Uwe Rudolf

Professor emeritus of accounting and management

Starting year at Luther: 1971

Research interest: International business.

Languages: Fairly fluent in English, French and German (that's a joke--he was born in Germany and studied German literature); enough to get by in Japanese, Danish, and Swedish.

Campus trivia: As newlyweds, Uwe and his faculty spouse Ruth Caldwell were hall directors in Dieseth Hall, known then as Men's Tower, for two years, and then in Larsen Hall for another two years.

Distinguishing characteristic: He's 6'5".

After 10 minutes of conversation with Uwe (OOH-veh), it's obvious that his life and living have not been linear. "By the time I turned 40, I could remember living at 41 different addresses," he explains. "When students talk to me about changing majors, I say, 'No problem.' I've changed languages, changed countries, changed careers. In my first nine years at Luther, I moved from Iowa to Ohio for the summer, back through two dorms on campus, to California, then Germany and France. If I can do it, they can do it."

Uwe's first major was architecture. He interned with and worked for an engineering firm, leaving the industry after 10 years while pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati. He then came to Luther to teach German. He later retrained as an accountant, earning an MBA and passing the CPA exam, to move into Luther's business and economics department.

Along the way, Uwe became involved in international business: he took summers and professional leave to work and study abroad--in Germany for Allegheny International and Union Carbide, in France for a French laboratory equipment distributor, and in Japan for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, among other consulting stints.

For several years in the 1990s, Uwe worked with Luther's study-abroad program, and still leads courses based on his experience. "In 35 years, I've only taught two J-term classes that were exclusively based on campus," he explains, adding that he started with a German language retreat to a remote dude-ranch-turned-bible-camp in Colorado. More recently, he taught Paideia 450 study abroad courses on corporate ethics and responsibility in Japan and China.

Uwe and his wife, Ruth, who teaches French and Italian and served as department head of modern languages, have established connections in France, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Malta that offer Luther students unique opportunities. Since 2008, they have co-directed Luther's Institute in American Studies for Scandinavian and Nordic Educators that brings teachers from the five Nordic countries to Luther's campus for two weeks of intensive lectures an activities.

What pulls Uwe back to campus? "The students," he says simply--in other words, the opportunity to "talk seriously with the next generation of business leaders about globalization, the implications of China's economic surge, and the importance of educating consumers," for example. He also likes having a permanent home. "Before I came to Luther, I'd never lived anywhere long enough to know what community was," he says. "We have it here."

Uwe Rudolf