Concordia has a deep, exciting history that goes back to its founding in 1926.
On the northern outskirts of Austin, Texas a parcel of land was selected to become the new home of Concordia. The selection of an appropriate site is instrumental to the success of any institution and it would be the same for Concordia. But some were skeptical of the location given its distance from downtown while others consider even the acreage excessive. Is Concordia overextending itself? Is this the right decision?
Those were some of the sentiments in 1926 when a 20-acre site along East Avenue north of downtown Austin was selected for the new high school. Looking back, the concerns over location and size seem humorous with its location so close to downtown. Obviously, the Austin of 1926 was very different from the Austin of 2008. In the twenty-first century of urban sprawl, it can be difficult to imagine vast, open countryside just a few miles north of the Capital. Much has changed. Over the years a quiet broad thoroughfare known as East Avenue was replaced by the concrete of a double-decked interstate populated by roaring traffic. Open fields were replaced by dense development and an airport that has already come and gone. But through it all, Concordia remained and flourished by the grace of God on that small tract of land between Red River and Interstate 35.
The eighty-eight year history of Concordia University Texas is infused with a tradition of growth and courage. Founded as a high school, Concordia grew into a junior college in 1951, then a four year college in 1980, and finally into a university in 1995. With commitment and dedication, Concordia has continued to grow steadily. Guided by a mission of developing Christian leaders and a vision of a university recognized for integrity, academic excellence, and a Lutheran ethos, Concordia took the necessary steps of faith to achieve that vision and live that mission. As the University looked toward future growth and development, a courageous vision was required. On May 13, 2005, after considering over thirty sites, the Concordia Board of Regents took a visionary step of faith, deciding to relocate the main campus. March 2007, Concordia purchased the Austin Hill Country Reserve. This would be the perfect new home for Concordia. The size alone allows Concordia to grow in ways that the landlocked downtown campus of 23 acres did not allow. The existing six buildings were renovated into classrooms, offices and a library, while a new field house and student housing were constructed. In addition, the most unique feature of the property is a 250-acre nature preserve that is rich in a variety of natural resources including wetlands, caves and dense tree cover that protect two endangered species of birds: the Golden-Cheeked Warbler and the Black-Capped Vireo.
On October 26, 2008, Concordia celebrated the opening of the new campus, which enables Concordia to expand and improve the services offered to students and other constituents. As residential life and academic programs improve, the learning community improves- enhancing the student experience. With room to grow and improved facilities, Concordia is poised to better prepare students for success and provide more opportunities to develop as Christian leaders.
The next phase of building on the new site comes in 2014 with the ground breaking of a state-of-the-art softball field. Home-field play will have new meaning for the softball team for the first time in school history as the team will no longer have to use community facilities as their home turf.
An expansion of services will also allow the University to reach out to the community and the church, broadening external relationships as well as image. The combination of these will create a new, stronger future for Concordia, and will deepen the foundation on which it is built.
For more information about Concordia’s rich history, please visit our online archives at: libraryguides.concordia.edu/archivesonline