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Concordia University Irvine Exceeds Comprehensive Campaign Goal Topping $100 Million

“Forward in Faith” becomes the largest campaign in the liberal arts University’s history

IRVINE, Calif. (February 1, 2021)—Concordia University Irvine (CUI) today announced the successful completion of its comprehensive campaign exceeding $100 million and surpassing its original goal of $85 million, making it the largest campaign in the University’s history.

Launched in 2013, Forward in Faith--The Campaign for Concordia focused on new facilities, scholarships, academic programs, and the University’s endowment.

“To witness donors place their confidence in our academic tradition and in our Concordia family in this way is both remarkable and historic,” said Dr. Michael Thomas who became Concordia University Irvine’s fifth President January 2020. “Celebrating this accomplishment, however, during the current circumstances of our state and country calls for some reflection. While some of our students and their families face difficulties, it’s our hope that this campaign will strengthen our ability to support them.”

Over 10,000 donors—made up of alumni, parents, churches, and community members—contributed to the record-breaking campaign that exceeded $100 million through private donations.

While the Forward in Faith campaign will strengthen the student experience for years to come, the campaign’s anchor building began serving students in fall 2019. The Borland-Manske Center is home to Concordia’s music and choral programs in one wing. Replacing outdated classrooms with modern technology, the music wing features a professional recording studio where the University recently recorded its made-for-TV PBS Christmas special to replace its popular on-campus Christmas concerts due to COVID-19. Christ College, the university’s School of Theology, is housed in the adjoining wing.

Forward in Faith has also allowed Concordia Irvine, the only NCAA Division II university in Orange County, to upgrade baseball, and track and field amenities, and add field lights. Future plans include new athletic facilities  and new beach volleyball courts. More than one third of Concordia’s undergraduate students are student-athletes. Science facilities in Founders Hall were updated this past summer.

Academic programs and student learning experiences outside the classroom such as mission trips, research projects, and study abroad received an $11 million investment, while the annual fund, set to offer scholarships for years to come, exceeded its original goal of $14 million.

The University’s endowment, nearly tripling in size with an added $20 million in gifts, is already impacting students’ lives like graduate student Joseph Navarro, the first recipient of the Concordia Dream Scholarship for doctoral students in the School of Education. Growing up in East LA as the youngest of five and never graduating from junior high nor high school, Navarro’s turning point transpired during community college. Today, the youth career planner for a workforce development program is working toward his doctorate in education at CUI. “I view this scholarship as Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It’s truly helping me to achieve my dream of becoming a principal and superintendent,” said the Whittier, CA resident. “As I tell the at-risk youth I work with, to achieve your dreams you have to have ‘ganas’ (drive).”

“We thank God and our donors for Concordia’s most successful fundraising campaign on record,” said Tim Jaeger, CFRE Concordia Vice President of University Advancement, Marketing and Communications. “It’s a testament to the value that our donors place on a Lutheran Christian education. We also want to recognize the leadership of former CUI President Kurt Krueger.”

Campaign co-chairs, Paul and Cathy Schroeder of Corona del Mar share the sentiment of University leadership. “Concordia has always faithfully looked forward to what God has planned for the university. The Forward in Faith campaign is something we did now for our students in the future.” Forward in Faith is CUI’s fourth major fundraising campaign in its nearly 45-year history.

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a non-profit Christian liberal arts university governed by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). Preparing students for their vocations—their callings in life—Concordia offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs through its six schools—Arts & Sciences, Business & Economics, Christ College, Education, Health & Human Sciences, and the Townsend Institute. Nationally, its undergraduate core curriculum program, Enduring Questions & Ideas, has earned public recognition. Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. The only NCAA DII university in Orange County, Concordia enrolls about 4,000 students annually, and is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

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