Luther College receives estate gift to establish the Rev. John and Barbara Melin Professorship in International Studies

A generous gift from John ’70 and Barbara Melin will be used to establish the Rev. John and Barbara Melin Professorship in International Studies at Luther College.

“We have been encouraged and inspired by Luther’s long-time commitment to fostering global learning and understanding. Our hope is that by endowing this professorship we will, in perhaps a small way, contribute to this tradition,” said John and Barbara.

Luther is one of only a handful of colleges in the Midwest offering a major in international studies which provides students with the academic tools and knowledge necessary to thrive in this global, interconnected world. The program incorporates a wide variety of academic disciplines to introduce students to global economic, political and social systems. Through their travels, the Melins have seen firsthand the importance of this teaching.

“We have been privileged to work and live internationally for most of our adult lives. Learning from and sharing with people from many countries, cultures and colors has not only enriched our lives, but it also encouraged us to be advocates of global education and awareness,” said John and Barbara.

This professorship honors the legacy and commitment of the Melins to global ministry. From Brazil to the Netherlands to Jerusalem and Moscow, where their congregation offered food and shelter to nearly 2,000 refugees who fled from civil war in Somalia, the Melins have served people and congregations around the world during pivotal moments in history.

In recognition of Luther’s mission and quality of the international studies program and the dedicated faculty members who are a part of it, the Melins have funded the professorship with a planned estate gift of $750,000. In addition to underwriting a portion of the professor’s salary, the fund will support student/faculty research projects, travel for professional reasons and activities to enhance knowledge, ability to teach and reputation in the discipline.  

“This generous gift from Rev. John Melin and Barbara Melin will elevate the program by providing faculty with opportunities to deepen their knowledge and to engage students in collaborative research,” said Lynda Szymanski, provost. “We are so thankful to the Melin family for their generosity in supporting our international studies faculty by creating this endowed professorship and, in turn, benefiting our students.”

The recipient of the Rev. John and Barbara Melin Professorship in International Studies will be selected by recommendation from Luther’s provost and appointed by the president and will be a member of the international studies faculty.

This isn’t the first investment the Melins have made in the program. In 2016 and 2017, they generously created two scholarships for students majoring in international studies to cover expenses while studying abroad.    

About Luther College

Luther College is home to about 1,800 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.

John ’70 and Barbara Melin