The Board of Regents of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, has taken several steps in response to the current economic situation. Meeting via conference call early in January, the Board voted to take action to ensure the continued financial health of the Seminary. “The Board simply wants to be the best steward of the resources available to the Seminary,” said Dr. Dale A. Meyer, president of Concordia Seminary. “The Seminary has been blessed with many who generously support the mission, but the current state of the economy requires close monitoring of income and expenses. The biggest single issue is the loss of adequate endowment income due to the stock market decline.”
The Board asked its Finance Committee to consult monthly to “monitor the ongoing situation and make any further recommendations it will deem necessary.” Effective immediately, the Board voted to freeze salaries for all faculty and staff, cease beginning new deferred maintenance projects during the remainder of the Seminary’s fiscal year (ending June 30, 2009) and slow down the replacement of electronic equipment. Also, the Board accepted reductions in pay voluntarily offered by President Meyer and the three vice presidents, Dr. Andrew Bartelt, Dr. Paul Devantier and Michael Louis.
“We have big plans for the future of the Seminary as it serves the cause of Jesus Christ,” said James Ralls, chairman of the Board of Regents. “The moves the Board has taken, and may take in the months to come, are designed to keep the Seminary able to meet challenges and accomplish ambitious goals. Opportunities for theological leadership and education abound. What we do now will have a direct effect upon the financial condition of the Seminary and its ability to respond to opportunities when the economy begins to recover.”
Some 58 percent of the Seminary’s expenses normally are covered through gifts from donors. Thirty-two percent are covered by tuition, fees, rent, room and board paid by Seminary students; eight percent by endowment earnings; and less than two percent by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Currently, 659 residential and non-residential students are enrolled at Concordia Seminary, making it one of the largest seminaries in the United States. “Our students are very important to us,” said President Meyer. “We want the Seminary to be able to keep tuition costs reasonable and to maintain, and even expand, our service to them and to the church at large.”