In an ongoing demonstration of transparency, President Ankerberg and University leaders met in person this week with students, faculty, and staff in Ann Arbor and Mequon following an announcement shared last week from the Office of the President.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, CUWAA President Erik Ankerberg updated students and employees on both campuses about financial challenges the University is facing. In a live online statement to employees, as well as subsequent emails to faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni*, donors, and stakeholders, Ankerberg outlined the results of a recent financial health check. The analysis showed the University must reduce costs to operate sustainably within existing revenues.

“Our capacity to serve our Lord and our students to the fullest degree relies upon our ability to first have the strength to create an enduring and sustainable fiscal foundation,” Ankerberg says. “Future-proofing is sometimes uncomfortable, and even painful, work, because it compels us to abandon methods that may have effectively skirted issues in the past. However, just because something has worked in the past does not mean it is prudent for the long haul.”

In his Feb. 13 letters to the Concordia community, Ankerberg also emphasized the motivation for this action.

“…By creating a new, more sustainable business model for our university, we will, in fact, unleash our potential to realize the vision and goals of our strategic plan,” he wrote.

Concordia’s strategic plan is designed to bolster the University’s ability to deliver on its promises to students:

  • CHRIST-CENTERED | We have faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
  • TRUTH & INTEGRITY | We speak truth and display integrity in all our relationships
  • EXCELLENCE | We expect excellence in all our endeavors to support CUWAA’s mission.
  • SERVICE | We serve others in caring, helpful, respectful, and knowledgeable ways.

*If you are an alumnus who did not receive communication, please take a moment to make sure we have your updated contact information or that you have not unsubscribed to any mailings from Concordia. CUW alumni may email and CUAA may email Thank you.

Student and employee Town Halls

On Feb. 18 and 19, President Ankerberg, along with Interim Chief Financial Officer Danielle Marsh, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Innovation Dr. Steve Taylor, Vice President for Academics and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Leah Dvorak, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Communications Lisa Liljegren, and Vice President of Campus Administration and External Relations Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson, hosted town hall meetings for students and employees on the Ann Arbor campus. Two town halls for Wisconsin students and employees were held on the Mequon campus on Feb. 20. The purpose of the town halls was to allow President Ankerberg to share more details about Concordia’s finances and invite the primary audiences affected by the announcement the opportunity to ask questions of Concordia’s leaders.    

Click below to see the financial summary President Ankerberg shared at the town hall meetings.

Within the presentations, Ankerberg and his team contextualized CUWAA’s financial challenges as evidence of the difficulties the higher education industry is facing overall. Under Ankerberg’s leadership, the University has modernized and rebuilt its fiscal model to enhance the full financial health of the organization in order to make informed decisions that will sustain the university well into the future.

“Some higher education institutions follow a fiscal model that relies heavily upon drawing from endowments to sustain the organization from year to year,” says Interim Chief Financial Officer Danielle Marsh. “But year-to-year relief provided by the endowment can also lead to challenges. By protecting our endowment and building a model that works strategically to redirect our resources, we can better ensure the greatest possible outlook for both campuses.”

The way forward

The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet at the end of the month to approve a way forward based on the University’s new strategic plan. An executive committee—comprised of members of the Executive Team, Board of Regents and Foundation Board representing both Michigan and Wisconsin—has developed several options that will be presented to the Board at the next meeting.

Contact us

We know that this news elicits strong reactions, and we fully recognize the anxiety and fear that may come from these conversations. Many have expressed a desire to contact leaders and Concordia’s Board of Regents. In order to help our leaders receive your feedback in an efficient manner, we ask that you utilize the form linked below. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and questions. Due to the volume of comments our leaders are currently receiving, they may not be able to respond directly to your submission. Please know that all messages are being read and considered. We thank you for your love for Concordia.