Luther College Regent Dr. Michael Osterholm receives Government Service Award from AMA

DECORAH, IOWA—Dr. Michael Osterholm, class of 1975, was presented with the Outstanding Government Service Award from the American Medical Association in February. Osterholm, who serves on Luther College Board of Regents, is a world-renowned epidemiologist and the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota

Dr. Michael Osterholm accepting the Outstanding Government Award. Photo Credit: Ted Grudzinski

The award is presented to elected and career public servants at the state, local and national levels, who use science and medicine to promote public health. Osterholm was selected in the category of “member of the executive branch serving by presidential appointment.” He was named to Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board in November 2020 and served as Minnesota’s state epidemiologist from 1984 to 1999. 

“I’m very honored to have received this award, but I could not have achieved this award without the help of others I’ve worked with over the past 50 years,” Osterholm said. “My public health career began at Luther.”

He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Council on Foreign Relations, and has served as the principal investigator and task force chair for the World Health Organization’s Research and Development Roadmap for both influenza and the zika virus as part of his role on the council. 

Osterholm, who published the New York Times bestseller Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs in 2017, is the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health at the University of Minnesota and has published more than 300 academic papers and abstracts on epidemiology and infectious disease. For years, he has been warning that the U.S. was ill-prepared for a pandemic. 

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 luther.edu.

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Luther College Symphony Orchestra to perform across the country

DECORAH, IOWA—The Luther College Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Daniel Baldwin, will perform across the U.S. for their spring 2024 tour. The choir will perform a homecoming concert in Decorah on March 26. 

The concert is open to the public with a freewill donation taken at the door. 

Luther College’s Symphony Spring 2024 Tour begins in March.

The program begins with “Three Dance Episodes from Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Town. The orchestra will once again perform Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, Op. 80, by Gabriel Fauré along with “Introduction and Gopak” from “The Fair at Sorochinsk” by Modest Mussorgsky, “Siegfried Idyll” by Richard Wagner and “Huapango” by Jose Pablo Moncayo. 

Symphony Orchestra, Luther’s largest and oldest orchestral ensemble, is one of Luther’s four main touring ensembles. The Symphony travels regularly in the United States and maintains a three-week residency in Vienna every four years, next scheduled for January 2027. More than 70 student musicians, representing a variety of academic majors, perform with the orchestra. Many are also involved in chamber music, choir, band or a jazz ensemble. 

“Apart from two, month-long residencies in Vienna, Austria in 2019 and 2023, this will be the

Dan Baldwin

orchestra’s first opportunity in more than six years to take an extended tour,” said Dan Baldwin, director of orchestral activities. We bring with us a beautiful program and a large, talented group of student musicians. We’re very grateful for all those who’ve worked to make our tour possible.”

Baldwin is the head of the Music Department and has served as director of orchestra activities at Luther since 1997. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Furman University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Baldwin is currently the conductor of the Luther College Symphony and Chamber Orchestras.

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 luther.edu/music.

 

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Luther College announces 2024-25 Fulbright Program semi-finalists

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College is proud to announce that four students have been selected as 2024-25 semi-finalists for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. All four students received nominations for English teaching assistantships. 

The Luther semi-finalists are:

  • Robert Clower, class of 2023, English Teaching Assistantship in Germany
  • Linnea Johnson Nordqvist, class of 2024, English Teaching Assistantship in Latvia
  • Nick Rogness, class of 2024, English Teaching Assistantship in Norway
  • Amy Webb, class of 2024, English Teaching Assistantship in Germany

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program places recent college graduates and young professionals abroad as assistant English teachers in classrooms from primary through university level. Last year, three Luther students were selected as Fulbright teaching assistants in Slovakia and Norway. The finalists for 2024-25 will be announced this spring. 

These students were approved by the National Steering Committee and selected among the nearly 10,000 applicants on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. 

Operating in 160 countries world-wide, the Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The primary goal of the program is to increase mutual understanding between U.S. residents and people from around the world. 

Robert Clower, class of 2023

Linnea Johnson Nordqvist, class of 2024

Nick Rogness, class of 2024

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 luther.edu.

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Luther College announces Winter Graduates 

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College is proud to announce the winter graduates from December 2023 and January 2024. The 65 graduates come from 12 states, which include California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, plus 3 countries including Ivory Coast, Nepal and Spain. Congratulations to these new alumni as they start the next chapter of their lives. 

Below are the graduates, along with their majors and hometowns. 

