St. Paul’s Concordia University has picked its next president — a seasoned administrator who now serves in the top job at another Concordia University, in Nebraska.

The Rev. Brian Friedrich will step in as Concordia’s 10th president on Jan. 1. A 1979 graduate of the private Lutheran university in St. Paul, Friedrich will succeed the Rev. Tom Ries, who retired this past spring after an eight-year tenure at the helm.

“Rev. Dr. Friedrich is the ideal leader and person to continue advancing the mission of Concordia St. Paul to new heights,” Concordia’s board chairman Mark Moksnes said in a statement. “Throughout his distinguished career in higher education and the church, he has demonstrated thoughtful decisionmaking, effective and collaborative leadership, strong fundraising experience and genuine love for students.”

Friedrich has worked at Concordia University, Nebraska in various administrative roles since 1991, eventually assuming the presidency there in 2004. His wife, Laurie, is a fellow Concordia St. Paul graduate.

“This is a high honor and privilege,” said Friedrich. “It is obvious to Laurie and me that God has led this process in a manner and direction that is of great surprise to us.”

Concordia drew national attention in 2012 when it deeply discounted tuition — a move away from a common high-tuition, high-financial-aid model that other private campuses have since replicated. It now bills itself as one of the most affordable private liberal arts colleges in the Twin Cities and beyond. Its campus serves about 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Friedrich is also a vice president of the Concordia University System and a member of the Colloquy Committee of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.

Provost and Chief Operating Officer Eric LaMott will continue to serve as interim president until Friedrich assumes his new role.