Walter Wangerin served as the second President of Concordia College from 1954-1959. He envisioned the institution as a liberal arts university, participating alongside University of Alberta in post-secondary education. Wangerin had formed a valuable relationship with Herbert Coutts, the first chair of the Department of Secondary Education as well as the third and longest serving Dean with the University of Alberta, and was made aware of the university’s plans to offer affiliation to colleges such as Camrose Lutheran and Canadian Union. Unfortunately, Wangerin’s dreams for Concordia were seen as too liberal by the Board of Regents and many faculty members, who wanted the institution to remain faithful to its original mission of educating Lutheran church workers. However, a few years later in 1967, Concordia began its first-year affiliation with the University of Alberta. In 1974 at a pastoral conference, there was an overheard conversation about Concordia’s shifting views and attitudes becoming too liberal in their education and regulations for many of the other Lutheran Congregations. This, however, did not slow Concordia’s progress. By 1975, Concordia had entered a second-year affiliation with the University of Alberta, and in July 1987, Concordia College became a degree granting institution for three-year bachelor degrees in Arts (English, Music, Psychology, and Religious Studies) and Science (Biology). In 1991, Concordia and the University of Alberta mutually ended their affiliation and Concordia continued moving forward as a liberal arts institution, changing its name in 1995 to Concordia University College of Alberta, and then once again in 2015 to Concordia University of Edmonton.
by Natasha Eklund