Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota)

Concordia College is a private college in Moorhead, Minnesota. Founded by Norwegian settlers in 1891, the school is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and practices the liberal arts. Concordia is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has a total student enrollment of 2,531. It offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Master of Education degrees.

Concordia College
MottoSoli Deo Gloria
Motto in English
"Glory to God Alone"
EstablishedOctober 31, 1891 (1891-10-31)
Religious affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Endowment$101.6 million (2014)[1]
Budget$117.8 million (2016)[2]
PresidentDr. William Craft
DeanDr. Eric Eliason
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,

46°51′55″N 96°46′12″W
CampusUrban, 113 acres (46 ha)[1]
ColorsMaroon, Gold          
SportsNCAA Division IIIMIAC
MascotKernel Cobb

Since Concordia was founded, it has articulated a Christian and global curriculum. Students are required to take courses in health, communication, religion, and culture. The university maintains athletic teams in 22 sports and carries 19 music ensembles, including The Concordia Choir, The Concordia Orchestra, and The Concordia Band.


Concordia College was dedicated as a private academy on Oct. 31, 1891, by a group of approximately one dozen Norwegian pastors and laymen[6] who had recently settled in the Red River Valley. The school was founded on the property of the former Episcopalian Bishop Whipple School, which closed in 1887.[7] English Professor I.F. Grose of St. Olaf College was asked to preside over the academy,[8] which then offered mixed-sex education in English literature, natural sciences, mathematics, piano, and organ.[9] The school opened with three faculty and twelve students.[10]

In 1892, Rasmus Bogstad, a Norwegian pastor, raised funds to build a male dormitory on campus grounds. His efforts lead to the construction of Academy Hall.[11] In 1893, Grose resigned and recently hired business professor Hans Aaker took his place.[12] Aaker became mayor of Moorhead in 1900 and left two years later when that job compromised his dedication to the school.[13] Bogstad was appointed Concordia's next president and established its liberal tradition.[14] Under Bogstad, Concordia constructed a new academic building, now called Old Main.[15]

Rev. Henry O. Shurson held the presidency after Bogstad resigned in 1910, until Rev. Johan A. Aasgaard was appointed in 1911.[8] Under Aasgaard, the nearby Park Region College and Bruflat Academy were merged with Concordia,[16] and a new library was built in what is now called Grose Hall.[17] In 1925, Rev. John N. Brown became president and oversaw Concordia's accreditation by the North Central Association in 1927.[18] Eleven years later, a female dormitory was built, named Fjelstad Hall,[19] and in 1947, a male dormitory was built, later called Brown Hall.[20]

Rev. Joseph "Prexy Joe" Knutson became president in 1951, and presided over the construction of 16 buildings and the increased enrollment of 1592 students.[21] Under his leadership, the Concordia Annual Fund was established to raise money for the college's interests,[22] which still continues today. Dr. Paul J. Dovre took the presidency in 1975,[8] and oversaw new college programs and articulated Concordia's Lutheran mission.[23] Since 1999, the college has been presided by Rev. Thomas W. Thomsen, who implemented the design for a new campus center, and Dr. Pamela M. Jolicoeur, who established plans for the college's Offutt School of Business. Construction on the Offutt School of Business was completed in late 2012, and hosted students in the fall semester of 2013.[8] Today, the school is led by Dr. William J. Craft.[24]


Concordia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[25][26] It holds 2,531 students[1] and offers 61 majors and 12 pre-professional programs.[27] Master of Education degrees are offered,[28] and the most popular majors are business, education, and communication.[1]

The college upholds a curriculum that centers on a Christian and global perspective.[29] Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Concordia practices the liberal arts from the Lutheran theological tradition.[30][31] Faculty are encouraged to retain Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World (BREW) as a thematic focus in their instructions.[32] The college operates by a semester calendar[1] and first-year students are required to take courses in health, communication, religion, and culture.[33] An honors program is offered for motivated students.[34]

Concordia is included in the Open Doors] survey of the top twenty baccalaureate institutions that send students abroad.[33] The college offers four global education programs[35] and offers instruction in nine languages.[36] Moreover, students are permitted to study at two neighboring universities, Minnesota State University Moorhead and North Dakota State University, for course credit to their degrees.[37]

Student life


The college maintains five choirs, three bands, two orchestras, three jazz ensembles, two percussion ensembles, and two handbell choirs.[38] Historically, music education began with the college's 1891 formation, when piano and organ lessons were taught by one instructor.[8] The college has since expanded to hold a music department of 45 faculty, which offers five Bachelor of Music degrees and two Bachelor of Arts degrees.[39]

The Concordia Choir is a 78-member mixed choir that travels internationally and has performed at major performance venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.[40] The choir was founded in 1919 by the college's voice instructor and began touring in 1923 under the direction of Herman Monson.[41] The choir grew to national prominence in the following decades when Paul J. Christiansen, son of conductor F. Melius Christiansen and brother of Olaf Christiansen, became the director.[42] Christiansen remained in the position for 49 years[43] until composer René Clausen took over in 1986, who remains there today.[44] Under Clausen, The Concordia Choir has released numerous recordings and has performed with the King's Singers.[40]

The college has put on an annual Christmas concert since 1927, which remains a tradition of the local community.[45] From its inception, it has featured the music department's choirs and orchestra.[45] In 1940, Christianson began working with painter Cyrus M. Running to incorporate murals with the concert to reflect the music's themes.[46] Running completed the designs until 1978, when their development was taken over by David J. Hetland,[45] whose murals have traditionally extended 56-by-20 feet.[47] After Hetland's 2006 death, mural designs were taken over by artist Paul Johnson.[45] The concert is currently performed four times annually on Concordia's campus and twice annually at Orchestra Hall.[48] Over 450 students perform[49] for an audience of twenty thousand,[50] and the concert is broadcast on radio and television.[45] The 2009 concert, Journey to Bethlehem, was recorded by Twin Cities Public Television and won a regional Emmy.[51] It was broadcast nationally by members of the Public Broadcasting Service.[51]


