In late July, my family traveled to the Smoky Mountains to enjoy a vacation. As we approached Ann Arbor on our way home, traveling north on US-23, we crossed the Huron River, and I saw the sight I look for every time from that vantage point: the cross over the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. The view never gets old.
“Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore His sacred name.” Some of you may recognize these words from the well-known hymn. This is one of our favorite processionals at CUAA for major celebrations. Looking to the cross, fixing our eyes on the One whose love for the world held Him to that cross, we launch into our 59th academic year. Indeed, “… he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” —Colossians 1:18. For 59 years, that verse has defined our campus motto: Christ First in Everything.
We are a Christ-centered, mission-driven, student-focused community of Lutheran higher education. As I often admit to parents who are entrusting their students to us and then remind students a few weeks into the semester: We are not a perfect place. We are not perfect people. But because we are Christ-centered, and our faculty and staff integrate faith and learning in the classroom and beyond, Concordia University should be an uncommon place.
Our uncommon mission energizes me as our new academic year begins. The empty cross and empty tomb—with the promise of Christ’s return— compels Concordians to truly live uncommon.
Next time you are in Ann Arbor, traveling north on US-23 crossing the Huron River, look to the left just a bit. I assure you that the view—and more importantly the meaning of that cross—never gets old.
REV. DR. RYAN PETERSON
Vice President of Administration
Chief Liaison to the Office of the President
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the fall 2021 issue of Hearts Together, a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor Special Magazine edition. The fall/winter issue hit mailboxes in early October. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.
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