Qualifying Iowa students can attend Luther College tuition free under new Iowa Impact Award

DECORAH, Iowa – Luther College is making a personalized education more accessible through their new Iowa Impact Award. Incoming Iowa students with a GPA of at least 3.5 and a family Adjusted Gross Income of $70,000 or less will qualify for free tuition for all four years of their undergraduate experience as long as they live on campus and continue to meet the qualifications.

“At Luther, we have a commitment to developing the talents and skills of young people who go on to lead lives of impact. The Iowa Impact Award speaks to that mission and opens the doors to students who may have thought the kind of personalized education experience Luther offers was unattainable,” said President Jenifer K. Ward. “From travel-away experiences to graduate-level research projects, there are unlimited opportunities and we are thrilled to be able to offer this to as many Iowa students as possible.”

In the current year, the cost of tuition at Luther is $46,130. The Iowa Impact Award will cover the cost of tuition for all four years, as long as students qualify, including any price increases. State, federal and institutional funds would combine to cover more than $185,000 during a four-year undergraduate experience, meaning the total cost to attend Luther could be less than the state’s three major universities. Iowa Impact Award recipients would only have to pay for room and board and other smaller-scale fees like textbooks.

Maria Morales is an admissions counselor and 2020 graduate of Luther College. As someone who would have qualified for this award, she realizes how impactful it will be.

“This award would have relieved some of the financial burden and stress I experienced as an incoming first-generation student,” said Morales. “Taking out private loans wasn’t ideal, however, it was the only way I was able to continue being a student. The Iowa Impact Award would have provided me with comfort knowing my tuition piece would be taken care of all four years.”

As Morales prepares to travel across the state to connect with high school students, she is keeping in mind the conversations she had with her college peers, many of whom were just like her: driven to succeed, but in financial need.

“Many of my friends worked every summer to save up to pay for their semester, some only took out private loans, some spent significant time on outside scholarship opportunities and others had to make the decision to leave Luther. With this award, I’m certain I would have not had to worry so much about working to get by but rather spend time on my studies and with friends and family,” said Morales. “I am so excited to be able to offer this award to future students and I hope it encourages more families to look into a liberal arts education!”

No special scholarship application is needed. Students only have to apply to Luther and complete the FAFSA by March 1, 2022. Find complete details about the Iowa Impact Award and other Luther scholarships at


About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at

Luther College student develops framework for a new type of education system

DECORAH, Iowa- This summer, Luther College student Megan Priest worked on developing a new curriculum framework that would shift away from the traditional education system towards more progressive practices. 

“Our current education system was designed during the industrial revolution, developing individuals to work on assembly lines for factories. Inserting bells, having kids raise their hand and grouping subjects together, it was all done for the purpose of people knowing how to work in a factory. Our society has evolved so much, but our education system has failed to keep up,” explained Priest.

The idea that the education system has not transitioned to more progressive and appropriate practices motivated Priest, an elementary education major, to develop a Conceptual Competencies Curriculum. “I think we should be focusing more on building a fully functional whole person, with self regulatory skills and the ability to understand their identity and who they want to be,” said Priest. 

The research completed this summer involved three parts: literature review, conceptualizing the material and making connections with the materials with the help of faculty advisor Jodi Meyer-Mork. This work gave Priest a better understanding of what needs to be included in the curriculum for it to have a greater impact on students. Eventually, she landed on four pillars: developmentally appropriate practices, a relationship-building program, project and play-based learning, and social-emotional learning. 

“These four areas are important to nurturing who individuals are at a core level. These are all great strategies that normally aren’t provided until you go to college or start a career, but they should be provided at an earlier stage in life. Building their identity and being able to share their talents and who they are as a person is essential,” said Priest. 

“These pillars for learning encourage students to take initiative. They’re aware that they can investigate and don’t always need an adult to direct them and their education. It’s essential that students know how to learn on their own, be passionate, and develop theirinterests and it can also encompass what’s being taught in school,” said Meyer-Mork.

