First-Year Letter

Spring 2016

Dear Parents of Luther First-Year Students,

A lively group of parent representatives gathered on campus in early March for the spring meeting of Luther’s Parents Council. We serve as a bridge between parents and the college, hearing updates from college administrators and sharing with them the unique perspectives of parents. We’re writing to share just a few noteworthy highlights of our meeting.

Three for the books (two of them, literally)

Luther’s distinctive Paideia program is attracting national attention. Especially because of Paideia’s role in anchoring integration across the curriculum, Luther will be featured in a book on integrative learning by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). One of only 13 institutions (out of 1,300 AAC&U member schools) to be profiled in the book, Luther is in select and remarkable company. Professors Storm Bailey (professor of philosophy) and Rebecca (Ostermeyer) Sullivan ’84 (director of the Paideia program) are coordinating Luther’s contributions to the book project.

In preparation for another book project, the American Council of Education is studying Luther College in an analysis of how institutions succeed in maintaining long-term financial strength. Luther was first identified as an exemplar by the Council through data analytics. In the next phase of the study, a team from ACE comes to campus this spring for interviews and further research.

And one for the Luther College record books. Luther’s recently calculated comprehensive fundraising totals for the past year add up to make 2014-15 the second-best year for fundraising in Luther history. In what has been for many a challenging economic climate, donors to Luther contributed $14.84 million. This is testimony to the distinctive value many of us have come to know in a Luther College education.

Leading with Priorities

President Carlson and the Board of Regents have announced four priorities to guide the college through the next years:

1)     Offer students a more fully integrated learning experience across their four years.

2)     Develop a comprehensive plan for achieving and maintaining maximum fiscal strength.

3)     Foster the well-being of all members of the campus community.

4)     Finalize a comprehensive strategic plan by 2018.

Clearly, Luther is gaining national recognition for its success in these areas, and President Carlson and the board are now laying the foundation for the fourth priority, a comprehensive strategic plan. 

There are exciting things happening in the meantime. Among them, watch for announcements about Luther’s 2017 commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (including campus visits by Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Elizabeth Eaton and New York Times best-selling author Pr. Nadia Bolz-Weber). And if you’re looking for progress and hope after the hottest year in recorded history, keep your eyes on the innovative and joyful work being done on Luther’s Climate Action Plan:

We welcome input and conversation. Feel free to be in touch with any of us on the Parents Council, and please consider a gift to Luther’s Annual Fund, which enhances learning opportunities for all students.

Dates to Remember


May 16-19                            Final exams                                         

May 22                                Commencement                                 

Aug. 31                                Fall semester begins                           

Sept. 16-18                          Family Weekend                                

Oct. 14-18                           Fall vacation

Nov. 23-27                          Thanksgiving vacation

Dec. 1-4                               Christmas at Luther College

Dec. 12-15                            Final exams



Benjamin and Elizabeth Stewart 
[email protected] 
(708) 784-9491

Jody and Kevin King
[email protected]
(847) 530-0874

David Finger and Ann Hayden-Finger
[email protected]
(608) 837-5294

Daniel and Naomi Palmquist
[email protected]
(217) 879-8339

Scott and Mary Peters
[email protected]
(507) 386-0186

Peter and Paula Tiede
[email protected]
(612) 978-3728  


“There are but two lasting bequests we can give our children.  One is roots, the other, wings.”

Roots and Wings—how often we think about these gifts as we guide and nurture our children through those first years. As parents, we have a special mission.

The roots are planted as we help them establish a firm foundation for life, a definition of who they are and where they came from, the security of family and a sense of community.

The wings emerge as we gradually let them go, allowing them the freedom to fly—to take what they have learned and soar to new heights, to reach beyond existing boundaries, to seek and find their place in this world.

You should have a sense of pride. Under your watchful eye, your child has grown into a young adult with dreams and unlimited potential for the future. And now, you are allowing those dreams to live, by encouraging the opportunity for new growth at Luther College, an institution with deep roots and caring people to assist students as they pursue their dreams and realize their potential.

Please give your child “roots and wings.” Support the Annual Fund through the Luther College Parents Association and enhance learning opportunities for all Luther students.