Recent Luther College graduate Jaden Bilal to compete for U.S. in world powerlifting competition

Jaden Bilal lifting in a gym.

Jaden Bilal

DECORAH, IOWA– Recent Luther College graduate Jaden Bilal will compete in Tartu, Estonia, with some of the best young powerlifters in the world from July 23–27 for the 2024 World University Powerlifting Championships as part of Team USA. 

He competes through Powerlifting America, an organization that organizes powerlifting events for students across the country. 

“For nationals in Powerlifting America, the goal was to gather any and all lifters who compete at the university level and from there gather the best of those lifters to represent the U.S. at the world championships,” Bilal said. 

At the competition, participants get three chances in the three lifting categories: squat, bench press and deadlift. The highest weight recorded in each category counts toward the final score. 

Bilal has an impressive personal record for powerlifting. The highest bench press he’s achieved is 295 pounds, while the most he has squatted is 535 pounds.  The most he’s ever lifted is 620 pounds in deadlift form. 

“In my freshman year I realized I was pretty strong for my body weight. During the summer of my freshman year I went home to my home gym and noticed a man powerlifting, and I thought that was pretty cool,” Bilal said. “I wanted to try that, so I began researching and training.” 

Bilal, an exercise science major from Charlotte, North Carolina, has learned about anatomy and nutrition and applied that to his training. He keeps a strict training schedule, lifting every day and working on his strength and form. He eventually wants to attend graduate school for nutrition, but is taking a year off to focus on powerlifting. 

For the past two years, he’s trained and coached athletes through an Athletic Performance Internship at Luther’s Legends Fitness Center under the direction of Kendra Cooper, assistant performance coach and director of Legends. He works with athletics teams, including the Norse volleyball team. Exercise science majors complete the internship to gain experience for future careers. 

“Jaden has played a major role in our Athletic Performance Internship for the past two years. It has been fun to watch him grow as a coach and share his expertise with everyone,” Cooper said. “He is always the first to volunteer to help lead a team through a lift, and his energy is contagious to be around. I know that the athletes love his help in the weight room.” 

“Observing Jaden’s ability to lead and confidence grow over the last four years has been neat to watch. He works well with a wide variety of groups and helps people reach their full potential,” said Kris Franzen, director of residence life, who’s gotten to know Jaden during his time at Luther. 

During his first two years at Luther, he was a part of the track and field team, but during his junior year, he decided to focus on powerlifting and joined the Luther powerlifting club where he and other students would compete at meets. 

“I would love to see powerlifting grow at Luther,” Bilal said. “For anyone who wants to get into powerlifting, I’d say, just go for it,” Bilal said.

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Kay Bronshteyn named Director of Luther College’s Preus Library

Kay Bronshteyn in a black shirt posing for a portrait

Kay Bronshteyn will serve as the Director of Preus Library

DECORAH, IOWA–Kay Bronshteyn has joined Luther College as the director of Preus Library. A long-time library administrator with experience across a wide range of institutions, Bronshteyn comes to Decorah most recently from serving as the associate director for research and engagement at the world-renowned Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

A graduate of the University of Kansas, Bronshteyn earned her master’s in library science from the University of Illinois, and later earned a credential to teach English composition in Minnesota state colleges and universities.

Familiar to the upper Midwest, Bronshteyn worked for eight years in Anoka, Minn., at Anoka Technical College, as well as part-time appointments at St. Cloud State and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She also founded library services and served for a decade as the library director for Rasmussen College.

Along with her substantial career experience leading and supporting academic library operations, Bronshteyn brings a diverse set of skills to Luther, including a strong background in research services, collection management and information literacy instruction. She also has strong Russian language skills including coursework towards a master’s in Russian studies at the University of Minnesota.

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Luther College to commemorate Juneteenth with trip to African American Museum of Iowa June 19

DECORAH, IOWA—To commemorate Juneteenth, the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Support (CIES) at Luther College is hosting a day trip on Wednesday, June 19, to the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.

The trip will depart from the front of the Dahl Centennial Union at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19, and cost is $10 per person which includes transportation to Cedar Rapids and admission to the museum. The deadline to reserve a spot on the trip is Friday, June 14. For anyone interested, please RSVP online. For any questions, email

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Africans and African Americans. On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to notify the more than 250,000 remaining enslaved Africans they were now free. Although Juneteenth is the newest federal holiday gaining recognition in 2021, African Americans have celebrated the day for decades. 

In addition, Luther College will observe Juneteenth as an administrative and federal holiday. For those on-campus, Luther’s Dining Services will provide food and educational resources on this important holiday in the Union cafeteria. Learn about additional Juneteenth celebrations in Iowa through this online listing.

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Luther’s Gerdin Fieldhouse renovation set for this summer, wrestling addition proposed

DECORAH, IOWA—The Gerdin Fieldhouse for Athletics and Wellness renovation project is set to begin this summer at Luther College, and a new potential phase was revealed this week.

With approvals in place from the Board of Regents to begin the construction renovation, President Jenifer K. Ward and Athletic Director Renae Hartl provided an update to the college, and revealed the potential for a wrestling training space addition along with starting dates for the project.

“As we approached the Board of Regents for approval of the final plans, we took the opportunity to think bigger,” Ward said. “Shifting the main entry has inspired a new design, we were able to imagine a four-mat training space in place of the old south entrance circle. The board agreed that with the level of changes set for the old Regents Center, now is the time for Luther to propose a wrestling addition.”

In the original master planning from 2015, a three-mat training space near the aquatic center and the north gym was suggested. The new concept locates the four-mat space beside the Robert and Ann Naslund Sports and Recreation Center and adjacent to Carlson Stadium.

“This is a game-changer for one of Luther’s top programs,” Hartl said. “Not only will it be huge for wrestling, it is going to transform the circle drive into a new outdoor plaza area for all of our outdoor venues and events and an additional gathering space for campus.”

Fund-raising for the proposed wrestling addition is now underway.

“The design-build team is working on potential plans, and we are excited to invite our alumni and friends to bring this project to reality, especially those in the wrestling community,” Ward said.

Ward and Hartl also revealed the new architect renderings of the future main entrance. The opening three phases of work are set for mid-summer, with the reconstruction of the current north lobby into the primary entrance for the facility as the opening phase along with renovating the visiting locker rooms.

An artists rendering of the entrance to Luther's proposed new Gerdin Fieldhouse.

An artist’s rendering of the entrance to the Gerdin Fieldhouse for Athletics and Wellness.

“The renovation construction is set to begin in late July or early August, and we will be starting with the new North Lobby entrance,” Ward said. 

