First-Year Letter

Spring 2018

Greetings fellow Luther first year parents!

Spring! It certainly felt a little like spring on the day of our recent Parent’s Council meeting. Like the season that has us looking forward to warmer weather, many parents like us are eagerly anticipating the growth and changes to come for our children at Luther College. Similar to thoughts of our children’s growth, the Parent Council meeting included a number of forward thinking topics, notably the Strategic Plan and Luther’s brand strategy.

New Strategic Plan
Luther’s Board of Regents voted in February to approve a new strategic plan: “Inspired. Empowered.  Engaged.” The new five-year plan is designed to make Luther more dynamic and innovative in its support of the 21st–century liberal arts student. Luther’s President, Paula Carlson, briefed us on the key aspects of the plan. Expect to hear more about the exciting changes ahead as we begin implementing the plan.

Luther Brand Strategy
After hearing about enrollment updates, Aimee Viniard-Weideman, vice president for communications and marketing, discussed plans to research the motivations and barriers to students applying to, and attending Luther College, which include everything from their awareness of Luther, how they compare Luther to other institutions, how their decision is influenced and by whom (Mom is always a big factor!), and how they ultimately decide to attend Luther. The research will lead to improvements in marketing and recruiting efforts.

Campus Safety and Security
With recent news at the top of parents’ minds, campus security was a valuable and important discussion.  Topics ranged from lighting improvements to notification systems. Please contact Corey Landstrom, vice president and dean for student life, with any suggestions or specific concerns. His team has tabletop scenario sessions designed to analyze and assess the campus preparedness in a variety of situations.  

Also, as many of you know, Thursday, March 8, was Luther's third annual Giving Day! Thousands tuned in to an all-day livestream from Marty's and joined the fun through social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more). Overall, a whopping $478,193 was raised for the Luther Fund - WOW! If you'd like to relive the fun (and see the 12-hour livestream), visit THANK YOU to all who donated and made this day such a success.

J-Term Experiences
Want to hear about student experiences over J-Term?  Visit for highlights from a variety of student experiences. 

Many exciting events are scheduled on campus and around the region for alumni, parents, and friends. Visit or visit to learn about upcoming Decorah events such as the Oneota Film Festival on April 21 and 22 or the Nordic Fest, July 26-28. 

In closing, please remember dedicated parents just like you have gone above and beyond to support current and future Luther students with a gift to the Luther Fund. Your donation demonstrates to your student (and all Luther students) that you believe in them and in the value of a Luther College education. A gift to the Luther Fund supports scholarships, financial aid, music tours, student groups, intramural sports, students/faculty research, well-kept residence halls, well-equipped classrooms, a beautiful campus, and so much more! We are grateful for a donation of any amount. Visit to give online or use the enclosed response card. Thank you!

Please reach out with any questions and have a great spring!

John and Rachel Vanderploeg

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 [email protected].

First Year Class Parents Council Members:

Steve Abernethy and Janeen Haller-Abernethy
Arvada, CO
jlhall [email protected]

Jeff and Heidi Elkins
Orion, IL
[email protected]

Doug and Bonnie Hanggi
Lake Elmo, MN
[email protected]

Jen (Carlson) '86 and John Lembezeder
Peosta, IA
[email protected]

Eric ’85 and Di (Reque) Storvick '85
Mankato, MN
[email protected]

John and Rachel Vanderploeg
Aurora, IL
[email protected]


Spring 2018
May 21-24 Final Exams
May 27 Commencement

Fall 2019
Aug. 29 Fall Semester Begins
Sep. 21-23 Family Weekend
Oct. 12-16 Fall Break
Oct. 26-28 Homecoming
Nov. 21-25 Thanksgiving Break
Nov.29 – Dec. 2 Christmas at Luther Performances
Dec. 10-13 Final Exams