The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



Brief news items from ELCA colleges and universities

Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, received $1 million from Gerald R. Kleinfeld, a professor emeritus of history at Arizona State University, Tempe. Kleinfeld is founder and former executive director of the German Studies Association, which hosts the world’s largest annual meeting on German and Austrian affairs, politics and culture. “Wartburg is the last German-immigrant founded college in the U.S. that still supports active programs and relationships with Germany,” Kleinfeld said. Daniel J. Walther, Wartburg associate professor of history and chair of the history department, will serve as the first distinguished professor of the Gerald R. Kleinfeld Distinguished Professorship in German History.

• Stjepan G. Mestrovic, sociologist, author and professor, spoke at Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, in late September. Mestrovic testified at the courts-martial of three people tried at Fort Hood in Texas. He recently wrote The Trials of Abu Ghraib: An Expert Witness Account of Shame and Honor (Paradigm Publishers, 2007).

• Nearly 40 students at Newberry [S.C.] College attended a one-day leadership retreat in August. Leadership trainer Dave Kelly and college staff helped students learn many facets of running successful organizations, including goal-setting, leading meetings, motivating people, recruitment and campus policies. Craig Wheatley, Lutheran Student Movement president, called the retreat a valuable learning tool.

• An anonymous gift of $6 million is the largest donation in the history of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D. It will be used for the redesign and reconstruction of Mikkelsen Library. The renovation is a joint effort with Sioux Falls Seminary to merge its 80,000-volume theological library into the Augustana collection, making it what college President Rob Oliver called the finest theological library in the region.

• A movie based on the story of Kent Stock, a graduate of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, will open Oct. 12 across the nation. The Final Season describes how Stock led Norway [Iowa] High School to its final state baseball championship in 1991—the year the school closed, threatening the small town’s identity. Luther posted a promotional trailer at its Web site. The movie’s associate producer, Terry Trimpe, is also a Luther College alumni.

• Nineteen education students at Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, Neb., worked in September with a local elementary school to give 148 children hands-on experience with science. The project, in its fifth year, runs during Grant Elementary School’s fall break. This year Midland students taught children about chemical and physical changes through experiences including: “Salty Treats,” “Make your Own Glue,” and an on-campus “Kaboom” experiment offered by Midland science professor Allyson Backstrom.

• Families of students at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., can check out a new “Hi Mom!” webcam at the student union. The webcam is intended to help parents feel connected without students feeling overly monitored. Parents or friends arrange a time to visit the site for a glimpse of a waving student or call on a cell phone while watching the video. David R. Anderson, St. Olaf’s president, said he came up with the idea based on another school’s use of a webcam for a construction project.

• As part of Concordia’s Oen Fellowship, John F. Haught spoke Oct. 1 at the Moorhead, Minn., college. Haught, an expert witness in the Dover, Pa., “Intelligent Design trial” (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Board of Education), spoke on the topic of “Faith and Evolution: What is at Stake?” Winner of the 2004 Sophia Award for Theological Excellence, Haught is senior fellow in science and religion at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center, Washington, D.C. He specializes in systematic theology, with an interest in issues of science, cosmology, evolution, ecology and religion.

• For the third year in a row, the Society of Professional Journalists chapter at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., won an award for “outstanding campus chapter” in its region. The award honors the student chapter that is most active in upholding the society’s mission to improve and protect journalism.

Dana College’s Chorale performed last summer at sites across northern Germany and Denmark. During a 12-day tour of the two countries, the 25-voice ensemble from the Blair, Neb., campus sang American spirituals, folk music and original works in cathedrals, a 12th-century church, and in Legoland in Billund, Denmark. The group also visited Bad Segeberg and Oeversee, Germany, and Ribe, Vejle and Odense in Denmark.

Gettysburg [Pa.] College physics professor Tim Good and senior Matt Galante spent last summer using argon plasma (electrically charged gas) to simulate conditions at the edge of space, where particles flowing out from the sun interact with the upper atmosphere. This “solar wind” is responsible for the Northern Lights and the “magnetic storms” that can knock out satellites, cell phones and power grids. Using a laser to measure changing conditions, the two studied ways to predict “space weather” that can endanger orbiting astronauts.

• Karen Dill, media researcher and associate professor of psychology at Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C., testified Sept. 25 before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee about media stereotypes. Dill told the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection that although most people believe they aren’t influenced by media messages, studies show they are. “Across a number of studies in which researchers controlled for artist, style and other relevant factors, results showed conclusively that it was the aggressive content that caused the observed changes,” Dill said. Girls experience negative results from unhealthy body image to eating disorders when exposed to media images that depict females as sex objects, she added. Dill urged Congress to take appropriate regulatory action and asked that public schools add “media literacy” to their curriculums.

Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y., senior Amy Polumbo gave incoming freshmen an orientation on Internet safety. After winning the Miss New Jersey competition, Polumbo received a threatening, anonymous letter accompanied by a set of embarrassing photos from what she believed to be a secure area of her Facebook page. The letter-writer said the photos would be made public if Polumbo didn’t step down as Miss New Jersey. Instead, Pulumbo disclosed the blackmail and the photos on national TV—photos she said weren’t “ladylike” but essentially innocent depictions of horsing around with friends. Polumbo talked to freshmen about ways to avoid similar troubles.

• Students and staff from Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, helped with flood relief in Rushford, Minn., in late September. They cleaned mud out of an old mill owned by Eric Hoiland that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hoiland lost his home, belongings, cattle, turkeys and pumpkin crop in the flood. Campus pastor Char Cox said, “I’m always amazed at how when you put Waldorf students on a project they give it everything they’ve got.” Lutheran Disaster Response had estimated cleaning mud and debris from the mill would take two days, but it took the Waldorf group less than one day.

• Potential students and incoming freshmen at Roanoke College, Salem, Va., can go online to a special forum called “Inside Roanoke” to meet each other, form friendships and find future roommates. The college allowed those admitted to the school to design their own Web pages—and, much like Facebook or MySpace, select the information they’d like other students to view and post information and photos of themselves. Students can also search the site by interest (academic, clubs, favorite foods, bands, movies).

Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, added a Pre-Modern and Ancient World Studies minor. Amy Livingstone, an associate professor of history, said, “We call [the minor] pre-modern because we wanted to use a term that wasn’t Eurocentric.” The new minor is a blend of art, economics, English, history, literature and language, music, philosophy, political science, theater and religion studies. Twenty-seven professors representing various academic areas lend their expertise to the minor.

• Together with 15 other Minnesota higher education institutions, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota High Tech Association, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., will share in a five-year $2.45 million grant to increase numbers of under-represented minority students who graduate with a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. The National Science Foundation made the grant through its Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Partnership program.


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