The bold alignment of people, plan, and purpose for Concordia’s eternal mission.

There’s no time to rest. Mere weeks after the retirement of Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, PhD, beloved long-standing president of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, Concordia released a bold five-year comprehensive strategic plan that protects the sanctity of the university’s mission and ministry, and prepares the way for our faculty, staff, and students to extend God’s mission for generations to come.

“Higher education is experiencing such change,” says William Cario, PhD, interim president. “Our plan is based on things that won’t change, like mission, vision, and purpose, and it also is flexible to address the changes and continue to meet the needs of our traditional, graduate, and post-traditional learners.”

More than 150 administrators, faculty, staff, and board members participated in the months-long planning process. Prior to the process, Concordia alumni and friends engaged in a series of focus groups that provided valuable insights and perspectives. The assembly was charged with two very different and equally important tasks: chart a solid course for immediate university success post pandemic and secure long-term eminence in higher education well into the 21st century.

While the higher-education industry faces several threats beyond COVID-19, including demographic decline, competitive pressures, public perceptions, and technological shifts, for our Concordias that hold to historic Christian orthodoxy even in the face of an increasingly secular world the challenges are especially acute. The strength of the plan and our community’s fidelity to its execution are more crucial than ever.

The plan represents an uncommon galvanization of people who consistently relied on God’s guiding hand to map and execute a future for Concordia as He intends.

“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

The People

The leadership team at Concordia represents a collective 135 years of service to Concordia. They are pastors, professors, scientists, history buffs, business pros, fitness enthusiasts, techies, authors, parents, spouses, advisors, and brothers and sisters in Christ. They bring their whole selves in mind, body, and spirit to faithfully guide and protect the university as a premier higher-education institution of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. They accepted the call to boldly create new opportunities and innovative solutions for Concordia to make a larger, more lasting impact in the Church and the world.

The Plan

The framework of the plan builds on the strengths and distinctions of Concordia University, and prioritizes resources and energies accordingly. The plan identifies key performance goals and strategies for significant achievement in five priority areas that have been identified as critical to the university’s mission and future.

These five priority areas guide operational decision-making, resource allocation, and action prioritization.

All Concordians at every level within the organization understand their part in the plan and are activated to ensure success in the higher-education landscape. Progress toward goals will be monitored and assessed on a quarterly basis.

Together, we will …

Offer unsurpassed whole student learning and developing.

Through excellent teaching—a core strength and defining characteristic of Concordia—and uncommon Christian care, students will prepare to lead rich, fulfilling lives of purpose.


Expand the impact and reach of Concordia’s mission.

Through expansive collaborations, and the intentional cultivation and stewardship of diversified financial resources, Concordia will touch as many lives as possible and dramatically shape a new generation of leaders.


Exemplify Christian values and ethics within all engagements.

Through clear, efficient, and effective policies, Concordia will be regarded as a trusted employer; valuable corporate partner; and an asset to the Church, the community, and the world.


Tap the full potential of all learners.

Through unmatched scholarship, opportunity, and flexibility, we will honor and equip students, wherever they are in life, with skills, knowledge, and training for meaningful vocations.


Allocate and invest in innovation across Concordia University.

Through frameworks and processes that prioritize diversity, creativity, and change-readiness, Concordia will deliver a competitive, durable, and sustainable 21st century education.


The Purpose

The Concordia experience is based on whole-person formation for every student. Every encounter, in person and online, is an opportunity to demonstrate Christ- focused interactions that will prepare for uncommon lives of deeper purpose, stronger connection, more meaningful service, and global citizenship. With God’s guiding hand, and the support of all members of our community, together, we will secure a world-class, distinctively Lutheran, higher-learning experience for generations to come.

Related: Prepare the way

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

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