Tamara Ayers
Music Education
Arlington, Virginia

Irelyn Baumberger
Management
Evansville, Wisconsin

Kaitlyn Belger
Nursing
Urbandale, Iowa

Isabelle Berg
Elementary Education
Chatfield, Minnesota

Evan Berth
Music
Watertown, Wisconsin

Katie Bevers
Religion
Charleston, South Carolina

Samuel Bundy
Sociology
Arvada, Colorado

 Analisa Buresh
Anthropology
Kasson, Minnesota

Suman Chapai
Computer Science
Pokhara, Nepal

Brandon Deas
Sociology
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Mathea Diedrich
Allied Health Sciences, Nordic Studies
Windsor, Wisconsin

Adrianna Dirks
Exercise Science, Allied Health
Casey, Iowa

Carter Erickson
Accounting
Camas, Washington

Madelyn Ess
Nursing
Delano, Minnesota

Haylee Felt
Biology
Stewartville, Minnesota

Julian Garcia
Nursing
Chicago, Illinois

Emma Gibson
English
Iowa City, Iowa

Molly Graff
Music Education
Holmen, Wisconsin

Maya Grocholski
English
Plymouth, Minnesota

Morgan Hansen
Nursing
Hudson, Iowa

Victoria Harris
Elementary Education
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Lars Heinecke
Nursing
Center City, Minnesota

Maddison Henry
Nursing
Hesper, Iowa

Noah Hill
Data Science
Houston, Texas

Elizabeth Kauls
Allied Health Sciences, Exercise Science
North Oaks, Minnesota

Theodore Keller
Biology
Edina, Minnesota

Nathan Knautz
Music Education
Batavia, Illinois

Rachel Lapaczonek
Nursing
Bettendorf, Iowa

Mafi Latu
Management
Redwood City, California

Emma Lin
Biology
Des Moines, Iowa

Allison Marasco
Anthropology
Omaha, Nebraska

Kaylee Martin
Social Work
Romeoville, Illinois

Erin McCulloch
Social Work
West St. Paul, Minnesota

Adam Mertzenich
Computer Science
Decorah, Iowa

Destini Miller
Management
Oak Park, Illinois

Sidney Miller
Global Health, Political Science
Hokah, Minnesota

Laura Miro I. Rodrigo
Computer Science, Management
Barcelona, Spain

Lauren Monosmith
Nursing
Pine Island, Minnesota

Mackenzie Muehleip
Nursing
Galena, Illinois

Calie Mundahl
Nursing
Woodbury, Minnesota

Sydney Nelson
Nursing
Albert Lea, Minnesota

Isaiah Nordine
Biology
Rochester, Minnesota

Jorgen Olson
Biology
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Annalie Piller
Nursing
Kenyon, Minnesota

Shelby Pisney
Elementary Education
Lime Springs, Iowa

Megan Rasmussen
Nursing
Shoreview, Minnesota

Brenna Reiland
Music Education
White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Kyra Rose
Nursing
Golden Valley, Minnesota

Noah Rouw
Music
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Emma Sanders
Elementary Education
La Motte, Iowa

Alex Sass
East Asian Languages and Linguistics
West Union, Iowa

Jasmine Schueler
Nursing
Rushford, Minnesota

Elise Skellenger
Management
Decorah, Iowa

Ella Smith
Management
Larkspur, Colorado

Asher Smith
Communication Studies
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Oumar Samassi Souare
Economics
Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Jake Stone
Sociology
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Justin Taitano
Management
Las Vegas, Nevada

Addison Tollakson
Elementary Education
Amery, Wisconsin

Emma Vanbenschoten
Nursing
Byron, Minnesota

Zoe Warm
Nursing
Long Grove, Iowa

Courtney Wendland
Elementary Education
Luverne, Minnesota

Blayre Wisneski
Neuroscience, Psychology
Shakopee, Minnesota

Levi Wolter
Exercise Science
Elysian, Minnesota

Angelina Zimmerman
Chemistry
Maquoketa, Iowa

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Norway’s tenThing Brass Ensemble to perform March 7 for Luther College’s Center Stage Series

DECORAH, IOWA—The all-women tenThing Brass Ensemble will perform for Luther’s Center Stage Series at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall. The award-winning Norwegian ensemble will stop at Luther as part of their tour across the East Coast and Midwest. The event is co-sponsored by Luther’s Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies. 

