Concordia University Wisconsin President Patrick T. Ferry (Photo: Concordia University Wisconsin)

Back in 1997, Patrick T. Ferry was a young assistant professor in history at Concordia University Wisconsin when he applied to become the school’s eighth president.

And then, the unexpected happened.

He got the job.

“It was really quite a shock to all of us, myself included,” Ferry said Wednesday. “It seemed like a risky move to me. So far, we’ve hung in there.”

Ferry, 61, has announced he’ll retire in June and the school said it plans a national search for his successor.

“After prayerful reflection, I believe that the time is right for change — for me, and for the university,” Ferry said in an email to faculty and staff.

He added, “Privileged beyond all deserving, I give thanks to our Lord for the opportunity to be a part of such an extraordinary mission. … For