Pat Ferry was not a Christian when he went to college at St. John’s College to study and play basketball. The Christ-centered,Gospel-focused interactions with the faculty (including his spiritual mentor and future father-in-law, John Saleska
) and Christian students helped lead Pat, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the waters of Baptism and the beginning of his own Christian journey. A journey that then led him to seminary and from there to a PhD in Confessional Lutheran History.
Pat has faithfully served the LCMS for 35 years. He is most known for guiding Concordia Wisconsin and Concordia Ann Arbor as president. He served as university president for 24 years. During a time when three other Concordias closed their doors, he rallied people together to save Concordia Ann Arbor from the same fate. Pat’s ability to inspire others with a vision, cultivate consensus, and build extraordinary leadership teams is demonstrated in the fact that nine years later, the CUWAA partnership thrives
. Being a college president is not merely about buildings, budgets, and numbers. For Pat, it is the same as other church worker vocations: The objective is to bring the Gospel to the people in pews and classrooms and to equip them to live out their vocations. Pat was deeply committed to ensuring that Concordia was a Christ-centered, Gospel-focused campus. This strong witness encouraged students in their faith and also guided many unchurched students to Christ. Over the years the Concordia community celebrated scores of student baptisms. This, of course, meant so much to Pat because it relates so closely to his own story.
Pat Ferry has shared words of wisdom, truth, and encouragement over the last three decades, addressing District and Synodical conventions, pastor and teacher conferences, and graduations for LCMS high schools, colleges, and seminaries. Most recently, he received an honorary doctorate from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and gave their 2022 commencement address (watch here)
. For the third time he will have the privilege of providing a keynote address at the Best Practices for Ministry conference
in February. In addition to being a pastor and leader, he is a published theologian and author, contributing to the ongoing work and legacy of the Lutheran church.
Pat Ferry’s long and successful track record of executive leadership running a complex organization, forging numerous international partnerships, overseeing dozens of operational units and work functions, maintaining (and growing) a large budget, and dramatically increasing a university’s endowment speaks for itself. But such accomplishments are not his most important legacy nor were they his primary motivation. His own LCMS college experience was singularly formative. Pat’s successful tenure as a Lutheran university president is a testimony to the powerful, transformational experience of our Lutheran tradition. Pat is a thoughtful, trusted leader with a proven history of high-level problem solving and consensus building, inspiring more people to walk together for the sake of the Gospel.