Led by renowned trumpet player Tine Thing Helseth, the ensemble will premiere a new piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon titled “Ten of Hearts,” written for tenThing and co-commissioned by Luther College. 

The performance coincides with Luther’s celebration of Women’s History Month throughout March and will highlight the work of many women composers, including Agathe Backer, Lili Boulanger, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Grażyna Bacewicz.

In addition, the performance will include a diverse repertoire by composers including Bernstein, Bartok and Grieg.

I have so much admiration for Tine Thing Helseth,” said Kristen Underwood, director of campus programming. “I love her creative and open-minded approach to the usual boundaries of genre. She took second place in Eurovision’s Young Musician category then went on to become a Eurovision juror. She was the first classical musician to win Newcomer of the Year at the Norwegian Grammy Awards. Her ensemble and her repertoire are proof of her commitment to lifting up women. Plus, of course, she’s an amazing musician.”

Founded in 2007, tenThing has risen to international acclaim since its formation. The ensemble will release their second album “She Composes like a Man” in April; Helseth’s most recent solo album “Seraph” is available to stream or purchase. 

Center Stage Dinner Series

The talented chefs of the Norse Culinary Team are back with the popular Center Stage Dinner Series. The dinners feature a multicourse menu to complement each performance. A separate ticket is required; the menu for March 7 can be viewed at tickets.luther.edu. Dinner seating begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Peace Dining Room on the second floor of Dahl Centennial Union.

Both dinner and show tickets are on sale through Luther’s Ticket Office in the Center for Faith and Life, online or by calling (563) 387-1357.

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 luther.edu.

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Luther College celebrates Women’s History Month in March with lectures and music

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College will celebrate Women’s History Month in March with a series of events, which include lectures and a Center Stage Series concert. A Luther alum will return to give a talk on her book. 

“The identity studies department wants Women’s History Month at Luther to be intentional in showing how it intersects with Black History Month and Asian and Pacific Islander History Month through our events,” said Char Kunkel, head of the identity studies department at Luther. “We want to honor women’s history, but show how it intersects with other identities.” 

“People ask, ‘Why Women’s History Month?’ The month celebrates what women are doing now, but to me the stress on history is even more important,” said Kate Narveson, professor of English, who helped organize Women’s History Month events. “We need reminding that our opportunities as educated women in the US are a privilege not known by most women, won by brave and unfinished efforts to dismantle restrictive structures and imagine equal lives.”

Women’s History Month at Luther includes the following events: 

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, an ordained Presbyterian minister and professor at Earlham School of Religion in Indiana, will give the Sihler Lecture, “Theology of Visibility,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. In 2021, she published “Invisible,” a book on theology; throughout her career she has published and edited more than 20 books. Kim is also the host of Madang, a podcast which discusses topics such as Christianity, religion and culture. At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 6, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall Kim will speak at a chapel service honoring International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.  

Mary Jane White, poet and translator, will give the talk “In Love with Another’s Words: The Translator as the Literary Ambassador” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in the Nansen Room of Dahl Centennial Union followed by a Q&A with Lise Kildegaard, professor of English at Luther. White translated the work of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, who was called one of the greatest poets of the 20th century by the American poet Joseph Brodsky. 

The all-women tenThing Brass Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall as part of the Luther Center Stage Series. The 10-piece brass ensemble formed in 2007 and performs selections from composers like Mozart, Bernstein and Bartok. 

Lydia X. Z. Brown will give the Price Distinguished Lecture, “Until We All Are Free: Disability Justice Interventions in Queer, Trans, Feminist Movements,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. Price is a queer, disabled and East Asian advocate, organizer, attorney, strategist and writer. They also serve as the director of public policy at the National Disability Institute and are the founding executive director of the Autistic People of Color Fund. The event is co-sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio. ASL interpretation will be provided. Attendees should also refrain from wearing any fragrances to this lecture. 

Luther will continue to celebrate women’s history in April with a talk by alumna Sheri Brenden, class of 1981, about her book “Break Point: Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. Her book focuses on two Minnesota high school athletes and gender equity in girls’ sports before the passage of Title IX. One of the athletes is Sheri Brenden’s sister, Peg Brenden, class of 1976, who will also speak at the event. A reception will follow. 

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 luther.edu.

