Sophomore Letter

Fall 2016

Dear Parents of Luther College Sophomore Students,

We bring you greetings and news following the meeting of your Luther College Parents Council, which took place during Family Weekend.

President Paula Carlson shared updates on the Luther College 2016-2018 Priorities: 

1.     Offer a more fully integrated learning experience across a student’s four years at Luther.  The college is exploring expanding the Paideia Program by adding an integrated learning experience in the sophomore year, along with its first-year and senior-year requirements. Two new majors, neuroscience and data science, have been approved and are now offered at Luther.

2.     Develop a comprehensive plan for achieving and maintaining maximum fiscal strength. Luther must develop strategies for ensuring stable revenue while preserving the academic profile of entering students and ensuring their chances for success are maximized.

3.     Foster the well-being of those who study, live, and work at Luther. As part of this priority, Luther is planning a yearlong celebration to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will join us to kick off the celebration in February 2017, and it will culminate with the 2017 Christmas at Luther program. Plans for the renovation of Main continue. Opus has been selected as Luther’s partner due to the sense of welcome and energy in the firm’s drawings and for envisioning a place that will compel people to come. This will foster interactive conversations that are so crucial for learning.  

4.     Finalize a comprehensive strategic plan by 2018.

Jim Jermier, vice president for development, introduced new team members Andrew Peter ’14 and Nate Ersig ’98. Jim shared recent highlights from the Development and Alumni Office. Luther had its 3rd highest giving year last school year, which included the very successful first-everGiving Day. Next year’s Giving Day will again be held in March. There was a 2 percent increase in alumni participation in giving this past year. An anonymous $1M+ gift will be used to renovate and resurface the outdoor tennis courts. A $1.5M gift from Dennis ’64 and Suzanne Birkestrand has established the Birkestrand Chair in Economics and Management. Finishing touches on the renovation of the softball and baseball stadiums are being completed; seats from the Metrodome in Minneapolis are being used. Jim also reported that planning for Homecoming was well underway, with more than 60 activities and 17 class reunion events scheduled. 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.

As your representatives on the Parents Council, we encourage you to join us as we give our children "roots and wings."  Your participation in Luther’s Annual Fund is a vote of confidence in Luther and a further investment in your student's education. The college is grateful to the many parents who have made gifts in the past. A high percentage of parent participation helps us to attract foundation and corporate donors. A gift of any size will boost our percentage of parent participation. Gifts from Luther parents (current and past) totaled nearly $2.8M last fiscal year. The Annual Fund provides support through scholarships, building improvements, and expanded faculty and student programs.

The Parents Council represents all parents, and we are your voices at Luther. Good communication between parents and the college helps to make Luther a better place for our students. Please feel free to contact any of us with questions or concerns. The latest information and news can also be found at, and the main parents page, 

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

We’ll write again in the spring,

Scott and Mary Peters   [email protected]                                                                           

David Finger and Ann Hayden-Finger   [email protected]     

Jody and Kevin King  [email protected]

Daniel and Naomi Palmquist  [email protected]

Benjamin and Elizabeth Stewart  [email protected]                      

Peter and Paula Tiede  [email protected]


“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.