Luther College Moment in History #9

Elwin D. Farwell, the sixth president of Luther College, was born on May 1, 1919 in Branch County, Michigan. A 1943 graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in animal husbandry, he received a B.D. degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in 1959 and held the position of academic dean at California Lutheran College before his call to Luther. The Farwell family arrived with his family in Decorah in February 1963. They were greeted by a crowd of well-wishers from the college community in an attempt to ease the Farwell’s transition from sunny California to cold, snowy Iowa. The Farwells lived at 501 High Street in what is now known as the Sperati Guest House. Farwell was officially inaugurated as the president of Luther College on May 11, 1963, ushering in the second century of Luther College. A strong commitment to a liberal arts curriculum was made by Farwell as the calendar was changed to a 4-1-4 system, along with the addition of the Freshman Core Program in 1964 and later Paideia in 1977. His retirement in 1981 marked the end of an era for Luther College, one that saw much change but still retained the strong academic and social characteristics the school has always maintained.