university in Seward, Nebraska. It was established in 1894 and is affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod as one of seven schools in the Concordia University System. The university is organized into three schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, and the College of Graduate Studies.


Founding and early years

Efforts by four Seward businessmen, including the gift of 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land and $8,000, led the district to settle on Seward as the site for the college. The school, then named the Evangelisches Lutherisches Schullehrer-Seminar (Evangelical Lutheran Teachers' Seminary), was officially dedicated on November 18, 1894.[3] Two days later, classes began with its 13 students boarded, fed, and taught in the same building (now Founders Hall) by J. George Weller and his wife. Students were originally taught for three years before transferring to Addison Teachers Seminary to continue their instruction.

The academic programs were expanded in 1905 with the addition of two years of college studies. By 1908, a fourth year of high school was added to the program. Throughout the early years, the local community provided support to "The German College", as it was unofficially termed, including foodstuffs, housing, and funding. While most classes were conducted in German, English was also taught and used.[4]

With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the school faced significant anti-German sentiment by the local populace despite Director Jesse's support as a Four Minute Man. In a demonstration of their American pride, the school changed the language of all its classes to English and constructed a 100 ft (30 m) flagpole, said to be the tallest in the county. After the war, the school was accredited as a junior college and became co-ed in 1919 although women boarded with families off-campus. In December 1918, the Lutheran Seminary, as the university was then named, suffered infection during the 1918 flu pandemic with at least 15% of the student body being infected and one student dying.[6] The school suffered another less-severe outbreak in 1920.

Concordia Teacher's College

University presidents[7]
1. J. George Weller 1894-1914
2. F. W. C. Jesse 1914-1923
3. C. F. Brommer 1924-1941
4. A. O. Fuerbringer 1941-1953
5. Paul A. Zimmermann 1954-1961
Interim Mark A. Schmidt 1962-1963
6. W. Theophil Janzow 1963-1977
7. Michael J. Stelmachowicz 1978-1984
8. Ralph L. Reinke 1986-1990
9. Orville Walz 1990-2004
10. Brian Friedrich 2004-2019
Interim Russ Sommerfeld 2019-2021
11. Bernard Bull 2021–present

The first bachelor's degrees were awarded in 1940. The school became an accredited four-year institution in the late 1940s. In 1959, Concordia became the first of the LCMS schools to be accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The school was named Concordia Teacher's College, reflecting the largest program until the addition of liberal arts majors in the 1970s. The school was again renamed to Concordia College from 1974 to 1998.

The university grew and expanded its programs, including science labs, a large library, and multiple residence halls. Business, art, science, and health-related programs were added to the teaching and pre-seminary courses. Graduate programs were added in 1968. With the increase in enrollment came new programs and professors, many who were housed along Faculty Lane.[8]

Growth into university

The college became part of the newly established Concordia University System in 1995. and became a university in 1998 and was renamed Concordia University Nebraska. Concordia opened a 8,550-square-foot (794 m2) location in Lincoln's Fallbrook development to house graduate classes.

Throughout the 2000s, despite the growth of secular studies, the church-work programs continued to flourish with Concordia having graduated nearly 30% of LCMS church workers by 2019.[9]

In 2009, the Walz Health and Human Performance Complex was completed, significantly improving the athletic facilities and performance spaces.[10] The newest building on the campus is the Dunklau Center for Science, Math and Business, completed in 2019.[11] The Dunklau Center added 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2) primarily to the sciences while renovating existing spaces for other programs including the new agricultural program.[12]

In 1996, the college hosted the first annual Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival. The festival now brings nearly 10,000 school-aged students and teachers to campus to interact with authors and illustrators. It has included famous authors such as Lois Lowry, John R. Erickson, and Richard Peck.[13] In 2021 the University canceled the Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival two days before the event was scheduled after multiple authors and illustrators withdrew from the event upon learning of the school's opposition to homosexuality for religious reasons.[14][15][16]

The current president of Concordia University is Dr. Bernard Bull.[17]


The main campus is 85 acres (34 ha) in the town of Seward, Nebraska, with over 11 academic and administration buildings and 11 residence halls. Notable buildings include:


The university is organized into three schools—the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, and the College of Graduate Studies. Concordia University is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The teacher education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP); music programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM); and the institution's business program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).


