Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417

New gifts totaling $4.5 million increase access and expand learning experiences for Luther College students

As Luther College continues its work to make high-quality education accessible to all students, several generous donors are assisting in that effort in a big way. Recently, Luther received several major gifts, totaling $4.5 million, to help ensure that students have the financial resources they need to get the most out of their college experience. 

New scholarships for students with high financial need

Bob and Dell Ann Sathe

Bob and Dell Ann (Kappus) Sathe, both 1968 graduates of Luther, made a $1 million pledge to the Robert and Dell Ann Sathe Scholars Endowments. The funds will help qualified, underrepresented students with demonstrated financial need. This critical financial aid can be applied not only to tuition but also the costs of study abroad and applied learning opportunities. 

“This scholarship support is our way of saying thanks to Luther for helping us with a foundation for a good life and we encourage other alumni to join us in supporting Luther students,” said Bob. 

The Sathes established the Robert and Dell Ann Sathe Scholars Endowments upon their 50th class reunion in 2018. Their new pledge brings their lifetime giving to $2 million. They have decided to award a portion of their gift immediately (as a way to jumpstart the funds) while also growing the endowments to ensure these opportunities continue in perpetuity. Their funds are supporting 32 Luther students this academic year. 

An estate gift from Audrey Niemann of nearly $850,000 will create the endowed Audrey Niemann Scholarship Fund, which will also benefit qualified students with demonstrated financial need. The preference will go to students who would be unable to attend college without financial assistance. Niemann’s nephew, Todd Marken, worked at the college and her great-niece, Sabrina Marken, graduated from Luther.    

The new Peace Fellows Program

Lynne Sootheran and Kent Simmonds

Lynne Sootheran and Kent Simmonds, emeritus professor of philosophy, gave the college $600,000 to establish the Lynne Sootheran and Kent Simmonds Endowment for Peace. The endowment will support a new Peace Fellows Program that seeks to engage students, faculty, and the broader community in how best to practice peace, in all of its dimensions. 

The endowment is designed to provide multiple student fellowships each year. Each fellow will receive funding to complete a project that addresses peace in any discipline of study. The endowment also funds a faculty Peace Fellow who will assist students in their investigations and direct their explorations together in projects that make for peace.

“It is our intent for the funds of this endowment to encourage serious study of peace in all its expressions: in natural and social sciences, in the arts, in physical activity, in skills aimed at practical professions, and in the studies of philosophy and religion,” said Simmonds. “In short, we want to encourage attention to peace in every classroom, every studio, every laboratory and every athletic enterprise, where persons are called to explore and develop the well-being of themselves and their surroundings. We express peace among us as we discover and nurture peace within us. We want to ‘study war no more.’”

Scholarships for future educators and student musicians

Barbara Lueder

Barbara Lueder graduated from Luther in 1970 and devoted her life to educating others. Through a generous pledge of $50,000, she is creating the Barbara Lueder Scholarship to support students who major in education or participate in music. 

“The education I received at Luther College opened career opportunities while the music program continues to give me great joy. As I thought about my legacy, I knew I wanted to provide scholarships to assist today’s students interested in those areas,” said Lueder.

In addition, an estate gift of $2 million has also been designated to the Barbara Lueder Scholarship endowment.


Over the past three years, Luther College has raised more than $32.1 million in gifts, pledges, and planned gifts for student scholarships. This includes funding for current scholarships (which are awarded immediately) and endowed funds. 

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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

Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417