Senior Letter

Spring 2018

Dear Parents of Luther Senior Students,

It’s with mixed emotions that we write this last letter in our final weeks as the Class of 2018 Luther College Parents Council representatives. As we were driving to the meeting from Dubuque, we took some time to reflect on the experiences we’ve had over these past four years on the Parents Council, as well as those of our daughter as she’s moved through her time at Luther.  We remembered our first time on the Luther campus when we were immediately moved by the beauty of the Decorah area and the Luther campus. From those first experiences to our most recent, we’ve genuinely appreciated the energy, enthusiasm, and caring shown by the staff and students as we watched this “home away from home” prepare our daughter for the next steps in her life.  In each step along the way, it has all felt like it was meant to be. 

We started our meeting with a warm welcome from Jim Jermier, vice president for development, and enjoyed an around-the-room introduction and welcoming comments from all of the parents present. 

Megan Torkelson, assistant director of annual giving, then shared some background on last year’s Giving Day (#luthergives17) success and she shared the goals and plans for #luthergives18. This wildly successful initiative has generated over $1 MILLION dollars of much needed financial support for the Luther experience between the 2017 and 2018 giving days. This is all due to the generosity of alumni, students, parents, family, and friends of Luther! Giving Day 2018 raised $478.193 for the Luther Fund. And, don’t worry if you missed it, you can still make contributions at Your donation will continue to develop strong Luther programs and student experiences and is critically important!

Megan also shared an update on student engagement in philanthropy efforts, and the benefits of these experiences for both the school and the experiences gained by the student participants as they learn how to plan and execute fundraising events.

President Carlson then joined us to discuss the next steps of the Luther College Strategic Plan as we move from the initial vision set forward in the 2016 – 2018 plan toward the execution of the 2018 – 2023 plan: “Inspired, Empowered, and Engaged.” Through this process, Luther leadership is sharpening its focus on the future students’ needs by delivering a comprehensive experience that develops whole persons prepared to thrive, serve, and lead in the ever-changing world they will face. A great deal of energy and focus is being put into this effort to secure a bright future for the school and its students.

Scot Schaeffer, vice president for enrollment management, then shared an overview of the latest enrollment status for the coming year.  While there is still some time for things to come together, the current forecasts look promising for 2018-2019 enrollment. We also discussed some of the new initiatives to help make the critically important contacts to both prospective students and their parents.

After a wonderful lunch where our students joined us for a quick visit and meal, we returned to discuss the ever-important topic of Emergency Preparedness. Given the many terrible experiences on college campuses across the country, this review by Corey Landstrom, vice president and dean for student life, was very well- received and energetically discussed. To summarize Corey’s message, Luther realizes that this topic is very diverse, complicated, and ever-changing, and they have mobilized the Luther staff and students, along with local law enforcement, to make sure there is an ongoing dialog regarding needs, expectations, and potential actions in every conceivable scenario from a simple campus event to a student safety issue, to a full crisis management.  Luther is taking the issue seriously and is working to protect our students and the college.

We then closed with a Brand Strategy Workshop discussion lead by Aimee Viniard-Weideman, vice president for communications and marketing. The discussion centered on where we see the genuine value of the Luther experience and how to communicate it to those who haven’t experienced it – yet.

So, much as we started our letter with thoughts of our Luther experience, our meeting ended with that topic and how it could unfold for future families. Luther has provided our daughter with challenges and opportunities for growth in her personal and professional self in a way that has helped her mature into a special and talented young lady with the skills, confidence, and talents that can only come from the unique environment that is at the heart of the school. This shows through in nearly every experience Luther, from the wonderfully-kept facilities, to the strong curriculum and integrated technologies, to the genuine and caring staff, to the fantastic experiences provided by the incredibly talented and gifted students in programs like athletics and music. We can only hope that your family’s experience has been as exceptional as ours. We encourage you to stay involved by watching the Luther website, reading the mailings, or attending magical events like Christmas at Luther. We’ve all learned these past four years that Decorah and Luther are always a great place to call “home.” We’re excited for the bright futures all of our students face as Luther grads and wish your family and your child the best of success, safety, and happiness!

Thank you,

Greg and Peggy Miller

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].

Senior Class Parents Council Members:

Michael '85 and Susanne Carney
Des Moines, IA
(515) 255-8073
[email protected]

Leofwin and JoBeth Clark
Centennial, CO
(303) 843-6436
[email protected]

Thomas '82 and Linda Floden
 Mason City, IA
(641) 424-3240
[email protected]

Greg and Peggy Miller
Dubuque, IA
(563) 583-9272
[email protected]


Spring 2018
May 21-24 Final Exams
May 27 Commencement