Luther just started a new academic year, the 157th since the college was founded! This year the college welcomed 575 new students. Think back to 1973 and our first days on campus. What do you remember? … excitement over starting a new life-chapter? … admiration for the natural beauty of the campus? … the joy of meeting new classmates and teachers? … perhaps a little nervousness over not knowing what to expect? Hopefully those memories bring a smile to your face as they do me.
You may also recall the one thing we all had in common our first year - Freshman Studies. The course evolved in 1977 into Paideia which is now a signature program at Luther. As a part of Paideia, incoming students are asked to read over the summer the English translation of The Odyssey by Emily Wilson. This is the first translation by a woman. It is by all accounts a vivid and engaging retelling of the classic homecoming story. If you would like to join in on the fun, please check out Luther’s reading guide to the book: luther.edu/paideia/program/summer-reading/the-odyssey.
Speaking of homecomings, this year we’ll celebrate two important milestones during Luther’s Homecoming Weekend, October 26–28. First, the Black Student Union (BSU) commemorates its 50th anniversary. There are several events planned during Homecoming and throughout the year to celebrate the founding of the organization — including forums, lectures, a brunch, and a BSU reunion — so mark your calendars. Luther’s Nursing Department also observes a birthday this fall — its 40th. Homecoming Weekend, Kris Dreifuerst ’85 will lead a workshop for nursing educators and deliver the Ironside Distinguished (Alumni) Lecture in Nursing, which will be followed by an open house at Luther’s simulation lab.
In addition to Homecoming lecturers, Luther will welcome other notable speakers to campus this season. On October 23, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt will deliver the Farwell Distinguished Lecture, “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.” His book of the same name, published earlier this month, explores how the cultural climate of “safetyism” on college campuses across the U.S. interferes with the healthy development of students. He argues that recent social and cultural trends are setting children up to fail as healthy, autonomous, adaptable adults. If you don’t have time to read the book, you can get a snapshot through Haidt’s Atlantic article: theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356.
Finally, most have heard that President Paula Carlson plans to retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year. During her tenure at Luther, President Carlson added four new academic programs to the college, renewed outdoor facilities, expanded Luther’s Career Center services, developed and launched the “Next Steps for Sophomores” program, added a dean of institutional equity and inclusion to Luther’s staff, and achieved Luther’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 percent by the end of 2015, among numerous other accomplishments. Luther’s Board of Regents is taking the necessary steps in the presidential search process with the goal of transitioning leadership over the course of next summer and having a new president in place for the 2019–20 academic year.
Best wishes to you and for a fall that’s as beautiful as it is in the Oneota Valley.
1977 Class Agent
901 Perkiomen Avenue
Lansdale, PA 19446
Connie Houdek is a licensed spiritual practitioner at Cityside Church in Chicago.
Randy Krug is CFO at Metro Pavers, Inc. in Iowa City, Iowa.
Karen (Brandt) Monsen is associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in Minneapolis.
Juliann Nelson-Duffy retired as an actuary at Securian Financial Group in St. Paul, Minn.
Brent Pederson retired from teaching elementary physical education at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar, Minn.
Mark Scharff of St. Louis received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the Executive Board of the Music OCLC Users Group.
Paul Schattauer is a family practice medical doctor at The Green Medical Practice in Oak Park, Ill.
Eloise (Hanson) Shipman of Corwith, Iowa, retired in 2015 from Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne Community Schools after 38 years as a drama director and art teacher.