Fall 2010 Letter

Fall 2010

Dear Friend,

Luther’s campus and the Oneota Valley were as beautiful as ever as we celebrated Homecoming; the sun brought ninety-degree temperatures and illuminated a stunning panorama of autumn color.

Despite the unseasonal heat, the football team won its match with Cornell College on Saturday, and Sunday afternoon saw the dedication of the Bentdahl Commons, a landscape project fronting the Center for Faith and Life and Dahl Centennial Union.  It provides an amphitheater for outdoor gatherings, with a pergola as the visual focus serving as the backdrop for the performance area, along with the addition of modern updates such as Wi-Fi access. To the east of Bentdahl Commons, what used to be the library lawn now bears the name “Farwell Clearing.”  Friends provided funds to create new limestone walls in front of the library and add lots of plantings—trees, bushes, flowers.  Both of these projects are in keeping with the 1911 Jens Jensen landscape plan for the Luther College campus.

Additional happenings at Luther include

     *  in May the first annual Luther College Student Research Symposium was held. This event highlighted the breadth and depth of the vibrant intellectual life on the Luther campus.  You can read about it at http://www.luther.edu/symposium/.

     *  as reported in the New York Times, Luther was named one of the 26 top colleges in the nation for overall sustainability.

     *  Luther was recognized in Newsweek as a top-50 national liberal arts college, as selected by high-school counselors.

     *  the college web site was redesigned.  Check out all the great pictures at the top of the home page to see what’s new on campus!

As it prepares to celebrate 150 years of life, Luther is also faced with challenges brought about by the economic realities of the day.  In responding to these challenges, the college will be seeking to answer the question: “Is Luther using its resources to the greatest advantage to fulfill its mission?”  The primary focus of Task Group 150: Mission, Realities, and Resources is to make sure the mission, vision, and strategic plan that already exist are grounded in current reality and can be sustained in the future.  In outlining this plan, President Torgerson reminds us, “Fortunately for Luther, we can participate in this process from a position of strength, not a position of desperation.” 

The sesquicentennial year will be an exciting time of celebration for all of us, and a host of planned events and expressions will highlight the theme “Transformed by the Journey.”  I encourage each of you to examine how your life has been transformed by your experiences at Luther.

As always, thank you for encouraging the young women and men you know to consider Luther —this is truly one of the most important contributions you can make to the college.  Be sure to urge them to take a trip to visit campus so they can experience what made and continues to make Luther so special.

With all best wishes,
Sue Drilling

 Sue (Franzen) Drilling '78
Director of Special Programs
[email protected]

PS. More good news: Luther College was one of eight schools in the nation to earn an "A" on the College Sustainability Report Card released Oct. 27 by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, sharing the honor with Brown University, Dickinson College, the University of Minnesota, Oberlin College, Pomona College, the University of Wisconsin, and Yale University. The report card evaluated more than 300 colleges and universities from all 50 states and eight Canadian provinces. Also, Luther was included as one of the top 100 "best values" for liberal arts colleges, as listed in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

Don't forget your Annual Fund giving! 

Each year nearly 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $3 to $25,000. Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure significant funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us reach our goal of 30% alumni giving to the Annual Fund.

Your gift can boost your class impact on current students!  Visit givenow.luther.edu to show your support.  Thank you!


ODELL FORSLUND of Forest City, Iowa, died March 16, 2010, at age 97. After graduation from Luther, he taught and coached for a few years in Rake, Forest City, and Buffalo Center (Iowa) schools. During World War II, Odell was an instructor at the Air Corps Station at Sioux Falls, S.D. In 1947, he moved his family to Forest City, where he owned and operated the Forest City Cleaning Plant for 10 years. When Waldorf College needed a football coach in the mid-1950s, Odell stepped up to coach for a year. In 1958, he went back to teaching full-time and earned a master’s degree from Mankato State University. Odell went into sales in the carpet industry from the early 1960s until he retired in 1992. Always interested in promoting Forest City, he was instrumental in establishing the Forest City Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Odell also owned and operated the Knob Hill Ski Resort—the only ski area in Iowa at the time—from 1961-65.  He chaired the planning committee for the Forest City Centennial and was honored 50 years later in the sesquicentennial parade. Odell was a member of Luther’s Heritage Club. He is survived by his wife, Alice; two sons; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

CARL BRUIHLER of Cedar Falls, Iowa, died Sept. 22, 2009, at age 92. He attended Luther and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Carl graduated from Upper Iowa University in 1952 and earned a degree in pharmacy from Drake University in 1955. He worked as a pharmacist until his retirement in 1989. Carl is survived by three sons, including WILLIAM BRUIHLER ’82. He was preceded in death by wife, Myrtle, in 2002.


KARSTEN BAALSON of Mount Vernon, Wash., died Nov. 26, 2009, at age 92. At Luther, he lettered in track and field and once beat nationally known athlete Theo Gibs in the 220-yard dash. Karsten graduated from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1942 and went on to serve congregations in Milton and Osnabrook, N.D.; Wilmont, S.D.; and Prineville, Ore. He retired to Mount Vernon in 1979. Karsten loved the outdoors, cross-country skiing, gardening, fishing, art, photography, and watching the Seattle Mariners. Holidays always included his favorite foods: lutefisk and lefse. He was an avid artist, enjoying painting and pastels, attending art shows, and spending endless hours at the beach or in the mountains painting with his longtime friend, artist Fred Zeretzke. Karsten also wrote a book, Karsten’s Kronikles, full of humorous stories and history. He and his wife, Bernell, were active in two churches, Atonement Free Lutheran Church and Lord of Life Free Lutheran Church, where they were founding members. They enjoyed travel around the United States, Norway, and several European countries, as well as the Holy Land. Karsten is survived by several family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife; a brother, HERMAN A.A. BAALSON ‘42; and his father, HERMAN E. BAALSON, Luther class of 1904.