Concordia will host eight days of events in Mequon and Ann Arbor to mark the inauguration of Erik P. Ankerberg, Ph.D. as president of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor.

Students, employees, parents, alumni, and friends, help us celebrate our new leader! Dr. Erik P. Ankerberg officially began his tenure as president of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor on Jan. 9, 2023, but now it’s time to celebrate him in full.

An eight-day lineup of speakers and celebratory activities has been planned to allow the Concordia community to celebrate the next steps in the life of our institution.

All events are free. Speakers and ceremonies will be available for viewing via livestream, but guests are encouraged to attend in person whenever possible.

Featured events include:

Inauguration Ceremony

Friday, Sept. 29 @ 2 p.m. CT

R. John Buuck Field House, CUW or livestream

Dr. Pano Kanelos Keynote Address

Thursday, Sept. 28 @ 7 p.m. CT

Todd Wehr Auditorium, CUW or livestream

Hearts Together Gala

Friday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. CT

Hilton Milwaukee City Center

For faculty, staff, students, and invited guests only

Inauguration theme—”Looking Back, Looking Forward, Hearts Together”

For generations in both Mequon and Ann Arbor, thousands upon thousands of students have learned of God’s love in Christ and have been equipped in mind, body, and spirit to serve Christ in the church and in the world. The theme for Ankerberg’s inauguration week celebration, “Looking Back, Looking Forward, Hearts Together,” invites our CUWAA community to look back with thanksgiving for God’s gracious providence, but also to look forward with confidence, knowing that the work that God has begun among us at CUWAA will, with His help, continue for generations to come.

The week’s daily themes (Christ-centered, Excellence, Truth and Integrity, and Service) summarize the promises that CUWAA intends to keep. We pledge to acknowledge that Christ is at the center of our life together, to pursue excellence in all that we think and do, to seek truth and act with integrity, and, finally, to continue to equip our students for service to Christ in every place that God puts them. We enter the start of this new chapter in our history with joy and thanksgiving that we are, by God’s grace alone, Concordia—those with hearts together.

Speaker Series

Throughout the celebration, special guests will unpack the daily themes of Excellence, Truth, Integrity, Service, and maintaining a Christ-centered community. We invite students, employees, alumni, church partners, and beyond to grow in wisdom and cultivate higher thought by joining in the Presidential Inauguration Speaker Series. All presentations will be available via livestream, but guests are invited to attend in person—at no charge—whenever possible.

The highlighted event of the Speaker Series is a Thursday night keynote by Dr. Panayiotis “Pano” Kanelos. Kanelos is the founding president of the University of Austin. He is widely acclaimed as one of the nation’s most powerful advocates for liberal arts education. In 2020, Forbes lauded him as one of higher education’s “academic entrepreneurs.”

Kanelos will speak in Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium on Thursday, September 28 beginning at 7 p.m. CT. His address will also be available via livestream.

Other speakers throughout the week will include:

  • Dr. William Cario, Special Assistant to the President at CUWAA | Monday, September 25 from 10-11 a.m. | Todd Wehr Auditorium
  • Rev. Dr. Scott Bruzek, Senior Pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois | Tuesday, September 26 from 10-11 a.m. | Todd Wehr Auditorium
  • Prof. Paul Burmeister, Assistant Dean of Advising and Professor of Art at Wisconsin Lutheran College | Wednesday, September 27 from 10-11 a.m. | Todd Wehr Auditorium
  • Drs. David Andersen, Erik Ankerberg, and Adam Francisco | Thursday, September 28 from 10-11 a.m. | Todd Wehr Auditorium
  • Dr. Richard Ray, Provost and Professor of Kinesiology, emeritus, at Hope College | Monday, October 2 from 9-10 a.m. | Livestream
  • Dr. Mark Looker, Professor Emeritus of Literature at Concordia University Ann Arbor | Tuesday, October 3 from 9-10 a.m. | Livestream

On-campus celebrations

The atmosphere on campus will be lively with plenty of activities for students and employees to participate in throughout the week. Events specific to students, faculty, and staff include:

Monday, September 25
  • Noon Poetry Contest Readings | Albrecht Lounge | Students may submit an original poem for a chance to win a $200 gift card. Poetry contest winners will be announced on this day. The campus community may hear the winners’ work read.
Tuesday, September 26
  • 4:00 p.m. Lawn Games & Wiffleball Tournament (Students vs. Faculty/Staff) | Chapel Courtyard | Sponsored by Chick-fil-A in Glendale
Wednesday, September 27
  • All Day Ankerberg Favorites Day | Represent Dr. Ankerberg’s favorite sports teams. Wear your Bucks, Brewers, Bears, Concordia gear or Concordia colors
  • 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Ankerberg ’s Favorite Community Non-profit | Rincker Lobby | Support Tailwaggers 911 Dog Rescue in Saukville. Sign up to volunteer, donate and visit rescue dogs.  
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Ankerberg’s Food Favorites | Siebert Dining Hall | Enjoy Dr. Ankerberg’s favorite foods in the cafeteria
  • 7:00 p.m. Ankerberg’s Favorite Flick | Regents Courtyard (rain location: Albrecht Lounge) | Enjoy a showing of The Natural with popcorn
Thursday, September 28
  • 12:15 p.m. ’80s Kahoot-style Trivia | Siebert Dining Hall | How well do you know Dr. Ankerberg’s favorite decade? Play to win prizes!
Friday, September 29
  • 10:00 a.m. Pastries with the President | Chapel Hallway | Enjoy some of Dr. Ankerberg’s favorite treats after chapel

What is an inauguration?

Much like the baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies during graduation time, Concordia’s new president is celebrated with both a sacred (installation) and secular (inauguration) rite of passage. Ankerberg’s installation service, which already took place on Feb. 5, 2023, marked the Christological sanctioning and blessing of Concordia’s new president as a commissioned worker of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

The inauguration refers to the full eight-days of celebrations, including the formal ceremony on Friday, Sept. 29, during which Concordia’s Board of Regents will sanction Ankerberg as leader of the university. The larger-scale inauguration provides Concordia and its stakeholders the chance to come together in celebration of the university’s new leader and our institution’s bright future.

Show your support

In honor of Dr. Ankerberg’s Presidential Inauguration, please make a gift to Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor to support either our students through scholarship aid or to support the university’s greatest need, the Concordia Fund. Gifts of any size are appreciated and do make a difference!