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Choosing Concordia: A Century of Student Recruitment

by Angela Querengesser


Perched at the top of a hill, overlooking the picturesque landscape of the North Saskatchewan River, stands a special educational institution with carefully laid brick walls, guarding an entire century of milestones, memories, and treasured moments. On top of that hill sits an invaluable part of Edmonton’s history and what has undoubtedly been a life-changing place for many—including myself.

Historically, Concordia’s identity and sole purpose was rooted in being a training ground for Lutheran pastors and church service workers. Students were recruited from all around Canada and the United States to attend Concordia’s rigorous programming and to prepare themselves for a life of service to the Church. Upon review of the many historical articles and documents, it became very evident to me that a critical part of this service was for students to also become active participants in the college’s recruitment efforts and future growth. Interestingly, administration kept detailed and meticulous punch cards with long lists of prospective student information, and every year during the Christmas season, students would use these punch cards to write personal letters to all prospective students. These letters would be heartfelt and filled with experiences, successes, and all the advantages that came with becoming a proud Concordian. That same sense of pride is still alive and evident for many of our current students and alumni today. Personally, I still share my wonderful experience as a Concordia student, and now a staff member, with most people that I meet!

While Concordia is now moving into its next century as a thriving post-secondary institution, there were many previous years filled with trials and financial struggle. Creative and dedicated recruitment efforts became vital to the survival and advancement of the institution. Pastor Lester Stahlke played a key role in such efforts. In 1965, acting as the Chief Recruiter, Pastor Stahlke graduated with his pilot’s license and would often “drop out of the sky” to fly prospective students to Edmonton for a tour of campus, to meet faculty, and to eat lunch with potential fellow classmates—much akin to our current Student of the Day program. Although we do not fly students to visit our campus anymore, what a unique and dedicated effort to connect Concordia to the rest of the province and the world!

Over time Concordia has continued to evolve, and it is clearly no longer the same institution with the same mission that it once began with; however, I am very proud that it has maintained its most intrinsic values of community and connection. While Concordia may never be largest or the most widely recognized post-secondary institution, it has, since its humble beginnings, continuously proven to be a desired place to be for many people around Canada and the world.


About Angela

I have a very special connection to Concordia and often tell people “I’ve just grown up here.” Having a family member work at CUE for as long as I can remember meant that I got to run along the Tegler risers at the annual Christmas party. I got to play hide and go seek in the basement hallways, and I’ve heard the ghosts on the 3rd floor of Guild. I loved that basement mail room and I couldn’t wait to get new pencils at the trailer bookstore. To this day, no one can argue with me that the best mid-day treat was always the homemade cinnamon buns. So, when it came time for me to attend post-secondary, I really didn’t have to think twice about where to go. I graduated from CUE in 2014 with a BA, and after graduation I became a CUE employee working first in the Registrar’s Office and now in the President’s Office. Unlike many other students, I didn’t have to be recruited or make a choice to attend Concordia. Concordia chose me.


CUE Students and Alum to Make Their Own History

Concordia’s CUE 100 committee is very excited to feature the written work of several students and alumni as part of its centenary celebrations. As these celebrations continue, you can look forward to reading short articles by these writers on interesting aspects of Concordia’s history over the past century. Writers were given access to archival documents on particular topics which they were asked to summarize and personally respond to. You’ll be able to discover much about Concordia’s history and how it still resonates among us today. We hope you find these articles both informative and entertaining. Happy 100, Concordians!