Learning outcomes 

Before starting this research project, Priest had different plans for her future. This opportunity to do research in something that she is passionate about, has given her a sense of vocation. 

“This research has encouraged me to go into curriculum development and instruction. I’ve decided that I’m going to go to grad school to continue doing research on this because I am so passionate about it.”

Moving forward, Priest will continue to work on developing this new curriculum framework in more detail. 

“Within the next couple of years at Luther, I decided that it’d be best if I narrowed my research down to one age range so I could get a really specific understanding of what a curriculum would consist of at early childhood or high school. Then at graduate school, I would focus on the other.”


About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at

Kadens Kloset

Kadens Kloset will be open on September 18th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Are you a foster parent, single-parent home, adopted family, or an active military family who has never been to Kadens Kloset Decorah? Perhaps September 18th is the day! Here you can find clothing, toys, personal items, shoes, bedding items, and much more for the children in your care/life. There is no cost to you, and it is our way of saying thank you for all that you do. The Kloset is located at 115 Washington St, Decorah, behind the Decorah Covenant Church in the warehouse building. If you need items before this day, please get in touch with Heidi Pechota at (563)202-4031 or email [email protected]

Luther College Library Special Fall Book Sale

Luther College’s Preus Library will hold a special Fall book sale Friday-Sunday, Sept. 17-26. Thousands of hardcover and paperback books will be available for purchase. Initial prices are $5 for hardcovers, $2 for paperbacks. Prices will decline daily beginning Tuesday.

Luther College hosts series of events to recognize 20 years since 9/11 

DECORAH, Iowa – Luther College will host a series of events to recognize 20 years since the attacks on 9/11. Organized by the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (CEPE), the central theme is “9/11 and the Ethics of Memory.” 

“It’s important to recognize that we are increasingly serving a student body that has little to no living memory of 9/11. For many college students, 9/11 represents an event for the history books. This raises important questions for the rest of us. How do we tell the stories of 9/11? Whose voices and experiences do we privilege and whose are often left out as we tell these stories?” said Todd Green, associate professor of religion. “We have an opportunity to help our students and our community think more carefully and critically on how our collective memory of a tragic event is pieced together, and the impact of this collective memory on younger generations.”

All events are open to the public with no charge for admission. 


“What Changed, and What Didn’t? The Impact of 9/11 on Muslims in the West”
7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall 

While it is commonplace to assert that 9/11 changed everything, in regards to perceptions of and policies toward Muslims, the picture is more complex. A conversation and Q&A session with Green, a scholar of Islamophobia, will explore the impact of 9/11 on Muslims in the U.S. and Europe, with attention to what did and did not change for Muslims as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Topics that will be addressed include the history of anti-Muslim prejudice, European and U.S. imperialism, the war on terror, restrictions on civil liberties, media representations and public commemorations of 9/11. 

Due to the anticipated attendance, face masks will be required. 


Faculty panel and open mic
5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, Bentdahl Commons

John Cord, professor of music, will open the event with a performance of “Taps.” Then, Luther faculty members Holly Moore, associate professor of philosophy and identity studies; Robert Shedinger, professor of religion; and Michael Engelhardt, professor of political science, will share their reflections on the events of 9/11 and how that day affected their lives and careers. Following their comments, audience members are invited to share their own recollections. 


Candlelight vigil
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, in front of the Center for Faith and Life

All are welcome to participate in a candlelight vigil to remember those who died as a result of the 9/11 attacks, both on that day and in the wars that ensued. The event is hosted by the CEPE and College Ministries.


“Torture and Terror at Guantánamo Bay: A Muslim Chaplain’s Firsthand Account of US Human Rights Abuses after 9/11”
7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, virtual event, link at

James Yee, one of the first imams in the U.S. military, will recount his experience serving as a chaplain to Muslim prisoners at Guantánamo Bay after 9/11 and will speak to his later imprisonment after being falsely accused of spying and aiding the Taliban/Al-Qaeda prisoners. He was held in solitary confinement at the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for 76 days before being released and given an honorary discharge. 