Along with a new concession stand and new bathroom facilities, the expanded lobby will salute the spirit of all 21 Luther varsity teams and will provide a new home for the current Hall of Fame.

“We’ve got great excitement about this project among all our teams, but also for the entire campus, Decorah and all of northeast Iowa,” Hartl said. “The new entrance will make coming to all events easier. We cannot wait to start this renovation.”

The second phase of work will renovate numerous team locker rooms and other athletic department support areas. This phase is expected to begin during the late fall of 2024.

Due to supply chain difficulties related to the new air conditioning for the main competition area, the conversion of the current gym into an arena configuration, including Birkestrand Family Court, will begin immediately at the conclusion of the 2024-25 basketball seasons.

“Knowing the arena will begin next spring, we look forward to the last competition seasons in the gym for volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, and wrestling,” Hartl said. “We will begin working this summer to plan special events and celebratory matches and games for this fall and winter.”

Leadership gifts made in 2023-24 have given the renovation campaign significant momentum heading into 2024-25, Vice President for Development Mary Duvall noted.

“As we surpass 60% of our newly-expanded fundraising goal and strive for full funding by the end of 2025, we invite additional investment from alumni and friends who wish to partner with Luther in this transformative facilities renovation,” Duvall said.

To learn more about how individuals can help Luther reach its goal, contact the Development Office at To see more details of the phases and to watch a video related to this announcement, the entrance rendering and the wrestling training facility concept drawings, go to the Gerdin Fieldhouse Renovation page at

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Luther College announces Spring 2024 Dean’s List

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College’s Spring 2024 Dean’s List includes 577 students; 61 first-years, 114 sophomores, 152 juniors and 250 seniors. To be named to the Dean’s List, a student must earn a semester grade point average of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale and must complete at least 12 credit hours with 10 hours of conventional grades (A, B, C, D). 

Jane Addams, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Durah Albadr, Sophomore, Basra, Iraq

Jake Althaus, Sophomore, Durango, Iowa

Getruda Amos, Senior, Mwanza, Tanzania 

Jeremy Andera, Junior, Cresco, Iowa 

Riley Anderson, Sophomore, Urbandale, Iowa

Micah Anderson, Sophomore, Elko New Market, Minn. 

Allie Anderson, Senior, New Ulm, Minn. 

Charlie Anderson, Senior, Woodbury, Minn. 

Karlton Anderson, Sophomore, Baxter, Minn. 

Eva Anderson, Senior, Ames, Iowa

Rose Anderson, Sophomore, Oregon, Wisc. 

Blake Anderson, Senior, Oregon, Wisc. 

Charlotte Appel, Senior, Lynnwood, Wash. 

Harrison Arnold, Junior, Marion, Iowa

Nora Baer, Senior, Lake City, Minn. 

Conor Baesemann, First-year, Pleasanton, Calif. 

Bella Bamlett, Junior, Fort Atkinson, Wisc. 

Anna Barbknecht, Senior, Eden Prairie, Minn. 

Cole Barrett, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Anna Bartsch, Sophomore, Nerstrand, Minn. 

Hannah Batterson, Junior, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Marina Beachy, Senior, Wellman, Iowa

Anna Beaverson, Senior, Maple Grove, Minn. 

Kaitlyn Bebensee, Senior, West Des Moines, Iowa

Nathan Behrens, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Jack Bell, Junior, Madison, Wisc. 

Sonja Bell, Sophomore, Hudson, Wisc. 

Nathan Benish, First-year, Plymouth, Minn. 

Fin Bennett, Junior, Lisle, Ill. 

Michael Benoit, Sophomore, Port Byron, Ill. 

Jersie Benson, Sophomore, Evansdale, Iowa

Thea Bentley, Sophomore, River Falls, Wisc. 

Josie Bergler, Junior, Utica, Minn. 

Sophie Bierlein, Senior, Jordan, Minn. 

Matthew Binsfeld, Senior, Elk River, Minn. 

Jens Bjorge, Senior, Amery, Wisc. 

Lydia Blomberg, Sophomore, Plymouth, Minn. 

Samuel Blomme, Junior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Matthew Boardman, Senior, Genoa, Wisc. 

Andrea Bock, Sophomore, Medford, Minn. 

Pat Bockman, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Jack Bode, First-year, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Janet Borchardt, Senior, Clarksville, Iowa

Rachel Borchardt, Sophomore, Clarksville, Iowa

Mary Brady, Senior, Eldora, Iowa

Natalie Brandenburg, First-year, Lake Mills, Iowa

Danika Brasic, Senior, Bangor, Wisc. 

Juan Bravo, Junior, Los Banos, Calif. 

Catherine Briddell, Sophomore, Mcfarland, Wisc. 

Patrick Brognano, Junior, Oregon, Wisc. 

Eleanor Brown, Sophomore, La Crosse, Wisc. 

Olivia Brown, Sophomore, Sauk Centre, Minn. 

Isabelle Brummer, Sophomore, Stillwater, Minn. 

Michelle Bui, Senior, Nam, Vietnam 

Tracy Bui, Junior, Ho Chi, Vietnam 

Peter Bumba, Junior, Frankfort, Ill. 

MaIowa Bumgardner, Junior, Urbandale, Iowa

Megan Bumpus, First-year, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Emilee Burcham-Scofield, Junior, Menomonie, Wisc. 

Michael Burns, Senior, Kensett, Iowa

Libby Bygd, Sophomore, Boyceville, Wisc. 

Jessica Campos Arzate, Junior, Decorah, Iowa

Leif Carey-Odden, Junior, Mount Vernon, Wash. 

Emmy Carlson, Senior, Kasson, Minn. 

Hailey Carlson, Sophomore, Treynor, Iowa

Javi Caro Carrasco, Junior, Santiago, Chile 

Abigail Carroll, Sophomore, Saint Michael, Minn. 

Alexandria Cassens, Junior, Byron, Ill. 

Gaby Castelan, Senior, Mason City, Iowa

Shayla Cauldwell, Senior, De Pere, Wisc. 

Sophia Chadima, Junior, Swisher, Iowa

L’Engle Charis-Carlson, Junior, Iowa City, Iowa

Jenna Charlson, Senior, Rogers, Minn. 

Lily Chen, Senior, Austin, Tex. 

Michelle Chin, Senior, Waterloo, Iowa

Signe Christiansen, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Kimberly Church, Senior, Sister Bay, Wisc. 

Anastasia Cicala, Junior, Chisinau, Moldova 

Francis Cichock, Senior, Rockford, Ill.

Kendall Clausen, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Sloan Clemens, Senior, Chatfield, Minn. 

William Coffey, Junior, Niagara, Wisc. 

Gwen Coleman, Senior, Waverly, Iowa

Carlicia Conceicao, First-year, Thalang, Thailand

Elena Conklin, Junior, Bainbridge Island, Wash. 

Lauren Conner-Dieter, Sophomore, Madison, Wisc. 

Aime Consolateur, First-year, Ngarama, Rwanda 

Hannah Coy, Sophomore, Mahtomedi, Minn. 

Hayley Crosland, Sophomore, Hanover, Minn. 

Emmelyn Cullen, Senior, Verona, Wisc. 

Zachary Cummer, Sophomore, Waverly, Iowa

Ava Cunningham, Sophomore, Albert Lea, Minn. 

Tollef Currell, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Meredith Dady, First-year, Rockford, Ill. 

Sabina Dahal, Senior, Lalitpur, Nepal 

Jessica Dahl, Senior, Maple Grove, Minn. 

Katie Dailey, Junior, Utica, Minn. 

Paige Daleiden, Sophomore, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Newelle Dalton, Senior, Urbana, Iowa

Bach Dang, Ho Chi Minh City, Senior

Erin Daniel, Senior, Ottawa, Ill. 

Bella Dassow, Sophomore, Woodbury, Minn. 

Anastasia Davidson, Senior, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Grace Davidson, Senior, Birmingham, Iowa

Kaidance Davidson, Sophomore, Byron, Minn. 

Eliana Davidson, First-year, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Jack Decker, Senior, Fairfax, Iowa

Katherine Denner, Sophomore, Marion, Iowa

Nathaniel Dennis, Sophomore, Wisc. nona, Minn. 

Jami Dietz, Senior, Plainfield, Ill. 

Gennaro Dimuro, First-year, Ciudad de Buenos, Argentina 

Jennifer Bakhita Do Rego Sabino, First-year, Victoria, Canada 

Elizabeth Doane, Senior, Fairfield, Iowa 

Abigail Doffing, Sophomore, Hastings, Minn. 

Ryan Dornfeld, Senior, Saint Michael, Minn. 

Maci Doty, Sophomore, Marengo, Iowa

Shae Downing, Junior, Sioux City, Iowa

Nicholas Drew, Senior, Saint Joseph, Minn. 

Zoe Drey, Sophomore, Clive, Iowa

Nolan Dungey, Senior, New Hampton, Iowa

Siobhan Dunn, Senior, Rock Island, Ill. 

Darbi Dunning, Sophomore, Le Sueur, Minn. 

Sergey Dutt, Junior, Plain City, Ohio

Gretchen Dwyer, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Abigail Dykstra, Senior, Chandler, Ariz. 

Nour El Kassem, Junior, Saida, Lebanon 

Will Elias, Sophomore, Saint Peter, Minn. 

Britta Elsbernd, Senior, Mason City, Iowa

Taylan Emre, Junior, Istanbul, Turkey

Emma Englehart, First-year, St. Charles, Ill. 

Olivia Engler, Senior, Atlantic, Iowa

Ethan Erickson, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Elizabeth Ess, Junior, WaconIowa, Minn. 

Kaeden Fellingham, Senior, Olathe, Kansas 

Alexa Fleming, First-year, Eden Prairie, Minn. 

Anna Floden, Junior, Mason City, Iowa

Johnny Fox, Sophomore, Des Moines, Iowa

Mac Kenzie Frame, Junior, Farmington, Minn. 

Henry Franken, Sophomore, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Matthew Franzen, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Logan Fritz, Junior, Johnston, Iowa

Jack Fritz, Junior, Johnston, Iowa

Megan Frutiger, Senior, Eagle Lake, Minn. 

Britt Fulton, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Mallory Fynaardt, Senior, West Des Moines, Iowa

Peyton Gallt, Senior, Ames, Iowa

Rafael Gamballi, Junior, São Paulo, Brazil 

Miggy Garcia, Senior, Glendale Heights, Ill. 

Ellie Gardner, Senior, Edina, Minn. 

Leah Gardner, Junior, Urbandale, Iowa

Fiona Garrity, Senior, Batavia, Ill

Aidan Garrity, Sophomore, Batavia, Ill. 

Navishta Gayadin, Senior, Bambous, Mauritius 

Betsy Gebhard, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Shan Ghimire, First-year, Kathmandu, Nepal

Anthi Giannnakopoulou, Sophomore, Freiburg, Germany 

Ben Gill, Senior, Castle Cove, Australia 

Benjamin Gillikin, Senior, Long Valley, N.J.

Griffin Glassel, Senior, Madison, Wisc. 

Gabe Goeddeke, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Ian Gonzales, Senior, Olathe, Kansas 

Lauren Gray, Senior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Delilah Gray, Senior, Des Moines, Iowa

Ellie Greseth, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Alex Griffeth, Senior, Henderson, Colo.

Jonathan Grigsby, First-year, Lakeville, Minn. 

Emily Groppoli, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Neil Grube, Junior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Lydia Gruenwald, Senior, Lombard, Ill. 

Owen Gruenwald, Senior, Ankeny, Iowa

Ethan Grunewald, Senior, Fairmont, Minn. 

Olivia Gustafson, Junior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Elizabeth Guy, Sophomore, Alpharetta, Ga. 

Makayla Haddorff, Senior, Eagan, Minn. 

Thomas Hadley, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Emily Hagen, Senior, Owatonna, Minn. 

Avery Hagstrom, Senior, Alexandria, Minn. 

Malaika Hale, Sophomore, Centennial, Colo. 

Maggie Haller, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Kjerstin Halverson, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Abby Hamborg, Senior, Bettendorf, Iowa

Kolby Hamman, Sophomore, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Rawan Hannoon, Senior, Gaza, Palestine 

Penelope Hansen, Sophomore, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Lily Hansen, First-year, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Lindsay Hanson, Sophomore, Morristown, Minn. 

Sharla Hanson, Junior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Bronwyn Harvey, Senior, Stillwater, Minn. 

Jonas Haugland, Junior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Jeremiah Haven, First-year, East Dubuque, Ill. 

Lilly Hayden, Junior, Fulton, Ill. 

Linnea Hedin, Junior, Hastings, Minn. 

Liz Heim, Junior, East Dubuque, Ill. 

Michel Heinrich, First-year, Hannover, Germany

Rachel Heinrich, Senior, Menomonie, Wisc. 

Will Heithoff, Senior, Winterset, Iowa

Alayna Helgemoe, Senior, Utica, Minn. 

Noelle Hendricks, Sophomore, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Liam Henry, First-year, Buckeye, Ariz. 

Gabriella Herbold, Sophomore, Urbandale, Iowa

Keely Hermanson, Junior, Decorah, Iowa

Stevie Herrera, Junior, Hancock, Iowa

Peter Heryla, Senior, Fridley, Minn. 

Chase Heying, Senior, Sartell, Minn. 

Maggie Hickman, Junior, Solon, Iowa

Benjamin Hilgers, Sophomore, Madison, Wisc. 

Samantha Himegarner, Senior, Lodi, Wisc. 

Ryan Hinderaker, Senior, Ames, Iowa

Breah Hippler, Sophomore, Clive, Iowa

Leigh Hjelmseth, Senior, Bellingham, Wash. 

Nancy Hoang Ngan Le, Senior, Hue City, Vietnam  

Sirianna Hokanson, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Ava Holland, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Anna Holm, Sophomore, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Ryan Holt, Senior, Brooklyn Park, Minn. 

Dylan Holven, Senior, Faribault, Minn. 

Allison Horswill, Sophomore, Iowa City, Iowa

Jake Horton, Sophomore, Robins, Iowa

Katelyn Hosking, Junior, Slinger, Wisc. 

Noah Howe, Senior, Minnetonka, Minn. 

Foster Hull, Junior, Dubuque, Iowa

Anna Hunke, Senior, Crystal, Minn. 

Aidan Hunter, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Ella Husemann, Junior, Fairfax, Iowa

Elise Ilsley, Junior, Springfield, Ill. 

Ashley Imdieke, Senior, Northfield, Minn. 

Lauren Ingram, Junior, Mantorville, Minn. 

Redempta Iratunganye, Senior, Musanze, Rwanda 

Mason Irving, Junior, Iowa City, Iowa

Mia Irving, Senior, Coralville, Iowa

Chelin Isaacson, Senior, Superior, Colo. 

Gabrielle Janssen, Senior, Emmetsburg, Iowa

Christelle Jean, First-year, Croix Des, Haiti

Christian Jensen, Senior, Madison, Wisc. 

Douglas Barthold Johansson, First-year, Vastra Gotaland, Sweden

Molly Johnson, Junior, Davenport, Iowa

Ethan Johnson, Junior, Brooklyn, Wisc. 

Hannah Johnson, Senior, North Liberty, Iowa

Kailey Jones, Senior, Avoca, Iowa

Rowan Jordahl, First-year, Hutchinson, Minn. 

Felipe Jorge Biscaro, Sophomore, São Paulo, Brazil 

Maddie Kaasa, Junior, Delaware, Ohio

Isaiah Kahl, Junior, Humboldt, Iowa

Avihe Kalipondoka, Senior, Opuwo, Namibia 

Morgan Kane, Junior, Lake City, Minn. 

Spike Karau, First-year, La Crosse, Wisc. 

Mansur Kasali, First-year, Ibadan, Nigeria 

Jack Kates, Senior, Dubuque, Iowa

Casey Kellett Whitwham, Junior, Navan, Ireland 

Piper Kellner, Senior, Lansing, Minn. 

Hannah Kerchner, Senior, Lenox, Iowa

Owen King, First-year, Dubuque, Iowa

Malina Kirtley, Senior, Divide, Colo. 

Anna Kjeldahl, Senior, Maple Grove, Minn. 

Sophie Klein, Sophomore, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Katy Klein, Senior, Elgin, Minn. 

Jenna Kleven, Senior, Albert Lea, Minn. 

Cirdan Klindworth, Senior, Roseville, Minn. 

Jacob Klingsten, Senior, Waterford, Wisc. 

Chase Kmosena, Senior, Wausau, Wisc. 

Ethan Kober, Senior, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Leah Koenig, Senior, Lakeville, Minn. 

Adam Koller, Senior, Worthington, Minn. 

Matthew Kozemski, Senior, Geneseo, Ill. 

Kevin Kretz, Senior, Fairfield, Iowa

Quinn Kruckman, Sophomore, Spillville, Iowa

Will Kuelbs, Junior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Audrey Kuhn, Junior, Madison, Wisc. 

Ethan Kunka, Junior, Great Falls, Mont. 

Hannah LaBonte, Junior, Lake City, Minn. 

Marshall Laidlaw, Senior, Red Wing, Minn. 

Kaelin Lamphere, Senior, Mantorville, Minn. 

Courtney Landgrebe, Senior, Rosemount, Minn. 

Jenna Langen, Junior, La Crescent, Minn. 

Nicole Larson, Senior, Lakeville, Minn. 

Lauryn Larson, Sophomore, Clive, Iowa

Asli Lawrence, Senior, Selinsgrove, Penn. 

Katherine Lawson, Senior, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Binh Le, First-year, Thanh, Vietnam

Minh Quang Le, First-year, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Do Ngoc Diep Le, Junior, Hanoi, Vietnam 

Maren Lee, Senior, Gloversville, N.Y. 

Tancrede Lefort, Junior, George Sand Golbey, France

Eleanor Lefort, First-year, Golbey, France

Taylor Lehman, Junior, Ankeny, Iowa

Elijah Lehmann, Junior, Oregon, Wisc. 

Mckinley Leinweber, Senior, Union Grove, Wisc. 

Enzo Leite Mitidieri, Sophomore, Campinas, Brazil 

Brooke Lidberg, Senior, Hastings, Minn. 

Folabomi Longe, First-year, Abuja, Nigeria 

Enrique Lopez Barriga, Sophomore, Pozuelo de, Spain 

Benjamin Lorence, First-year, Mason City, Iowa

Sully Lucy, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Julianne Lundvall, Sophomore, Ames, Iowa

Kyla Maatta, Sophomore, Farmington, Minn. 

Olivia Macumber, Junior, Grimes, Iowa

Alyce Madson, Junior, Robbinsdale, Minn. 

Ryan Malecha, Junior, Northfield, Minn. 

Faneeza Malik, Junior, Lahore, Pakistan 

Andrew Mantini, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Peter Manzke, First-year, Glen Ellyn, Ill. 

Ella Marti, Junior, Chaska, Minn. 

Lydia Marti, Sophomore, Highland, Ill. 

Julianna Mascardo, First-year, Iowa City, Iowa

Kirby Masso, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Sam Maston, Senior, Hudson, Mass. 

Andre Matos Palavra, First-year, Portugal 

Ava Matza, First-year, Hudson, Wisc. 

Owen Matzek, Senior, Hastings, Minn. 

Grace May, Senior, Woodbury, Minn. 

Peter McBride, Sophomore, St. Louis Park, Minn. 

