Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 16, the MLC campus family came together for MLK Day 2023: a day dedicated to learning to serve God’s diverse kingdom.
The activities focused on 1 Corinthians 12:12: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” Each session encouraged attendees to prepare for the diversity they will experience in their ministries.
Students, faculty, and staff especially enjoyed speaker Ronald Kelly’s keynote address. Kelly, a pastoral assistant at St. Marcus-Milwaukee and a student in the Joshua Urban Ministry Program, shared his experiences and the ministry he and his wife Shavanaka are leading in the community. He engaged the campus family with humor, stories, and lessons for them to carry into their own ministries.
Another favorite was the panel discussion at the conclusion of the day. Keynote speaker Ronald Kelly, Professor Aaron Robinson (cultural diversity coordinator), and Admissions Counselor Martín Santos answered audience questions on race, diversity, and ministry. Panel speakers shared both frustrating and uplifting experiences and discussed the ministry lessons they learned from those situations.
MLC thanks the organizers, speakers, and attendees for an enlightening experience on MLK Day 2023.
Pictured: Keynote speaker Ronald Kelly presenting to the campus family on MLK Day.

New Face on Campus: Kayte Gut

Professor Kayte Gut (early childhood) is originally from Wausau WI and attended Northland LHS. Her ministry has involved many roles in various regions, which is a blessing to her current work at MLC.
When Professor Gut graduated from MLC, she was assigned to Lambs of Grace-Charlotte NC as a lead teacher and assistant director. From there she served at Abiding Word-Houston and Shepherd of the Valley-Westminster CO. In addition to her congregational ministries, she served as the early childhood district coordinator for the Nebraska District.
“Being able to share God’s Word with the littlest of God’s children is a blessing that looks different depending on the type of ministry you serve,” says Professor Gut. “Every early childhood ministry (ECM) in our synod is unique. The variety of ministries I have been blessed to serve allows me to bring firsthand knowledge and experience to our teacher candidates to better prepare and equip them for the unique opportunities our ECMs offer.”
At MLC, Professor Gut teaches several early childhood courses, including Teaching Literacy, The Arts and Movement in Early Childhood, and Teaching Religion in Early Childhood Education. She also observes student teachers in the early childhood education program and is the assistant women’s soccer coach.
“The best part of preparing called workers for public ministry is seeing them learn how to teach young children,” says Professor Gut. “I get to see them apply what they are learning in class and do what they have ultimately come to MLC to do: teach young children about their Savior’s love for them while preparing those same children for the world they live in.”

Bingo Night Donations

Bingo Night will be Wednesday, February 8, 2023!
The Ladies’ Auxiliary, with wonderful help from the MLC Student Senate, conducts this fun evening in the MLC Auditorium. Last year, nearly 400 students participated. They were excited to win 142 blankets and quilts, along with $3,450 worth of gift cards and cash prizes!
With your help, we will again hand out fabulous prizes of gift cards, quilts, and baked goods to the MLC student winners!
Please help us with this fun break for our MLC students! They always appreciate it, and many describe it as one of the year’s highlights!
By February 1, we’ll need to receive your cash donations for the purchase of gift cards and, of course, your beautiful BLANKETS and QUILTS!
By February 8, we’ll need to receive your baked goods. Bring them to the MLC reception desk by noon, please.
For more information about donating to Bingo Night, email
Thank you from your MLC Ladies’ Auxiliary and from many grateful students!

New Face on Campus: Isaiah Degner

Professor Isaiah Degner (foreign language) grew up in St. Peter MN, where his father served as a pastor. In 2007, he accepted a call to teach Spanish at Fox Valley LHS, where he served until accepting the call to MLC in 2022. At MLC, he’s teaching a variety of Spanish courses, such as Communicating Christ, Spanish and Latin American Literature, and Advanced Spanish Conversation.
Professor Degner’s path to MLC is evidence of God’s perfect plan for his life. After graduating from Minnesota Valley LHS, he studied forestry, natural resources, and wildlife management for one year before transferring to MLC’s preseminary program.
When he started at MLC, Professor Degner selected a Latin emphasis, having studied both Spanish and Latin in high school. “One day, I was ascending the staircase in Old Main when Professor Bases introduced himself and began to explain to me why I needed to take Spanish classes with him,” he says. “He was very persuasive and convinced me to give it a try.”
He hasn’t stopped studying Spanish since. “After my sophomore year at MLC, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an English teacher in Puerto Rico through WELS Kingdom Workers,” he says. “That experience really got me excited about continuing with Spanish and also about teaching.”
Professor Degner now gets to share that excitement with the next generation of called workers. “The best part about preparing future called workers is the faith and fellowship we share and being able to talk about that every day in class,” he says. “It brings me joy to talk about Christ with my students and to get them excited about how they will share Jesus with their future students and members.”

