Did You Know?
Students admitted to Luther College are not required to be Lutheran or Christian. By welcoming students of all faiths and religious backgrounds, Luther College enjoys a richly diverse student body.
The first LIT was held on January 31, 1953. That year it was a one-day tournament involving sixteen teams from Southern Saskatchewan. All preliminary games were played cross court, two games at a time.
When the College was first looking to relocate from Melville to Regina, it considered land at College & Winnipeg, College & Broad, and 23rd & Albert, finally settling on 18 acres of land on the west end of property owned by Government House, now called Royal Street.
The first annual Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament was held in 1998 and is still going strong today!
Luther College High School is recognized as one of the four best university preparatory schools in western Canada with as many as 96% of Luther graduates pursuing post-secondary educations.
The gym officially opened July 8, 1951. The Sunday afternoon celebration, attended by 1,500 people, featured speeches followed by an evening celebration with another 1,500 people in attendance to hear the Luther Choir and the RCMP Band.
The Tuck Shop for snacks was at the bottom of the south stairs going to what is now the cafeteria. The legendary beans in a cone were considered a healthier & cheaper alternative to what students purchased across the street at the Aintree.
Did you know there is a 3rd floor to the boy's dorm? It was traditionally assigned to upper level students who were more mature & responsible. Students who lived up there in the 1940’s confessed, in hushed tones, to having a radio when those devices were against school policy.
Message from the President
Though every year brings new life and challenges to the life of our College, 2016-2017 seemed to be particularly full of rich blessings for us as a College, for our students, and for our faculty and staff. With October 31, 2017 marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, there were many events leading up to this date around the College. These events occurred because of the amazing leadership of one of our Regents, Dr. Meredith Cherland. Meredith developed ideas, met with interested parties, poked and prodded senior administrators, and put together a program of worship services, hymnfests, Table Talks much like Luther would have enjoyed, and commissions of art to name just a few of the highlights. October 31, 2017 was marked with Martin Luther celebrating contemporary theses or ideas that spoke “truth to power” at each campus with former Chaplain David Kaiser at the University campus, and current university Chaplain Sean Bell, acting the part and making the front page of the Leader-Post, at the High School campus. Our tradition remains rich and we are so blessed for all the volunteers who contributed to help us remember our heritage.
At the High School campus, we began the first year of our three-year strategic plan with emphases on the following areas: challenging academics; increased student support services; professional development; enhanced Christian context and community; physical plant renewal and sustainable financial capacity. Various developments occurred to support this plan including enhancements to the IB program, increased counselling services, more resources for faculty and staff training, better security measures and resources to support our recruiting program both domestically and internationally. Our plan for financial stability was also enhanced with steady growth in enrollments over the previous year.
During this year, we also spend a great deal of time and effort gathering all the documents needed for us to achieve full accreditation with Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). This rigorous process involved us answering over 170 questions in some depth, assembling over 480 documents (many of which had not been written before) and bringing together staff, faculty, parents, alumni, Regents, and others to meet with the seven-member accreditation team from some of the best independent schools in Canada. This accreditation visit took place between April 30 and May 3, 2017. Twelve standards are used to determine whether we can join this group of ninety-four of the best independent schools in Canada beginning in August 2017. I’m happy to say that we passed this stage of the accreditation process easily; the final year of our process involves our responding to some recommendations and suggestions that the accreditation team had for us, as they would for any other school. This cycle of continuous improvement and monitoring, as well as a multitude of diverse professional development opportunities, has already proven extremely valuable in helping us consider what it means to be the best school we can be as we assume our place among the best independent schools in Canada.
We are also so very pleased that the Parents’ Association – in its third year – made real strides at becoming a stable, continuing feature of our organization. Another successful fundraiser was staged and regular meetings occurred in which topics of strategic importance for the parents were engaged. A new president, David Gwilliam, was elected with Sara Hanson, past co-president assuming the responsibility for the fundraiser in 2018. We are so very grateful to these leaders as well as all the parents who have enriched our school through the various efforts of this Association.
Finally, the technology upgrades, which our faculty so desperately needed and our students assume should be available in a school of academic excellence like ours, were completed in the summer of 2017. New computers for faculty were implemented with enhanced security, the ability to connect various platforms in any classroom was completed, and measures taken to ensure that all students have access to computing technology, no matter their socio-economic background. It was also extremely encouraging to see our faculty enthusiastically embrace how they might consider the effective use of technology in their teaching, all the while recognizing that it is the learning of the student that is paramount in all our classrooms.
