Luther College's Janet Irankunda of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, received the college's Jenson Medal during the Commencement ceremonies for the Luther class of 2019.
Luther's Jenson Medal is presented each year to an outstanding senior, selected by the graduating class, who best demonstrates the ideals of the college through service to students and the college community. Established through an endowment gift from Luther alumni Elizabeth A. Jenson, class of 1945, and Paul G. Jenson, class of 1947, of Vassalboro, Maine, the Jenson Medal supports Luther College's mission of service.
Irankunda's path to Luther was shaped by a high school substitute teacher who spoke highly of her own time as a student at Luther. Hearing how her teacher appreciated and valued her experience, Irankunda applied to Luther having never stepped foot on campus. Once accepted, her deep passion and love for the Luther community began. One can see Irunkunda's commitment to the ideals of the college in the way she engages with peers, staff and faculty during community gatherings.
From Residence Life, Student Senate and music ensembles such as Collegiate Chorale and Gospel Choir, Irankunda's sense of, and understanding for, responsibility have always been clear. She served as a student representative on the strategic planning committee that led the development of our strategic plan, "Inspired. Empowered. Engaged," as well as the presidential search committee. She carried the heavy responsibility of representing the student voice and perspective in these situations with equanimity.
When reflecting on leadership, Irankunda shared that it can be challenging and hard. She appreciates that "in the Luther community, such challenges are not confronted in isolation – that is peers, faculty and staff work together to find solutions to the problems and challenges of the day."
Irankunda will continue to share her gifts and strengths in her next role as an area coordinator at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
Luther College is home to more than 2,000 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.