Sophomore Letter

Spring 2018

Dear Parents of Luther Sophomore Students,

Greetings from Luther! Earlier this month, we in the Parents’ Council were favored with a warm, windy day and interesting conversations regarding the College’s future. We’d like to share some of those discussions and thoughts with you.

First, in an environment with fewer potential students and well-publicized concerns about student debt, you will be glad to know that Luther’s team is actively engaged in bringing Luther’s unique and distinctive advantages to potential students and their parents. Market research, brand and name awareness, careful financial stewardship, and a broad base of support all combine to help Luther thrive in an environment that may challenge other small, liberal arts colleges.

Luther’s leaders also continue to focus on how to make an educational experience that already crosses academic boundaries with offerings like Paideia even more flexible, relevant, and rich. Newer majors like International Studies, Neuroscience, Data Science, and Global Health push traditional academic boundaries aside and give Luther students unique opportunities both in school and upon graduation. Luther is looking to build this foundation by reimagining how a liberal arts education helps a student thrive in today’s global society.

You will see more about these matters as President Carlson shares with you Luther’s Strategic Plan for 2018 - 2023. The Board of Regents approved the plan last month and it encompasses a strong, comprehensive, and inclusive vision. It is both unique and achievable. In the end, it builds upon Luther’s strengths and sets the college onto a distinctive path toward excellence, stewardship, and a broader community.

One example of how Luther will achieve these goals is the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement’s (CEPE) “Difficult Conversions” project. The CEPE has become a place where challenging, divisive discussions occur while individuals retain respect and comity. On a broader basis, Luther is one of just 70 institutions accepted globally into the “Sustained Dialogue” campus network, where such conversations can occur both on campus and internationally. In today’s environment, such skills are needed, whether in the political sphere, in the global marketplace of ideas, or in the workplace. Luther is at the forefront of ensuring our students are prepared.

Another example of how Luther will achieve its strategic goals is to align J-Term curricula with workplace experience. Programs like “Experiential Learning Hubs” in key cities will put students into professional workplaces earlier in their college career, giving them valuable insights into their chosen fields while simultaneously earning resume-worthy skills. The first such program will build upon our existing relationships with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Many Luther students today use J-Term to study abroad to learn in urban settings and to work side-by-side with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Programs such as these will further broaden and enrich each student’s life, both in college and after.

In sum, we saw a strong amount of solid thinking and careful introspection that has begun to deliver real results.  You can be proud of your college and you can feel comfortable that the value of a Luther degree will remain well-respected in tomorrow’s workplaces.

We also saw opportunities for you to support these goals. We pledged an amount to the Luther Fund in preparation for Luther’s Day of Giving, on March 8th, 2018. That money was used to match gifts from other parents, making your contributions go farther. Last year, the Day of Giving brought forth over $500,000 of contributions, and overall the average gift from parents was $269. 

As good as that is — and it is a solid result — we think this year has the potential to exceed it. We know it’s tough to consider a larger gift while paying for tuition, but we’re wondering if we could see an increase in the average gift by just $30. If we could bring the average gift from $269 up to $300, that would generate an additional $60,000. How could you help with $30?  Forego a few lattes? Buy a replacement car just one month later than you had originally planned? Wait for a movie to become available on Netflix or Hulu rather than in the theater?

If you can forgo or delay things such as this, we think a Luther education is worth it.

In the meantime, please know that we are honored to represent you at Luther College. Should you have any questions, please contact us. Should you have any concerns, definitely contact us. We are your connection to President Carlson and her administrative team, and they want to hear your views as well as ours. We want to pass your thoughts along.

May spring and summer be good to you, to your family, and to your community. We look forward to next fall’s meeting and to seeing the progress that is being made on your behalf.

Sincerely yours,

Colleen and David Bolthouse

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].

Sophomore Class Parents Council Members:

Michael and Dina Barron
Munster, IN
(219) 237-4236
[email protected]

David and Colleen Bolthouse
Palatine, IL
(847) 312-1345
[email protected]

Larry ꞌ87 and Connie (Foxworthy) Logeman ꞌ88
St. Cloud, MN
[email protected]

Todd Saner ꞌ90 and Jennifer Munn Saner ꞌ89
Onalaska, WI
(608) 781-8033
[email protected]

William J. “John” and Vickie Sharp
Iowa City, IA.
(319) 351-1653
[email protected]


Spring 2018
May 21-24 Final Exams
May 27 Commencement

Fall 2019
Aug. 29 Fall Semester Begins
Sep. 21-23 Family Weekend
Oct. 12-16 Fall Break
Oct. 26-28 Homecoming
Nov. 21-25 Thanksgiving Break
Nov.29 – Dec. 2 Christmas at Luther Performances
Dec. 10-13 Final Exams