Luther College students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

Luther College students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

DECORAH, Iowa— Luther College announces the induction of 36 seniors into the Luther chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa national academic honor society. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected undergraduate honors organization in the United States. The society has fostered and recognized excellence in the liberal arts and sciences since 1776, and the society’s distinctive emblem, a golden key, is widely recognized as a symbol of academic achievement.

2019 inductees include:

Karl Badger of Duluth, Minnesota

Kaitlyn Buls of Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Creger Jae of Prior Lake, Minnesota

Jacob Domogalla of Askov, Minnesota

Mason Donnohue of Eagan, Minnesota

Ananda Easley of Dubuque, Iowa

Kelli Emerson of Huxley, Iowa

Maya Evans of Ankeny, Iowa

Anneleise Frie of Fountain City, Wisconsin

Emily Fuller of Bettendorf, Iowa

Jonah Gehrt of Byron, Minnesota

Kyle Gilberg of Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Deanna Grelecki of Oakwood Hills, Illinois

Elyse Grothaus of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Benjamin Haerther of Atkins, Iowa

Genevieve Heimer-Lang of Iowa City, Iowa

Zane Kittleson of Westfield, Wisconsin

Lauren Knuckey of Galena, Illinois

Payton Knutson of Owatonna, Minnesota

Matthew Lagus of Lake Elmo, Minnesota

Quang Anh Lee of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Zachariah Martin of Boone, Iowa

Katrina Meyer of Mount Prospect, Illinois

James Miller of New Richmond, Wisconsin

Rebecca Mullenbach of Osage, Iowa

Claire Palmquist of Cloquet, Minnesota

Allison Peters of Mankato, Minnesota

Annika Rotto of Ames, Iowa

Lauren Sather of Spencer, Iowa

Gavin Schaeferle of Chanhassen, Minnesota

Cristina Schuetz of Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Jacob Schulz of Minnetonka, Minnesota

Mareda Smith of North Liberty, Iowa

Haley Steffen of North Liberty, Iowa

Sarah Webb of Shoreview, Minnesota

Marta Williams of Woodberry, Minnesota


Luther College is one of a select group of private liberal arts colleges in the United States with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Each year, Luther honors outstanding seniors with selection to Phi Beta Kappa at a ceremony held in the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther campus. Members are elected on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement and good character.

Spruiell White, Luther class of 1967, gave the address at this year’s induction ceremony. The title of his address was “Bait and Switch: The Unexpected Career Journey of an English Major.”

White’s visit helped to mark the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union at Luther College. White retired in 2011 from the MacArthur Foundation as a senior program officer in the U.S. Program after fifteen years of service. Prior to his foundation appointment, he served in a number of executive leadership positions at the Chicago Jobs Council, the Illinois Area United Negro College Fund and Urban League affiliates in San Francisco and Seattle. White said that what seemed to be instances of “bait and switch” ended up creating important opportunities in his career and personal life.

Luther College is home to more than 2,000 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 Alumna Amalia Vagts pastoral intern with Luther College student congregation

Luther College Alumna Amalia Vagts pastoral intern with Luther College student congregation

DECORAH, Iowa— A well-known woman of worship will be leading the Luther College student congregation on her path to pastoral work. Vicar Amalia Vagts, a 1995 Luther graduate, is a candidate for word and sacrament ministry in the Northeastern Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran church in America (ELCA.) Her candidacy is sponsored and supported by her home congregation, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, Iowa.

All candidates studying to become pastors in the ELCA complete a year of pastoral internship. Vagts’ internship is a collaboration between the Luther College student congregation with supervisor Pastor Anne Edison-Albright and two area congregations: Bethany Lutheran Church in Elkader, Iowa and Emanuel Lutheran Church in Strawberry Point, Iowa with supervisor Pastor Susan Friedrich. “It’s been a few decades since we’ve had a pastoral intern at Luther,” said Pastor Edison-Albright, “Vicar Amalia’s time with us will be renewal of an important aspect of ministry at the college.”

At Luther, Vagts will plan, preach and lead worship as well as intentionally connect with students who are looking for ways to add spiritual practices into their daily lives. “Vicar Amalia brings creativity, curiosity and outstanding communication and leadership skills to every team she’s on,” said Pastor Edison-Albright. “I’m excited to get to continue to work with her in this new way, and to accompany her in everything she’s going to learn and experience about ministry on internship. She brings so much to the campus context and the parishes she’ll be serving this year.”

