For those of you who have not been in touch with us, you may not know that several years back we merged with Concordia University Ann Arbor.

Our two business schools have been working closely ever since, and we view ourselves as one university with two campuses (and 9 centers). The campus Dean in Ann Arbor is Prof. Suzanne Siegle, and we will be having our joint strategic planning session for both campuses in Ann Arbor this year.

Perhaps the biggest news is that we are planning a new building to serve as the home for the School of Business Administration. This will be a four-story, 80,000 square foot building, with ground breaking anticipated for spring of 2017 and completed in time for the Fall semester of 2018. This schedule remains contingent on our fundraising efforts, which to date, have been going well. I will share more details in the next newsletter, but suffice to say this is long overdue. Our school has doubled in size since 2007, and through the capable leadership of my predecessor and friend Dr. Borst, we are now strained for office and classroom space.

A unique feature of the new building will be incubator/startup space for student-led startup companies, so students can begin to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios, either starting their own company or helping someone else start one (more on that later). Another unique feature will be a partnership with our School of Health Professions (Dean Linda Samuel), wherein there will be a functioning rehabilitation clinic that our School of Business Healthcare Administration program will help run. The business of healthcare, as well as entrepreneurship, will be an important theme for the building.

The building itself will be called the Free Enterprise Center, in keeping with our philosophy that business and transparent marketplaces (e.g. better connecting cost and value) are efficient and can help solve many problems that society struggles with, including the high cost of healthcare (approaching 20% of GDP).

Concordia and our students have been remarkably active in the world of entrepreneurship and startups in the last year and have been highlighted in the press for their many achievements. In my mind, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking is the application of what is taught in the classroom. In our new CU launch program, four student-led startup companies were formed last year. This year, CU Launch has been expanded to four of our centers (Appleton, Mequon, Waukesha, Madison) and opened up to the community!

Concordia’s involvement in entrepreneurship has also occurred at the inter-institutional level, via our recent co-sponsoring of the Healthcare Innovation Pitch Event with the Medical College of Wisconsin. This event is where four regional healthcare startups were formed, and received $100,000 in seed funds during a high profile Shark Tank-like event. Essential Biotechnology won 1st place for their efforts at developing a drug to treat  pancreatic cancer, and went on to win 2nd place in the state Governor’s Business Plan competition.

Concordia also has a very active and growing international program. We are now hosting a Global Business Leaders speaker series this fall, which I hope you can attend (register here: Additionally, we have an active partnership with Upper Austria University. This past year, three Upper Austria students spent a semester in Mequon and 19 Mequon students went to Austria. We also have partnerships with various universities in China which bring Chinese students to our campus and create unique study abroad opportunities for our students. Within China, we have over 200 MBA students and we are building up a significant Chinese Alumni network! In fact, as I write this, I am in China visiting our students and alumni.

These are just some of the highlights of the last year. You can read more about these and other activities in the pages within, including an interesting article on Free Enterprise concepts from a Lutheran perspective by our own Dr. Van Mobley. I hope you enjoy the reading and walk away a bit more informed as to what we have been up to.

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

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