It’s Time for Luther

Photo of Luther president Jenifer K. Ward

President Jenifer K. Ward

Dear Luther Community,

There is a German phrase—Torschlusspanik—that aptly describes the atmosphere of a college campus at the end of a year. Its literal meaning is “gate close panic,” referring to the fear that the gate is closing or time is running out. It’s the rush to complete final papers, finish grading, get long-deferred meetings scheduled under the wire, and rush toward holiday break. That’s in a normal year.

In Luther’s case, though, it means catching up on daily things that were displaced by extraordinary events and activities: launching the first projects in the campus master plan, renovating the SRC and two classrooms, and adding an outdoor gathering space between Ylvisaker and the CFL. It’s developing plans for the renewal of the Regents Center, Preus Library, and Main. It’s implementing our new core curriculum, which offers more flexibility, skill-building, and experiential and community-based learning. It’s leaning into our strategic framework to expand our reach, align our resources and mission, and strengthen our organization to more effectively support our Luther education that is both grounded and global.

It’s celebrating the impressive accomplishments of our alumni, whose stories are highlighted in this magazine. And it’s recognizing their generosity, each from their means, to support our college year after year.

Luther alumni are consistently generous. And this year, as we undergo a preparation study to undertake the first substantial named fundraising campaign in over a decade, alumni generosity has taken off like a rocket, in the form of a significant $2 million gift from Dennis ’64 and Suzanne Birkestrand and a historic gift from Michael ’92 and Nicole Gerdin and the Gerdin Charitable Foundation. This $10 million commitment is the largest single gift in Luther’s history, and will support the renovation of the Regents Center, soon to be named the Gerdin Fieldhouse for Athletics and Wellness. It will also house the Birkestrand Family Court, along with other improvements.

What a year! Everywhere I turn, I see reflections of what Mr. Gerdin said to me when he shared the news of his gift: “It’s time for Luther.” Indeed it is. We are so glad you are part of this time with us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Jenifer K. Ward