Luther College receives estate gift to establish the Hemp Family Chair in the Humanities

February 3, 2021

A generous estate gift from Richard "Dick" Hemp '64, regent emeritus, and his spouse, Joann (Harr) Hemp '65, will be used to establish the Hemp Family Chair in the Humanities at Luther College. 

"We had been thinking about how the humanities is such a critical element in student preparation for our vastly changing global society and economy and wanted to support the college in perpetuity by creating a chair in the humanities," said Dick Hemp. 

The study of humanities encourages students to think creatively and critically, to reason, and to ask tough questions. Luther College encourages students to do just that across disciplines while exploring questions about faith and values. 

In addition to underwriting a portion of the recipient professor's salary, the planned $1,500,000 endowment will be used to provide support for student/faculty research projects, travel for professional reasons, and activities to enhance knowledge, ability to teach, and reputation in the discipline.

"Endowed professorships and chairs are of the utmost importance to Luther's mission. They exemplify the commitment our alumni donors have to the philosophy and value of the liberal arts, enhance the academic character of the college, support the development of leadership in the teaching profession, and enrich the intellectual life of our students," said President Jenifer K. Ward. "I am grateful to Dick and Joann Hemp for their extraordinary dedication to their alma mater and their foresight in establishing the Hemp Family Chair in the Humanities, which will ensure that Luther College continues to benefit from generous curricular and programmatic offerings in the humanistic disciplines."

The recipient professor of the Hemp Family Chair in the Humanities will be selected by the recommendation of Luther's chief academic officer and appointed by Luther's president and will be a tenured member of the Luther faculty in a humanities discipline. The recipient of this endowment will represent Luther's mission to support and practice the college's approach to education, building community around a lively and inclusive conversation of faith and learning, and participate in and encourage a balanced dialogue to shape an active and engaged citizenry.

"Throughout our lifelong journey, we have seen the value of studying humanities for developing students' ability to use critical thinking, writing skills, analysis and creativity in preparation for their callings. We are thrilled to support Luther College in this way," said Hemp.

Luther College is home to more than 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