Celebrating 150 Years
Faithfully Onward, Ever Upward

In 2013 and 2014, Concordia University Chicago is celebrating its 150 years of preparing students to become successful servant leaders in their lives and careers. This anniversary provides time for reflection upon the rich tradition of education, faith, servant leadership and innovation that defines CUC.

With humble beginnings in 1864 as the Addison Lutheran Teachers Seminary in Addison, IL, Concordia University Chicago has grown from a small, single-discipline institution to a globally-focused, liberal-arts university. The pillars that stand tall in front of Addison Hall tell the story of strength, resilience, devotion and an undying dedication to higher education. It was before those pillars in October of 1913 that more than 40,000 people gathered to dedicate the University’s River Forest campus of Concordia Teachers College.

Since then, Concordia-Chicago has experienced decades’ worth of growth and expansion, paving the way for not only exceptional teacher education programs, but also an ever-widening curriculum addressing the growing needs of students and society. The college diversified its enrollment with the admission of the first female students in 1936. While teaching remained the focus, additional programs of study were added and by 1957, the first graduate courses were added.

The University was an early adopter of technology and pioneered the digital age for other Concordia University System schools and the entire Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. A rapidly expanding curriculum, including flagship music degrees warranted name changes to Concordia College, Concordia University River Forest and eventually Concordia University Chicago. CUC continued its expansion with its first doctoral degree in 2000 and the addition of the College of Graduate Studies and Innovative Programs and the College of Business shortly thereafter.

Throughout the school’s rich history, the mission of nurturing servant leaders has remained constant. From the support of the allied forces during World Wars I and II, to national catastrophes, campus fires and local flooding, the CUC family has held an active presence it its community and continues the mission of servant leadership to this day.

Today, CUC is a richly diverse campus comprised of more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students. In 2013, the University admitted its largest ever freshman class and the expanding Center for Global Outreach is establishing the University as a global leader in learning. Still firmly rooted in the Lutheran faith, Concordia University Chicago is well-positioned for the next 150 years of excellence in education.



In-depth historical overviews will be published in upcoming editions of the Forester magazine. Click the links below to download these special features as they become available: