Luther’s Impact Is Global

President Jenifer K. Ward

Dear Luther Community,

This year, US News and World Report ranked Luther number two in the nation for the percentage of students who study abroad. It’s a distinction we’re proud of, but it’s not a surprise. Global study has become foundational to so many Luther students over many generations. On Facebook, Martha (Gesme) Nielsen ’79 commented about her Malta Semester nearly 50 years ago, “That experience changed the trajectory of my life and expanded my view of the world, as it should!”

Hannah Hoffmann ’23, one of the students featured in this year’s study-away photo essay, also participated in the Malta Semester. She says it “opened my eyes to the beauty of being the new face at the table and taking a humble posture when learning from others about their cultures, lives, and traditions.”

We hear again and again from Luther grads who have felt the deep impact of global study. It’s influenced career choice and philanthropy. It’s opened up new passions and interests. It’s developed new trajectories and perspectives.

Critically, our alumni take these new perspectives—and the broader Luther values they’ve adopted—to their future work. From developing culturally supportive housing for Native Americans, like Mike Goze ’75, to influencing planetary health through the United Nations, like Nancy Groves ’96. Another Luther graduate you’ll read about in this issue is Blake Potthoff ’14, director of the Fairmont Opera House in Minnesota. About his Luther experience, he says, “The lens of service, giving back to the community, and supporting others was important to me. That was a culture I felt at home in.”

Wherever Luther grads find themselves in the world, they carry Luther culture with them. It’s something they feel at home in. It’s foundational.

As you peruse the pages of this issue of our magazine, I hope you will remember the way in which you, too, have continued to be formed by Luther connections and the values that this community lives by. This ethos spreads through your own sphere of influence, and helps us live out our mission to serve the common good, daily, and around the globe.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Jenifer K. Ward