It is inevitable that stressful times come up during college, specifically as you are nearing finals and the end of the semester. Concordia is well aware and does a lot to combat the dreadful feelings. They want their students performing their best for their tests, so on many of the days they provided some sort of stress relieving activity or handout. One day they put little pieces of bubble wrap all over campus on random tables and counters. Honestly, even as I am in college, bubble wrap still does the trick! It is amazingly stress relieving. Also, stapled to the bubble wrap were little pieces of paper with yoga poses and five ways to eliminate stress: water, meditation, watching movies, laughing, and avoiding processed food. Honestly, the yoga pose on my paper was my favorite; it’s the “child pose” where you curl up into a ball with your face in the ground. more “Concordia Against Stress”
I feel like I start a majority of my blogs this year with some phrase that reflects on my time here. Well, if you’ve read most of them, here’s another: I have been involved with a lot of campus ministry events in my time here at CUW. There have been small group events, Haven events, Street Team, and so many more. However, the one I never did was CIA’s Fall Bash. more “Finally Bashing”
Education has a deep and strong tradition within Lutheranism and nowhere more so than in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. From elementary to secondary schools, from preschools to universities and seminaries, by God’s grace we have done together what we could never do alone. For nearly 170 years, Lutheran schools have helped prepare men and women for service to Christ in the Church and the world.
Many of these men and women have become pastors and teachers, organists and youth workers. But even more of them, especially today, are living out their vocational calling by serving in fields as diverse as health care and business.
Funding for our schools has always required an extraordinary commitment from God’s people, but it is a commitment that has been enthusiastically embraced by generations. Together, we can express our gratitude and thanks for the generosity and vision of the past while looking ahead optimistically to the future. And what does the future hold for Lutheran education, especially at the university level?
The mission of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor has been, and remains “helping students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world.” As the Church’s school, we stand with the Church to help every student discover their unique vocational calling that God has placed upon their heart. As your Concordia continues to grow and serve an ever-increasing number of students, the students’ impact grows dramatically.
This continued growth requires more resources with each passing year. As we look to the future, this trend will continue as we serve more students, and they, in turn, serve the Lord’s Church. And this is where we have the greatest reason to rejoice. With hearts together (the very meaning of “Concordia”), we have been blessed through the gifts that flow from God through His people. For this, we give thanks to God and rejoice in the generosity of His people who continue to support the Church’s school.
Rev. Dr. Roy Peterson
Vice President of Advancement
Alma mater,” derived from Latin, means “nourishing mother.” This likens the university to a mother providing nourishment for her children. It is no surprise, then, that the graduate of a university is an alumnus or alumna, “one who is nourished.” Universities nourish graduates with truth and knowledge, wisdom and discernment.
I speak as one nourished by a Concordia University System school. My alma mater, Concordia University Ann Arbor, carried me from adolescence to adulthood. This school was a nourishing mother to me both spiritually and academically.
Like a mother, this university provided me with a home. Warm classrooms were safe spaces to ask questions and grow in knowledge. Chapel was a hearth of divine truth and Gospel promise centered on Christ Jesus. Cheerful dormitories offered authentic community with just a dash of mischief to refresh our studies.
Dining halls provided nourishment for the body and collegial conversation for the mind.
Like a mother, this University provided me with accountability. I once skipped a Greek class to finish a paper for my literature class. I explained to the professor of the Greek class why I had missed class. And while I was formulating my excuse, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my literature professor. He kindly explained that he had assigned that paper two months ago, and this was no reason for missing a class. It was at that moment I realized that this nourishing mother would not let me get away with much.
One could argue that my alma mater is like any other. Every university should provide students with truth and knowledge, hospitality and accountability. However, there is one crucial difference: Concordia University System schools are nourishing mothers in service to Father.
These universities do not malnourish students with fleeting facts, worldly wisdom, and puffed-up pride. Concordia University System schools refuse to feed students a steady diet of temporary truths. Rather, these universities are places where students can “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). The ministry of Jesus is in the marrow of these schools: The Gospel can be found in every campus and classroom, athletic field and academic building.
Concordia University System schools serve the Kingdom of God by nourishing students with the rich wisdom of God, the pure Gospel of Jesus, and the unending power of the Holy Spirit. This nourishment does not satiate for only a moment. It lasts for a lifetime. And, it lasts for all eternity.
By A. Trevor Sutton, contributing writer
Photography by Michael Sapiro
Rev. A. Trevor Sutton is an associate pastor at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Haslett, Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University Ann Arbor in 2008 and his Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2012. He is currently a graduate student in writing and rhetoric at Michigan State University. Sutton has published multiple sermons, Bible studies, and devotional books with various Christian publishers. His most recent book, “Being Lutheran” (Concordia Publishing House), provides a fresh look at how Lutheran theology relates to contemporary culture.
One of the things I love most about Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor is the opportunity to work alongside wonderful members of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (faculty, staff, and students) who are dedicated to helping fulfill the Church’s mission through Lutheran higher education.