Regan McConville, Junior, Ames, Iowa

Owen McCredie, First-year, Bettendorf, Iowa

Simon McDonald, Junior, Northfield, Minn. 

Norah McDonald, First-year, Wellington, Colo. 

Evan McElroy, Junior, Carmichael, Calif. 

Kenna McGee, Sophomore, Eldridge, Iowa

Grace McIlrath, Junior, Grinnell, Iowa

Lillian McRoberts, First-year, Prior Lake, Minn. 

Sean Medcalfe, Sophomore, Augusta, Ga. 

Niamh Mee, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Elizabeth Meehan, Junior, Northfield, Minn. 

Mira Melander, First-year, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Mabeline Merchant, First-year, Arusha, Tanzania 

Tim Mewborn, Senior, Colorado Springs, Colo. 

Ashlyn Meyer, Sophomore 

Josie Meyer, Senior, Robbinsdale, Minn. 

Jacob Michaelson, Junior, Iowa Falls, Iowa

Teah Miller, Sophomore, Iowa Falls, Iowa

Elijah Miller, First-year, Lake City, Minn. 

Daniel Millner, Sophomore, Hastings, Minn. 

Mari Mineck, Junior, Urbandale, Iowa

Elijah Mitchell, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Chloe Moeller, Sophomore, Rosemount, Minn. 

Cam Moll, Senior, Cross Plains, Wisc. 

Christian Montover, Junior, North Liberty, Iowa

Olivia Moore, Sophomore, Winona, Minn. 

Jack Moriarty, Senior, Waukee, Iowa

Delia Mortell, Junior, La Crosse, Wisc. 

Kiaraa Morten, Senior, Janesville, Wisc. 

Lindsey Moseley, Junior, Roseville, Minn. 

Violet Mowrey, Sophomore, Iowa City, Iowa

Ruthveridiana Mtaita, Sophomore, Pune, India 

Johanna Muenkel, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Bret Muhlbauer, Junior, Carroll, Iowa

Dylan Muhlbauer, Junior, Decorah, Iowa

Margaret Mullin, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

AlexIowa Murano, Senior, Urbandale, Iowa

Wyatt Murphy, Senior, Spring Grove, Minn. 

Ole Mustad, First-year, Krisiansand, Norway 

Arnie Mutasingwa, Junior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Rejoice Mzumara, Sophomore, Pune, India 

Nev Nelson, Junior, Woodinville, Wash. 

Ethan Nelson, Sophomore, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Gloria Nelson, Senior, Stewartville, Minn. 

Camryn Nelson, Senior, Maple Grove, Minn. 

Tai Nguyen, Senior, Vinh City, Vietnam 

Thanh Tu Nguyen, First-year, Bac Ninh, Vietnam

Kim Anh Thy Nguyen, Junior, Catonsville, M.D. 

Khanh Linh Nguyen, First-year, Hanoi, Vietnam 

GIowa Minh Nguyen, Senior, Ha Tinh, Vietnam 

Anh Nguyen, Sophomore, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam 

Kiley Nolan, Senior, Libertyville, Ill. 

Cassandra Norton, Senior, Lakeville, Minn. 

Francisco Nsabimana, Junior, Mbabane, Swaziland 

Sydney Obaseki, First-year, Abuja, Nigeria 

Madelyn O’Brien, Senior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Will Ode, Senior, Coralville, Iowa

Riley O’Donnell, Senior, Dubuque, Iowa

Kate Oelfke, Junior, Austin, Minn. 

Emmaleigh Ohrt, Senior, Spillville, Iowa

Elliot Olson, Sophomore, Zumbrota, Minn. 

Sarah Olson, Senior, Waverly, Iowa

Kyah Olson Sola, Junior, Northfield, Minn. 

Victor Oluwa, Senior, Freiburg, Germany 

Grace Orme, Sophomore, Seattle, Wash. 

Mary Osborne, Senior, Carlton, Minn. 

Abigail Ostermann, Senior, Menasha, Wisc. 

Emily Ostermann, Sophomore, Menasha, Wisc. 

Abbie Ostrum, Senior, Rosemount, Minn. 

Abigail Panka, First-year, Marshall, Minn. 

Mara Pankow, Sophomore, Decorah, Iowa

Grace Parrott, Senior, Iowa City, Iowa

Magda Patten, Junior, Waukee, Iowa

Supreme Paudel, Junior, Bhaktapur, Nepal 

Mari Paulsen, Sophomore, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Lauren Pease, Sophomore, Grinnell, Iowa

Lewis Peters, Senior, La Crescent, Minn. 

Brooks Peterson, Sophomore, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Benjamin Peterson, First-year, Galesville, Wisc. 

Daniel Pfeffer-Kleemann, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Nino Pfeifer, First-year, Tillmitsch, Austria 

Kerry Pham, Junior, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam 

Emma Pichelmann, Senior, Jacksonville Beach, Fla. 

Kyle Pido, Junior, Rochester, Minn. 

Callie Pierce, Sophomore, Dodgeville, Wisc. 

Cody Pierce, Senior, Dodgeville, Wisc. 

Amber Pinter, Junior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Grace Pitsenbarger, Senior, Shoreview, Minn. 

Danielle Pitts, Junior, Mount Vernon, Iowa

Claudia Podesta, Senior, Blaine, Minn. 

Ricardo Portilla Ruiz, Junior, Quito, Ecuador 

Mia Prater, Sophomore, Superior, Colo. 

Mark Prince, Senior, Encinitas, Calif. 

Emma Prostine, Senior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

McKenna Prunty, Senior, Worthington, Minn. 

Joseph Quinn, Sophomore, East Dubuque, Ill. 

Corwin Radcliff, Sophomore, Denton, Tex. 

Erik Radke, Senior, Duluth, Minn. 

Amelia Ramirez, Sophomore, Laveen, Ariz. 

Alexander Randell, Senior, Buffalo Grove, Ill. 

Madelon Rathe, Senior, La Porte City, Iowa

Sami Reesman, Senior, Burlington, Wisc. 

Justin Reinhart, Sophomore, Guthrie Center, Iowa

Abby Reis, Senior, Apple Valley, Minn. 

Malachi Rettmann, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Kaija Rice, Senior, Ames, Iowa

Annika Rice, Junior, Ames, Iowa

Lillian Riedel, Sophomore, Shoreview, Minn. 

Iris Roddy, Junior, Kansas City, Mo. 

Ingrid Roeske, First-year, South Beloit, Ill. 

Nick Rogness, Senior, Roseville, Minn. 

Matthew Rogness, Sophomore, Roseville, Minn. 

Mateus Rohden, Junior, Draper, Utah 

Christina Rolf, Senior, River Falls, Wisc. 

Grace Rosholt, Sophomore, Middleton, Wisc. 

Kelsey Roskamp, Sophomore, Johnston, Iowa

Paige Ross, Junior, Faribault, Minn. 

Cassie Rounds, Senior, West Des Moines, Iowa

Chloe Rozga, Junior, Northfield, Minn. 

Jordan Rubie, Senior, Winona, Minn. 

Cecilia Ruiz, Junior, Chicago, Ill

Scott Rust, Senior, Hudson, Wisc. 

Madigan Ryan, First-year, Bloomington, Minn. 

Samantha Sabin, Senior, Inver Grove Heights, Minn. 

Eirine Salman, First-year, Stillwater, Minn. 

Braydon Saltou, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Kenedy Sandoval, Sophomore, Aurora, Colo. 

Hannah Saucedo, Senior, Harvard, Ill. 

Riley Sauser, Senior, Ely, Iowa

Teagan Schaefer, Junior, Williamsburg, Iowa

Samuel Scheffler, Junior, Lakeville, Minn. 

Annemarie Schloo, Sophomore, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Skyler Schneider, Senior, Wellman, Iowa

Tori Schnell, Junior, Deforest, Wisc. 

Riley Schulte, Junior, Plymouth, Minn. 

Hailey Schultz, Sophomore, Burbank, Ill. 

Nicole Schultz, Junior, Fountain, Minn. 

Mikkel Schutte, Senior, Pine Island, Minn. 

Lauran Schwake, Sophomore, Solon, Iowa

Samuel Scott, Senior, Moreno Valley, CA

Moliehi Seipati, First-year, Maseru, Lesotho 

Korpo Selay, Junior, Montserrado, Liberia 

Mark Severtson, Senior, Milan, Mich. 

Eric Shaffer, Senior, Coralville, Iowa

Amey Shedinger, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Julia Sheyko, Senior, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Ava Shively, Senior, La Crosse, Wisc. 

Korede Shonibare, Sophomore, Abuja, Nigeria 

Nico Shrestha, Senior, Minnetonka, Minn. 

Ellie Shuros, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Lauren Siems, Senior, North Liberty, Iowa

Olivia Sinclair, Sophomore, Waterloo, Iowa

Abbi Slininger, Senior, Inver Grove Heights, Minn. 

Natalie Smith, Sophomore, West Des Moines, Iowa

Lily Smith, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Natalia Smith, Senior, Littleton, Colo. 

Alex Smith, Sophomore, Grinnell, Iowa

Mattie Snyder, Senior, Bemidji, Minn. 

Alyssa Sobolik, Junior, Cresco, Iowa

Amelia Solum, Senior, Spring Grove, Minn. 

Lillian Spade, Junior, Eagan, Minn. 

Hugh Spann, First-year, Viroqua, Wisc. 

Abby Spore, Senior, Robins, Iowa

Eva Stadtlander, Sophomore, Iowa City, Iowa

Brynnen Stefan, First-year, Tomahawk, Wisc. 

Ava Stemler, First-year, West Des Moines, Iowa

Anna Stenerson, Junior, Maple Grove, Minn. 

Peter Stinar, Junior, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Grace Stone, Junior, Andover, Minn. 

Kristian Stordalen, Sophomore, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Sarina Stortz, Senior, Mabel, Minn. 

Hannah Stoutner, Senior, Whitehall, Wisc. 

Alyssa Strampe, Junior, Janesville, Wisc. 

Ben Strehlow, Junior, Weyauwega, Wisc. 

Evelyn Strigel, First-year, Madison, Wisc. 

Logan Strom, Junior, Albert Lea, Minn. 

Abby Struble, Sophomore, Clinton, Iowa

Haylie Strum, Sophomore, Stewartville, Minn. 

Katherine Strum, Junior, Rochester, Minn. 

Elliott Stuenkel, Junior, Waterloo, Iowa

Sammy Suski, Senior, Watertown, Wisc. 

Mia Suzuki, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Alexis Svestka, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Sorley Swanstrom-Arnold, Junior, Duluth, Minn. 

Lydia Swarney, Sophomore, Ottumwa, Iowa

Kael Swarts, Junior, Newton, Iowa

Alex Swartz, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Ren Talerico, First-year, Madison, Wisc. 

Anna Tauscher, Junior, Rochester, Minn. 

Carly Tautges, Senior, Rochester, Minn. 

Isaac Taylor, Junior, Coralville, Iowa

Amanda Teske, Junior, De Pere, Wisc. 

Alli Thomley, Senior, Verona, Wisc. 

Carter Thompson, Junior, Fairfield, Iowa

Malachi Thompson, Senior, Johnston, Iowa

DJ Thompson, Senior, Chanhassen, Minn. 

Ashlynn Thorsen, Junior, Oconomowoc, Wisc. 

Alexandra Tiernan, Sophomore, Fort Dodge, Iowa

JaColbey Torgerson, First-year, Mabel, Minn. 

Vincent Torgerson, Junior, Mabel, Minn. 

Elise Trail-Johnson, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Khanh Tran, First-year, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Khanh Linh Tran, Junior, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Nora Tresemer, First-year, Geneva, Ill. 

Karson Trujillo, Junior, Delano, Minn. 

Duong Truong, Senior, Vung Tau, Vietnam 

Lucy Tschida, Senior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Rachel Tully, Senior, Stoddard, Wisc. 

Kieran Ulbee, Junior, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Madi Urfer, Junior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Soley Valdimarsdottir, Junior, Reykjavíkurborg, Iceland 

Rachel Van Fleet, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Michael Van Meter, Sophomore, Delhi, Iowa

Alex Van Surksum, Sophomore, Sheldon, Iowa

Anastasios Vasileiou, Junior, Paiania Greece 

Nathan Vaughan, First-year, Berthoud, Colo. 

Julia Veit, Senior, Iowa City, Iowa

Chayla Velander, Senior, Farmington, Minn. 

Zoe Verhey, Junior, Dassel, Minn. 

Nicholas Viveros, Senior, Whittier, Calif. 

Andre Viveros, Senior, Whittier, Calif. 

Sam Vue, Senior, Lakeville, Minn. 

Joshua Wackerfuss, Senior, Chaska, Minn. 

Emma Walker, Junior, Arvada, Colo. 

Elijah Wallace, Senior, Roseville, Minn. 

Anna Walters-Smith, Junior, Rochester, Minn. 

Muhammad Mughees Akbar Warraich, Junior, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Amy Webb, Senior, Waverly, Iowa

Michaela Weber, Senior, Decorah, Iowa

Abby Weidt, Junior, Hugo, Minn. 