Concordia awards bachelor's degrees in more than 50 undergraduate programs. In addition, the university awards the Lutheran Teacher Diploma, Christian Teacher Diploma, the Director of Christian Education, and Director of Parish Music certificate. Graduates of these programs serve as rostered church workers in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Pre-seminary and pre-deaconess programs are also available, including the necessary language courses to attend the seminaries of the LCMS.


Concordia University offers several master's degrees. These programs offer a majority of their courses online. Most face-to-face classes meet in Seward, Neb.

Student life

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[20] Total
White 79% 79
Other[a] 10% 10
Hispanic 6% 6
Foreign national 2% 2
Black 2% 2
Asian 1% 1
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 28% 28
Affluent[c] 72% 72

As of August 23, 2022, the student body included 1,124 undergraduate students.[21] 52% of students are male and 48% are female. Students are expected to uphold biblical practices in line with LCMS doctrine including sexual relations between heterosexual, married couples.[22]

Residence halls

There are currently 11 residence halls (dormitories) on the university's Seward campus. These dorms are separated by gender, with the exclusion of Jonathan Hall.[23]

Extracurricular activities

Over 30 clubs and organizations exist on campus, ranging from service-oriented groups to intramural teams to academic support groups to honorary societies. The Sower is the university's bi-weekly newspaper. The Tower is the title of the institution's yearbook. The Curtain Club performs drama. The Student Activity Committee (SAC) organizes concerts, comedy shows, free movies, bowling nights and the popular Spring Weekend. Concordia also has a Speech and Debate team.[24]

Visual arts

Concordia's art students exhibit their artwork at the on-campus Marxhausen Gallery of Art. The Marxhausen Gallery also intermittently hosts visiting artists from around the country who give presentations and display their art. The university's permanent collection of more than 300 works, the Koenig Collection, contains screen prints, etchings, lithographs and other original prints by nationally and internationally recognized artists. The Center for Liturgical Art at Concordia seeks to encourage and assist the Church in its ministry through the visual arts by promoting its use in worship. Students work alongside faculty and visiting artists to create a variety of pieces.[25]

Homosexual lifestyle prohibition

Concordia University's handbook prohibits "active involvement in a homosexual lifestyle" and specifies disciplinary action against students breaking this rule.[14] This is one of several matters related to sexuality that the handbook holds to be sinful.[26]

Concordia publishes a journal, Issues in Christian Education, that often contains writing about the sinful nature of homosexuality.[27][28] In 2021, the Plum Creek Literacy Festival at Concordia was canceled because authors withdrew their participation in the festival in protest of Concordia's LGBT prohibition. The festival had excluded books with LGBT characters by Eliot Schrefer and another author.[14]


Main article: Concordia Bulldogs

Sponsored Sports
Sport Men's Women's Co-ed
Baseball Green tickY
Basketball Green tickY Green tickY
Cheer & dance Green tickY
Cross Country Green tickY Green tickY
Esports Green tickY
Football Green tickY
Golf Green tickY Green tickY
Powerlifting Green tickY Green tickY
Shooting Sports Green tickY
Soccer Green tickY Green tickY
Softball Green tickY
Tennis Green tickY Green tickY
Track & field Green tickY Green tickY
Volleyball Green tickY
Wrestling Green tickY
Facilities include the 1,400-seat stadium and track & field constructed in 1997.

The Concordia–Nebraska athletic teams are called the Bulldogs. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) since the 1969–70 academic year. The school mascot is the Bulldog.

Concordia–Nebraska competes in 23 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, powerlifting, soccer, tennis, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, powerlifting, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball; and co-ed sports include eSports and shooting sports.


