In more ways than one, Concordia University Wisconsin's 8th president, Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, PhD, has proven that he has the staying power required for the long haul.


After 30 years at Concordia University Wisconsin—with 23 of those as president—Ferry will conclude his service to the university in June 2021. He announced his retirement in September.

He’s currently the most tenured college president in the state of Wisconsin, and he easily beats out the average of university leaders nationwide. A 2017 survey conducted every five years by the American Council on Education found that the average duration for presidents in 2016 was 6.5 years, down from 8.5 years a decade before.

Not only is Ferry Wisconsin’s longest-running college president in a figurative sense, he’s also—literally—the longest-running college president in Wisconsin. Since Dec. 20, 2012, he’s run every single day, outside of an 8-day stretch in 2019 when his running streak was put on pause due to complications from the flu.

Related: Read how President Ferry’s running streak began.

The last President’s Run

What better way, then, to honor a president in perpetual motion than with your own 5K run or walk?

On Saturday, Concordia’s cross country and track and field programs will host the final President’s Run. The two athletics programs began the annual tradition in 2000 as a combination tribute to President Ferry and fundraiser for the teams.

This year, instead of the usual on-campus gathering that occurs, runners are encouraged to race independently or with their own, self-selected small groups.

Here are the details on how to participate:

  1. Register at cuw.edu/organizations/presidentsrun. Registration if free. If you would like to make a donation to the cross country or track and field programs, you can go to www.cuw.edu/give. Include in the “special instructions/comments” section: “CC/T&F donation”.
  2. Run your 5K on Nov. 7. Begin your race anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Complete the race at your own pace.
  3. Submit your results online. Complete your race and upload a screenshot of your race results via the submission link in your confirmation email.
  4. View the results. Those who respond to the confirmation email will have their results displayed here

A gallery of memories

Each year, Associate Head Coach Samantha Stark (’09, ’11) designs a commemorative poster for the event, and each year, Head Coach Russ DeLap frames Stark’s creation and gifts it to the president. Ferry has each poster on display in an entryway within his home.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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