Concordia a Selma success story

Published 11:30 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

Many times, we tend to overlook the good things in our back yards. In some cases, that idiom is the truth when it comes to Concordia College in Selma.

Today, the college celebrates its homecoming. The event will bring many alumni into Selma to visit the expanding campus; to the football game and other festivities to celebrate achievements, to remember the days past and to look to the future of a growing campus.

Concordia College began its life here in Selma out of a rented cottage at 521 First Ave., Nov. 13, 1922. It was the result of Lutheran missionaries in Alabama concerned about the spiritual and educational welfare of black people and driven by Rosa Young.

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Three years later, the director of missions dedicated the first buildings on the present campus. The following year four women graduated, the first class.

The college received full accreditation as a junior college in December 1983.

In December 1994, the college received accreditation as a baccalaureate-degree granting institution from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In May, the Rev. Tilahun M Mendedo was installed as the seventh president of Concordia College. Mendedo has already unveiled plans for his institution to form a partnership with the city and county through its purchase of the 35-acre property formerly owned by the United Methodist Children’s Home.

Already, a grant application is under way to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to rehabilitate the former UMCH Administrative Building into a community learning and enrichment center.

Mendedo has spoken of establishing a research center focusing on the civil rights era in Alabama and the South, to bring in academics from the world to study the struggle for social justice and voting rights.

It is these goals set by a God-centered man that make Concordia College a gem so overlooked by the community because it has always been there.

Today is different. Today we celebrate that which is Concordia — its past, its present and what it is to be.