Junior Letter

Fall 2015

Greetings, Parents of Luther Junior Students,

Your Parents Council had its fall meeting during Family Weekend in September. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we were welcomed by Sue Drilling ’78, director of special programs, who introduced the new Class of 2019 parent representatives to us, and to their first meeting. Little do they know that the next four years of their lives will go quicker than the previous four! But, this new chapter will be rewarding as they watch their young adult children grow both educationally and spiritually to adulthood. Ann Sponberg Peterson, director of development-principal gifts, led us in prayer and made reference to a recent chapel talk with the theme of “have courage: do not be afraid.” What a great message for our children to live by, since they are halfway through their college years and will soon be making decisions on careers, additional schooling, and what kind on lives they want for themselves.

Our first presenter was President Paula Carlson, who also extended a warm Luther welcome. She was excited that Luther has welcomed 655 new students to campus! And there are many new facility members being welcomed, since many Luther faculty members retired this past spring after years of commitment to the college.

Dr. Carlson talked about the class of 2015 commencement ceremony last May and the Luther tradition of asking the “many generation” students to stand and be applauded. These students are the fourth and fifth generations to have followed in their family’s tradition to attend Luther. She said the applause for them is always overwhelming. This year Dr. Carlson asked an additional group of graduating students to stand. She asked all of the “first generation” students—those who are the first in their family to have gone to college, any college—to stand and be recognized. She said the applause for these students was incredible! What an affirmation of the strengths of this place, and of student successes. Dr. Carlson reported that 90 percent of Luther graduates are employed within 9 months of graduation and that roughly 92-95 percent of students responded to the post-graduation questionnaire.

President Carlson closed her segment with the homework assignment she had given us prior to our meeting, asking us to respond to the question,  “What are your hopes for your child’s experience at Luther?” We shared some of our responses with the large group, such as “to challenge her sense of curiosity,” “to become an engaged member of society, locally and globally,” and “to learn to take risks and learn to fail and move on.” It was a good exchange of thoughts and ideas. We challenge you all to ask yourselves the same question.

Scot Schaeffer, vice president for enrollment management, shared information on this year’s incoming class, with 56 more students than last year. These students come from 23 states, 30 countries, 52.8 percent are women, 47.2 percent are men, 21 were high school valedictorians, 58 followed siblings to Luther, and 78 are alumni children.

Maria Smith ’95, director of annual giving, gave us a quick look at how the Annual Fund is used. Nine thousand alumni, parents, and friends of Luther give to the Annual Fund each year, through personal solicitations, online giving, and various mailings, including these Roots and Wings letters. Gifts range from $5.00 to $75,000.00, adding up to $1.85 million each year. These gifts show that people have faith—and belief—in the college. Gifts to the Annual Fund are used as soon as they are received and put to use where they are needed most. Please consider a gift to the Annual Fund!

Kate Duffert ’11, assistant director of annual giving, and James Odegaard ’15, student engagement coordinator, work with student programs, including Luther’s Student Philanthropy Council, a group of volunteers who raise awareness of and appreciation for all the donor gifts that help fund students’ educational experiences.  We also heard from Brenda Ranum, Luther’s Career Center director, who presented information on how the Career Center guides students through their four years at Luther. Ask your students about activities they might be participating in from this department. 

Following the Parents Council meeting, the college hosted a Panel for Parents session. Panel presenters were Brenda Ranum; Nancy Barry, professor of English and assistant to the dean for advising; Lisa Rogers ’15, Center for Global Learning intern; and Kris Franzen, assistant dean for student life and director of residence life.  One important thing to note from the panel presentation about residence hall living is that students are required to live on campus all 4 years, with certain exceptions. Students are strongly advised to refrain from signing leases with potential landlords until after receiving approval. That said, Kris Franzen said studies have shown that both retention rates and student satisfaction are higher for students who live in residence halls.

Dates to Remember 

2015     Nov. 25-29                     Thanksgiving vacation           
             Dec. 3-6                         Christmas at Luther
             Dec. 14-17                     Final exams

2016     Jan. 4-27                       January Term
             Feb. 4                           Spring semester begins
             March 19-28                   Spring/Easter vacation
             May 16-19                     Final exams
             May 22                          Commencement

We’ll write again in the spring; don’t hesitate to contact us with questions,

Jim and Terry Morrill
(847) 331-4852

Robert ’86 and Peggy (Ganske) Carr ’85
(641) 777-6770

William and Roberta Curtis
(636) 519-0403

Lee ’84 and Linda (Rosholt) Hash ’85
(920) 202-3382

Maria (Spieker) ‘89 and Todd Mickelson
(507) 433-3933

Todd and Michelle Wildenauer
(612) 840-3569


“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.