Concordia is unambiguously the Church’s school. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Another thing I love most about Concordia is the chance to work together with terrific people (faculty, staff, and students) who aren’t members of the LCMS, but who embrace this University and the blessing that it is in their lives and in the lives of others. Concordia is most certainly their school, too. Together, we wear our colors and together, we proudly proclaim, unabashedly, to the broader community around us, “We are Concordia!”
Our mission statement makes clear what Concordia exists to do. We prepare students “for service to Christ in the Church and the world.” Regrettably, there are too few places where the Church and the world connect or converse well.
By nature of the composition of our community, with Concordians from across the country and around the world learning and often even living together, the chance for such dialogue and discourse is readily presented.
Of course, there are moments on our campuses when cultures collide. Upon occasion, there are situations where lifelong Lutherans and folks who were previously unacquainted with Lutheran, or even Christian, perspectives aren’t exactly on the same page. Some might perceive such situations as a threat to Lutheran identity.
At Concordia, however, this surely represents an opportunity to communicate winsomely what it means to be a Christ-centered, Gospel-oriented Lutheran University. Dialogue and discussion are integral to the learning process. Communication within a community where all members have a sense of belonging fosters the sort of environment that deepens the discourse and enriches the interaction. As the Apostle Paul admonishes, we seek “to speak the truth in love.”
Given the great divide that we observe all around us—a setting where inclusion is framed by truth, spoken in love offers a refreshing change—it’s no secret that 2016 is a political year. Our election cycle will bring Americans to the polls this fall to elect a new president. The campaign has already dragged on for months, and the often unsavory political process will only intensify over the final stretch leading to the first Tuesday in November. We may be left wondering if “United States” is remotely descriptive of our national reality, or merely an aspirational name.
Neither does “Concordia” summarize the political or social points of view of every Concordian. It’s safe to say that not everyone at our University fully agrees on the answer to every controverted question before us.
However, if our University is successful in helping our students to be thoughtful and engaged citizens, attention to civility in the community discourse will behoove us all as we learn from one another.
It happens that this year also marks a national convention of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Fortunately, most of the excesses of the national political process are generally avoided. Nevertheless, there are inevitably differences of opinion, even within a Confessional Church such as ours. Varying positions are even more pronounced between Christians of assorted denominational affiliations. This only means that there is no shortage of opportunity within Christ’s
Church to speak the truth in love, without compromise either to the truth or to love. If our University is successful in helping our students to be faithful
and endearing witnesses, modeling how we handle our disagreements among ourselves and with others is also essential to the Concordia experience.
Yes, something that I truly love about Concordia is that this Lutheran higher education community is a laboratory for life. The variables of all that we observe in the Church and the world are brought together for inquiry and investigation. We “help students develop in mind, body, and spirit” as they wrestle with differences of perspective. Quoting John Milton, I often say, “Let truth and falsehood grapple.” Truth, of course, really has nothing to fear, and truth, spoken in
love, will have great effect.
At Concordia, the love of God in Christ Jesus—who is the Way, the Truth, and Life, and the Savior of the world—is the reason we exist. The mission to “serve Christ in the Church and the world” places us in the middle of the conversation about all of the big debates of our place and time. How we approach the issues,
and each other, matters. Ours is the privilege of sharing the truth and reflecting the love of Christ with people at Concordia—and beyond—each day. What’s not to love about that?
“No matter what transpired in the coming year, I grabbed hold of the promise that this experience would be good in a way that was in accordance with God’s own definition.” — Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D. on his feelings while dropping off his son Andrew for school his freshman year of college in “Faith in the Freshman”
I n his book, “Faith in the Freshman,” Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D., University president, reflects upon the significance of the first day on campus. As a University president, parent, and once-upon-a-time freshman, Ferry recognizes this rite of passage to be “all at once exhilarating and terrifying, joyful and painful” for students and parents alike. Every year on that first day, Ferry is careful to set the tone. “My goal is to do whatever I can to assure students and their parents that the journey before them, wherever it leads, is almost always worth the next step,” writes Ferry. The joy and responsibility of supporting our students and providing each of them with a positive next step is shared University-wide. The first day is far from the first connection with Concordia University Wisconsin. Choosing the right university is one of the most important and personal decisions a person may ever make. Our admission crew understands that students and their families are facing this rite of passage, and provides careful consideration and individual attention to each applicant to help them make the right decision.
It’s the “personal touch” that gets mentioned the most by students and their parents when asked why they chose CUW. From first campus visits to personal telephone calls to special meetings with professors, the admission counselors are an energetic, passionate, and informative team of individuals who are instrumental in these early consideration steps.