Julia Weigle, Junior, Saint Michael, Minn. 

Julia Weiner, Senior, Iowa City, Iowa

Annika Welter, Sophomore, Eden Prairie, Minn. 

Julia Wendt, Junior, Madison, Wisc. 

Jacob Wenger, Senior, Manchester, Iowa

Keaton Wenz, Senior, Mount Vernon, Iowa

Austin Wesenberg, Senior, Cold Spring, Minn. 

Walter West, Senior, Plymouth, Minn. 

Ava White, Senior, Duluth, Minn. 

Kayla Will, Junior, Lake Mills, Wisc. 

Liv Williams, Junior, Coralville, Iowa

Sheridan Wilson, Sophomore, Zumbrota, Minn. 

Elise Wilson, Senior, Ankeny, Iowa

Haley Wince, Sophomore, West Des Moines, Iowa

Maya Winkel, Senior, Waterloo, Iowa

Rory Wisgerhof, Senior, White Bear Township, Minn. 

Nathan Withers, Senior, Ames, Iowa

Alexander Wold, Sophomore, Duluth, Minn. 

Linnea Wolle, Senior, Arvada, Colo. 

Abigail Wood, Junior, New Albin, Iowa

Jenna Woodsmall, Junior, Grimes, Iowa

Maya Wosepka, Senior, Saint Paul, Minn. 

Reece Wright, Senior, Annandale, Minn. 

Dex Wright, Junior, Cottage Grove, Minn. 

Sophie Yakes, Senior, St. Louis Park, Minn. 

Maddy Young, Senior, Maple Grove, Minn. 

Eli Young, Junior, North Liberty, Iowa

Hermminat Yusuff, Senior, Walden, N.Y. 

Hugo Zadig, Sophomore, Stockholm, Sweden

Leen Zaher, Sophomore, Sebline, Lebanon

Samuel Zegler-Evans, Senior, Topock, Ariz. 

Quinn Zeleny, Senior, West Saint Paul, Minn. 

Rebecca Zheng, Sophomore, Waverly, Iowa

Matvii Zhuravlov, First-year, West Des Moines, Iowa

Audrey Zielstra, Junior, Glenwood, Iowa


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Luther College aims to stay ahead of FAFSA delays

DECORAH, IOWA—While college-bound students for Fall 2024 have faced significant challenges with the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Luther College reminds students and their families there is extended time this year to complete paperwork for scholarships which will substantially reduce the cost of going to college.

In a note to the community, Vice President for Enrollment Management Karen Hunt encouraged families who may be discouraged by the new FAFSA form or processing delays to reach out for assistance.

“Delayed release of the FAFSA form and calculations based on the form started the trend, and they are feeding misconceptions about financial aid eligibility,” Hunt said. “Some students may believe they are not eligible for aid or with the confusion surrounding FAFSA may be thinking of postponing or forgoing completing the form.”

Nationwide, there is a decline of roughly 25% in the number of Class of 2024 students who have submitted their FAFSA compared to the Class of 2023. Hunt stressed that Luther, like many colleges, is helping out by continuing to welcome applicants.

“If there is one message we at Luther can convey to potential students and their families it is this: it’s not too late to file your FAFSA for Fall 2024,” Hunt said.

For questions related to FAFSA and scholarship opportunities at Luther College, reach out to the Financial Aid office at

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Luther College’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa inducts 30 students

A group of students stand holding paper.

Thirty Luther College students were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa on Saturday, May 18.

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter welcomed 30 students into membership at the annual induction ceremony, held on Saturday, May 18. David Kamm, emeritus professor of art and former gallery coordinator at Luther, gave the Ruth A. Davis Memorial Address and was inducted as an honorary member into Phi Beta Kappa as well.

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.

Luther College is one of a select group of private liberal arts colleges in the United States with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The Eta of Iowa Chapter at Luther College was established in 1983. Members are elected on the basis of broad academic interests, scholarly achievement and good character. The 2024 inductees include:


  • Blake Anderson of Oregon, Wisconsin 
  • Jens Bjorge of Amery, Wisconsin 
  • Emmy Carlson of Kasson, Minnesota 
  • Suman Chapai of Pokhara, Nepal
  • Jessica Droessler of Sherrill, Iowa
  • Ethan Erickson of Rochester, Minnesota
  • Emma Gibson of Iowa City, Iowa
  • Makayla Haddorff of Eagan, Minnesota 
  • Maggie Haller of Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Abby Hamborg of Bettendorf, Iowa 
  • Rachel Heinrich of Menomonie, Wisconsin 
  • Samantha Himegarner of Lodi, Wisconsin
  • Cirdan Klindworth of Roseville, Minnesota
  • Adam Koller of Worthington, Minnesota 
  • Emma Lin of Des Moines, Iowa 
  • Sam Maston of Hudson, Massachusetts
  • Laura Miro I Rodrigo of Barcelona, Spain
  • Gia Minh Nguyen of Ha Tinh, Vietnam 
  • Will Ode of Des Moines, Iowa
  • Jorgen Olson of Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Anders Peterson of Dassel, Minnesota 
  • Mattie Snyder of Bemidji, Minnesota 
  • Amy Webb of Waverly, Iowa
  • Ted Weigle of Saint Michael, Minnesota
  • Keaton Wenz of Mount Vernon, Iowa 
  • Austin Wesenberg of Cold Spring, Minnesota
  • Zella Wynsma of Davenport, Iowa 


  • Britta Elsbernd of Mason City, Iowa
  • Lauren Gray of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Ava White of Duluth, Minnesota

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Mallory Heinzeroth ’12 receives Luther College’s Young Alumni Award

Mallory Heinzeroth stands at a podium outside in a pink floral print dress.

Mallory Heinzeroth, class of 2012, received Luther College’s 2024 Young Alumni Award at the Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 19.

DECORAH, IOWA—Mallory Heinzeroth, class of 2012, received Luther College’s 2024 Young Alumni Award. Heinzeroth was presented with the award at the college’s Commencement on Sunday, May 19. 

The Young Alumni Award was established in 2003 and recognizes outstanding achievements of Luther alumni in their vocation or avocation who have graduated in the last 15 years. Each year an alum is presented with the award at Commencement. In 2012, Heinzeroth received Luther’s Jenson Medal, which is presented each year to an outstanding senior who best demonstrates the ideals of the college through service to students and the college community.  

“We grow each time we step out of our comfort zones. Saying yes to something new or daunting creates space for development, change, and learning new skills,” Heinzeroth told the 2024 graduating class at Commencement. 

