Luther College is a private liberal arts institution in Decorah, Iowa linked to the Lutheran Church.
Founded by Norwegian immigrants, there were originally two lecturers and 16 teachers when Luther College began tuition in Halfway Creek, Wisconsin, 65 miles north east. But it moved to its current Decorah location almost immediately, and by its 100th anniversary, student numbers had surpassed 1,350. Formed with a classical ethos, Luther’s students were required to study Greek and Latin until 1932. Liberal arts has remained a key part of the college’s educational offering, which now includes nursing and social work courses.
A high proportion of those at Luther College receive financial aid. It has been coeducational since 1936, and by the turn of the century, female students had overtaken their male counterparts in terms of numbers. Low student-staff ratios and class sizes characterise its 50-plus undergraduate programmes, but Luther has also introduced a range of courses for postgraduates in recent years.
More than 85% of its students live on Luther’s campus, north west of Decorah town centre. The town, one of many Nordic hubs in the Midwest, hosts an annual festival celebrating its Norwegian heritage. Decorah is just 15 miles from the Minnesotan border and 150 miles from Minneapolis. It is situated 180 miles north east of Des Moines, Iowa’s state capital.
Luther College alumni include Phyllis Yes, a contemporary artist famous for her work “feminising” objects stereotypically associated with males, such as guns, hammers and, most famously, sports cars, and Matthew Busche, a multi-US road race champion cyclist.