Junior Letter

Spring 2015

Dear Parents of Luther Junior Students,

Can it really be that in just a couple of months our students will be finishing their third year at Luther?! The Parents Council met the first Saturday in March on an absolutely beautiful, early spring day. We had a full schedule with current updates from Luther’s leaders, which made for a very informative meeting.    

President Paula J. Carlson gave us a great overview of what has been happening at Luther. While crisscrossing the country, speaking to alumni, parents, and friends of the college, President Carlson reported that Luther is looking at some significant capital improvements, including a Main Building renovation as well as the Regents Center and athletics facilities. Architects have been chosen for both projects and their plans for all of these renovations and expansions incorporate the original campus landscape plan from 1911 made by renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen. Maintaining Jensen’s original vision helps to preserve Luther’s status as a “legacy campus” and continues to enhance the overall beauty of the campus, while also providing the best facilities for students to learn.

President Carlson also indicated that this is a big year for faculty and staff retirements, and Luther continues to attract high- quality applicants from across the country for these positions.  There were nearly 400 applications for an opening in the math department alone!

Lastly, and with great pride, President Carlson announced that Luther had been named one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars! Currently four Luther alumni, who earned the opportunity to do so, are studying or conducting research abroad through the Fulbright program. Out of 1,300 eligible institutions, Luther's four scholars put our school in the top 40. This accomplishment reflects greatly on the entire Luther team and is a great barometer of excellence.

Dan Marlow, assistant director of experiential learning in the Career Center, spoke on the paths taken by the 2014 graduates since they left Luther. Sixty-eight percent of last year’s graduates are employed, 17 percent are in graduate school, 6 percent are serving in service organizations, and another 6 percent are enrolled in continuing education or certification. I believe these are solid numbers and reflect well on the education our students are receiving. Mr. Marlow also spoke on the growth of J-term internships, indicating that this past January, 115 students participated in 65 internships, many of which were with Luther alumni. My employer hosted a Luther intern this J-Term, and it was an excellent experience for both the student and our company!  The networking of Luther grads with current students for internships or other employment opportunities is definitely a win-win for all.

Corey Landstrom, vice president and dean for student life, presented information about the Clifton StrengthsFinder pilot program and Super Strengths Saturday. The online program identifies a student’s top five talent themes. This early recognition of their strengths allows students to integrate strengths into their current studies and employment, and helps to identify future opportunities. The pilot program was rolled out to certain classes, teams, and groups on campus; in addition, all first-year students were invited to participate. However, all current students can participate as well, so encourage your student to take the online StrengthsFinder assessment and consider taking it yourself to identify your top five talent themes.

Scot Schaeffer, vice president for enrollment management, presented good news regarding enrollment numbers for fall of 2015. Scot shared that applications so far are up 12 percent, deposits 20 percent, and visits 23 percent. The goal of 3,800 applications appears realistic, and hopefully nearly 700 new students will be at Luther this fall. Congratulations to the admissions team for the new recruitment strategies that were implemented!

Keith Christensen, vice president for development, announced that the 2014 calendar year comprehensive fund-raising totals exceeded $10 million.  Additionally, the Annual Fund totals $1.35 million raised this fiscal year so far, and these unrestricted funds immediately and directly impact the students. Mr. Christensen also shared that Luther has 32,500 living alumni, 50 percent of whom are between the ages of 22-43, so he is optimistic that this large group becomes engaged as donors and in other ways.

In closing, we ask you to please consider making a gift to Luther to benefit all students. Whether unrestricted or to another fund or favorite designation, your participation is a vote of confidence in Luther and an additional investment in your student’s education. Also, you can stay connected via Luther’s website, www.luther.edu, and access links to academics, career development, sports schedules, and much more.

We hope your children are flourishing at Luther and you have peace of mind knowing they are in good hands, and at a great place to succeed. If at any time you have concerns, please reach out to any of us on the council or on Luther’s staff. 

2015 Dates to Remember

Apr. 3-6            Easter vacation
May 18-21         Final exams
May 24              Commencement
Sept. 2              Fall semester classes begin
Sept. 25-27       Family Weekend
Oct. 10-14         Fall break
Oct. 16-18         Homecoming
Dec. 3-6            Christmas at Luther

Soli Deo Gloria

Jill (Voss) Wachholz ’89
(630) 629-0844

Jon ’85 and Sandee (Neitzel) Joppa ’87
(763) 557-9752

Alan Hecht ’80 and Kristin Swanson ’80
(608) 781-7773

Linda (Larson) ’84 and Todd Kluge
(715) 386-1166

Brad and Laura Nielsen
(402) 593-7435

Phil and Kathy Pielage
(608) 845-3396


“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.