Luther College President Ward announces retirement

Luther College President Jenifer K. Ward announced to the Luther community Monday her intention to retire as president at the end of June 2025. Ward became president of Luther on July 1, 2019, and at the time of her retirement, she will have served in the role for six years.

In a message to the campus, Ward expressed her appreciation to the Luther community and her desire to maintain momentum in implementing the College’s key strategic initiatives.

“My love for Luther is deep and genuine, and I so appreciate the challenging and collaborative work this campus community has undertaken together over the past several years to address the rapid changes in higher education and move Luther College forward as a place of faith and learning for current and future generations of students,” Ward said. “For Luther to successfully execute these strategic initiatives requires us to ensure the college has the resources in place to support these programs and projects, and we have worked diligently to establish the foundation for the college’s next comprehensive campaign. Given the importance of this multi-year effort, I recognize that presidential transitions are best accomplished at the beginning or end of campaigns, but not in the middle. Both I and our Board of Regents share a common aim, which is to ensure that we continue to achieve Luther’s strategic objectives, especially bringing the first phases of our campus master plan to fruition to enhance the student experience at Luther. It has been a joy to see how planning for the renovation of the fieldhouse and reimagining Preus Library as a student learning commons have generated excitement on our campus and among our alumni.”

“On behalf of the Board of Regents, I want to express our gratitude to President Ward for her exemplary service and for putting the best interests of Luther College front and center through careful succession planning,” Chair Bob Paulson said. “We appreciate the timing of President Ward’s decision to retire, which allows the Regents to immediately begin the process of identifying her successor in a thoughtful way. The Regents will discuss and determine the process, next steps and timeline to identify and select Luther’s 12th president and will update the college communities following our regularly scheduled meeting in May. We are grateful for President Ward’s leadership throughout her tenure. One of her indelible legacies is her ability to communicate the vision and mission of the college, which has inspired families, friends, and alumni of Luther to generously share their gifts and invest in the college’s future.”

Notable among President Ward’s initiatives were deepening the attention to a holistic approach to student education and success, including collaborating with the college faculty and academic leadership to reorganize Luther’s academic curriculum, introducing an integrated student services area under the Provost, and uniting academic affairs, student engagement and student success.

“When I began my academic career some 44 years ago, I never envisioned that I would one day have the opportunity to serve as the president of Luther College,” Ward said. “My life has been so enriched, challenged and transformed by my time here. I look forward to continuing to engage with the broader Luther community over the next year as we advance this great college. Luther’s fabric is strong, and I know my successor will be equally blessed by how our people care for the “Luther blue” thread that pulls through it.”

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