Heinzeroth now resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where she works at the healthcare software company Epic Systems as a global implementation executive for the Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, team. She previously worked as the Asia-Pacific regional executive at Epic, where she built Epic’s network of support for entities such as the Singapore Ministry of Health and Australian Capital Territory in their implementation and ongoing use of the company’s software. 

After graduation, Heinzeroth served as a fellow with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, creating a program for pre-and post-natal care in developing nations by establishing a program for women and children’s health clinics in rural Nicaraguan communities. 

In Madison, she serves on the board of the nonprofit With Love Inc., through which she supports women’s health equity through volunteer events and fundraising. She also sings in the Philharmonic Choir of Madison. 

While at Luther, Heinzeroth was a double major in biology and management, with a minor in Spanish. She also was involved all over campus — she was the president of Student Activities Council and secretary of Student Senate, played rugby, sang in choir, was a photographer for CHIPS and the yearbook, and was a member of the Alpha Beta Psi sorority. She attributes a lot of her success in life to the broad experiences she was able to have as a student at Luther. 

“Each time I said yes and tried something new, I learned, I made new connections with friends and peers, and my impact on improving health care around the globe deepened. I’m doing something that is meaningful to me each day because I said yes to a new challenge at work,” Heineroth said at the ceremony. 

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Matilda Koeller receives Luther College’s Jenson Medal

DECORAH, IOWA–Luther College graduating senior Matilda Koeller received the college’s Elizabeth A. and Paul G. Jenson Medal for the class of 2024. The announcement was made during the Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19.

Matilda Koeller stands in front of a tree in a black graduation gown and cap.

Matilda Koeller, a graduating senior, received Luther’s Jenson Medal at Commencement on May 19.

“It feels really significant to receive the Jenson Medal. I’ve been honored to receive other accolades, but this feels especially significant in coming from my peers at Luther,” Koeller said. “I tear up thinking about how people I see around campus selected me for this award.” 

Luther’s Elizabeth A. and Paul G. Jenson Medal is presented each year to an outstanding senior, selected by the graduating class, who best demonstrates the ideals of the college through service to students and the college community. Established through an endowment gift from Luther alumni Paul, class of 1948, and Elizabeth (Dybdal) Jenson, class of 1949, of Vassalboro, Maine, the Jenson Medal supports Luther College’s mission of service.

Koeller majored in identity studies and is the first cohort to graduate with the program, which was established in 2020. She came to Luther from McGregor, Iowa, thinking about majoring in music education. However, after taking an introductory identity studies class from Char Kunkel, the head of the department, she found her major. She describes Kunkel as a “mentor and role model who is incredibly kind.” 

“The identity studies curriculum is inherently multidisciplinary. You engage with everything socially from the lens of you and what you bring to the table,” Koeller said. “It’s impacted by my lived experience. We want to centralize the lived experiences of all students in the class and of others from marginalized communities.”  

For Koeller, forming identity is an ongoing process, and at Luther she has uncovered and discovered a lot about herself. 

“I came to Luther, like many entering undergrad, uncertain about my identity. I didn’t realize how much room there would be for self-discovery,” Koeller said. 

Koeller socially transitioned in gender identity during her sophomore year. She became involved in activism for transgender students beginning her junior year, as she was inspired by the community she was a part of in her residence hall. 

She wanted to represent student interest in the issues, so she wrote the petition “Demand Action for Transgender Students at Luther” on and organized a rally on campus attended by nearly 100 students. 

“I first really connected with Matilda while she was a resident assistant in Brandt advocating for gender neutral restrooms and housing. She has advocated for policy change and spurred us to be more active in our defense of trans lives and has tirelessly advocated for equity and inclusion for all on campus,” Kunkel said. “We are very proud of Matilda and her service for the college in becoming more inclusive and equitable.”

Koeller also talked to administrators and Student Senate and made policy recommendations for campus to be more inclusive of transgender and gender nonconforming students. She also spoke at a Decorah rally in spring 2023 on the courthouse steps. As a result of her activism, there is now an expanded gender-inclusive floor in Brandt, where Koeller worked as a resident assistant for two years. 

Koeller was also a member of the Beautiful Mess a capella group and the Pound Ultimate Frisbee group, where she made her friends around campus and became a pillar of the Luther community.

After graduation, Matilda plans to work in student services or social services, with the ultimate goal of pursuing her master’s in social work.  

“When you engage with a community in a way that connects with people, that is service,” Koeller said. “And the community has served me.” 

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 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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Luther College Jazz Orchestra embarks on music and arts tour of Brazil

DECORAH, IOWA—The Luther College Jazz Orchestra is traveling to Brazil May 20 through June 5, where the group will perform concerts and participate in workshops in the country with prominent musicians, dancers and artists. 

Jazz Orchestra tours abroad every four years, and this will be the third time the ensemble has traveled throughout Brazil. The ensemble last toured Brazil in 2016. The international tours are an opportunity for Luther students to experience the diversity of music throughout the world. 

Luther students stain on stairs holding different instruments for group photo.

Luther College’s Jazz Orchestra will travel Brazil from May 20–June 5.

“In addition to concerts and service projects, we will take classes from prominent Brazilian musicians and dancers, get to know the cities of Salvador, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, while enjoying their exceptional culinary arts and friendly people,” said Tony Guzmán, director of Jazz Orchestra.  

During the trip, Jazz Orchestra will perform with students at the Tatuí Conservatory of Music in São Paulo, the city’s largest music conservatory. As part of a service project in the city, they will lead a workshop at Santa Marcelina University, another music conservatory. 

Before leaving São Paulo, students will have the opportunity to take a ballroom dance workshop from professional dancers. After arriving in Rio de Janeiro, Luther students will take a drumming workshop. The ensemble will also perform a concert in the city’s botanical gardens. 

“Brazil is a country with tremendous diversity in its nature and people, showcasing a strong cultural and economic development. All jazz musicians admire and perform Brazilian music, from samba and bossa nova, to baião and frevo,” Guzmán said. “We bring the spirit of Luther College and the United States to share our music cultures with the people of Brazil, and at the same time learn from their impressive music traditions.”

Guzmán received his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1990 from Luther and holds a Ph.D. in music education, a certificate in pedagogy of music theory and a master’s degree in music education from Florida State University. An active arranger, Guzmán is known for his choral arrangements of Caribbean and Latin American music, some of which are published by Boosey & Hawkes and Oxford University Press.

About Luther College Music 

Luther is home to one of the largest undergraduate music programs in the nation, with five choirs, three orchestras, two bands and two jazz bands. One-third of all Luther students participate in music, including large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. Nearly 175 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance. Learn more at

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