“James Yee is an important part of the story of 9/11. Yee observed firsthand how 9/11 generated a level of paranoia and prejudice that resulted in our nation abandoning its professed values of justice and tolerance. His experiences provide us with an opportunity to come to terms with the human rights abuses perpetrated by the U.S. government and to wrestle with how this knowledge affects how we remember 9/11 and its impact,” said Green.

Yee’s gripping account of his Guantanamo experience and struggle for justice is published in “For God And Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.” 


“Music in the Shape of a Pear: 9/11 Memorial Concert
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, Noble Recital Hall of the Jenson-Noble Hall of Music

This concert hosted by the Luther College Music Department will combine musical selections composed in response to 9/11 and personal recollections of community members. Included on the program are compositions by Adam Gwon, Ned Rorem, Bruce Springsteen and Karen Walwyn. 

This event marks the 29th concert in Luther’s “Music in the Shape of a Pear” annual concert series directed by Brooke Joyce, professor of music. Performances include collaborations between Luther faculty, staff and students; local musicians and guest recitalists.


About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at

Luther College team to tell the stories of Black intellectuals and their impact on today’s America

DECORAH, Iowa – Luther College Professors Novian Whitsitt and Guy Nave are conducting research alongside students to create an anthology detailing the history and significance of Black intellectuals.  

Watch the video.

Sam Schillinger and Novian Whitsitt

“We are really going to be pushing at the boundary of what constitutes Black intellectual thought,” said Whitsitt. “There might be grassroot activists, there might be musicians and artists, there might be political prisoners, all of those folks would be considered Black intellectuals as long as they are engaging with the social concerns of their day.”

Titled, “The Color of Change,” the collection of texts is named after a class co-taught by Whitsitt, professor of Africana studies and English, and Nave, professor of religion. The Color of Change class is centered on Black intellectual thought and social change in America. 

 “It would be a reader that we could actually use in our class, but it would also be an appealing resource for secondary level education in general,” said Whitsitt. “Beyond that, folks outside of academics who are curious about the history of Black intellectual thought will enjoy reading this.”

Luther College student Sam Schillinger ‘22 was inspired after he took a class taught by Whitsitt and dedicated his summer to conducting research to support this project.

“I’m researching Black intellectuals and putting together biographical sketches for each of them. These biographies will serve as background information for the primary works that will be the bulk of the anthology,” said Schillinger. “I knew this research would be really important because along with it being an educational resource, it is also a form of activism today.”

Schillinger’s passion for activism is something that is shared by Whitsett and Nave.

“It’s been Black American intellectuals that have constantly pushed, prodded and challenged America to live up to its promises. In that spirit, Black Lives Matter, because without those intellectuals, we would not be the society that we are today,” said Whitsitt. “We can all acknowledge that there is so much room for improvement, but we have made progress in large part because of the contributions of Black Americans who have pushed us to become a better country.” 

The anthology is still in progress, but it would not be as far as it is today without the help of Luther students like Schillinger and others who have served in academic administrative assistantships including Amelia Morrow, Anthony Westhusing, Kari Jacobson and Marissa Kruse.

“Speaking on behalf of Guy and myself, we are truly indebted to the work students do to progress this project,” said Whitsitt. “Sam has been a force in doing this work. He is reading biographies and various academic websites, trying to distill all of that information, and then coming up with 1000-1500 word biographies.”

Whitsitt hopes that Schillinger will continue to help with the project moving forward, giving him more opportunities to act on his passion for activism.

“These are real issues and racism is prevalent, even if we don’t see it firsthand. Institutionalized racism is very much alive today and so this text, this work as a form of activism, has a lot of meaning for me and really encourages me to put my whole heart into it,” said Schilllinger.

This project is part of Luther’s Summer Student/Faculty Collaborative Research program which provides opportunities for students to engage in collaborative research projects with Luther faculty members. It is a chance for students to develop their research skills; actively learn in Luther’s natural areas, precision labs or independently; and it provides an opportunity to dig deep and gain expertise in a specific facet of a larger field of study.


