This spring, I was asked by a first-year student, “What does being a Lute mean to you?” To me, being a Lute means caring–caring about thoughtful inquiry, caring about service, caring about leadership, caring about other people, caring about community, and caring about the earth. Here are two unsolicited emails I’ve received within the past two weeks of the student’s question that speak to exactly these characteristics of being a Lute:
I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with my daughter this past Saturday. The feeling on campus was electric and it’s always inspiring to see all those young folks making a difference.
I also wanted to say that you guys at PLU are doing great. Yours is the only school [she] is applying to where there is a feeling of connection. She has had more personal correspondence, letters, e-mails and written word sent to her from PLU than anywhere! Students, faculty, counselors etc. It all makes a difference.
As you may note, I work at [another University] and have been here for 16 years. We can’t hold a candle to PLU’s attention to personal details. We would do well to take a page from your playbook!
I wanted to reach out and let you know how thrilled I was to see you in the audience for the Governor’s State of the State speech.
As one of the Governor’s Senior Advisors and as a PLU alum (2008), I couldn’t help but be proud to have you representing the university that had such a profound impact on me.
The university’s commitment to service, leadership, and social justice has been instilled in me and is a constant influence in my daily decision making.
I am often recognized by my peers for my ability to think about complex problems in a unique way that accounts for the larger picture. In trying to determine what has created this unique skill, there’s no doubt in my mind that the courses and experiences at PLU provided a rigor of thought that I could not have discovered on my own.
For this, I am forever indebted to all the professors who pushed me to think differently, to question, to stand for something, and to promote justice. Their willingness, patience, and desire to help a student like myself develop the skills necessary to grow, to be inspired and strive for change is without a doubt the foundation of the success I’ve had to date and will have in the future. For me, Leslie Foley exemplifies the sort of impact that a person can have on the course of one’s life.