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Luther College Giving Day returns March 7

DECORAH, IOWA—Gnome is where the heart is for Luther College’s Giving Day, which  returns for its ninth year on Thursday, March 7. The annual event aims to celebrate the Luther community while raising  money for the Luther Fund, Luther’s unrestricted current fund that supports all students, faculty, staff and community endeavors on campus. 

“Giving Day at Luther remains one of my favorite events because we get the opportunity to see the generosity of our entire community,” Mary Duvall, vice president for development said. “Each year, we see beautiful notes come in alongside these gifts that honor faculty, staff, and others across the Luther community that have made an impact throughout the decades.” 

Luther College’s Giving Day returns March 7.

While all gifts made to the Luther Fund on Giving Day will be matched by the Gnome Team, a group of donors whose generosity supports the success of Giving Day, this year, some gifts will be tripled.

This year, some gifts will be triple matched during special “power hours.” For example, during the “Grounded and Global” power hours from 9–11 a.m. and again from 5–7 p.m. All donations made by members of the Decorah community and anyone living abroad will be tripled, in celebration of Luther as a school grounded in Decorah that sets students up for success all over the world. A full schedule of power hours is available on the Giving Day website

“I love Giving Day because of the way it brings together every person in the Luther community to have an impact,”Duvall said. “The fun and energy it generates is incredible, and this year, I’m especially looking forward to the Gnome-fluencers on social media.”

There are many ways to participate in Giving Day: 

  • Join the Facebook event and see fun posts and videos leading up to and throughout the day. 
  • When you make a gift in honor of Luther faculty or staff,  Luther staff will share your dedication with that person and connect you both in an email that same day.  
  • New this year, those in the Decorah area can stop by The Landing Market for Luther Day at the Landing, a day in which 100% of all sales made at Justin’s and The Buzz will be matched with an equal gift to the Luther Fund.

Last year, Luther celebrated over $1.1 million raised at the end of Giving Day. These donations go toward essential financial aid, life-changing study abroad programs, and community-building student groups on campus, all of which shape Luther into a vibrant community filled with young adults ready to face a changing world. These donations make the Luther experience and shaping students as engaged citizens possible. 

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 luther.edu.

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Award-winning Luther College management professor connects students with Decorah businesses for learning experiences

Hongxiao Yu took her students to local businesses, like Pulpit Rock Brewery, as part of her curriculum.

DECORAH, IOWA—Hongxiao Yu, assistant professor of management at Luther College, won the inaugural Excellence in Collaboration Award this year for forging connections between the college and Decorah businesses like Impact Coffee, Pulpit Rock Brewery and the Landing Market. 

“Visits to local companies allows Luther students to hear firsthand the success stories and community-centric values of these businesses,” Yu said. “I want to connect the academic curriculum with real-world experiences for students.” 

The award, presented by Luther and the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, honors collaboration between Luther and the Decorah-area community. For the past two years, Yu has brought students from her management classes to meet with local companies to gain insights on how businesses operate. 

“Professor Yu is extremely intentional about connecting subjects in class to local businesses,” said Samuel Scott, a senior management major who took Yu’s marketing class in spring 2023. “Her efforts to link classroom material to real life application has been integral to my learning in the management department.”

Yu also invited local managers and business leaders to share work experience with Luther students. For example, Linnea Carlson Rahlf, class of 2020 and marketing director of Decorah Area Bank & Trust Co., gave students practical advice to help guide their professional journeys. 

“As a Luther alumni and Decorah employee, sharing my real-world career experience with the students was rewarding. Creating connections between the classroom and our community helps all of us grow,” said Rahlf. “Their questions were insightful, and I enjoyed the opportunity to hear what interests today’s Luther students. In life and work, we’re all always learning from each other. I appreciate Hongxiao reaching out and making the connection.”

Yu also took students to Impact Coffee.

Yu has also hosted a Lunar New Year celebration for the past two years at the Landing Market to foster cultural exchanges, where she cooked traditional Chinese food for community members to ring in the holiday. During the 2023 celebration, the event sold out. 

To continue to strengthen the college and community connection, Yu joined Luther’s Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (CEPE) Advisory Board. The CEPE designs opportunities for Luther students and the community by inviting speakers, organizing book groups and hosting events. 

Yu was one of 12 nominees for the award, which focused on collaborative projects between the campus and community in areas like career services, historic preservation, cultural heritage, manufacturing, small businesses, safety, tourism, research, internships and experiential learning that expanded services, added skills or enhanced the Decorah experience. Nominations for the 2025 award will open in the fall. 

