Concordia President Asks for Regent Selection Flexibility

“The growth and development of our Concordia University System (CUS) is one of the most remarkable stories in all of U. S. higher education,” writes Concordia St. Paul President, Rev. Dr. Tom Ries. (For a full copy of Ries’ article, click here or the link at the bottom.)

Our Concordia’s are asking for support from LCMS congregations.  They want Synod to change the governance model of our university system to allow greater flexibility in the selection of members of their Boards of Regents.  They ask that we pass a CUS overture at 2018 District Conventions and again in Tampa in 2019  (the CUS overture will be the subject of a future Congregations Matter article).  As Ries writes:

The greatest need for help from the church at the Concordia institutions today is a change in the governance model, specifically the formation and responsibilities of the boards of regents….Approval by the Synod in convention is needed to implement this new model.”

What is Tom talking about?


Congregations Matter notes that Synod keeps tight control over CUS schools, even though Synod hasn’t provided direct financial support to them in two decades.

To begin with, the mechanisms Synod has put in place for selecting CUS Regents are complicated.  In addition, during the 2016 Synodical convention, President Harrison and his chosen Vice Presidents secured approval to appoint a new unelected Regent of their own choosing to all nine CUS Boards.  Since the convention they have done so.

That wasn’t Matthew Harrison’s original plan.  He went to Milwaukee asking the Convention approval to hand-pick TWO of his own Regents to all nine Boards.

Congregations Matter believes strengthening CUS Boards of Regents is a good idea, but not by hand-selecting additional new Regents inside the International Center in St. Louis.


All nine CUS schools endorse the following change to their governance model (see Dr. Ries’ article):

  1. Remove the cap on the number of regents and allow each institution to identify the number of regents it needs.
  2. Empower the board of each institution to identify and appoint the regents it needs from within the LCMS.
  3. Establish a system through which various other governing bodies of the Synod appoint one or two liaison regents with full voting rights to each institution’s board.

Approval by the Synod in convention is needed to implement this new model.  It is the unanimous opinion of the presidents and board chairs who drafted these proposed changes.   Our CUS leaders believe they are of the utmost importance.  Congregations Matter believes Synod should listen to our CUS local leaders.

These changes will strengthen the colleges and universities’ capacity to operate effectively.  They will help them continue their distinctly confessional Lutheran identity.  In addition, selection of Regents will be less political and won’t go through wrenching changes every three years depending on what happens at tri-annual Synod conventions.  As Rev. Dr. Ries writes:

“The goal of this proposed change is stronger institutions proclaiming with power the great joy of knowing Christ and making Him known.”


Pass an overture to change the way Regents are selected for our CUS Schools and pass it at your District Convention.  Our CUS schools are educating over 36,000 students.  They take the Good News of life in Jesus Christ to a world desperately in need of hearing and believing in Him.

Now our Concordia’s need help from our LCMS congregations. Once again, Congregations Matter!

President Ries
Rev. Dr. Tom Ries, President, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN

Let’s support President Ries and his colleague CUS Presidents.

Congregations Matter applauds our nine Universities and ten campuses for their success.  Our CUS schools are spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ!



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