Luther receives one of largest planned gifts

The receipt of one of the largest planned gift commitments in college history has lifted Luther College to its greatest single year of fund-raising with just over $33 million committed, President Jenifer K. Ward announced prior to the 2024 Commencement.

While requesting to remain anonymous at this time, the donor’s multi-million-dollar commitment is the second-largest planned gift to Luther, and will be devoted to future student scholarships.

“We are very thankful for the thoughtful way alumni and their families are including Luther in their estate planning, and particularly their desire to make sure their legacy is supporting future generations of Luther students,” Ward said. “As we prepare to salute our Class of 2024, it was their work and stories that inspired gifts like this for Luther’s future.”

The $33,377,394 committed to date surpasses the previous record of $26.1 million in 2005-06, and with two weeks left in the current fiscal year, there is potential for continued growth.

“On behalf of all our current students, faculty and staff, we are so very thankful to those who have supported the mission of Luther College this year,” Vice President for Development Mary Duvall said. “We have been so excited by some of the transformational gifts we have received in recent months, and we continue to be grateful for the groundswell of individuals who have stepped up to support Luther in the past year.”

As Luther College prepares for the upcoming comprehensive campaign, the stage is set by a series of achievements during the 2023-24 academic year which led to the $33 million total effort.

During the fall, Luther received its largest individual gift with a $10 million commitment from Michael ‘92 and Nicole Gerdin and the Gerdin Charitable Foundation, naming the current Regents Center as the Gerdin Fieldhouse for Athletics and Wellness in November. Two weeks earlier, one of the top 10 all-time gifts was announced from Dennis ’64 and Suzanne Birkestrand to rename the court within Gerdin Fieldhouse as the Birkestrand Family Court. Their $2 million commitmentsupports the renovation of the main competition space into an arena configuration.

Combined with other contributions to the building campaign for Regents Center, the Gerdin and Birkestrand gifts have put the fieldhouse renovation project on track to start the opening phase during the summer, with opportunities for donors to participate in following project phases.

“The fact that we had all these records in a single year speaks to the tremendous momentum behind Luther College and the belief in the college’s future,” Ward said. “These aren’t just gifts. They are investments by our alumni, friends, and supporters.”

Along with more than 9,000 individual gifts during the academic year, Luther College posted its largest-ever Giving Day with $1.2 million raised to support the Luther Fund, Luther’s unrestricted current fund that supports all students, faculty, staff and community endeavors on campus. Norse Athletics also had its largest One Team Dayin the fall, collecting more than $365,000 to support each of the 23 varsity sports at Luther.


“As we approach the end of the fiscal year at Luther, we are extraordinarily grateful for the support and we are energized for the bold future ahead,” Ward said. “We look forward to welcoming more donors and friends to be part of that future with us.”

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