The new president of Concordia University, St. Paul was formally installed during a chapel service on Friday.

The Rev. Brian Friedrich officially became the school's 10th president on Jan. 1, following his tenure as president of Concordia University, Nebraska from 2004-2019. He succeeds the Rev. Tom Ries, who retired last spring after serving for eight years.

Friedrich said that during his first 100 days as president he plans to listen to many university community members to learn more about the school and its future goals.

"I'm in the process of visiting with board members and faculty and staff and students and other constituents of the university to learn more about Concordia now and visions and dreams for Concordia for the future," he said.

Friedrich's long-term goals include ensuring that the university has the resources and support it needs for new opportunities and being "a raving fan" of the school's recent successes, including enrollment growth and new programs.

"The institution has kind of defied the odds of the headwinds in higher education, when many other institutions are being forced to retreat," he said.

Friedrich is a 1979 graduate of Concordia St. Paul and worked in several administrative roles at Concordia Nebraska. He is a member of the Colloquy Committee of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and is also a vice president of the Concordia University System. He is the third alumnus of Concordia St. Paul to later become the school's president. His wife, Laurie, also attended Concordia St. Paul.

Friedrich is a third-generation alumnus of the school, and he said continuing his family's legacy was one of the reasons why he took on the role of president.

The university's Board of Regents Chair Mark Moksnes said Friedrich's previous experience as a university president and his energetic personality were among the qualities that led the board to choose him as president.

"He's got tremendous passion and energy. … He's really student-focused, and as the leader of the institution and driving the culture, that's a really important thing," Moksnes said.

An inauguration ceremony will be held on April 30 during the school's graduation celebrations.

Katrina Pross ( is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.