Concordia College was dedicated Oct. 31, 1891, only 10 years after the first Norwegian settlers had made their home in the Red River Valley. These settlers valued education and their religious heritage, and one of their first priorities was to establish a quality school.
Concordia opened with 12 students, three instructors and courses in English literature, natural sciences, mathematics and piano. Enrollment steadily increased, reaching 60 students by the end of the first semester and 200 one year later. Academic programs were quickly added as well, including religion, business, Norwegian, voice, geography and history. Twenty-one students graduated June 7, 1893, during the college's first Commencement.
As the country and the Norwegian settlement matured, so did the college. Regular liberal arts courses on the college level were soon offered. A complete college department was organized in 1913.
Concordia College is one of 26 U.S. colleges and universities associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The college maintains close relationships with the denomination's congregations in northern Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. These congregations, through the ELCA structure, send voting delegates to the annual Corporation Assembly, which elects the regents of the college. The associate director for educational partnerships of the Vocation and Education Unit, ELCA, serves as an advisory member of the Concordia College Board of Regents.
Being associated with the Lutheran church means that our students receive a college education where faith and intellect are active partners. We’ve created a safe learning environment where personal religious beliefs are examined and nurtured, and religious differences are embraced and explored. Above all, our students learn how to become responsibly engaged in the world with an emphasis on service to others.