Peruse any ranking of the most desired places to live in America and there will likely be a prevalence of college towns. The reason college towns are so appealing is, in part, because universities offer an influx of new people, and a host of opportunities for the community to learn and experience new ideas and enjoy more cultural and athletic activities.
In 2005 when CNN Money ranked Mequon-Thiensville to be among the top 20 places to live in the nation it was noted favorably that our community has two secondary education options: a university and a technical college.
To the roughly 8,000 current students, 35,000(+) alumni, tens of thousands of parents, hundreds of student athletes throughout our NCAA DIII conference, and according to college reference materials around the world, Mequon, Wisconsin is a college town. The community’s many coffee shops, restaurants, shops and services help to fortify students with the comforts of home and become the backdrop to the most significant moments at the most significant times in their lives. Mequon, Wisconsin will forever be a special place for them.
In return, Concordia offers a rich tapestry of programs, cultural and athletic events, and learning opportunities that contribute to the unique Mequon-Thiensville way of life. While an invitation is not necessary to visit campus, here are five reasons to drop by and get connected with your hometown university:
1. Collegiate Athletics
school tournament in the R. John Buuck Field House, the Mueller family (Gary, Deb, Mia, Ty, and Zoe) looks to Concordia University Wisconsin to catch a collegiate game and connect with their neighbors. With 32 varsity-level athletics offered during the school year, and a summer of wooden bat baseball hosted at Kapco Park, there are plenty of opportunities to cheer for our very own NCAA Division III teams and enjoy the gorgeous grounds.
“Mequon-Thiensville is such a close-knit community that we know tons of people every time we come to a game at Concordia,” says Gary Mueller, managing partner at BVK. “We’ve been coming to games with friends since our kids were little and played on the playground.”
2. Performing Arts
For many Mequon-Thiensville residents, including Dave Jackson, retired executive and active community volunteer, the Christmas season officially begins with the annual
Christmas at Concordia concert. “What we like most about that concert is the breadth of all the different types of music in one beautiful evening,” says Jackson. “There’s jazz, strings, orchestra, band, choir, and hand bells all performed by such talented students.”
Concordia’s music department is led by Chairman of 27 years and Mequon resident, Dr. Louis Menchaca. He overseas roughly 40 different concerts a year and many of them sell out quickly. Local residents in the know get their tickets early.
3. The Bluff
The community’s most scenic way to burn calories also happens to be a trademark of Concordia’s campus. Visit the bluff on a beautiful spring Saturday and you’ll see dozens of neighbors, friends, and students shaking out the winter cobwebs and reconnecting with the majestic Lake Michigan. All-American track and cross country athlete, Dr. Lynn Fitzsimmons, of River Bend Counseling, has been training on the bluff’s unique winding paths and stairs for years. The previously ranked U.S. World Half Marathon runner prefers to run as the sun rises to start her day off right. “The bluff is so peaceful and beautiful that it takes me away,” says Fitzsimmons. “Even though it’s so close to home, when I’m here I can escape to my own little world.”
4. Host or attend an event
Basketball camps, speaker series, Bible studies, civic forums, service projects….there’s always something happening at Concordia. As an institution of higher learning, the university strives to offer students unique opportunities to enrich their lives and engage in the world. Those opportunities are often extended to the community.
Outside groups frequently look to Concordia for their special events. One of the highlights of spring is the annual Pinewood Derby hosted by Pack 3894. According to Derby Race Master Joseph Berkhahn, “Our Scouts look forward to returning to Concordia’s campus every year. The facilities are beautiful, they take great care of us, and our families enjoy the opportunity to be on a college campus and see college students as they go about their days. We are so lucky to have a university right in our own community.”
5. Take a Class
Without a doubt, the best way to take advantage of having a world-class university in your backyard is to take a class. Take several classes. With more than 70 programs to choose from, many available for adult learners and are offered online, Concordia can help you stretch and grow in your current field, try something completely different, or simply fuel your curiosity. Please visit cuw.edu for more information.
Editors Note: A version of this article first appeared in the 2019 Summer edition of Mequon-Thiensville Today magazine.
— Lisa Liljegren is vice president of marketing and strategic communications.
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