76 MLC Student-Athletes Named Academic All-UMAC

NEW ULM, Minn. – Martin Luther College finished the winter and spring sports season with 76 student-athletes named Academic All-UMAC

The total was just one shy of St. Scholastica’s UMAC-leading 77 honorees.

MLC also finished with the highest team grade point average (GPA) in four of the eight sports. The women’s tennis (3.752), men’s tennis (3.724), softball (3.692), women’s basketball (3.595) and baseball (3.342) each finished the season with the highest GPA in their respective sports.

That marks nine of MLC’s 16 sports teams to finish with the highest GPA in their sports, joining the volleyball, women’s cross country, women’s soccer and men’s soccer teams from the fall sports season.

To earn Academic All-UMAC honors, a student-athlete must record a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the semester(s) of competition.

You can read the full UMAC release on the academic awards if you click here.

To see the list of individual honorees, click here.

Equipping Christian Witnesses

With the permission of WELS Conference of Presidents, we will conduct a two-year capital campaign in conjunction with the 2020 silver anniversary of MLC. The title, “Equipping Christian Witnesses,” not only reflects the mission of our institution—to train a corps of Christian witnesses to meet WELS ministry needs—but also the pillars of this campaign: recruitment, financial aid, and facilities.

Click here to learn more about this campaign.

Thank You for your service!


On May 9, 2018 Martin Luther College presented the following awards to these members of the 2018 graduating class:

(Back row L-R) Ethan Schultz – UMAC Knight Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award Nomination, Jerome Kruse Knight Award for Athletic Achievement and MLC Leading Scholar for Studies in Pastoral Ministry; Evan Arrowsmith – Student Body President Recognition; Joel Prange – MLC Via Veritas Vita Award; Carl Boeder – MLC Fine Arts Award; Stanley Draper – Brooks Scholarship; Kira Grev – UMAC Knight Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award Nomination, UMAC Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award, and Jerome Kruse Knight Award for Athletic Achievement; Elizabeth Duff – MLC Leading Scholar for Studies in Educational Ministry; Danielle Hall – MLC Service Award

Congratulations to all these senior award recipients!

Anna Hemmelman Named UMAC Player of the Year

Anna Hemmelman (Luther) was named UMAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year on Tuesday following a stellar sophomore season.
Hemmelman finished the season 7-0 in UMAC play to become the first player in program history to complete a season with an unbeaten singles record from the number one spot in the line-up. She finished the season with an 11-match winning streak and a 13-3 overall record.
Senior Rachel Riediger (Luther) joined her on the All-UMAC team for the second straight season.

2018 Thalassa Winner

Congratulations to Micah Ricke ’10 for his winning essay and image entitled “Auntie Nancy.” Micah and his wife, Kayla, live, learn, and work in a metropolitan area in southeast Asia, where they make friends and share the gospel.

This is the twelfth annual Thalassa Prize. Micah has won $1,000, of which $500 will be sent to the mission he designates.

Click here to read essay

12th Annual Thalassa Prize

Martin Luther College is accepting submissions for the 12th annual Thalassa Prize. This $1000 award is given to the best photo-and-essay submission from an MLC student or graduate who has served in an international ministry.

More than 100 entries have been submitted during the last decade, with the Thalassa Prize awarded to these 11 people: Kristina Wessel, Dominican Republic (2007); Rachel Kionka, Malawi (2008); Rachel Meyer, Southeast Asia (2009); Gretchen Schmiege, Southeast Asia (2010); Amber Schlomer, Southeast Asia (2011); Paul Kelm, Czech Republic (2012); Maria Reese, Malawi (2013); Chris Pluger, Zambia (2014); Sara Schmeling, Russia (2015); Johannah Crass, Antigua (2016); Rebecca Wendland, Malawi (2017).

Might you be the winner for 2018? For submission guidelines, go to www.mlc-wels.edu/thalassa. Deadline: May 3, 2018.


Kira Grev Wins UMAC Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award

Senior Kira Grev (SCLA) was named the female recipient of the UMAC Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award on Wednesday.
The award recognizes student-athletes who excel in academics, leadership, and service, and is given to one senior male and female each year.
Grev is not only a four-time First-Team All-UMAC performer on the court in volleyball, but also a four-time team captain and a four-time Academic All-UMAC honoree with a career 3.98 grade point average. Grev is the third MLC student-athlete to win this award, joining Nathan Nass (’08) and April Cook (’11).

A Passion for Leadership in ECE

The children at the WELS preschool in Raleigh, North Carolina, would never guess that Mrs. Kiecker, the teacher they love so much, never planned on teaching preschool. But early childhood education (ECE)—and becoming a leader in ECE—is now her passion.

As a student, Julianna (Meyer ’11) Kiecker (pictured) couldn’t wait to teach Spanish. She’d double-majored in elementary ed and Spanish, even teaching a while in the Dominican Republic. When she graduated, so did her new seminary-trained husband, Phil Kiecker, and he was assigned as pastor to Gethsemane-Raleigh NC. Julianna received a call too—to the congregation’s preschool.

“I was terrified. What was God thinking!?” she said. “I was supposed to be doing ministry using Spanish.” Gethsemane’s preschool, Precious Lambs Early Learning Center, had been a thriving ministry, but calls and pregnancies had depleted its staff, enrollment had fallen from 29 to 9, and the center was on the brink of closure. Unless they got a new director. So Julianna said yes. “Even though I didn’t understand God’s plans, he was calling me to this ministry. I felt I should at least try.”

“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” That passage from 2 Corinthians 4 summarizes the beginning of her ministry, Julianna says. It was difficult, and she felt unqualified. But she put herself and the Precious Lambs ministry into God’s hands, and he did his work. Enrollment rose. Financially they got back in the black. WELS teachers were found—not an easy task in that area. And state officials gave the center a five-star rating. Most important, children and families heard the gospel. When a new student asked, “Who’s Jesus?” during Julianna’s first year, she knew how much this ministry mattered. “It blew me away that a child in ‘Christian’ America could have lived four years without ever hearing who Jesus is! There’s nothing as exciting and humbling as being the first person to tell someone about their Savior Jesus, who loves them so much!”

With classrooms filling up and parents requesting infant and toddler care, congregation members started to say the exciting words, “new building.” Though it’s only half-finished today, 70 of 74 available student spots are already spoken for.

“God also worked his power in me,” Julianna said, “turning preschool education into something I felt passionately about.” She decided it was time to look into master’s programs so she could be the best director possible.

The University of North Carolina would have given her a free ride for the entire program, and she considered it. “But every time I looked at their courses,” she said, “I felt underwhelmed.” They focused on political issues, preparing their graduates to be ECE activists. “That didn’t match up with my goals. I wanted courses in how to be a leader, a mentor to teachers, and an expert in ECE.”

MLC’s new MA in Educational Administration was a perfect fit. “I was excited to see that every single course would be relevant to our ministry, and the professors and students would be approaching the issues from a ministry point of view. I struggled for a bit with the fact that I’d be paying for the program when I could complete a similar degree for free. In the end, though, I felt the degree itself was less important than the knowledge and skills I would get out of it. In this respect, the two programs were not equal.”

With financial assistance from her congregation, she’s now in her fourth semester of MLC’s program. “Every single course has been extremely helpful! The insight from professors and peers who understand the unique challenges of ministry is invaluable.”

Julianna says she’s still a jar of clay, totally dependent on the power of God, but as Precious Lambs opens their expanded center, MLC’s courses are giving her the extra confidence she needs. “I’m so glad I made the decision to enroll. I know that what I have learned so far has already influenced me as a leader, director, and teacher.”

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Spring 2018 issue.