Concordia University Wisconsin, based in Mequon, has acquired Concordia University Ann Arbor after financial struggles at the Michigan-based university threatened the future of its academic offerings.
The acquisition went into effect July 1, the start of a new fiscal year, but university officials are still awaiting confirmation of approval from The Higher Learning Commission under the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which serves as the two universities’ accrediting agency.
The Rev. Patrick Ferry, president of Concordia University Wisconsin, is confident in receiving NCA approval after meeting with the agency about the acquisition over the past several months.
University officials expect to hear back from the NCA any day now, Ferry said.
“We’re certainly hopeful and expecting a positive report,” Ferry said.
Discussions about the acquisition started more than four years ago as Concordia University Ann Arbor has continued to suffer financially.
“They just simply did not have the financial wherewithal to maintain their education mission there,” Ferry said. “They were losing ground.”
According to Ferry, the Ann Arbor Campus could not obtain needed cash flow and was not in a position to add new progressive programs. Concordia University Wisconsin did not want to see the Midwest lose a Concordia presence in Michigan, where it has been an established institution for the past 50 years.
With financial contributions from church boards belonging to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which runs the 10-member Concordia University System across the country, much of Concordia University Ann Arbor’s debt has been eradicated.
Under the acquisition, Ferry will serve as president of both Concordia institutions. Each will retain its distinct name with a distinct identity, although the two will remain united in the broader Concordia University faith-based approach to education.
“The key is to have a really, really great team, and that’s been the foundation for our success in Mequon…and I think it will continue to be true in Michigan,” Ferry said.
Concordia University Wisconsin has also opened three additional academic centers throughout Michigan that will operate in conjunction with the Ann Arbor institution.
“We can bring our financial strength and our experience to help change the experience there,” Ferry said. “We think it’s going to be positive, and it’s already started out very well.”
Concordia University Wisconsin did not disclose the sale price of the acquisition.