About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at

Walking and Biking School Bus Interest Form Now Available!

A Walking or Biking School Bus is a group of students who walk or bike to and/or from school with an adult volunteer.  Some meet every day, while others meet once or twice a week.  Walking and Biking School Buses are FREE and healthy ways for students to connect with peers and caring adults in their community.

Interested families and volunteers should fill out the online survey ( We are hoping to start walking and biking groups shortly after Labor Day so communication by September 1st or before is appreciated if possible. Contact Upper Explorerland’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator April Bril at [email protected] with questions.

New Minowa Players Children’s Show Auditions

Auditions for the New Minowa Players annual children’s show, “The Wind In The Willows,” will be held Thursday , August 26th beginning at 6:00 at New Minowa Players Theatre, 906 South Mill Street, Decorah. Auditions will last approximately one hour. No actor preparation is necessary, but please bring a list of conflicts you have between our first rehearsal on August 30th through our final performance on October 24th.

The children’s show is an opportunity for actors in kindergarten through eighth grade to shine. Everyone who auditions will be in the show. Everyone who wants lines to speak will have them.  Everyone who wants to sing a solo will be allowed to do so. There is no pressure to do either of those things. Some actors prefer to be in the chorus. Auditions help the director assign parts appropriately.

​Rehearsals will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 beginning Monday, August 30th. The week of performances, rehearsals will be longer, running 5:15-7:30, and will include a Wednesday rehearsal. Performance dates are October 21-24, with evening performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:00, and a Sunday matinee at 2:00.

​”The Wind in the Willows” is an original musical with script by Rick Scheffert and music and lyrics by Sheryl Scheffert. This show has many great parts for both girls and boys. Questions should be directed to Rick Scheffert, director at 563-379-5739 or [email protected].

Children and parents please wear masks to auditions for the safety of the children who can not yet be vaccinated.

Sponsors for The Wind In The Willows are Decorah Bank & Trust, Family Table Restaurant, Gallery of Tops, Iroc Web Design Services, Pizza Ranch, JoAn Stephenson and Steven Nelson, Rochkweiler Appliane & TV, Rick and Sheryl Scheffert and Singing Hammers Construction.

Luther College hosts Opening Convocation with lecture by Brit Bennett

Luther College hosts Opening Convocation with lecture by Brit Bennett
The author will speak about her New York Times bestseller “The Vanishing Half”

The Luther College and Decorah communities are invited to celebrate the start of a new academic year and welcome the class of 2025 at Opening Convocation at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, in the Center for Faith and Life. The event will be open to the public via livestream. To view the event, a link to a livestream will be posted at the day of the event.

Speaking via Zoom, Brit Bennett is this year’s convocation speaker. Bennett’s novel “The Vanishing Half” was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller and was selected as the 2021 Luther College Paideia summer read. The story is centered around African-American identical twin sisters, one of whom vanishes from the family as an adult to “pass” as white. The novel explores the difference in treatment they receive as they journey through life in a society that was built on racist policies and actions. Kathy Reed, Paideia program director, explains how the novel connects to this year’s enduring question: In a divided society, how do we live in community?

“The book offers vivid depictions of the barriers to community across socially constructed divides, and at the same time, it shows us ways that relationships and social practices and institutions can begin to transcend those divides,” said Reed. “It takes what we think of as a built-in community and family bond between twin sisters, and shows it getting blown apart by social constructions of race. The novel also addresses gender identity in fascinating ways.”

Kristen Underwood, director of campus programming, helped to organize the event and is excited to hear from Bennett during Opening Convocation.

“Brit Bennett is one of the most buzzed about new voices of literary fiction and has a reputation as a powerful speaker,” said Underwood. “It’s a huge honor to have her address our community.”

Bennett’s first novel “The Mothers” was also a New York Times bestseller, and her essays have been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review and Jezebel.


About Luther College

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at

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