Luther Alumni Magazine

4,000 more reasons to choose Luther

In just over a year, Luther alumni have submitted more than 1,200 referrals to Luther through the Alumni Ambassadors program, which kicked off in fall 2017. Members from nearly every class back to 1945 have participated and, says program coleader Alyssa Ritter ’11, “Of all the recruitment programs Luther has invested in, this one has had the best yield rate” (the percent of accepted students who go on to enroll). The alumni referral yield rate for last fall’s class was more than twice that for the class overall.

Ted Schacher ’08 (left) and Robyn (Frey) David ’87 (right) are proud to have had one of their referred students, Zoey Frey ’22 (center), enroll at Luther last fall.
Ted Schacher ’08 (left) and Robyn (Frey) David ’87 (right) are proud to have had one of their referred students, Zoey Frey ’22 (center), enroll at Luther last fall.

Every student referred through the program receives a $1,000 scholarship each year for four years if they enroll at Luther. When Alumni Council member Lisa Small Steinbauer ’88 referred a colleague’s child, the family became really serious about Luther. Steinbauer says her colleague told her the scholarship gave them “4,000 more reasons to consider Luther.”

Alumni may refer family members,* neighbors, friends, children of coworkers, members of their religious community, and others. There’s no limit on the number of students individual alumni may refer. Scot Schaeffer, vice president for enrollment management, is confident that alumni know which students will find Luther a good fit. He says nearly all of those nominated for last year’s entering class were accepted.

Grant Preheim ’18, who recently made his first referral, says, “I thought of students who reflect the mission of Luther and would uphold those principles. After a conversation with my mentor from high school about her daughter’s college search process, I found that her daughter was seeking many of the ideals that I found within the Luther community. It only seemed fitting that I put Luther on the map for her daughter.”

First-year Greta Carlson knew of Luther from her father, Eric Carlson ’89, but learned more from her high school choir director, Haley Gibbons ’11, who ultimately referred her via the ambassadors program. Carlson chose Luther, she says, “because of the strong sustainability and music community. Also, I wanted to explore and be part of the overall community of Decorah.”

The ambassadors program is gratifying for alumni participants as well as prospective students. “The college is a core part of who I am, and I enjoy knowing that one or two or maybe more students might feel the same way in 30 years,” says Steinbauer.

In order to be considered for the scholarship, high school students must be referred by Dec. 1 of a student’s senior year. Nominations of younger students are encouraged too.

Schaeffer says, “The sooner a person is in our database, the better chance we have of them enrolling at Luther.”

The program offers several ways to help recruit prospects besides referrals. Alumni can host or attend Admissions Office student receptions, represent Luther at a college fair, contact high school students who have indicated interest in Luther, or distribute information to schools, churches, and more.

*Children of Luther alumni will receive the Legacy Scholarship ($4,000 total over four years) but may also receive the Alumni Referral Scholarship if referred by someone other than a parent.

Get started

Find more information and a referral form at or contact Julie (Satre) Trytten '01, assistant director of admissions, at [email protected]; Alyssa Ritter '11, associate director of alumni relations, at [email protected]; or [email protected].