Luther Anniversaries

2020 Luther Anniversaries

165th — Norwegian Synod in convention discussed establishing a Norwegian Lutheran institution (1855); Luther College became that institution in 1861.

160th — Ulrik Vilhelm Koren, first Norwegian pastor to settle west of the Mississippi, purchased 32 acres, the present site of the upper Luther campus, from J. Gibbons for $1,500 (1860).

155th — Norwegian Luther College incorporated in the state of Iowa; first "Old Main" building dedicated October 14 with 6,000 people in attendance (1865).

140th — Luther College Alumni Association founded (1880).

130th — Second Old Main dedicated (1890).

120th — Track and Field debuts at Luther (1900).

115th — Dr. Carlo Sperati came to campus as musical director (1905).

110th — Landscaping of campus begun according to plans by Jens Jensen, a Prairie School landscape artist from Chicago (1910).

105th — Laur Larsen, first president, died (1915).

100th — First Pioneer yearbook published (1920).

90th — Name of school legally changed from Norwegian Luther College to Luther College (1930).

85th — Decorah College for Women incorporated; first B.A. degrees conferred on women, recipients: Doris (Erickson) Buckneberg ‘35 and Esther (Hanson) Hoff ‘35 (1935).

80th — First woman editor of College Chips, Helen (Nelson) Henderson Knapp ‘41; she also became first woman editor of Pioneer (1940).

75th — First undergraduate international student brought to campus: Knut Gunderson '47 of Norway (1945).

70th — Intercollegiate wrestling introduced; first Dorian Instrumental Festival held (1950).

65th — Dedication of Oscar L. Olson Hall; Luther football team goes undefeated 9-0; first men’s cross country team competes with Oivind Hovde ‘32 as coach (1955).

60th — First alumnae awarded M.D. degrees: Arlene (Kalsow) Ellis ‘57 and Joyce (Everson) Lee ‘56 (1960).

55th — Crown Prince Harald of Norway visited the college and was awarded an honorary degree; laying of the cornerstone for Dieseth Hall; track and field team placed second in the NCAA national college meet (1965).

50th — Vanguard Fund campaign launched among alumni, faculty and friends; included funding for the Center for Faith and Life; Luther football team played in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl (1970).

45th — King Olav of Norway participated in the cornerstone-laying ceremony for Center for Faith and Life (1975).

40th — Board of Regents authorized construction of Jenson Hall of Music (1980).

35th — Men's cross country team won Luther's first NCAA Division III national title (1985).

30th — Construction of The Regents Center and Farwell Hall begins; The Alumni Challenge program is initiated (1990).

25th — President H. George Anderson elected bishop of ELCA; David Roslien ‘59 named interim president; King Harold V and Queen Sonya of Norway visit the college; Environment for Excellence Campaign reaches $42-million mark; F.W. Olin Building dedicated (1995).

20th — President Richard L. Torgerson inaugurated; Baker Village dedicated; Roslien Woodlands for Outdoor Education, Recreation and Biological Research named for David Roslien ’59; Betty Hoff ’60 earns 500th career victory as Luther’s softball coach; Russel R. Rulon ’58 Endowed Chair in Biology established with $1.13-million in gifts from alumni; Luther women win IIAC all-sports trophy; the historic Hotel Winneshiek in downtown Decorah is restored and re-opens; Ground is broken for the Legends Fitness for Life Center (2000).

15th — Nordic Choir director and professor of music, Weston Noble ’43 retires; Women’s cross country, soccer, and tennis teams are IIAC Champions; Katie Pettigrew ’05 sets NCAA III soccer records for career goals (124) and career points (297); Wrestling team went 15-3 in dual meets and placed third in NCAA III championships with six All-Americans. Garrett South ’05 and Matt Pyle ’07 are national champions; $5.7-million Dahl Centennial Union renovation begins; President Richard Torgerson reelected to a second six-year term; College launches $90-million A Higher Calling campaign (2005).

10th — Allen Hightower named conductor of the Nordic Choir; Bentdahl Commons dedicated; High ropes challenge course constructed near Lindeman Pond; Sustainable Living House created; Luther named “Green College” by Princeton Review; Men’s cross country team, Women’s soccer team, Men’s and Women’s tennis teams, Men’s and Women’s swimming and diving teams, are IIAC Champions; Wrestling team goes 11-7, places tenth in the nation in NCAA III championships with three All-Americans; Women’s softball team went 42-7, wins IIAC Conference Tournament, and ties for fifth in the nation NCAA III. Pitcher Kim Lambert ’10 is named NCAA post graduate scholar and wins NCAA Division III Honda Sports Award for softball. Catcher Tiffany Kruse ’10 named NCAA III Diamond Catcher of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Lambert, Kruse and second base Anna Simonson ’10, are named All-Americans; Sesquicentennial Fund announced at Homecoming with a goal of $50-million (2010).