Symbols of Our Heritage
Concordia College has earned recognition for its quality academics, travel abroad opportunities, musical organizations, and athletic champions. While these achievements distinguish the institution as a leader in higher education, Concordia College also has many symbols and trademarks that make it unique. This iconography has united alumni through the generations and has earned Concordia College recognition as well.
Both the name “Concordia” and the moniker “Cobber” have identified the institution for decades. When Concordia College was formed, J. O. Hougen, a member of the Northwestern Lutheran College Association, suggested naming the school “Concordia” after the goddess of harmony and peace. In his book Concordia College through Fifty Years, Rasmus Bogstad states, “Literally it [Concordia] means hearts together—working in unison.” The origin of the “Cobber” nickname is not as easily traceable. One theory suggests that Concordia was originally surrounded by cornfields, while another theory suggests that “Cobber” was derived from a chant of the taunting Swedish rivals at Hope Academy. The “Cobber” moniker has been consistently used since 1932.
In addition to its name, Concordia College has many other trademarks. The one that most is most obvious is the Cobber ring. The Cobber ring has not always been so distinctive in its design. In the college’s early years, each class designed its own ring along with its own song, motto, and poem. In the fall of 1919, the student body conferred and decided to adopt a standardized ring. The class of 1920 chose the ruby, which most closely aligned with Concordia’s school colors.
Cobbers also come to know the trademark phrases of the institution: the mission statement and Hymn to Concordia. The institution’s mission statement is lived through the college’s curriculum, co-curricular activities, and programs. Crafted by Carl Bailey, academic dean and physics professor, in the 1950s as part of the College’s long-range planning process, the mission statement has not been altered since its creation. Hymn to Concordia was written as a collaborative effort in 1931 to celebrate Concordia’s fortieth anniversary. Herman W. Monson, Choir Director from 1923 to 1937 and Director of the School of Music from 1923 to 1939, composed the music. The hymn was dedicated to Helga Fjelstad, longtime matron of the school and second mother to many Cobbers.
The people behind the song...
These symbols and trademarks have allowed Concordia College to stay unique throughout the ages. By remaining present in the lives of students today, the College can remember our roots and be proud of the community that has made possible by many "Cobbers."