The story of Concordia University dates back to the mid-1950s when a small group of Southern California Lutherans began to plan for a Lutheran college to serve the people of the Pacific Southwest. By 1962 the decision had been made by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) to build the new school.
An extensive search for the “perfect” site led to Irvine, California. Construction of the campus began in 1975 and in 1976 classes were held for the first time at Christ College Irvine, the original name of the institution. From a single building and thirty-six students, the school has grown to over twenty buildings and an annual enrollment of more than 5,000 undergraduate, graduate, and online degree students.
In February 1993 the Board of Regents of Christ College Irvine, responding to a decision by the LCMS to incorporate its ten colleges and universities into the Concordia University System (CUS), voted to change the name of Christ College Irvine to Concordia University Irvine. This CUS, along with the two seminaries, 130 high schools, and over 900 elementary schools of LCMS, comprises the second-largest church-related school system in the United States.
Concordia University includes Christ College, the Townsend Institute, and the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Education, and Health and Human Sciences.