Vagts graduated from Luther College with degrees in religion and English. She then spent a decade working for reproductive and sexual health as a community organizer, lobbyist and campaign field manager for Planned Parenthood. From 2006 – 2017, Vagts served as executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, working in support of LGBTQ ministry leadership in the Lutheran church.

Pastors Edison-Albright and Friedrich expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with a pastoral intern who is openly LGBTQ. “It’s increasingly possible for diverse leaders to answer the call to serve in ministry leadership, and that’s a real blessing for the church,” said Pastor Edison-Albright. “As a member of the LGBTQ community, Vicar Amalia will bring valued new diversity to our ministry teams.”

When describing herself Vagts said, “I love to listen, work, and figure out how to invite people into their true selves. I believe God is alive in the world and seek to live my live in such a way that shows this is true.”

After Vagts’ internship year, she will return to Wartburg Theological Seminary School for a final year of study before beginning the process of ordination and seeking a first call as a pastor.

Luther College is home to more than 2,000 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


Slide into Summer Family Fun Night

Sponsored by DECORAH BANK & TRUST in cooperation with Decorah Parks and Recreation

On TUESDAY, JUNE 18, slide into summer at the Decorah Municipal Pool! This free, family fun night will be from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, and will include free pool admission, a bouncy house, face painting, and other fun activities. Popcorn will be given away and pizza and other refreshments will be available for purchase.


Waukon Harley-Davidson Family Fun Picnic

As part of the Waukon Harley-Davidson family picnic day on June 29, 2019, Stilettos on Steel (Upper Iowa Chapter), a national, all-female motorcycle riding group, is hosting a benefit luncheon for Thunder Rode. Thunder Rode is a therapeutic horsemanship program for individuals with special needs. Lunch is from 11 am – 2 pm and is a free-will donation with food provided by Waukon Harley-Davidson located at 208 Hwy 9 SW, Waukon, IA.

Thunder Rode serves residents from Allamakee, Howard and Winneshiek Counties, IA and Fillmore County, MN. The current service offerings are Sports Therapy, Iowa Thunder Youth Empowerment and Tri-state Thunder Vets – service for Veterans. Proceeds from the benefit enable Thunder Rode to assist all who can benefit from the program, whether or not they can afford services.

For any questions, please contact Waukon Harley-Davidson at 563-568-3471.

Northern Ireland & Ireland fall 2019

Join us for an exciting fall 12 day trip to Northern Ireland and Ireland, October 8 – 19.  There are currently 21 signed up and we can take another two or three.  This trip is sponsored by the Luther College Alumni Office and is hosted by Paul Gardner and Rebecca Wiese.  Destinations include Dublin, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Galway.  Prior to departure, Paul will guide participants with suggested readings, web sites and films.  For more information including a brochure and application, contact Paul at <> or Sherry Alcock Luther College Alumni Office at <>.  All are welcome.  Deadline is the end of June.

Online Registration for Decorah Park-Rec. Summer Activities Extended thru June 2

Online registration for Decorah Park-Rec. summer recreation activities and swim lessons has been extended to midnight on Sunday, June 2.  This summer features a number of new activities and events including Free Yoga in the Park, Golf Camp, Drama Show Camp, and Pickleball Clinics. A complete list of all youth baseball and softball leagues, summer activities, and swimming lessons is available in the Park-Rec. Summer Activities Brochure and also on their online registration page.

Decorah Municipal Pool Opens May 26

Daily admission is $5 for ages 4 thru 64; $4 for 65 & up; 3 yrs and under are free.  Save money and time by purchasing a season pass or punch pass online and pick it up at the Park-Rec. Office by May 24, or pick it up at the pool starting May 26.  Season pass prices go up $5 after June 1.  Credit and debit cards are only accepted online.  For more information on passes, daily admission prices, pool schedule, and swim classes,  go to

Wilson receives Rosholt Distinction in Accompanying Award

DECORAH, Iowa–Luther College junior Anne Wilson of Zumbrota, Minnesota, is the 2019 recipient of the $1250 Lucille Stansberry Rosholt Award for Distinction in Accompanying and Collaborative Keyboard Performance.