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 luther.edu

 

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Luther College’s Asian Student Association and Allies celebrates 40th Anniversary with series of events this spring

ASAA hosted the first Dashain Festival, a Hindu festival in Nepal, at Luther College.

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College’s Asian Student Association and Allies (ASAA) continues to celebrate 40 years on campus with a series of events including lectures, performances and a Center Stage Series concert this spring. The organization was founded in 1984 by students who were largely from Southeast Asia. 

Adrianna Tam

“Today, Luther has 58 international students from 13 Asian countries, as well as Asian-American students,” said Adrianna Tam, assistant professor of music and faculty advisor to ASAA. “As a second generation Asian-American myself, I am impressed by these and all of our international students not only because I have studied abroad myself, thousands of miles from home, but also because my parents first came to this country to pursue higher education.”

Events 

Campus Ministries will host an ASAA celebration chapel at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in the Center for Faith and Life’s Main Hall. Brian Caton, professor of history at Luther, will speak on the history of ASAA and Tam will provide musical selections. 

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Noble Recital Hall, Luther’s music department will ring in the Lunar New Year with A Thousand Tongues: An AAPI Recital with highly acclaimed AAPI musicians from the Twin Cities area along with Aurora and Collegiate Chorale. The program will celebrate Asian and Asian-American identities through song and storytelling. 

Grace Ji-Sun Kim will give the Sihler Lecture, “Theology of Visibility,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 5, in the Center for Faith and Life’s Recital Hall. In 2021, she published “Invisible,” a book on theology. Kim is also the host of Madang, a podcast which discusses topics such as Christianity, religion and culture.

At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 10, in Noble Recital Hall, Tam will perform along with her mother, Jing-Ling Tam. Jing-Ling Tam is a professor of choral and vocal arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Lydia X. Z. Brown will give the Price Distinguished Lecture, “Until We All Are Free: Disability Justice Interventions in Queer, Trans, Feminist Movements,” Wednesday, March 13, at 6 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life’s Recital Hall. Price is a queer, disabled and East Asian advocate, organizer, attorney, strategist and writer. They also serve as the director of public policy at the National Disability Institute and are the founding executive director of the Autistic People of Color Fund. 

Small Island Big Song will perform for the final Center Stage Series concert of the year at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, in the CFL’s Main Hall. The collective is composed of artists and performers from 16 island nations across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Tickets are available to purchase through the Luther Ticket Office

History of ASAA

The ASAA was founded Feb. 14, 1984, as the Asian Student Association as a way for Asian students, who, at the time, were largely Southeast Asian refugees and first-generation immigrants from countries like Laos and Cambodia. The organization’s members aimed to advocate and organize for themselves on Luther’s campus. 

The students came to Luther through an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, which was designed to help students access Luther’s liberal arts education. 

The ASAA wanted to showcase their members’ cultures to the campus and Decorah community. In 1984, they organized the first Ethnic Arts Festival, featuring food, music and other performances. This event was so popular that it was celebrated annually until 2020. In the early 2000s, the group added “allies” to their name in order to include a wider audience on campus.

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 luther.edu.

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Rev. Lamont Wells to deliver Black History Month Keynote Address Feb. 21

DECORAH, IOWA—Rev. Lamont Wells, the executive director of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU), will give the Black History Month Keynote Address at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the Center for Faith and Life’s Main Hall. His lecture will share insights about ecumenism, queer identity, social justice and inclusion and how these themes motivate him as a faith leader and community organizer. 

“It is an honor to have Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells join us for Black History Month at Luther College. He is truly living history as the first African American to lead NECU,” said Robert Clay, chief equity and inclusion officer and assistant to the president for community engagement at Luther.  “He is doing great work to move Lutheran education forward with the NECU strategic plan through the lens of belonging to ensure Lutheran colleges  are truly living their missions so that all students may flourish.”

In addition to serving as executive director of NECU, Wells is also a United Nations Fellow fighting for human rights around the world. His address is part of a series of Black History Month events on Luther’s campus this month. 

Wells earned his bachelor’s in sociology and religion from Morehouse College 1995 before receiving his Master of Divinity and master’s in Christian education degrees from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta in 2003.

Before being named NECU’s executive director, Wells served as program director for ELCA campus ministry and as president of the African Descent Lutheran Association. 

Established in 2015, NECU connects the ELCA’s 26 colleges and universities to promote their shared mission and identity.

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 luther.edu.

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