Concordia University of Edmonton Celebrates 100 Years: 1921-2021

Concordia University of Edmonton is hosting its Homecoming Celebration Weekend September 3 to 5, 2021.  For information on homecoming events, please check their website:

In recognition of the centenary, the following are excerpts from an article written by Marjorie Scott. It appeared in the Fall 1996 Volume 7 No. 2 edition of the Highlands Historical Society newsletters.

Concordia University College Celebrates 75 Years

The landmark Concordia College on Ada Boulevard opened in the Caledonian Temperance Hotel in 1921 with 35 students.  It was a late fall start by today’s standards (Oct.31) when the first students arrived to be trained as Lutheran ministers and church workers.  Students spent one-third of their time learning Latin and Greek.

[……]  At this time, Missouri-born Albert Schwermann was nearing graduation at the Concordia seminary in St. Louis, and was horrified to learn that he was to be placed in India.

“I don’t like the heat,” he later recalled, “so I asked them to send me anywhere but India – even the North Pole, if necessary.”

Thus it was that the young missionary found himself in Mellowdale, 85 miles northwest of Edmonton and the synod’s northernmost mission station in North America.  Dr. Schwermann later moved to Wetaskiwin, and it was there that he received his call to Concordia [to become the new president].

[……]  Dr. Schwermann headed the college until 1954, and continued to teach there for nine years following his retirement.

After three years using the hotel, the synod decided it was time to choose a new, permanent site for the college.  [……] the Board of Control purchased the Fraser estate on Ada Boulevard for $13,800.  This sum included mineral rights, so that coal companies could not (literally) undermine the college!

[……]  Construction on the Ada Boulevard site began in May 1925.  In the cornerstone were placed English and German Bibles, pictures of old college buildings, an English-German catechism and such items as copies of the BNA Act and The Edmonton Journal.

[……]  The college’s new home officially opened on January 10, 1926……

To read the article in its entirety, and learn more of the fascinating history of Concordia University of Edmonton, we invite you to join the Highlands Historical Society.  We hope you will enjoy this article, as well as dozens more articles about the history of the Highlands.  Contact us through our website.

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