Concordia fields athletic teams in 22 sports, in which more than 800 students participate.[52] It is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which competes in NCAA Division III.[53] Athletics began when a baseball club was organized in 1903[54] and a basketball team was formed after the construction of a gymnasium in 1907.[55] Football emerged in 1916 and Concordia joined the MIAC in 1920.[56] Soon after, teams for tennis, golf, wrestling, softball, volleyball, track, cross country running and others transpired.[57]

Athletics grew further when Jake Christiansen, brother of conductor Paul J. Christiansen, was appointed physical education director in 1941.[58] He coached the football team to five conference championships over his 28-year career.[59] In 1952, Christiansen designed a new athletic facility[55] that promoted the college's reputation in the region.[60] One of Christiansen's former students, Jim Christopherson, took over coaching in 1969 and led the team to nine conference titles and two national championships.[61] Both coaches have been inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.[55]

Notable faculty

Notable faculty include:

  • René Clausen, professor of music (Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair in Choral Music), conductor of The Concordia Choir
  • Chris Coste, head coach, baseball
  • Hiram Drache, historian-in-residence
  • Rich Glas, Athletic director and men's basketball head coach
  • Marcus J. Borg, (1942–2015) American New Testament scholar and theologian. Among the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. "Concordia College | Concordia College-Moorhead | Best College | US News". Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  2. Kennedy, Patrick. "Minnesota Nonprofit 100". StarTribune News. Minneapolis StarTribune. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  3. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Concordia at a Glance". September 29, 2011. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  4. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Employment at Concordia". August 9, 2011. Archived from the original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  5. NAICU – Member Directory Archived November 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  6. Englehardt, 16.
  7. Englehardt, 22.
  8. "Presidential History". Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  9. Rolfsrud, 19-20.
  10. Englehardt, 25.
  11. Englehardt, 28.
  12. Englehardt, 32.
  13. Rolfsrud, 42-43.
  14. Englehardt, 43.
  15. Englehardt, 52.
  16. Englehardt, 60-61.
  17. Englehardt, 75.
  18. Englehardt, 104.
  19. Englehardt, 128.
  20. Rolfsrud, 115-116.
  21. Englehardt, 288.
  22. "C-400 History". Archived from the original on January 8, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  23. Englehardt, 300.
  24. "President William J. Craft". Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  25. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Accreditation". June 2, 2011. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  26. "Concordia College". The Higher Learning Commission. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  27. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Majors and Minors". August 25, 2011. Archived from the original on October 30, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  28. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Degree and Graduation Requirements". June 2, 2011. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  29. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Intellect and Faith". August 11, 2011. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  30. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Concordia College's Mission". June 2, 2011. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  31. "Concordia College". Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  32. Dawn Duncan & Gregg Muilenburg, ed. (2010). Making BREW Matter. Moorhead: Concordia College. pp. iii.
  33. "BECOMING RESPONSIBLY ENGAGED IN THE WORLD — The Concordia College Core Curriculum" (PDF). Concordia College. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  34. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Credo Honors Program". June 2, 2011. Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  35. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Office of Global Education". October 4, 2011. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  36. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Global Engagement at Concordia". August 11, 2011. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  37. "Tri-College University: About TCU". February 15, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  38. Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. - Department Courses Archived August 4, 2012, at
  39. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn". October 10, 2011. Archived from the original on May 20, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  40. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn". September 11, 2011. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  41. Englehardt, 86.
  42. Englehardt, 127.
  43. "Christmas at Concordia from American Public Media". Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  44. "Rene Clausen Biography". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  45. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn". September 19, 2011. Archived from the original on November 1, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  46. Hetland, David J. (1999). On Our Way Rejoicing. Moorhead, Minn.: Concordia College. pp. 19–20.
  47. "David Hetland, liturgical artist, dies". The Lutheran. January 1, 1980. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  48. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Christmas Concert dates and ticket information". October 10, 2011. Archived from the original on May 20, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  49. "Christmas at Concordia from American Public Media". Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  50. Story by Erin Hemme Froslie (January 1, 1980). "Joy and wonder: David Hetland's murals color Concordia's Christmas concerts with hope and healing". The Lutheran. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  51. Laura Kaslow / November 27, 2010 (November 27, 2010). "2010 Concordia College Christmas Concert honors former president, celebrates Clausen's 25th year as director". Metro Lutheran. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  52. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – About". October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on November 8, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  53. "Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – The MIAC Story: Collegiate Athletics at its Best". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  54. Englehardt, 47.
  55. "Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. – Athletic History". October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  56. Englehardt, 87.
  57. Englehardt, 143.
  58. Rolfsrud, 210.
  59. Englehardt, 261.
  60. Englehardt, 195-196.
  61. Englehardt, 353.
  62. "President of Montana State Dies of Apparent Heart Attack." Associated Press. June 19, 1969.
  63. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 12, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) A Brief History of Wolf Research, Steve Grooms, International Wolf, Summer, 2002, Volume 21, No. 2, p. 9


  • Englehardt, Carroll (1991). On Firm Foundation Grounded. Concordia College. ISBN 0-9630111-0-3.
  • Rolfsrud, Erling (1966). Cobber chronicle : an informal history of Concordia College. Concordia College.
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