First-Year letter

Spring 2015

Dear Parents of Luther First-Year Students,

It’s hard to imagine, but the school year is in its final stretch, and our children are almost sophomores! Your Parents Council met on a warm and clear first Saturday in March, and the agenda was full and informative. Even though Dr. Paula Carlson has been crisscrossing the county meeting alumni and parents and promoting Luther, she made time to be our first speaker of the day. Among the many topics discussed, the following three stood out:

First, architects have been chosen for the next capital improvement, and these plans will be presented to the Luther board of regents in the near future. OPUS was selected to develop schematics for the Main Building renovation, and three firms (OPUS, RDG, Oslund) are working on master plans for the athletics facilities. Each of the three has specific expertise required in the various aspects of such an extensive project.

Second, 2015 will see many faculty and staff retirements. The recruitment of the next generation of faculty and staff is underway and, as expected, enthusiasm abounds within each department and within the applicants themselves. Four hundred applications have been received for an opening in the math department alone! The nationwide as well as international response from candidates to the Luther search shows that Luther is a destination-type institution!

Lastly, and with great pride, President Carlson announced that Luther was named one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars! Currently four bright recent alumni are having the opportunity to study or conduct research abroad. Out of 1,300 eligible institutions, Luther's four scholars put Luther in the top 40. This accomplishment reflects greatly on the entire Luther team–students, curriculum, and faculty–and is a great barometer of excellence.

We were impressed with the ease and eloquence with which Dr. Carlson spoke. For nearly 40 minutes and with nary a note, she educated and entertained us on a wide range of topics. It was obvious that she has the passion, sincerity, and approachability to lead our Luther!

Dan Marlow from the Career Center spoke on the growth of J-term internships. This past January, 115 students participated in 65 internships, many of which were with Luther alumni. The networking of Luther grads with current students for internships and with graduating seniors for employment is definitely a win-win for all.

Corey Landstrom, vice president and dean for student life, presented information about the StrengthsFinder pilot program and Super Strengths Saturday. The program is aimed at engaging students in strengths finding and aligning this with the classroom, Launching Luther Leaders, and the Career Center. Encourage your student to take the online StrengthsFinder assessment and consider taking it yourself to identify your top five talent themes!

A smiling Scot Schaeffer (vice president for enrollment management) presented good news regarding enrollment numbers for fall of 2015. The dip in last year's numbers appears to have been just a blip magnified by the particularly inclement winter weather that sabotaged each and every major visit weekend. Scot shared with us that so far, applications are up 12 percent, deposits 20 percent, and visits 23 percent. The goal of 3,800 applications appears realistic, and hopefully nearly 700 new students will be at Luther this fall!

Vice president for development Keith Christensen announced that the Annual Fund continues to increase with this (fiscal) year's total at $1.35 million so far. A goal of 4.2 percent annual increases is targeted toward reaching a $2 million Annual Fund future goal! The Annual Fund aids students immediately and directly. With 32,500 living alumni, 50 percent of whom are between the ages of 22-43, the hope is this large group becomes engaged as donors and in other ways.

In closing, we ask you to please consider making a gift to Luther, to benefit all students. Your participation is a vote of confidence in Luther and an investment in your student’s education. Also, you can stay connected via Luther’s website,, and access links to academics, career development, sports schedules, and much more.

We hope that your children are flourishing at Luther and you have peace of mind knowing they are in good hands, and at a great place to succeed. If at any time you have concerns, please reach out to any of us on the council or on Luther’s staff.  Wishing you a joyous Easter!

2015 Dates to Remember

Apr. 3-6           Easter vacation
May 18-21       Final exams
May 24            Commencement
Sept. 2            Fall semester classes begin
Sept. 25-27     Family Weekend
Oct. 10-14       Fall break
Oct. 16-18       Homecoming
Dec. 3-6          Christmas at Luther       


Thomas ‘82 and Linda Floden
(641) 424-3240

Michael ‘85 and Susanne Carney
(515) 255-8073

Charlie and Diane Gilman
(480) 419-8699

John Kleeman and Gayle Christmas
(541) 882-4141

Greg and Peggy Miller
(563) 583-9272

Jack and Mary Spear
(507) 931-7994 


“There are but two lasting bequests we can give our children.  One is roots, the other, wings.”

Roots and Wings—how often we think about these gifts as we guide and nurture our children through those first years. As parents, we have a special mission.

The roots are planted as we help them establish a firm foundation for life, a definition of who they are and where they came from, the security of family and a sense of community.

The wings emerge as we gradually let them go, allowing them the freedom to fly—to take what they have learned and soar to new heights, to reach beyond existing boundaries, to seek and find their place in this world.

You should have a sense of pride. Under your watchful eye, your child has grown into a young adult with dreams and unlimited potential for the future. And now, you are allowing those dreams to live, by encouraging the opportunity for new growth at Luther College, an institution with deep roots and caring people to assist students as they pursue their dreams and realize their potential.

Please give your child “roots and wings.” Support the Annual Fund through the Luther College Parents Association and enhance learning opportunities for all Luther students.