Junior Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Parents of Luther Junior Students,

"Good.  Awesome!”  Dr. Jennaya (Rogers) Robison ’96 shouted these words as she finished the warm-ups for the Luther Cathedral Choir tour concert last year in Owatonna, Minn. I had sneaked into the balcony to listen, and memories of my own college music tours came flooding back. I knew they were thinking things like:  I wonder what they will feed us?  I hope nobody sits in that front pew.  I wonder if I’ll know anyone in the audience?  I have so much studying to do! 

In that moment I said a little prayer of thanks to my mom and dad for scraping together enough money to send us three kids to private Christian liberal arts colleges, and they managed to do it on a pastor’s salary!  

It is no exaggeration to say that my college experience was the single most formative event in my life, and the music tours were certainly a highlight! My liberal arts experience broadened my tunnel vision, introduced me to my future spouse, and surrounded me with a vital Christian community that continues to support me today.

We have so many gifts. For me, the legacy of a Christian liberal arts education is a gift given to me by my parents, and it is a gift I can pass on to my children. 

Together with the other members of the Parents Council, my wife and I attended our group’s fall meeting on September 23, during Family Weekend, and here are some key points from President Carlson's session with us:  

1.  There are two new majors at Luther—neuroscience and data science—and global health may be named as a third soon.

2. Thanks to donor support, Luther has a new football field covered with blue turf, and the 12 outdoor tennis courts were recently renovated.

3. The Career Center’s new sophomore initiative is designed to keep sophomores on an upward tract toward understanding their academic strengths.

4. Two new Luther leaders—Lisa Scott, interim dean for institutional equity and inclusion, and Aimee Viniard-Weideman, vice president for communication and marketing—are enthused about their work on campus.

We also heard from Kristin Swanson, professor of religion, registrar, and assistant to the dean for advising, about Luther’s learner-centered advising system and from Sukeji Mikaya ’17, global learning center intern, about Luther’s many study away programs. Terry Sparkes, dean for institutional planning and mission, provided us with an update on Luther’s strategic planning process and timeline. Perhaps you participated in the survey sent to parents last semester. Top priorities targeted by parents were affordability, academic excellence, and career preparation. Jim Jermier, vice president for development, spoke of 18 new scholarships named during last fiscal year and of the growth of Luther's endowment from $56 million to $160 million in the past 17 years.  Gift commitments from 12,240 donors totaled more than $11.6 million last fiscal year. Developing a comprehensive plan for achieving and maintaining maximum fiscal strength is among Luther’s top institutional priorities for 2016-18, and planning is underway for a comprehensive campaign with scholarships, faculty and staff development, and athletics facilities at its core.  

As members of the Luther Parents Association, we'd like to invite you to consider a donation to the Luther Fund. As you may already know, tuition covers only a portion of the cost of a Luther education. Your gift—no matter the size—will provide immediate support for scholarships, building improvements, updated technology, and many other areas. The college is grateful for the support it receives from all parents. Last year a total of 1,593 Luther parents (current and former) contributed $1,827,041 to Luther College! Thank you for this support.

Let us never forget our roots, and let us never forget our responsibility to enable our children to find the pathway to achieving their goals and realizing their dreams. 


  Daniel and Naomi Palmquist


Junior Class Parents Council Members:


David Finger and Ann Hayden-Finger
Sun Prairie, WI
(608) 837-5294
[email protected]

Kevin and Jody King
Grayson, GA
(770) 864-1575
[email protected]

Daniel and Naomi Palmquist
Cloquet, MN
(218) 879-8339
[email protected]

Scott and Mary Peters
Mankato, MN
(507) 386-0186
[email protected]

Benjamin and Elizabeth Stewart
Western Springs, IL
(708) 784-9491
[email protected]



Nov. 22-26             Thanksgiving vacation
Nov. 30-Dec. 3       Christmas at Luther
Dec. 11-14             Final exams
Jan. 8-31                January Term
Feb. 8                     Spring semester begins
Mar. 24-Apr. 2       Spring/Easter vacation
May 21-24             Final exams
May 27                  Commencement