Into the Archives

Take a trip into Concordia's archives with Dr. Jerry Pfabe, emeritus history professor and the university’s archivist, to see how Concordia has flourished since opening in 1894. All while staying true to the original mission of equipping men and women to serve and lead in God's church and world. 

1880s - "Sehr gut"

In 1889, the Nebraska District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod discussed the establishment of a
"pre-seminary" in Nebraska for pastors, teachers or both.

1890s - Concordia's Beginnings

In 1894, Concordia was founded as the Evangelische Lutherische Schulleherer Seminar as a preparatory teacher's school. The school's 13 students were boarded, fed and taught in Concordia's only building, Founders Hall.

1900s - Expanding the Foundation

The addition of two more years were added to the school's program in 1905, meaning the "teacher's seminary" offered a three-year high school and two-year normal school (teacher training) program. Later, an additional year was added to the high school curriculum. Concordia's first teaching degrees were awarded in 1907. 

1910s - Seward's "German College"

Up until 1914, students and faculty spoke only German in the classroom. University President F.W.C. Jesse pushed to change the language, in part because his wife didn’t speak German. During World War I, faced with anti- German and anti-parochial school laws, the Board of Control voted to change the official language of the school to English.

In 1919, Concordia was accredited as a junior college and women were permitted to graduate with teaching degrees.

1920s - Go Bulldogs!

In the early days of Concordia, one student was tasked with carrying the "class book" to all the classes and the instructor recorded what was studied each day and which students were absent.

The 1920s also saw the adoption of the bulldog mascot in honor of Coach Walter Hellwege’s pet bulldog, who accompanied him to games.

1930s - Building Traditions

Concordia's band hosted Christmas programs in the 1930s. They would also play in various parades in the community in addition to hosting an outdoor concert at the end of each school year.

1940s - Seeing the World

Concordia's first bachelor degrees were awarded in 1940 after becomming an accredited four-year institution. 

Since its founding in 1939, the A Cappella Choir has represented the school by singing in 42 states and 25 foreign countries. The first University A Cappella Choir tour performed throughout Nebraska in Omaha, Grand Island, Columbus, Norfolk, Lincoln and York. After 1940, the tours continued around the United States and then overseas.

1950s - Getting Artsy

Weller Hall, with its iconic spires, was built in 1925, but the chapel/auditorium space wasn't added until more than 25 years later. Chapel is still held in Weller, which also houses administrative offices.

1960s - Not Just for Teachers

Concordia added graduate programs in 1968, in addition to business, art, science and health-related programs.

Janzow Campus Center used to house a four-lane bowling alley in the lower level. The bowling alley was opened with the campus center in 1968 and was removed in 1985 (though the campus center still stands).

1970s - On Concordia

Did you know there used to be a swimming pool on campus? It was located where the wrestling team practices, in the P.E. Building. In the 1970s, both men and women participated in swimming, and women also played field hockey, volleyball and basketball.

1980s - Growing and Expanding

Concordia continued to expand its campus, academic programs, athletics teams and available extracurricular activities in the 1980s.

1990s - Cap and Gown

The school became part of the newly established Concordia University System in 1995 and became Concordia University, Nebraska in 1998.

2000s - Living in Style

The completion of Jonathan Hall, an apartment-style living facility, in 2006 brought the number of residence halls to 11.