Donald Christian, Concordia University Texas president and CEO, will retire next year following 20 years of service to the university, Concordia officials announced March 7.

The university’s board of regents have begun a nationwide search to fill Christian’s position in leading the private Christian university in Austin, which serves around 2,000 students each year.

The background

Christian became president and CEO of Concordia in 2014, making him the university’s ninth executive leader, according to a news release.

Throughout his time at Concordia, Christian told Community Impact he is most proud of building a new 250-bed residence hall, tripling the amount of nursing graduates from 100 to 300 through an accelerated program and launching a doctoral program.

Christian has led the creation of two five-year, strategic plans focused on strengthening the university, growing community support, focusing on student success, and bolstering Concordia's faith identity and impact in Central Texas, according to university information.

He first joined the university in 2005 as the dean of the College of Business where he grew the college’s enrollment and started a Master of Business Administration program.

The impact

Christian has seen the university grow its enrollment amongst students of color, and Pell Grant-eligible and first generation students, he said. In 2019, Concordia became a designated Hispanic-serving institution under his leadership.

“Growth in serving students from all backgrounds so that they can succeed is a big deal to us,” he said.

In October, the university announced a new initiative to lower tuition and fees by almost 40% for next school year. University officials said the initiative was intended to make higher education more affordable and accessible in Central Texas.

What’s next

The university has hired national firm Academic Search to lead the board of regents in a search process with hopes of hiring a new president and CEO before Christian officially retires June 30 in 2025, he said. Christian will serve in a supportive role to the new president and CEO until he steps down.

In the year leading up to his retirement, Christian said he plans to create a smooth transition for the next president, and continue the university’s strategic plan and connections in the community.

Although Christian will not take part in the search process, he said he hopes the future president and CEO will be a visionary leader committed to the university’s Christian identity, continuing community engagement and building a strong campus culture.