Concordia University announced Answering The Call, the university’s latest fundraising campaign, at a kick-off event on campus July 3.
The $65 million campaign, the largest in university history, will provide support for Concordia students through four key initiatives: Science and Business, Agriculture, For the Church and Our Promises of a Lutheran Education.
While money has been raised through the campaign’s private phase, the announcement was to kick off the public phase of the fundraiser. That will go through July 2021.
“The Answering The Call campaign, with God’s blessings and the generous investment of thousands of friends and alumni, will allow Concordia University, Nebraska to advance the future of Lutheran Christian higher education, as it seeks to equip students to learn, serve and lead in the church and God’s world,” said the Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich, Concordia’s president.
Funds raised through the campaign will provide resources for capital projects, university operations and the university’s endowment, allowing Concordia to continue offering financial aid to 100% of undergraduate students at an average of $23,930 per student.
So far, campaign co-chair Denise Tewes said, more than $57.9 million has been raised, including the funds for the Dunklau Center for Science, Math and Business.
Providing opportunities for students to grow in their faith, which they take with them into their vocations, is important, she said.
Dr. Doug Tewes, campaign co-chair reminded those attending the announcement that Concordia graduates help fill the need for strong Christian leaders in all areas.
“Not all are called to the same vocation, but all are called to serve Christ,” he said. “We strive to have Christ on our sleeve every day.”
During the event, Kurth Brashear, Concordia vice president for institutional advancement, hosted a panel discussion about how each of the key initiatives will impact students. Panel participants were Dr. Doug ‘83 and Denise Tewes, campaign co-chairs; Dr. Rob Hermann ‘83, physics professor and chair of the natural and computer science department; Krista Barnhouse ‘95, principal of Faith Lutheran School in Lincoln; Sam Moore, senior education major; and Madi Baker, sophomore agribusiness major.
Science and Business: Science and business have been two of the fastest growing fields of study at Concordia in the last 10 years. The number of students majoring in the natural sciences has doubled, while nearly 200 undergraduates are studying business. Innovative and centralized facilities, experiential learning, enhanced research opportunities and strategic investments are key elements in this initiative.
Hermann said it’s hard to describe how excited he is to have the Dunklau Center.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a new facility,” he said.
Agriculture: Concordia is uniquely positioned to equip students to serve throughout the agriculture industry. By offering attractive scholarship packages for students in the agricultural science program—where they will learn animal science, plant science, food science and agribusiness—Concordia will prepare students to serve and make an impact in the industry, through their work on the family farm or as part of a regional or national organization.
Baker said helping begin the agriculture major was not how she planned to spend her college career but added that it’s been a great opportunity. She helped create an agriculture club on campus, and the first ag class included 11 students from around the world.
For the Church: Throughout its history, Concordia has had a mission emphasis on equipping students to serve God and His church. Through this initiative, Concordia will continue to provide an affordable education for students pursuing church work, as well as opportunities for students to serve on mission trips, both internationally and domestically.
“Thirty percent of our students prepare for full-time ministry,” Friedrich said. “This will help build on their legacy.”
Barnhouse said CU can help meet current and future needs for professional church workers.
“I’m excited that Concordia continues to be a leader,” she said.
Our Promises of a Lutheran Education: Concordia promises every student will receive a Lutheran, Christ-centered higher education where they will be equipped not only with a set of skills and a degree, but also a sense of Christian vocation and purpose for the future.
“It’s not who we teach but how we teach that makes us a thriving Lutheran university,” Friedrich said.
Moore, who is the student body vice president, said CU is unique in that is it “so grounded in Christ,” he said.
For more information about the campaign, visit cune.edu/answer.
Stephanie Croston contributed to this article.