Concordia University (Oregon)

Concordia University is a private, nonprofit, Lutheran liberal arts university in Portland, Oregon in the United States. Opened in 1905 as a University-preparatory school, the institution added college classes in 1950 and the high school formally split in 1977. The school of approximately 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students is affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Concordia University System. Located in Northeast Portland, the school also has branch campuses across Oregon and operates the Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho. The university has four colleges and eighteen majors. Its athletic teams, known as the Cavaliers, currently compete in NCAA's Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level.

Concordia University
Concordia University Portland logo
MottoChristi Crux Est Mihi Lux
Motto in English
The Cross of Christ is Light to Me
Religious affiliation
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Endowment$7.2 million (2009)[1]
ChairmanGeorge Thurston Jr.[2]
PresidentJohnnie R. Driessner (interim)
Students1,300 undergraduate
500 graduate
5,200 online & off-site (2014)[3]
Location, ,

45°34.097′N 122°38.218′W
CampusUrban, 13 acres (5.3 ha)
ColorsNavy and White[4]
AthleticsNCAA Division ll


Concordia Academy was founded in 1905 by a growing Lutheran community in the Pacific Northwest to meet the need for pastors and parochial school teachers.[1][5] The school added a junior college by 1950 and in 1968 women were first admitted to then Concordia High School.[5] In 1962, Concordia became accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.[5]

In 1977, an association of local Lutheran churches, the Portland Lutheran Association for Christian Education, assumed ownership and management of the high school as Portland Lutheran High School.[6] At that time, Concordia separated from the high school and became a four-year institution, graduating its first baccalaureate students in 1980.[5] Concordia College became Concordia University in 1995 and converted to the semester calendar.[5] The next year the school added master's degrees in teaching and education, followed by a Master of Business Administration program in 2001.[1] In 2002, the master's degree in education became Concordia's first program to also be fully online.[5]

The university added a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2005 and then started the College of Health and Human Services in 2007.[1] The nursing program was the first new program in the state in 40 years.[1] In 2009, Concordia started a program for conferring a bachelor's degree in music.[1] As of 2012, enrollment at the private school was about 3,100, almost doubling its enrollment over the past five years.[1]

The Concordia University School of Law is located in Boise, Idaho, and graduated its first class of students in August 2015.[7] Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Cathy Silak is the dean of the law school.[8]

The school moved its athletic teams from the NAIA's Cascade Collegiate Conference to the NCAA's Division II level competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference starting fall of 2015.[9]


Located in Northeast Portland in the Concordia neighborhood, the university sits on a 13-acre (5.3 ha) campus near U.S. Route 30 Bypass (Lombard Street).[5] The George R. White Library & Learning Center, a $15 million, 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2) structure, opened across from the campus green in 2009.[1][10] Other amenities on the campus include a 60-foot (18 m) tall bell tower and the 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) Concordia Place Apartments, a residence hall.[1][10]


Concordia University contains four undergraduate colleges: College of Education, School of Management, College of Health and Human Services, and College of Arts and Sciences. Through these colleges the university offers a total of 18 majors and 20 concentrations.[10] Additionally, the university offers graduate degrees in education and business administration and is developing a law school, the Concordia University School of Law, in Boise, Idaho.[11][10] Concordia has a dual enrollment agreement with Portland Community College.[12]

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Concordia as 80th best amongst the regional universities in the west.[13] Concordia University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.[14]


Concordia–Oregon teams, nicknamed athletically as the Cavaliers, are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA),[10] primarily competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).[15] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field;[10] while women's sports include basketball, soccer, cross country, golf, softball, track & field and volleyball.[10]

The official school colors are Navy and White. In 2012, Concordia opened a new athletic complex, Hilken Community Stadium, which was built at a cost of $7.5 million. The stadium is respectfully referred to as "Tuominen Yard" when set up for soccer usage and as "Porter Park" for baseball and softball.[16]

Concordia has been noted for the consistent success of its athletic teams, "The Navy", over the last several decades. Both men's and women's soccer have established their programs with titles at the conference, regional and national level. Dan Birkey has been coaching the men's program for over 30 years and Grant Landy leading the women's team for more than 22 years. Along with the successful soccer teams the Cavaliers golf team dominated their former conference at the NAIA level as well, with the men winning 13 of 13 Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) titles since its inception in 1997. They were also champions of the 2016 inaugural Cavalier Invite.[17][18] Additionally, the track and field program includes throwing (discus, hammer throw, javelin, and shot put) coach Jarred Rome, a two-time U.S. national champion and two-time Olympian, who runs the Throw Center.[10][19]

The school has completed the transition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division II and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Notable alumni


  1. Bucks, Olivia (April 23, 2009). "Northeast Portland's Concordia expands for future". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  2. "Concordia University Board of Directors". Concordia University Portland. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  3. "Concordia University in a Nutshell - 2014 – 2015 Quick Facts" (PDF). Concordia University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-18. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  4. Concordia University Identity Standards (PDF). Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  5. "Our History". About CU. Concordia University. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  6. "PLS History". Portland Lutheran School. Portland Lutheran School. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  7. "Concordia Law Celebrates Inaugural Commencement". Concordia University. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  8. "History". Concordia University. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  9. Brandon, Steve (Summer 2015). "Concordia moving to NCAA D-II, will join GNAC in 2015-16". Concordia University. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  10. "Concordia in a Nutshell" (PDF). Concordia University. January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  11. Roberts, Bill (January 16, 2010). "Concordia law school to move into Downtown Boise". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  12. "PCC, PSU renew co-admission agreement". Portland Business Journal. January 23, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  13. Siemers, Erik (September 14, 2011). "UofO 101st, OSU 138th in U.S. News rankings". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  14. "About Concordia University". About CU. Concordia University. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  15. "Concordia University". Quick Facts & Directory. Cascade Collegiate Conference. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  16. Kish, Matthew (February 3, 2012). "Concordia gets $1.5 million for stadium". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  17. "Men's Soccer News". Concordia University. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09. Retrieved January 23, 2010.
  18. "National Championships; Concordia Wins First Soccer Title". Concordia University Athletics. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  19. "The Official Athletics Site of Concordia Cavaliers - 2016 Men's Track & Field Coaching Staff". Retrieved 2016-01-11.
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