Concordia University-Chicago is a Lutheran liberal arts college near Chicago, Illinois. It is located in River Forest, a rich village 10 miles west of the city centre, which is accessible by bus, metro or train. The largest city in the region by some distance, Chicago has a long history of sport, culture, music, food and architecture.
Established by German ministers in 1864 as a college for teachers, CU Chicago now offers more than 70 different courses across four colleges, from theological languages to women’s and gender studies, physical education, computer information systems and art therapy.
Commencement Address was given in English for the first time in 1919. Women have attended CUC since 1938, after CU Chicago had spent nearly 75 years as a single-sex institution.
A fire burnt down the then newly-built school administration building in 1914, and a 1971 blaze threatened to do the same. But, despite setbacks, the university has grown steadily, and in 2009, student numbers exceeded 5,000. Around 80% of its classes are below 20 in size. It awarded its first master’s of arts in 1959, but doctorates didn’t follow until much later.
CUC students are renowned for high levels of volunteering and civic engagement locally. Cars have been permitted on campus since 1952, and half of the student body has one.
CUC acquired university status in 1998 as Concordia University River Forest, the same year that it began to offer a doctoral programme, the first Lutheran institution outside Europe to do so. The first PhD was awarded in 2012. By 2005, however, it decided to become Concordia University Chicago.