Fun and Fellowship

The MLC Student Senate creates a rich campus life for the student body. This student-elected group organizes events throughout the year. Some highlights during the first semester were trivia nights, the Homecoming talent show, karaoke nights, MLC night at New Ulm Steel hockey, and campus Christmas decoration.

Mary Zellmer (St. Matthew-Iron Ridge WI), Katie Ungemach (First German-Manitowoc WI), Gretchen Lucht, and Alaina Bartel (Resurrection-Chesapeake VA) decorate cookies at the Christmas karaoke event.

While the whole campus enjoys the Senate’s activities, the senators receive an additional blessing from their hard work: ministry preparation. “Student Senate has helped me better understand the behind-the-scenes work it takes to plan a fellowship event and the importance of a dedicated team,” says first-year Senator Gretchen Lucht (Grace-Ringle WI).

Study Abroad: Berlin

Josiah Koelpin with his host-mom Felicitas Spring on the Glienicker Brücke (Bridge) in Berlin.

David Rutschow (Peace-Cottonwood AZ) and Josiah Koelpin (Calvary-Dallas) spent last semester studying abroad in Berlin.

Both young men attended classes, traveled throughout Europe, and worshiped with our WELS sister synod Evangelisch-Lutherische Freikirche (ELFK).
David and Josiah’s blog offered advice to students considering studying abroad. “Be open about new experiences,” says Josiah, “especially if they are out of your comfort zone. The friends I made along the way, my experiences, and the joy of learning I have found are all evidence of God’s hand throughout this semester and always.”
Josiah admits that he felt nervous about maintaining a strong faith in a highly atheist country. To overcome this challenge, David and Josiah connected with other WELS members from the United States and forged friendships with their peers at ELFK congregations.
“Through fellowship at the ELFK churches in Berlin, Hartenstein, and Dresden, and the WELS Heidelberg Retreat, I was well-supported in my faith,” says Josiah.

Student Teaching

How do you spot a student teacher? Look for an excited smile and an air of nervous anticipation.
Elementary and secondary student teachers arrived on campus ready to begin training for their professional semester. Their “boot camp” included research, block plans, and, of course, practice lessons!
But there’s more to preparing for the teaching ministry than academics. “I appreciate students’ willingness to listen to suggestions that will help them become better teachers,” says Student Teacher Supervisor Ron Ohm. “I also appreciate how they see relationship-building between their students and them as an important asset in both instruction and classroom management.”
Preparation for student teaching is essential, but the semester-long teaching experience itself is where students develop the skills they need for ministry.
“Reading students’ final Reflection Journal entry on personal growth is very revealing,” says Professor Ohm. “Each student can think back to how far they’ve come in 10 or even all 16 weeks of student teaching. Often they surprise themselves when they think about how they have grown professionally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

Secondary student teachers gather for a group photo before they begin their public school placements. They will be in Lutheran high schools by March.

December 2022 Graduates

Join us in thanking God for the ministry candidates who completed their programs in December 2022!
The 15 students who completed their programs will walk in the May graduation service. Five candidates received new assignments in December, and two previous assignments were made permanent.
In addition to the 15 program completions, nine candidates completed their ministry certification. May God continue to bless these workers in his field.

Call Activity

Calls Extended by MLC
  • Mr. Duane Vance (Illinois Lutheran Schools) received a call to MLC to serve as professor of education and middle and secondary student teacher supervisor.
  • Pastor Aaron Dolan (Fox Valley LHS) accepted the call to MLC to serve as theology professor and coach.
  • Dr. Nichole LaGrow (Appleton) accepted the call to MLC to serve as professor of education and director of nontraditional programs (Competency-Based Education).
  • Dr. Martin LaGrow (Appleton) accepted the call to MLC to serve as professor of education and instructional design (Competency-Based Education).
Calls Received by MLC Faculty
  • Professor Matthew Pearson (PE) returned a call to teach 7th grade, religion, English, and PE at Mt. Lebanon LES-Milwaukee.
  • Professor Timothy Grundmeier (history) received a call to serve as pastor at Victory-Lexington KY.
  • Professor Timothy Grundmeier (history) returned a call to serve as pastor at Pilgrim-Minneapolis.
  • Admissions Counselor Martín Santos received a call to serve at Huron Valley LHS and Palabra de Vida-Detroit.
  • Professor Nicolas Schmoller (theology & foreign language) returned a call to serve as pastor at Good Shepherd-Midland MI.
  • VP for Student Life Jeff Schone returned a call to serve as pastor at St. John-Whitewater WI.
  • Professor Breanna Olson (PE) returned a call to serve as dean of women, coach, and teacher at Fox Valley LHS.
  • Admissions Counselor Halie Flores accepted a call to teach kindergarten at Immanuel LES-Greenville WI.