Luther College Presidential Inauguration of Jenifer K. Ward Nov. 1-3

October 11, 2019

The inauguration of President Jenifer K. Ward as the 11th president of Luther College will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in the Main Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. The theme of the inauguration ceremony is "Always Becoming." It is open to the public with no charge for admission.

"As only the 11th such event in our history, a presidential inauguration is a rare moment for Luther College. It offers a chance to reflect upon and celebrate our past while welcoming the next generation of leadership to shape the future of our college," says Wendy Davidson '92, chair of Luther's Board of Regents. "I'm especially excited as this particular inauguration has been crafted carefully in partnership with Dr. Ward, which will make it both timeless and personal. She has a wonderfully warm personality and the weekend promises to celebrate where we've been and what we are becoming."

President Ward began her duties on July 1, 2019 after unanimous votes from the search committee and Board of Regents.

J. Robert Paulson '78 served as the chair of the Presidential Search Committee and now that he has had a chance to work with the president for several months he says, "Leading Luther College with sincerity, warmth, humor and joy during this time of evolution and change, President Ward is actively and visibly building bridges and relationships between the college and the Decorah community, as well as between the college and the broader Luther communities."

Delegates from 40 institutions of higher education will be honoring President Ward and displaying their support by taking part in the formal procession as are ten Decorah community representatives, two dozen current and former regents, two former Luther presidents and three former interim presidents.  

Prior to Saturday's ceremony, the inauguration weekend kicks off with Luther Agora, an academic research "marketplace of ideas," from 3-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, in Valders Concourse. The event, which is open to the public, will showcase four dozen faculty research and creative projects underway.

Friday evening, Nov. 1, Luther College celebrates and affirms its ties with Decorah by putting on an "Inaugural Night on the Town." All are encouraged to head downtown to enjoy Decorah's great restaurants, shops and free activities and entertainment being planned.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, the public is invited to a Jazz Celebration in Marty's in the lower level of the Dahl Centennial Union where President Ward's mother, Betty Ward, will be performing as a guest pianist.

            At 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, there will be an All Saints Sunday Jazz Liturgy in the Center for Faith and Life.

            At 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, the college will celebrate Luther athletics with a "We Are Norse!" reception on the football field.

            At 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall composer Jocelyn Hagen will give a pre-concert lecture on her work, "The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci." A concert by that name follows at 4 p.m. in the Main Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. The "Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci" brings da Vinci's notebooks to life through choral orchestral work and video projections. The performance of the work will conclude with a concert presented by the Luther College Collegiate Chorale, conducted by Jennaya Robison, associate professor of music, and Decorah Chorale, conducted by Jason Rausch and joined by instrumentalists from the Luther faculty, students and community.             

            It will be a historic weekend at Luther College. For a full schedule of events visit

"Dr. Ward is only the 11th president of Luther College. This is amazing in the 158-year history of the College and in today's world," says Paulson.

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