At our University campus, our enrollments grew by double digit percentages in this year leading to a recorded 45% increase in our enrollments over the past five years. Without question this is due to increased resources in our recruiting office where the seasoned expertise of Amy Hunter was augmented by the energy of Alexandria Li, but it is also reflective of the very good relations we enjoy with the University of Regina recruiting program where Amy is among the university’s most senior spokespeople and the University recognizes our place on campus in counselling students of all descriptions in the liberal arts and sciences.
Even with these enrollment increases at the College and University, our budget situation became more difficult. Another 5% decrease to our government grant created real hardship for all of us in managing our budget. Only the efforts of our dedicated staff and faculty in managing our resources thriftily enabled us to have some financial resources to address strategic initiatives that we thought very important. Support of our efforts to respond to the country’s Truth and Reconciliation commission, finishing of our residence renovations, advancing our ‘bundled’ academic programming, and ensuring our marketing program does not lag were just some of these strategic initiatives that were advanced despite this very difficult budget cycle.
It must be noted here that we finished the renovations in the last half (south tower) of our residence tower. New features like individualized thermostats, lockable individual shower rooms, new windows, carpeting, lighting, and enhanced fire security measures were all incorporated. The less glamourous tasks of improving our electrical, sewer, and water facilities were also completed throughout our residence. Changes were also made to our cafeteria with more to come as our new chef, Moe Mathieu, brought in new menus, enhanced catering capacity, and longer hours to serve our students better.
The Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) continued to grow its program, resources, and services to the voluntary sector. We are very excited with our appointment of Dr. Yvonne Harrison, an international leader in nonprofit sector studies, as our new Executive Director of the program, who started in July of 2017. The transferring of a massive online, open course (MOOC) concerning nonprofit governance which Yvonne taught at the State University of New York (SUNY) to Luther College is just one indication of the expertise Dr. Harrison brings to our campus.
One very real negative aspect of the year at the University campus was the retirement of some key people from our staff. Dr. Mary Vetter served our campus as professor of biology for over thirty years and was simply one of the cornerstones of our College. She served as our first Assistant Dean, Dean, and initially, the Director of VSSN. We also will miss the service, collegiality and dedicated efforts of Herb Stoehr who served as our Director of Physical Plant for both our campuses and guided us through an ambitious building program at the LCHS campus in 2011-2014. Connie Korol, our dedicated Manager of Cafeteria at the University campus for many years, also retired this year; her cheery disposition and desire to help anybody in the cafeteria was always appreciated.
Our Board of Regents was an extremely active group this year taking a very long hard look at what corporate governance structure would best suit the long-term viability of the College. A new corporate membership was proposed and approved in early July, 2017 at the national convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). Much more work and political timing is yet to occur before this becomes reality in a new legislative Act.
The Board also moved deliberately to ensure that it considered the College’s future strategically by adopting a consent agenda for its meetings wherein more of the work is entrusted to the various active Board committees and the Board, when it meets as a whole, concerns itself with only financial and strategic decisions as well as generative topics that are directed to the College’s future. It is more work for everyone but the early results indicate that the Board is engaging both the financial sustainability and strategic future of the College even more effectively.
Mike Fritzler, having served two full four-year terms on the Board, stepped down as Board Chair at the end of June 2017. Our Board is so much more vital and rich as a result of his leadership in leading us to a consent agenda and his efforts in thinking strategically for the College. After one four-year term, Annette le Roux, also resigned from the Board; her leadership in matters relating to the parents’ involvement was greatly appreciated. New additions to the Board include Lyndon Carlson and Greg Swanson whose voices at the Board table are already making a difference. Elected in June 2017 were Jody Hilderman (U’97) and Jana Odling (HS’91, U’95), both of whom are familiar with our campuses and from whom we know we will receive strong contributions.
Luther College remains a vibrant place of excellence in so many areas because of the hard work of so many of its faculty and staff. We are also indebted to the on-going support we receive from our alumni and friends. Their support is making a difference in the world through the “quality education in a Christian context” that all our students receive, where they are encouraged to “Think Deeply. Act Passionately. Live Faithfully.”
Blessings to all who read this,
President Bryan Hillis, Ph.D.
Luther College, Regina, Saskatchewan