Junior Letter

Dear Junior Parents and Guardians,

It’s been a hard day’s night and a long hard winter. Our “spring” Parents Council meeting occurred on Saturday, March 2 and we would like to share with you some of what we learned.

Jim Jermier, Vice President for Development, spoke on the presidential search process. President Carlson plans to retire at the end of this academic year, and we remain grateful for the leadership she has provided during her tenure. The transition from Paula Carlson to Dr. Jenifer K. Ward will be July 1. We are sure that this leadership transition will occur smoothly.

Lisa Scott, Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Student Success, informed us that the Diversity Center is now the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success and that the former Diversity Council is now the Council on Equity and Inclusion (CIE).  A Student Success Committee has been formed whose strategic goal is to build a robust engagement and persistence infrastructure.

Derek Hartl, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management, shared the Luther College enrollment report indicating that there continues to be strong enrollment from Minnesota and Wisconsin, and growth in Colorado.  Illinois, Iowa, and other states are lagging, relatively speaking. He pointed out that, in general (not just at Luther), about 60% of students go to college within 100 miles from home. That said, there is discussion ongoing about ways to increase our visibility locally as well as regionally, nationally, and internationally. Music auditions continue to be a strong point and event attendance such as February Scholar Days have drawn considerable interest (without weather complications!). Other ways to increase campus visits are also under discussion.

Jim Jermier also provided a development update and indicated that in the area of fundraising, our endowment is up 53% over last year and the total outright fundraising is up 43% over last year and a similar amount over the 5-year average. You probably know that, beginning in June 2016 and through May 2020, we have been involved in a funding initiative – Inspired. Empowered. Engaged., whose goal is $75 million to support scholarships, student success, renovations to Main and Athletics, and the Rochester Hub, among others. We support our Luther students in many ways and when our students became Norse we did too. Higher education is a big investment and Luther is a great and unique place. Over the years countless families have supported Luther and its students by donating to the Luther Fund and we encourage you to join us in investing in Luther College for your student and all future students.

Other news from the meeting includes an reaccreditation visit which includes campus forums, sessions with the President and Cabinet, a session with the Board of Regents, and multiple sessions with focus groups. This is a fairly comprehensive assessment as we evaluate the themes and areas that are critical for our success.

In the area of Student Life, a new counselor has been hired and currently, the counseling center does not have a wait time. In addition, there is online therapy assistance, the creation of a health education and promotion coordinator position, and there are two residential “mind spas” for relaxation resources, a massage chair, and zen den.

Brand strategy work is ongoing and based on the promise that Luther College is where you learn actively, live purposefully, and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. The pillars of our brand are the place where you can be active and involved, an inviting and encouraging community, a fantastic education, and a promise to make an impact personally, in the community and society at large. Our ‘personality’ is vibrant, personal, open, and uplifting. Luther College is a gem and we need to get the brand out.  This type of market and brand research, financial awareness and support from all of us will continue to help Luther grow and thrive in a challenging collegiate environment. We encourage you visit luther.edu/strategic-plan to learn more about this effort and givenow.luther.edu to support the Luther Fund.

We think spring is finally upon us and wish you the best of the season. Please contact us with any questions or concerns and don’t forget about the Luther College Womans Club and their treat delivery to your student for any occasion. They can accommodate dietary needs and it might be just the picker-upper your student needs. All proceeds go to student scholarships. luther.edu/parents/treats-for-students.

Lastly, don’t forget Decorah as a destination in its own right. As Midwest Living Magazine noted in its feature article, it’s the “best little mountain town without mountains you’ve never heard of.” The Trout Run Trail, eagles (and the cam), trout fishing, the world famous Seed Savers Exchange, some great restaurants, and so many other things all on the Paleozoic plateau in the Driftless. Wonderful area.  As one of the other parents put it, “it lifts heavy for its size.” Enjoy it and check out the farmers market in season. www.visitdecorah.com

John and Vickie Sharp

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 [email protected]

Junior Class Parents Council Members:

William J. “John” and Vickie Sharp
Iowa City, IA.
(319) 351-1653
[email protected]

Michael and Dina Barron
Munster, IN
(219) 237-4236
[email protected]

David and Colleen Bolthouse
Palatine, IL
(847) 312-1345
[email protected]

Larry ꞌ87 and Connie (Foxworthy) Logeman ꞌ88
St. Cloud, MN
(320)-253-2399
[email protected]

Todd Saner ꞌ90 and Jennifer Munn Saner ꞌ89
Onalaska, WI
(608) 781-8033
[email protected]

DATES TO REMEMBER

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              Homecoming
Oct. 19-23          Fall Break
Nov. 27-Dec. 1  Thanksgiving Break
Dec. 5–8             Christmas at Luther Performances
Dec. 16-19          Final Exams