The Bulldogs have won three NAIA National Championships: men's outdoor track & field (2015), women's outdoor track & field (2016), and women's basketball (2019). Concordia's softball team appeared in two Women's College World Series in 1970 and 1971.[29] The university also has many intramural sports.


Concordia Nebraska's teams use the newly constructed Walz Human Performance Complex, Bulldog Stadium, and Plum Creek Park baseball and softball fields for competitions.

Concordia Invitational Tournament (CIT)

Since 1950, Concordia has competed in an annual men's basketball tournament against other LCMS universities. A women's tournament was added in 1965. Throughout the history of CIT, Concordia Nebraska holds the best aggregate record in both the men's and women's tournaments.[30] Since 2001 the teams are: Concordia University, Nebraska, Concordia University Wisconsin, Concordia University Chicago and Concordia University, Ann Arbor.

Notable people




  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


  1. ^ "Concordia University-Nebraska | Data USA". Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Total Enrollment Breaks Record at Concordia University, Nebraska". Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Pfabe, Jerrald (September 23, 2018). "History of Concordia: The Founding and Early Years of Concordia University, 1894-1919". The Sower Newspaper. The Sower. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  4. ^ "History of Concordia". Concordia University, Nebraska. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  5. ^ Sylwester, Mike (May 1, 2009). "Campus Buildings That Are Gone". Seward Concordia Neighborhood. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  6. ^ Pfabe, Jerrald (Summer 2020). "Of Uncertain Origin". Broadcaster. 97 (2): 14–15.
  7. ^ Sylwester, Mike (December 8, 2009). "Seward Concordia Neighborhood: The Order of Concordia Presidents". Seward Concordia Neighborhood. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  8. ^ Rensner, Hayden (March 6, 2019). "Faculty Lane Houses Bring Back Memories". The Sower Newspaper. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  9. ^ Sheafer, Jayne (November 8, 2019). "Observe 'Concordia University, Nebraska Sunday' on Nov. 17". Reporter. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  10. ^ Knabel, Jacob. "Concordia University celebrates 125 years with state-of-the-art science building". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  11. ^ "Dreaming Big at Concordia Universities Nebraska and Wisconsin". December 18, 2019.
  12. ^ Dunker, Chris. "Concordia University celebrates 125 years with state-of-the-art science building". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  13. ^ "Festival History". Concordia University, Nebraska. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Dunker, Chris (September 23, 2021). "Plum Creek Literacy Festival cancels events after authors pull out over 'discriminatory' Concordia policy". Lincoln Journal Star. Lincoln, Nebraska. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  15. ^ Gebhardt, Charles. "LGBTQ Thoughts". Issues in Christian Education. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  16. ^ Marrs, Rick. "What does God think about Homosexuality? Culture Wars, Identity, & Faithful Presence". Issues in Christian Education. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  17. ^ Dunker, Chris (August 24, 2021). "Concordia installs Bull as 11th president". Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  18. ^ Magness, Cheryl (June 17, 2021). "CUNE breaks ground on new performing arts center". Reporter. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  19. ^ "MEMORIAL". Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  20. ^ "College Scorecard: Concordia University-Nebraska". United States Department of Education. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  21. ^ "Concordia announces Fall 2022 enrollment". Concordia University, Nebraska.
  22. ^ Concordia University, Nebraska. 2019–2020 Academic Year Student Handbook (PDF) (Report). pp. 10–12. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  23. ^ "Dorm Room Layouts at Concordia Nebraska". Concordia University, Nebraska. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  24. ^ "Clubs and Intramurals at Concordia Nebraska". Concordia University, Nebraska. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "About". The Center for Liturgical Art. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  26. ^ Concordia University, Nebraska. 2019–2020 Academic Year Student Handbook (PDF) (Report). pp. 10–12. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  27. ^ Gebhardt, Charles. "LGBTQ Thoughts". Issues in Christian Education. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  28. ^ Marrs, Rick. "What does God think about Homosexuality? Culture Wars, Identity, & Faithful Presence". Issues in Christian Education. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  29. ^ Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  30. ^ "History of the CIT". Concordia University. Archived from the original on November 26, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2013.