Wilson, daughter of Cindy and Dan Wilson of Zumbrota, graduated from Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School in 2016. She plans to graduate from Luther in 2020 with majors in religion and music. She is the student of Xiao Hu, Luther associate professor of music, and Nicholas Shaneyfelt, Luther assistant professor of music.

The 2019 competition included a panel of three adjudicators: Heather Armstrong, Luther associate professor of music; Evan Mitchell ’14, Luther alumni guest lecturer in music; and Korey Barrett, University of Northern Iowa associate professor of vocal coaching and collaborative piano.

The Rosholt Award was established for the purpose of recognizing and encouraging a high level of achievement in the collaborative arts.  Two finalists for the award compete in a single recital featuring instrumental and vocal music that demonstrates their collaborative skills for the scholarship award.

Luther is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the world with five choirs, three bands, three orchestras, two jazz bands and nearly 800 student musicians. Luther students participate in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. More than 275 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance.

Luther College 2019-20 Center Stage Series subscriptions available

The Luther College 2019-20 Center Stage Series will present 10 unforgettable acts as well as two school productions: a variety of comedic, musical and thought provoking acts, including artists from across the world and close to home.

“With performers coming from as close as Des Moines, and as far as Zimbabwe, the 2019-20 season continues the Center Stage Series’ tradition of supporting Luther’s commitment to embracing diversity and creating a welcoming environment to people of all backgrounds and cultures,” said Paul Atkins, director of campus programming. “We look forward to another season of engaging our broader local community in this aspect of Luther’s mission.”

Tickets for Center Stage Series events may be purchased as a subscription package through Friday, Aug. 30. Subscribers can build an individualized entertainment season by choosing tickets to a broad range of exceptional performances.

Anyone can create their own personalized package by becoming a subscriber and selecting five or more different events. Subscribers receive 10 percent off 5-6 events, 15 percent off 7-8 events and 20 percent off 9-10 events.

Other subscription benefits include incurring no ticket fees—saving subscribers $2 per ticket—priority seating, guaranteed seating even for sold-out performances, ticket insurance so tickets can be easily replaced, and an invitation to a subscribers-only celebratory dinner for the season-opening show on Saturday, September 14..

Season subscribers have first opportunity to renew each year. Current subscribers should respond by Friday, July 12, to retain or select new seats.

Subscriptions can be purchased through Luther College’s Ticket Office or online at Center Stage Series  patrons with special requirements and those who would like assistance ordering may contact the Ticket Office, (563) 387-1357 or

Brochures can be picked up on the Luther College campus, 700 College Dr., Decorah, Iowa, at the Ticket Office in the Center for Faith and Life or at the Welcome Desk in Dahl Centennial Union. Call (563) 387-1357 to have one mailed to a residence.

Ticket order and mailing information is in the brochure and online at

The Passing Zone “Saves the World”—Sept. 14

Renowned comedy juggling duo Jon Wee, Luther class of ’88, and Owen Morse of The Passing Zone wow audiences with their skills, combining dexterity, danger and hilarity. These five-time Guinness World Record holders and 18-time international Jugglers’ Association gold medalists attempt to save the world with their hilarious and unbelievable stunts.

Russian Renaissance—Sept. 28

Through electrifying performances in a variety of genres, audiences experience new heights of musicianship with Russian Renaissance, winners of the largest prize for chamber music in the world. From tango to folk to classical to jazz, Russian Renaissance redefines the possibilities of traditional Russian folk instruments as they captivate audiences worldwide.

Jayme Stone’s Folklife—Oct. 12

Defined by “Globe and Mail” as “the Yo-Yo Ma of the banjo,” Jayme Stone and his collection of versatile musicians cultivate a variety of folk music, including vibrant Sea Island spirituals, Creole calypsos and stomp-down Appalachian dance tunes. As they plant these sturdy seeds into modern soil, their inventive performances prove that folk songs are truly perennials for the people.

Theater Re: The Nature of Forgetting—Oct. 26

Theater Re will bring the powerful and compelling production “The Nature of Forgetting,” to campus as they tell the story of Tom, a middle-aged father in the early stages of dementia. With captivating live music and the intersection of art and science, this highly physical piece is a life-affirming journey into the human condition and a life well lived.

The Des Moines Symphony Orchestra—Nov. 8

The Des Moines Symphony Orchestra returns to the Luther College stage to pay homage to northeast Iowa’s rich cultural heritage. This performance will feature world-renowned Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker and will include iconic Piano Concerto in A Minor by Edvard Grieg, celebrated Norwegian composer, and the famously melodic Symphony No. 8 in G Major by Antonín Dvořák, a Czech composer influenced by time spent in Spillville, Iowa.

