First-Year Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians of Luther First-year Students,

Dana and Mike Ottesen

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].

It’s hard to believe that Luther Family Weekend was already two months ago.  What was a somewhat rainy early fall weekend in beautiful Decorah has now given way to bare trees and the first snowfall blanketing Luther’s campus.  Before we know it, our kids will be studying hard for their first finals week as college students.  As we connect with our daughter, Jane, who is a nursing major and member of the Wind and Percussion Ensemble, neither she nor us can believe how fast the time seems to move.

My wife, Dana, and I are members of the Luther College Parents Council.  We were excited to join this group of parents who have children at Luther ranging from seniors to first-year students.  In attending our first meeting with the group during the Family Weekend, we had the opportunity to hear from a few members of the Luther College staff and leadership team about some of the outstanding work that is happening across the institution to ensure our students will continue to get the most out of their time in college.

We heard from Corey Landstrom, Vice President and Dean for Student Life, and Meg Hammes, Director of Counseling Service at Luther. Meg visited with us the increased need for counseling services at colleges across the nation and shared specifically how Luther is responding to the need.  We learned about the new “stepped care model” her office is implementing, which offers a wide-range of assistance from helping students immediately in the moment of crisis, to offering help through ongoing on-line support.  Dana and I were comforted by what we learned, knowing that Luther is actively looking for ways to help support our children as they navigate the stresses and emotions of college.

We also had an opportunity to hear from Luther College President, Jenifer K. Ward.   President Ward shared with us her compelling journey to becoming the new president of Luther College, including the spring snowstorm that resulted in her “on-campus interview” taking place in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  President Ward transparently shared with us the declining enrollment challenges all small liberal arts colleges face and she told the council that we may not “get out of the woods,” so we need to ensure that we can “thrive in the woods.”  She reinforced Luther’s strong alumni pipeline and also expressed interest in how Luther can better utilize current parents of students in the recruitment of new students.

Dana and I could not be happier with how we see Jane growing at Luther.  Every interaction we have with her since moving her in to Brandt Hall in late August, we hear about how she is growing as a student (including being challenged by her biology class), thriving as a musician, and expanding her group of friends.  We are quick to share Jane’s experience as a student and our comfort as parents with our friends and neighbors who have high school seniors who are still making decisions about where they will spend their next four years.  We hope you will be willing to do the same.

In closing, Dana and I are more than happy to hear from any parents of Luther students – let us know if you have questions or concerns that we can bring forward for the Parents Council to consider in upcoming meetings.  We’d also encourage you to join the “Luther College Parents” and the “Luther College Parents Network” Facebook groups and to follow @LutherCollege on Twitter and Instagram.  All are great sources of information and connections to Luther.

Dana and Mike Ottesen

 

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:

LaDonna Corn
Chandler, AZ
[email protected]
Mike and Dana Ottesen
Eagan, MN
[email protected] (Mike)
[email protected] (Dana)
Loren and Sarah Wiltgen
Decorah, IA
[email protected]  (Sarah)
Eric '91 and Kimberly (Latzke) Muller '93
Urbandale, IA
[email protected] (Eric and Kimberly)
Melissa (Bonikowske) Thomley ’93
Verona, WI
[email protected]

2019-20 DATES TO REMEMBER:

Nov. 27- Dec. 1         Thanksgiving vacation
Dec. 5-8                     Christmas at Luther
Dec. 16-19                 Final Exams
Jan. 6-29                   January Term
Feb. 5                       
Spring semester begins
March 21–29             Spring Vacation
April 10–13               Easter Vacation
May 18–21                Final Exams
May 24                     Commencement