Senior Letter

Fall 2016

Dear Parents of Luther Senior Students,

Your Parents Council sends a warm hello. It is hard to believe we are already the parents of the senior class! A part of Luther’s mission statement expresses the college’s commitment to a way of learning that moves us beyond immediate interests and present knowledge into a larger world – an education that disciplines minds and develops whole persons equipped to understand and confront a changing society. By now we all share a sense of pride in our senior children as we have watched them be transformed by their Luther journey and become closer to that larger world. As Luther parents, we all have a connection to this exceptional institution in a beautiful corner of Iowa where river, woodland, and prairie meet.

We recently experienced a fun-filled Family Weekend of festivities at Luther. It was enjoyable taking in all the beauty of nature Decorah has to offer, and the campus was filled with families reuniting and sharing stories of the new beginnings of fall semester. Our fall Parents Council meeting also took place, and we engaged in a lively conversation, discussing how Luther has broadened the minds, bodies, and spirits of our own children. It was interesting to share our own personal stories about what led our children to Luther, and hear how Luther has served our children well. We shared our insights as parents and told President Paula Carlson of the strengths we see at Luther.

Dr. Carlson also shared with us Luther’s 2016-2018 priorities:

·       Offer students a more fully integrated learning experience across their four years at Luther.

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

·       Foster the well-being of those who study, live, and work at Luther.

·       Finalize a comprehensive strategic plan by 2018.

We learned of the yearlong celebration that will run February 2017-December 2017 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will join Luther to kick off the celebration!

Jim Jermier, vice president for development, shared news from the Development and Alumni Office. Luther had its 3rd highest giving year last school year, which included the very successful first-ever Luther Giving Day. Next year’s Luther Giving Day will again be held in March. A $1.5M gift from Dennis ’64 and Suzanne Birkestrand has established the Birkestrand Chair in Economics and Management. There was a 2 percent increase in alumni participation in giving this past year. Luther’s Alumni Council continues to work on the Alumni Ambassador Program, which, in conjunction with the Career Center, provides internship and networking opportunities for Luther students.

We concluded our meeting with the Family Weekend Panel for Parents session, which featured Nancy Barry, professor of English and assistant to the dean for advising; Brenda Ranum, director of the Career Center;  Kelsey Boyce ’06, interim assistant dean for Student Life; and Christopher Lovagnini ’16, Center for Global Learning intern. All four shared excellent information about the student experience at Luther, and we encourage you to “visit” these departments on Luther’s web pages.

Please consider making a gift to this place your child will continue to call “home” for years to come. All gifts to Luther make a difference in the lives of students and are put to work right away, where they are needed most. Thank you!

We will write again in the spring. Please contact any of us with questions and input. It’s not too early to think about graduation – Sunday, May 21! Check out Luther’s commencement web pages after spring semester begins: for details.

Dates to Remember

2016    Oct. 14-18                  Fall vacation

            Nov. 23-27                  Thanksgiving vacation

            Dec. 1-4                      Christmas at Luther

            Dec. 12-15                   Final exams

2017    Jan. 3-26                     January Term

            Feb. 1                         Spring semester begins

            Mar. 18-26                  Spring vacation

            Apr. 14-17                  Easter vacation

            May 15-18                   Final exams

            May 21                        Commencement

Soli Deo Gloria!

Maria (Spieker) ’89 and Todd Mickelson  [email protected]  

Robert ’86 and Peggy (Ganske) Carr ’85   [email protected]                                        

William and Roberta Curtis  [email protected]

Lee ’84 and Linda (Rosholt) Hash ’85  [email protected]                                                            

Jim and Terry Morrill    [email protected]              

Todd and Michelle Wildenauer    [email protected]                                            

                                            ROOTS AND WINGS

“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.