Dear 1960 Classmate,
“Wow”, “Fantastic”, “What an inspirational evening!” Those were only a few of the comments I heard as I left the CFL following Christmas at Luther in early December. Perhaps some of you heard similar reactions if you were there. It was a special presentation combining beautiful Christmas music with the celebration of the 500th year of the Reformation. Perhaps some of you watched the concert on your computer as it was broadcast via livestream the days prior to Christmas and throughout the month of January. Livestream is so special and convenient as you can watch many concerts, athletic events, recitals, even lectures, and feel as if you are there in person. Some are live, many of them are archived and can be seen “on demand” at your leisure. Check it out for other events, just visit stream.Luther.edu.
As I write this letter, students are back on campus and the second semester has commenced. Students have returned from J-term, daily athletic events are happening, musical organizations are on tour, homecoming concerts are taking place each week, and students are well into their new courses with lectures, research papers, and study habits. The whole campus is abuzz with activity and learning. Does this sound at all similar to student life in the late ’50s? In some ways “yes” but in other ways, it is so different. For instance, reflecting a bit on J-term: 286 students and 29 program leaders participated in one of Luther's courses around the globe, from Ecuador to England, Hawaii to Tanzania, Holden Village to Namibia, to name a few. Today, the whole world is a learning stage of opportunity for students, and there are over 60 majors available with a student/teacher ratio of 11 to 1. Numerically, I have wondered sometimes how that compares to our day. Let's look briefly at one J-term course: “Choral Singing in Namibia and South Africa.” Twenty-one students and two instructors participated in the three week experience. They took music from Western cultures and taught it to local children, but they also taught and learned traditional Namibian and South African music in local languages. In addition, the students experienced the history of Namibia and were introduced to its fight for independence as well as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. They had other opportunities to learn through visits to important cultural and historical sites. What a marvelous learning and growing musical opportunity! In contrast, I remember what a big deal I thought it was when Nordic traveled to California in 1959. My goodness, how high-impact, liberal arts education has changed and advanced through the years; there are so many great opportunities.
Now for some news notes:
· The Nursing program at Luther has been recognized as the 5th best of 32 nursing schools in the state of Iowa. Keep that in mind if you know someone who might be interested in nursing. Recommend them to seriously look at Luther.
· Andrew Last ’97, director of choral activities, invites all alumni, parents and friends of Luther to the first Dorian Choral Retreat from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1, 2018. He says: “As a Luther alumnus, I remember those years after graduation when I longed to return to campus so I could get my Luther 'fix'.” He adds: “It is for those who sang at Luther and those who wish they had tried.” Beside choral rehearsals, there will also be breakout sessions for career musicians and other sessions as well. There will also be time for those who wish for some “Decorah time.” Check it out online luther.edu/music/dorian/summer-camps/adult-dorian.
· You know that Decorah has changed when Menards, a national building supply store, is looking at Decorah to build a new store. They currently are checking for possible sites available. On the flip side, J.C. Penney's has closed their store on Water Street. Many of us remember shopping there when we were in college. Penney's had been in Decorah since 1922 and in the Water Street location since 1952. City leaders are currently trying to find another store to move into that location.
· Decorah has recently received a number of national accolades. USA Today named it as “one of the ten top places in the United States to view folk art.” The Smithsonian named it one of the “20 Best Towns to Visit.” Midwest Living featured it as “A Mountain Town without Mountains.” Again, USA Today ranked it as one of the “Top 25 College Towns in the Nation.” I would have to say from personal experience that it is a great place to live, retire, and enjoy small town life with a special warm, friendly feeling.
· Many of you know that Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott opened a new hotel on the property of the old Cliff House Motel. It helped to increase the number of hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast facilities available in the town. Decorah is a busy place with numerous ethnic restaurants, specialty shopping facilities, hotels, B&B's, coffee shops, local breweries, bike trails, and, of course, the Decorah eagles. Most important, it is the place of “your alma mater” -the place where we received a base for a lifetime of learning, growing and living.
· Karen and I would love to hear your reflections, stories, and memories of your days at Luther. If you are willing, we would share them in future class letters. We would love to hear from you.
· Finally, be sure to share your gift, whatever it may be, so that students today can join the thousands who can say: “Luther College is my home.” As Karen mentioned in the fall letter, our class was ranked 7th “among all classes in percent of class participation in giving to the Luther Fund.” Congrats! Let’s keep it up and perhaps do even better this year! Use the attached form and the reusable envelope or visit givenow.luther.edu to donate today!
1960 Class Agents:
Adrian Ploegstra of Elkhart, Iowa, died Aug. 17, 2016, age 84.
Full obituaries can be found on the Luther College website at: luther.edu/in-memoriam/
If you would like a printout of the full obituaries from your class mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.