• William Hatungimana '16, Ph.D. Student and Teaching Assistant at the University of Kansas

    "I wanted to broaden my worldview, and combine what I learned outside of my discipline into my work."

William Hatungimana '16

A Personalized Luther Experience

William is now a grad student at the University of Kansas, but he remembers a lot about why he chose Luther. When looking at colleges, he was intrigued by the smaller class sizes and the personal relationships he would be able to have with faculty and staff at Luther. He says,  “I wanted to broaden my worldview, and combine what I learned outside of my discipline into my work.” He was not disappointed when he began his studies at Luther.

William always found his class discussions very interesting. He remembers students consistently having an interest in exchanging ideas and being receptive to the opinions of others. William enjoyed working with professors in his discipline as well as outside of it and always felt welcome to talk with them. “I am a chatty person, so I enjoyed dropping by my professors' offices to visit” he says.

A Host of Valuable Experiences

While at Luther, William worked in dining and custodial services, which he thinks instilled in him a discipline of hard work. He also had a position in the Diversity Center. It was his favorite of the three jobs, especially when he became a mentor for first-year students. He says, “Having the responsibilities of a mentor showed me that I had a duty to impact someone’s life.”

With the help of Luther faculty, William found scholarships to study abroad. He spent four months in Botswana, in Southern Africa. He studied African philosophy and history, and participated in a research project at the University of Botswana. William loved the opportunities to interact with students and professors from a different culture.

One of his most memorable experiences was visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. He was also able to visit President Nelson Mandela’s former house. William says feeling that close to apartheid “was a moment of mixed feelings, but it was a learning experience.. The overall experience in Botswana was magnificent, and I thank Luther for it.”

While taking the Living Religion course, William visited the Buddhist monastery. He says, “The experience was enlightening because the Buddhist philosophy gave me a different way to look at life.”

William thanks his professors, especially the head of the Botswana trip, Professor Mtisi, because he would not have been able to have these experiences without their guidance.

Preparing for the Future   

William is now pursuing a Ph.D. in comparative politics and International Relations at the University of Kansas. William attributes his current success in grad school to Professor Pedro Dos Santos because Dos Santos helped William realize his potential. Luther prepared William well for the intellectual thinking he would need to be capable in the future. “Being able to explore fields such as economics and philosophy has enhanced my perspective as I encounter new information,” he says. “Philosophy made me a better thinker and economics helped me to understand the business aspects of politics.The rigorous nature of the programs at Luther made me become more focused and steadfast in my studies.”

Advice to First-Years

“Study hard, get involved in activities, explore your mind to its limits because Luther gives you that opportunity. Make Luther your home, not just your school.”

-William Hatungimana ’16