NobuntuNov. 22

Nobuntu, the female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe amazes audiences with dazzling voices and vibrant rhythms. With performances enhanced by minimal percussion and traditional instruments like the mbira, Nobuntu is internationally acclaimed for their immersive performances that celebrate Afro jazz, gospel and traditional Zimbabwean music.

Neil Berg’s 101 Years of Broadway—Feb. 14

Back by popular demand, five of Broadway’s finest stars will perform songs from the best, most beloved Broadway musicals. “101 Years of Broadway” recreates the greatest moments from the best musicals of the century. This performance features actual stars from hit shows such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Mama Mia” in a magical night to remember.

Catapult—March 7

Featured on “America’s Got Talent,” the shadow-illusion dance troupe, Catapult, uses teamwork and athleticism to transform human bodies into everything from dragons to flowers to helicopters to works of architecture and even to vast landscapes.In the process, these artists tell surprising, imaginative and powerful stories that transform their audiences and their incite imaginations.

Seeds—March 14

A dramatic reenactment of the seven-year legal battle between Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and the multinational biotech corporation Monsato Inc., “Seeds,” tackles the question of “Who Owns Life?” While debates about genetically modified organisms are multiplying everywhere, life-changing experiments are being conducted on our food. This documentary play leads us through a suspenseful labyrinth of legal conflicts, scientific debates and property clashes between farmers and the biotech industry over the implications of genetically modifying our food.

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet—April 17

The sons of jazz giant Dave Brubeck, Chris and Dan Brubeck have been making music together for decades. Sixty years after their father’s U.S. State Department goodwill tour to Europe during the Cold War, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet commemorates their musical legacy with performances that integrate funk, blues and world music played with uncompromising dedication to melody, rhythm, culture, technique and the spontaneous spirit of jazz.

School performances

This season of Center Stage Series also includes two school matinee performances, “Sugar Skull” and “ArcAttack!”

Friends of Center Stage 2019-20

The Friends of Center Stage initiative, which aims to continue nurturing the performing arts, keeps ticket prices affordable and helps to continue the tradition of bringing nationally and internationally acclaimed performances to Luther.

Supporters who make a donation of $1,500 will receive four complimentary show tickets, two free dinner series tickets, two free tickets to the invitation-only season-opener dinner and their name or business logo on all show programs, on the digital sign in the Center for Faith and Life lobby during Center Stage Series performances and on the Center Stage Series webpage.

Supporters who make a donation of $1,000 will receive two complimentary show tickets, two free tickets to the invitation-only season-opening dinner and their name or business logo printed in all show programs, displayed on the digital sign in the Center for Faith and Life lobby during the Center Stage performances and on the Center Stage Series webpage.

Supporters who donate $500 will receive two complimentary show tickets and their name or business logo printed in all show programs, displayed on the digital sign in the Center for Faith and Life lobby during the Center Stage performances and on the Center Stage Series webpage.

Supporters who donate $250 will receive their name or business logo printed in all show programs, displayed on the digital sign in the Center for Faith and Life lobby during the Center Stage performances and on the Center Stage Series webpage.

Donations are tax-deductible.

The 2019-20 Center Stage Series is generously sponsored by Gundersen Health System, West Music, Winneshiek Medical Center, and Decorah Bank and Trust. Center Stage Series would also like to thank their media supporters: Decorah Newspapers, KDEC 100.5 and KVIK. Direct questions about all performances to the Ticket Office in the Center for Faith and Life, (563) 387-1357 or, or see for subscription and ticket information.

DDTR 50k | 25k | 10k | 5k | 1mi. Registration Is Open

Registration is open for the 6th annual, June 1st, 2019 Driftless Discovery Trail Run that happens on the trails of Barnhart-Van Peenen, Palisades, Ice Cave Hill and Dunning Spring Parks.

The 5 courses include a 50k, 25k, 10k, 5k and a free kids 1 mi.

All runners must register at

Contact the Kelly or Scott Searcy if you are interested in volunteering for this event.


Proceeds benefit the Northeast Iowa Montessori School [NEIM], Decorah Park & Rec, and Decorah Human Powered Trails.

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