Luther to celebrate the legacy of the Luther nurse: 40 Years and Counting

October 19, 2018

Luther College celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first graduates of the Luther nursing program during Homecoming, on Oct. 26 and 27, as well as the Ironside Distinguished Alumni Nursing Lecture, with a light lunch and open house to follow.

The Ironside Distinguished Alumni Lecture in Nursing, will be presented by Kristina (Thomas) Dreifuerst, associate professor of nursing at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and adjunct faculty at Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A 1985 Luther graduate, Dreifuerst will share how her experiences at Luther shaped her life and career. Along with this, she will reflect on the legacy of the Luther nursing department. This lecture will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. It is sponsored by the Ironside Distinguished Alumni Lecture in Nursing Fund, supported by Pam (Magnussen) and Jay Ironside, class of 1981.

Immediately following the lecture, there will be a simulation lab open house until 2 p.m. in Valders Hall of Science, Room 245. Renovated in 2008, the simulation lab includes three clinical lab rooms where students can work in a variety of simulated environments.

As part of the Ironside Lecture event, Dreifuerst will also lead a nursing educators’ workshop to discuss debriefing principles and incorporate Debriefing for Meaningful Learning, or DML, into simulation and traditional clinical experiences. This will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 in Mott-Borlaug Rooms in the Dahl Centennial Union. This workshop, available at no cost to Luther alumni, is $30 for the workshop and lunch for other educators. Registration is limited to 50 people and is available at

The nursing program began when questions were raised in the spring of 1973 and the administration of Rochester Methodist Hospital, in Rochester, Minnesota, was interested in graduates of a baccalaureate nursing program. Rochester Methodist offered support along with facilities for clinical experience. The program was approved by the college faculty and the Board of Regents in 1974.

The Luther College nursing program has since developed clinical partnerships across the Midwest, including Winneshiek Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Hospital, Wellington Place, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Winneshiek Public Health and many more. These strong clinical partnerships support quality hands-on experiences that complement the classroom and lab-based learning for Luther’s student nurses. More than 950 students have completed Luther’s nursing program. Graduates have been employed in in more than 36 states and several different countries, including Bolivia, China, Guam, Kenya, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Luther nursing graduates have continually strived to make the world a more comfortable, caring place to be.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: