Sophomore letter

Spring 2014

Dear Parents of Luther Sophomore Students, 

On a beautiful, snowy March 1st, the Parents Council met for our “spring” meeting. The timing could not have been more perfect, as Jeanie Lovell, director of corporate and foundation relations, and a member of the presidential search committee, was able to share the latest updates about the new president of Luther College.  Dr. Paula J. Carlson was formally elected the 10th president of Luther the prior day, and she was on campus earlier in the week to meet with students, faculty, and staff.  With a broad smile and lots of enthusiasm, Jeanie described why Paula and her husband, the Reverend Dr. Thomas Schattauer, will be such a good fit for Luther.  Dr. Carlson brings a wealth of experience to the position and is currently vice president for mission at St. Olaf College.  Her experience also includes teaching at Yale, University of Dubuque, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and St. Mary’s College, in Notre Dame, Ind.  During Dr. Carlson’s visit to Luther, it was mentioned that sophomore students were the largest group in attendance. We are all very excited for President-Elect Carlson to begin her tenure in July. 

Keith Christensen, vice president for development, provided some good news on parent giving and fund-raising progress toward the Sustaining the Mission goals.  Gifts from parents in 2013 were ahead of previous years, which showed a strong commitment, despite coming on the heels of a major capital campaign. Keith also recognized Jeanie Lovell’s good work in writing grant-proposals, which has yielded excellent results in grants for Luther, most recently for nursing program simulation equipment and campus sustainability initiatives. 

Dr. David Tiede was acknowledged—and thanked—for his work as interim president for Luther; it’s evident the campus community feels very blessed to have had his leadership these past months. When David presented to us during the meeting, we were impressed by the passionate way he spoke about his “gig” at Luther.  He talked about the “ROI,” return on investment for our students when attending Luther, and he asked for our feedback on what we valued most in our children's education.  He provided some data on how well Luther graduates do 10-15 years out of school, and how the deep convictions taught here allow graduates to rise to the top of their professions.  We all felt the college was in a better place from when he first joined us, and we will miss his guidance and wisdom. 

This provided a perfect segue for Brenda Ranum, director of the Career Center, to discuss the new initiatives and directions of this valuable resource.  According to data she provided from a survey (with a 95 percent response rate), 89 percent of Luther’s graduates are doing what they want to do as a first destination out of school (the goal is 100 percent). Brenda also spoke about the program “Beyond the Bubble - Building Skills for Life and Work,” an impressive array of seminars to aid our students in their next steps out of school.  There was a healthy discussion on the benefits of the “Link to Luther Alumni” program for externships, internships, and other helpful connections, and the question of whether to add current Luther parents as potential hosts is being considered. 

Scot Schaeffer, vice president for enrollment management, shared information on Project 700, the initiative for bringing in 700 new students this fall.  This effort centers on a variety of efforts, including current student referrals, phone-calling campaigns, and international recruiting. Effective campus visits are highly valued in the decision-making process. 

Luther is very grateful to the many parents who have provided gifts to the college in the past, which provide much-needed support for our students.  With thoughtful consideration, we encourage you to support the Annual Fund for our Luther College community. As our meeting ended, we felt that our children had indeed made a wise choice to attend Luther, and that they are surrounded by many people who care deeply for them.

Dates to Remember

May 19-22         Final examinations
May 25              Commencement
Sept. 3              Fall semester classes begin                                 
Sept. 19-21       Family Weekend                                   
Oct. 10-12         Homecoming                    
Dec. 4-7            Christmas at Luther 


Phil and Kathy Pielage
(608) 845-3396

Jon ’85 and Sandee (Neitzel) Joppa ’87
(763) 557-9752

Linda (Larson) ’84 and Todd Kluge
(715) 386-1166

Brad and Laura Nielsen
(402) 593-7435

Alan Hecht ’80 and Kristin Swanson ’80
(608) 781-7773

Jill (Voss) Wachholz ’89
(630) 629-0844


“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.