Transformed by the Journey: Luther College Sesquicentennial [Inside Giving April 2011]

Inside Giving is a product of the Luther College Annual Fund and strives to give you and other donors to the Annual Fund an exclusive look at how your annual gifts make a difference at Luther College.

I never suspected that I would be part of something immense and far-reaching while living in rural Decorah, Iowa. In fact, I looked for smaller colleges specifically in order to get away from what I call "the bigness" of places. Yet here I am writing in Nottingham England, celebrating Luther College's 150th Anniversary.

Many activities are taking place to both commemorate the past and propel us forward into the future. We are honoring 150 years of Luther with concerts featuring Luther music ensembles performing the newly commissioned Luther Mass by composer Stephen Paulus on April 16-17. A relay race from Halfway Creek (the original site of Luther) to Decorah will start on June 4th. Even Nordic Fest will honor the sesquicentennial with a float and exhibit. Not to mention the family reunions, picnics and birthday bashes which will make use of the new Bentdahl Commons, a sesquicentennial landscape project that has greatly enhanced the Luther grounds.

There have also been many works created for Luther's sesquicentennial celebration. A book, Transformed by the Journey: 150 years of Luther College History in Word and Image by Wilfred F. Bunge '53 with Mary Hull Mohr and Dale Nimrod; a collection of jewelry from Lois Hill '85, which will benefit the Luther College sesquicentennial scholarship fund; six paintings depicting campus scenes by Douglas Eckheart; and even a special Mabe's Pizza and Whippy Dip tornado are dedicated to the occasion. This truly will be a celebration to remember.

Pardon the metaphor, but often I think of Luther as a massive tree. Its roots extend deep beneath the soil, and its branches extend out into the sweet, Midwestern air. For me, being "transformed by the journey" means looking back and looking forward simultaneously. It's a strange concept. And as the seasons come and go, it's easy to get caught up in all the changes that are happening: leaves change colors and we grow taller. But every now and then it's good to just stop and celebrate, to take comfort in the shade our Luther tree provides. Let's celebrate together.

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