First-Year Letter

Dear First-year Parents and Guardians,

As members of Luther Parent Council and authors of the spring letter we aim to share topics of interest and importance to you.  Top on our list are the college presidential search, student life and well-being, as well as opportunities for parents’ support and involvement.

Our Spring Luther Parents Council meeting was held on Saturday, March 2nd.  Topics covered included the Luther Strategic Plan, presented by President Paula J. Carlson; Equity and Inclusion, presented by Lisa Scott; Student Life, presented by Corey Landstrom; and the Reaccreditation Process as well as Brand Strategy/Marketing, presented by Brad Chamberlain.

We were excited to learn that the presidential search has proceeded according to plan.  The process went well, and there were many highly qualified candidates. The transition from Paula Carlson to Dr. Jenifer K. Ward will be July 1.

As parents, one of our key concerns is our students’ safety and well-being on campus.  In the February issue of CHIPS you might have read the article titled Intruder Follow-Up.  This article explained how Luther’s Campus Safety and Security and the Decorah Police Department acted promptly and decisively to arrest an intruder.  Extra safety measures were initiated and RAs were mobilized to ensure residence hall safety.  For further details please check CHIPS or We are grateful for the swift and comprehensive action taken, as well as for being updated about this incident.

In January and February we have had several dangerous arctic blasts, each lasting for days, and one right in the midst of the J-term.  Luther management, and especially the Student Life team, has gone above and beyond to ensure our students are safe, warm, and well-supported.  Examples included running a campus-wide shuttle day and night, taking students from building to building, keeping facilities open during the whole break, and arranging hotel for students returning from J-term trips, along with many other campus safety and security measures.

We are also happy to report that Student Life listened to parents’ request to re-start a Cedar Rapids/Iowa City shuttle.  This route was cancelled in the past due to low utilization.  We are piloting this for Spring and Easter breaks.  Please check for details and sign up at

Corey Landstrom, Vice President and Dean for Student Life, was at the Parents Council meeting.  On behalf of our students and parents I thanked Corey and his team for a job well done.

We live about two hours from Decorah and visit often, especially when there are fun and interesting events such as Christmas at Luther, Family Weekend, and various Luther and Decorah sports and cultural events.  When we visit, we invite several students to join us for dinner and we do something fun.  Last Friday, we dined at a buffet, went bowling, and had burgers before dropping students off at their residence halls.  We enjoy exploring Decorah and trying something different every time.

After the Parents Council meeting, we attended the Ethnic Arts Festival that took place in the North Gym of Regents Center and was hosted by Lisa Scott, Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Student Success.  Students from over 20 countries demonstrated arts, food, and history from their cultures.  It was fun watching students from across the world dance to the tunes of Bollywood.  My wife, Holli, joined the dance while I ate my way across the globe from one booth to another.  

After that, we visited the Decorah Visitors Information Center before heading home. We collected pamphlets on more things to do on our future visits. Top of our list are trout fishing, bike and hike trails, and staying at a local bed and breakfast. If we wonder whether our students are having fun when not attending classes and studying for tests, wonder no more.  Experience it yourselves and invite them along.  A list of Spring 2019 on-campus events is attached.  Check out  Or, post ideas or questions in the Luther Parents Network Facebook page.  

We (students and parents) picked Luther because we believe this is where our students will grow, learn, excel, and have fun in a safe, diverse, nurturing, and supportive community.  We also know that this takes a lot of care, heart, commitment, and hard work from Luther management, staff, and faculty, as well as the Decorah community. More importantly, this takes a lot of resources. We, as parents, can also make a difference!

Parents and families support their Luther students in many ways (moving in, moving out, tuition, room, board, study abroad, care packages, quick check-in texts, etc.) and we know that higher education is a big investment. When our students joined the Luther family, we became a Norse, too!  Over the years, countless families have supported Luther students with a donation to the Luther Fund and we encourage you to invest in the future of Luther College, for our students and for all future students.  Visit to make your gift online or return the enclosed response card with your donation.  Thank you and GO NORSE!

Holli and Alfred Chan

P.S. – Parents Council is a group of about 40 parents, representing each of the four class years, who meet twice a year to receive updates on college news, events, and planning to provide the college with feedback.

P.P.S. Please know, lists for each class letter are generated by the number of credit hours a student has earned, not by senior, junior, etc. status. If you would like to receive a different class letter, please contact Annette Laitinen at 800-225-8664 or laita[email protected].

First Year Class Parents Council Members:

Alfred and Holli Chan
Marion, IA
[email protected]

John and Sue Bieno    
Oregon, WI
[email protected]

Dale and Karen Homolka
Jacksonville, IL
[email protected]

Pat ‘92 and Karen (Titus) Trewin ’92
Decorah, IA
[email protected]


Spring 2019

April 19–22        Easter Vacation
May 20–23          Final Exams
May 26                Commencement

Fall 2020

Sept. 4                Fall Semester Begins
Sep. 20-22          Family Weekend
Oct. 4-6
Oct. 19-23
          Fall Break
Nov. 27-Dec. 1  Thanksgiving Break
Dec. 5–8             Christmas at Luther Performances
Dec. 16-19          Final Exams