A caring, Christ-centered approach
“The application process to CUW was extremely easy and went very smoothly. The way they have it set up makes it almost impossible to get confused, because they walk you through it step by step.”—Tyler Hass
“I got to meet and talk with some of my fellow pre-seminary students on registration day. It was wonderful to spend time telling each other about our faith and the interest of becoming pastors. That really made my day special.”—Su Reh
“Being that Hannah is the first child in our family to go to college, we wanted to make sure we understood everything. Our admission counselor picks up the phone and answers everything, and it’s been very helpful.” —Anne Elrod
“It’s important for students to know that they’re not just a number here on campus. They are a special person created in His likeness whom we care deeply about.” —Joel Bahr
“I remember how ‘cared for’ I felt when visiting campus as a high school student, and I want to ensure that I do the same for every student and family that walks through our doors. There was such a lasting impression that I still remember it to this day, and I truly believe our families get that same experience.” —Sarah Kitterman
An environment that inspires spiritual and academic growth.
The beauty and location of campus are certainly positive reinforcements for those considering CUW, but for most students it was the innovation and rigor of the programs, and the time with professors that moved them from “interested” to “applicant.”
“The professors really care about us in that they want us to succeed. I’m always trying to become the best I can be, and the atmosphere at Concordia really helps me feel like I can accomplish that.” —Rachel Buetow
“We looked into the program and it was accredited, but it’s more than just a program. They were kind, warm-hearted, and professional. We knew it wasn’t a mistake or a one-time experience. We knew the root cause of that kindness was Christ and Christianity.” —Dan Argueta
Every day we hear about the CUW people who made a visit particularly special. Below is just a sampling of the compliments:
“We all have a relationship with Ashley Peichl [admission counselor]. I’ve probably sent her over 50 emails with different questions, and she’s been so helpful in answering them. Who knows if she’s ever had a bad day? She’s always smiling.” —Wally Argueta (mom)
“Dr. [Jane] Bishop introduced herself to me. It was nice that she took the time to talk with students and make a relationship. It was nice to know that teachers wanted to know my name.” —Hannah Elrod
“Amanda Villani [admission counselor] is really great. She’s checking on me all the time.” —Aubrey Netzel
An education that’s accessible and worth it
A private school offers many advantages, like Christian education, small class sizes, personal attention from professors, and, most importantly, university-wide investment in the experience of each student. The financial advisors work hard to make a CUW experience a reality.
“Dr. David Birner [executive director of international education] introduced me to a grant from the LCMS that covers part of my school education. The main reason I’m here is because I received this grant. Dr. Birner and Amanda Reitz [international admission coordinator] also helped me get my Visa and the governmental documents, like F1 student Visas.” —Solomona Rakotonirina
“Talking with the professors about the program, they talk about the students in the program, and students who have graduated from the program and what they’re doing. They know the students by name.” —Aubrey Netzel
“Concordia helped us a lot with the financial aid aspect. They helped us get as much as we needed to get there.” —Rachel Froehlich “CUW makes it possible for students to achieve their degree in four years.” —Tyler Hass
“At CUW, 99 percent of our students receive financial aid, so we always want families to understand that while the sticker price may be intimidating, there are many ways to help bring the cost down. We take a personal approach to financial aid because each family is different, and there are many different circumstances that affect their finances.” —Mark Adkins
“In working with families, I emphasize the value of the Concordia experience. They are not only paying for a great academic education, but also for the support of a community which helps ensure students’ success. Additionally, Concordia strives to provide access to all who wish to attend CUW. We will do all we can to make Concordia affordable for students who wish to attend.” —Michaela Hanson
“Concordia is comprised of many different departments, and they all work very well together. Whether it was our admission counselor, academic advisor, or the office of financial aid, they are all interconnected so well. This is our first experience with someone going away to school, and it was very smooth.” —Wally Argueta
“God really put Concordia right into Hannah’s [Elrod] path. It’s important to her to know how to be a businesswoman with a Christian worldview, and that’s what she wants to portray when she gets into the business world.” —Anne Elrod
The charge of supporting our students, both at the start of their collegiate journeys and along the way, is one shared University wide, but it is also a joyous responsibility that extends beyond. It’s a role inherent to parents and one that can be taken up in other ways, too: by faithful church members who pray for their fellow young congregants; by individuals who provide generous financial support to further students’ academic opportunities; and by alumni who ignite the intrigue of a prospective student by sharing their own most cherished and valued Concordia experiences. The path to and through college isn’t always easy, but an entire community can help to make the journey worth it. And the value of a higher educational experience can endure long after a student’s freshman year. In the words of Ferry, “Part of being a freshman is figuring things out, I suppose. It took me a while. In some ways I am still interpreting that year’s significance. But, the only way possible for me to describe who I am today or why I do what I do is to refer to my freshman year in college.” Learn more about a Concordia University Wisconsin education and how to get the admission process started by visiting www.cuw.edu/admissions.
By the Numbers.
Undergraduate Majors: 70
Graduate Programs: 39
Doctorate Degrees: 4
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Student Organizations: 70+
99% of undergraduates receive financial aid
Types of Financial Aid awarded:
- Grants: 33%
- Loans: 32%
- Scholarships: 35%
The average student is awarded $23,022. 68% of student aid awarded does not need to be repaid.
By Lisa Liljegren and Kali Thiel, University Affairs Special Contributor Amanda Villani, Admissions Photography by Jeffrey Phelps