Dear Parents of the Class of 2014,
“People love this place!” President David Tiede shared this observation of his first weeks at Luther College during the Parents Council meeting September 21. In our conversations with other parents on Family Weekend, we asked them how their children liked Luther, and the overwhelming response was they “love it!” It is indeed a privilege to be connected to a place near and dear to the hearts of so many, and for good reason. We share just a few of these reasons with you in this brief summary of the Parents Council’s meeting.
President Tiede expressed his respect for the legacy left by President Emeritus Rick Torgerson, the administrative discipline, student-centeredness, and strong community he finds here. His voice of experience came through as he noted that the challenges like those faced in Luther’s presidential search “happen all the time.” His desire is to help move the college forward during this interim period. His genuine interest in the students was evident as he invited Paul Esker ‘14, student senate president, to talk about their work. Paul reported that as a voice for the student body, they address issues of student life—to see that all students are cared for and are safe, and issues of campus betterment. They also provide support and tools for student leadership of the 135 student-run organizations on campus.
A report on Luther’s numbers was presented, which shows a stable enrollment of 670 new students this year, and an 88 percent retention rate of returning students. Ninety-seven percent of Luther’s class of 2012 responded to a survey on their post-graduation activities, where 20 percent reported they were in graduate school, 8 percent were continuing their education in other ways, and 6 percent were in volunteer positions. Sixty-three percent reported they were employed, and 76 percent of these employed graduates were doing work related to their career goals. This is encouraging news for us, parents of seniors! The full reports are available through Luther’s Admissions Office and the Career Center. News from the Development Office included a new fund-raising goal of $18.1 million, to be raised during this time of leadership transition.
Pastor Mike Blair described campus ministries’ approach as “walking with” students. This is a time when questions and struggles of faith arise: Where do we practice our faith? How is the church relevant to me today? What is my purpose? He encouraged “hearth time” for families, where we bring the gift of undivided attention, listening, and fruitful questioning, time away from technology. Scheduled worship and small group opportunities are available. Students across faith traditions are supported, as well as those who prefer a connection with churches in town.
Wayne Tudor, director of dining services, gave a tour of the newly remodeled cafeteria, which offers expanded hours; well-balanced, nutritious meals; plentiful options; allergy-free areas; a grab and go station; and a suggestion box. Concerns were raised about the issues of flow and congestion, and Wayne indicated he is open to hearing more about the specifics of this.
We ended by attending the Family Weekend “Panel for Parents” session. The overall message of the panel echoed what Wayne in dining services said. Face-to-face interactions are welcome. All panel presenters encouraged students to come in and talk with staff. The study abroad program continues to thrive, with 75 percent of Luther students traveling internationally at some point. The Career Center is presently under the very capable leadership of Brenda Ranum. We encourage senior parents to remind their children of the extensive resources available here: counseling, job exploration opportunities, help with the job search process, graduate schools, internships, alumni connections, résumé and interview preparation, as well as job fairs, professional school days, and workshops. Brenda offered this advice for conversations with students. Ask a series of WHAT questions: WHAT did you do in class, in your activities? SO WHAT are you learning and what skills are you developing? SO NOW WHAT is the next step to get where you want to be?
Parents are an essential part of the Luther community beyond our obvious role to support our children. We can help to recruit potential students and make a contact with the Admissions Office. We can talk to the Career Center if we can provide an opportunity for job exploration, anything from 1-2 day experiences during breaks, to shadowing during J-term, to internships. And we can make a donation. Did you know that each year nearly 9,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $75,000? When parents contribute even beyond tuition payments, it speaks of their confidence in Luther College and the credibility of the institution. Strong support helps Luther secure additional funds from foundations and corporations. It lets them know that people love this place, and for a good reason!
It is our privilege to serve on the Parents Council. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.
Enjoy these last few months with your college senior!
Dates to Remember
Nov. 27-Dec. 1 Thanksgiving vacation
Dec. 5-8 Christmas at Luther
Dec. 16-19 Final Exams
Jan. 6-29 January Term 2014
Feb. 5 Spring semester classes begin
March 22-30 Spring vacation
April 18-21 Easter vacation
May 19-22 Final exams
May 25 Commencement
Dan and Wende (Bunger) Douglas ’81
Pete and Sandy Cochrane
Kristi (Wahlberg) ’79 and Kevin Josephson ’79
Alicia Anderson ’86 and Bob Skelly
Chris and Jean Nolte
Tim and Pam Alpers
ROOTS AND WINGS
"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