As a long-time friend, supporter, athlete and coach for Luther College, Bob Naslund received the Spirit of Luther Award at spring semester opening convocation. Luther President Paula Carlson recognized Naslund and presented him the award.
Naslund, class of 1965, "has been a dedicated coach and mentor to generations of Luther student-athletes and a champion of diversity and opportunity," said President Carlson when presenting the award.
As a member of the Luther coaching family for more than 40 years, "Nas" served at the helm of the football team for 18 years and the track and field team for 12 years, winning 12 Iowa Conference team titles and Coach of the Year honors nine times. He played football, reporting to the field as a "Blue Bullet," and ran track and field at Luther, earning all-conference honors in both sports and the respect of his coaches and teammates. Naslund was a teacher and mentor for Luther students and has maintained relationships with alumni for decades. In retirement, Naslund often drives the Luther team bus and remains a fan of Norse student-athletes and teams.
"I'm honored to receive this award," said Naslund. "There is no athlete I admire more than the Luther College student-athlete. My most sincere appreciation and admiration go to all the 'Norse' student-athletes; past, present and future!"
His nomination is especially timely during the 50th anniversary year of the Black Student Union, as Naslund joined the faculty in the fall of 1967 and was dedicated to recruiting African-American students to Luther from the 1960s through the 1990s. His nominators shared that he emphasized "team building at a time when resources on campus were thin." As a champion of diversity and opportunity, he recruited students to campus, "cared for them, advocated for them, and gave his heart and soul to them."
The Spirit of Luther Award recognizes individuals or couples who have provided significant sustained service to the college. This award recognizes persons who have demonstrated a personal commitment to Luther's mission, quality and character. Recipients are endorsed by the Faculty Honorary Degrees Committee and chosen by the president of Luther College.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs.