A History of the Campus

Fifty years of Saarinen’s Scandinavian Village

Arial View

The historic decision to establish a senior college to close the gap between the synodical junior college and the beginning of professional study in the theological seminary was made by the Centennial Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in Chicago in 1947. Plans to proceed with the construction of the college at Fort Wayne were approved at the Synodical convention in Houston, Texas in 1953.

Concordia Senior College—the first of its kind in American Protestant ministerial training—offered the junior and senior college years of pretheological study for men who wished to enter the Lutheran ministry. Graduates of the Synod’s nine junior colleges completed the requirements for the B.A. degree at Fort Wayne and then transferred to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis for three years of professional study and one year of supervised internship under the direction of the seminary.

The entire campus, consisting of a total of 25 college buildings plus faculty housing, was designed by the internationally famous architect Eero Saarinen and his associates. The design has been the subject of articles in leading architectural publications and received the top award for design of college buildings in the United States in that year’s annual design award program of Progressive Architecture.

The college officially opened its first academic year on September 10, 1957, with an enrollment of 193 students in the first class, and with a faculty of 21. The senior college operated on the Fort Wayne campus for the next 20 years. At its 1975 convention, the Synod combined Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, with its Junior College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Seminary operations were transferred from the aging campus in Springfield to the architecturally stunning Saarinen campus in Fort Wayne. With an enrollment of 419 seminarians, Concordia Theological Seminary shared the Fort Wayne facilities with the Senior College in 1976.

For over 30 years, Concordia Theological Seminary has continued to flourish in Fort Wayne. The seminary helps pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, and other church workers grow in knowledge and in the skills necessary to minister in a changing world. Concordia Theological Seminary continues to bring the gospel into all the world by forming servants in Jesus Christ who will teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all.

View images of  Concordia Theological Seminary and Senior College throughout the years.