I look out my window and I am blessed with a beautiful view. As this summer has progressed, this view has been one of constant change. The Upper Iowa River valley is in the background and our tennis courts and football field are in the foreground. In early summer, work began on both the courts and field. For most of June and July, the scene below included crews using heavy trucks and machinery to transform the playing surfaces. As of this week, the new Legacy Field at Carlson Stadium opened for Luther’s football team to begin practice (they are out there as I write). The tennis courts are close to completion and will be ready by the end of the month. To get a sense of the changing view, please visit Luther’s twitter page and view the time-lapse video of the creation of Legacy Field.
We are closing in on the beginning of the academic year, with our official first-year student move-in day just under a week away on Saturday, August 26. Returning students are eligible to return on August 27. By the time those dates have arrived, we will have welcomed hundreds of students, including fall sport athletes, assistant hall directors and resident assistants, new international students and participants in the Immersion, College Science Enrichment Program, and Connect for Success programs. All of these students help create a buzz and a heady sense of the new year getting underway. Their energy and presence are all welcome as we look forward to launching a new academic year!
At this time, it can be helpful for students and family members to consider what the year has in store. Returning students should think about the new goals have they set for themselves, how will they know if and when they have accomplished them, and who and what will they need in order to achieve their goals. These same questions are applicable to new students but I would also add to those questions— how will you seek to build a viable and supportive social network, what changes may you need to make as you approach college work from that of high school, when will you seek out meetings with your professors, academic advisor, or career advisors? There are many possible questions to list but the general idea is that both students and parents should reflect on the most recent year and identify how this next year will be marked by growth: intellectual, personal, professional, etc.
Finally, I am moved to write about recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. The events brought a scourge of reprehensible activity that clearly does not align with our mission and community values at Luther. The increased presence and activity of white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations is of concern for colleges across the country. We are in dialogue on campus to ensure our community values are known and upheld, to support students (and employees) who are affected by such activities, and to make clear, as I stated in the recent Luther video You Are Welcome Here:
"We stand against injustice and hate, and we stand for human rights."
We are ready to fully welcome all our students back to Decorah and to support you as families during their educational journey. The promise of a new beginning with opportunities to learn and grow, to develop meaningful, enduring relationships, and to discern how they will serve with distinction for the common good are all available.