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Mon, 11.13.1922

Concordia College of Alabama founded

*The founding of Concordia College is celebrated on this date in 1922.  It was one of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in America.  Its original name was Alabama Lutheran Academy and was a result of the pioneer Lutheran missionaries in Alabama.   

That year Miss Rosa Young was supremely concerned about the spiritual and direct educational welfare of the African American people in her native area. She thus directed a plea for help to the Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America. The conference responded favorably and sent the Rev. Nils Jules Bakke, who on Palm Sunday in 1916 performed 58 Baptisms and 70 confirmations in Rosebud, Alabama. Within a few years, more than 20 congregations were founded.  

 In 1919 at a conference held in Midway, near Miller's Ferry, a resolution was adopted to petition the Synodical Conference for funds to build a school for the special purpose of training professional church workers.   The location selected for the new school was Selma, Ala. The first classed were conducted in a rented cottage at 521 First Avenue, on November 13, 1922. The Rev. R. O. Lynn was the first president. The first buildings on the present campus were dedicated by the Director of Missions, C. F. Drews on September 20, 1925. One year later four females made up the school's first graduating class.  

This new Alabama school graduated capable leaders like Pres. Edward Wescott, whose dedicated service to the school, made survival possible during the Great Depression.   In 1945 the Rev. W. H. Ellwanger became president. For many years he served also as superintendent of the Alabama Mission Field. Throughout his dual role, he constantly aligned the activities of the school with the needs of the field. In 1962 the Synodical Conference transferred the entire ownership, control, and maintenance of the school to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  Since then, the President directed the school in an active program of modernization.   

Following President Ellwanger's resignation in 1964, Prof. Varnes J. Stringer came on board until 1966.  From there Prof. Paul G. Elbrecht assumed the presidency. In 1970, he resigned, and Dr. Peter R. Hunt assumed duties until 1971.  Dr Willis L. Wright became president in 1971 and served in that capacity until 1980 when Dr. Julius Jenkins, a graduate of the institution, assumed the presidency. On July 1, 1981, the name of the institution was changed from Alabama Lutheran Academy and College to Concordia College.   

In December 1983, the school received full accreditation as a Junior College from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In December 1994, the school received full accreditation as a four-year institution offering programs in early childhood and elementary education.   Due to financial struggles, Concordia College closed in 2018.  

Reference:

Concordia College

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