Sophomore Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Parents of Luther Sophomore Students,

We hope many of you had the chance to visit your student(s) during Family Weekend on September 23-24. As two of your sophomore parent representatives, Michael and I enjoyed learning about many of Luther College’s initiatives at the meeting of the Parents Council.

President Paula Carlson updated us on Luther’s 2016-2018 Priorities:

  • Two new interdisciplinary majors—data science and neuroscience—are proving popular, and a third, global health, may be named soon.
  • The valley’s football field now has state-of-the-art turf in distinctive blue, and the 12 outdoor tennis courts have been renovated.
  • An initiative with grant support from the CIC-NetVUE will help sophomores better understand their academic strengths and interests.

Other meeting highlights include welcoming two new staff members this year. Lisa Scott is the interim dean for institutional equity and inclusion, and Aimee Viniard-Weideman is vice president for communications and marketing. Kristin Swanson—professor of religion, registrar, and assistant to the dean for advising—discussed learner-centered advising’s philosophy of helping students to become fully engaged in their academic experience. Center for Global Learning intern Sukeji Mikaya ’17 shared information from the Center and her own study abroad experience in China. Brenda Ranum, Career Center director, outlined the comprehensive services offered to Luther students to help them become self-sufficient and adaptable in planning their careers, to integrate classroom learning and experience in the work world, and to develop student networks with Luther alumni, parents, and friends to enhance career opportunities. Terry Sparkes, dean for institutional planning and mission, gave an overview of the college’s draft strategic plan, which identifies how Luther can embrace trends in 21st century liberal arts education and prepare students for life, work, and service in a global society.

Closing the meeting was Jim Jermier, vice president for development, who spoke of 18 new scholarships named during last fiscal year and of the growth of Luther's endowment from $56 million to $160 million in the past 17 years.  Gift commitments from 12,240 donors totaled more than $11.6 million last fiscal year. Developing a comprehensive plan for achieving and maintaining maximum fiscal strength is among Luther’s top institutional priorities for 2016-18, and planning is underway for a comprehensive campaign with scholarships, faculty and staff development, and athletics facilities at its core. 

We all strive to give our kids “roots and wings” by giving them opportunities like their experience at Luther College. Luther encourages them to discern their calling and develop their potential for life and career.

Like many small colleges, Luther faces the continuing challenges of addressing affordability, educational value, and changing demographics as schools compete for fewer 18-year-olds. Luther truly appreciates the generosity of the many parents, current and former, who have either funded endowments or donated so that Luther can offer more scholarships, improve school buildings and technology, and expand programs for faculty and students. We parents can help shore up Luther’s outstanding reputation by contributing to the Luther Fund. As more parents participate in giving to the Luther Fund—no matter the size of gift—Luther’s ability to attract matching contributions from foundation and corporate donors grows. Your participation, and that of all parents, is a further investment in your student’s education and a vote of confidence in Luther College. Please check out Luther’s website for news and the parents’ page for information on academics, career development, admissions, sports schedules, calendars, the Parents Council, newsletters, social media, and more.  

With warm regards,     

Michael and Dina Barron


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]



Nov. 22-26                   Thanksgiving vacation
Nov. 30-Dec. 3             Christmas at Luther
Dec. 11-14                   Final exams
Jan. 8-31                      January Term
Feb. 8
                          Spring semester begins
Mar. 24-Apr. 2             Spring/Easter vacation
May 21-24                   Final exams
May 27                        Commencement