Welcome, Class Reunions

Five groups totaling more than 250 attendees came to campus to celebrate, reminisce, and reunite in the past few months.

Are you part of a class celebrating a milestone year in 2019? Looking to bring your team, cast, or friend group together on campus? We’d love to have you here on the hill. Contact the Alumni Office for assistance in facilitating your event.

Hosting Student Teachers— A Ministry of Hospitality

It was easy for Ginger Oestreich (Morning Star-Jackson WI) to list a dozen reasons why she and her husband, Mark, have hosted MLC student teachers.

“Being able to see what the Lord was doing with these kids and knowing some lucky classroom was going to receive one of them is probably the best reason,” she says.

Over the last five years, Mark and Ginger (pictured, center, with their family) have hosted nine student teachers, eight women and one man. The college students stay in the bedrooms her older boys used to sleep in, and since she makes suppers every night anyway, the student teachers make an easy addition to the family.

“I like to discuss their day with them at night,” she says. “We can sometimes answer questions or listen as they work out difficulties. The result is growing friendships that last a lifetime. We’ve been invited to weddings. We get pictures of babies. We even receive plain ‘how are you doing?’ notes. It’s like we have a large extended family all over the US.”

Professor Paul Tess DMLC ’77, MLC director of clinical experiences, is deeply grateful to families like the Oestreichs who host student teachers. “Giving student teachers a comfortable place to stay helps them put forth the best effort in the classroom,” he says.

About 100 MLC student teachers need housing every year, primarily near Wisconsin cities with an abundance of WELS schools—like Milwaukee, La Crosse, Watertown, and Appleton—but also near area Lutheran high schools in outlying districts. The teaching semester is 10 weeks, and MLC offers up to $790 in reimbursement for room and board, although many families donate some or all of that money back to the college.

The only requirements are a private bedroom for sleeping and studying, bathroom access, internet access, a parking spot for their car, and simple meals. Some families are fairly involved in their student teachers’ lives, and some are more hands-off, just offering a relaxing place to eat, study, and rest.

Hosting called workers and workers-in-training is a ministr y of hospitality with a rich scriptural histor y. We all remember Lydia, the seller of purple, who said to the apostle Paul very simply, “Come into my house and stay.” Professor Tess hopes that even more WELS families will participate in this tradition, joining families like the Oestreichs and saying to MLC student teachers: “Come into our house and stay.”

Would you like to learn more about hosting a student teacher in your home? Contact your school principal or Professor Paul Tess at tesspa@mlc-wels.edu.

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

Best Online College in the Nation!

SR Education Group just named Martin Luther College’s Graduate Studies program the 2018 Best Online Christian College in the nation!

Using affordability and academic rigor as its criteria, this group evaluated all 328 accredited Christian colleges in the United States that offer at least one fully online program. MLC offers three degrees
comprised of eight programs:

  • MS-Education (ed tech, special ed, instruction, leadership)
  • MS-Educational Administration (principal, early childhood director)
  • MA-Theological Studies

Other colleges notching in the top 25 are Hamline University (MN), Augustana University (SD), and Valparaiso University (IN). Check it out at mlc-wels.edu/go/best-onlinechristian- college.

We are grateful to all WELS congregations and individual donors who support MLC. Your gifts allow us to keep our tuition low and the quality of our professors and programs high.

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

A Summer of Serving our Savior

by Julia Schibbelhut ’21 (St. Paul-Onalaska WI)


What’s your idea of a perfect summer? For 22 students at MLC, there’s no place they’d rather be than Camp Phillip—a summer camp in Wautoma, Wisconsin. These camp counselors don’t just jam out with kids around the campfire, lead adventures on the ropes course, and perform nightly skits, they also share the gospel with the children in their care—up to 1,200 campers throughout the summer!

“It is such a huge blessing to work directly with kids and with people who are so inspiring and passionate about ministry,” says Kasandra Wagner (Good Shepherd-Sioux Falls SD). Camp Phillip loves the MLC students in its crew, and MLC loves the real-life ministry experience that these students get at camp.


Mykenna Schneiter (Faith-Fond du Lac WI, pictured) spent a week this summer at Sure Foundation-Queens NY teaching kids
about color, creativity, and Christ. Mykenna and fellow MLC students Rachel Goddard (St. Paul-Saginaw MI) and Gabe Jacobsen (Shepherd of the Lakes-Fairmont MN) taught Bible stories and led art activities connected to the stories.

“At first, most of the kids wouldn’t answer any questions during Bible time,” she says, “but by the end of the week, they were raising their hands and sharing the Bible knowledge they had learned. It was so cool to see God’s Word at work!”


“This summer, I had the opportunity to spread Jesus’ love to people in Ukraine,” says preseminary student Caleb Christopher (Faith-Sharpsburg GA, pictured, front left, with his new Ukrainian friends). “This trip was the experience of a lifetime. It changed my outlook on outreach and the power of God’s Word.” For over a month, Caleb assisted two churches—aiding them in worship services and VBS programs.

“I was able to convey Jesus’ love to kids whose language I hardly spoke,” Caleb says. “The experience gave me friendships that will last into eternity and taught me that God’s love spans cultural and linguistic borders.”


Moriah Poehlman (St. John-Maribel WI, pictured) and Donovan Waege (St. Paul-Tomah WI) got their hands dirty (and their faces too!) while teaching kiddos at St. John-Maribel’s summer camp.

“I learned to treasure the kids and how much fun they are,” says Moriah. “Seeing their unique personalities made me look forward to my first call and meeting my future students!”

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

2018-2019 Martin Luther College Governing Board

Back: Timothy Petermann, Steven Rosenbaum DMLC ’86 (secretary), Andrew Van Weele ’04, Michael Krueger, Michael Woldt WLS ’81 (chair), Paul Prange WLS ’88 (Ministerial Education administrator), Mark Zarling WLS ’80 (MLC president), Randy Matter, Joe Archer DMLC ’78. Front: Geoffrey Kieta WLS ’93, Mark Wessel WLS ’86, Daniel Leyrer WLS ’89, Michael Seifert WLS ’03 (vice chair), David Uhlhorn ’99, Michael Valleau, Dale Krause, Michael Lindemann WLS ’91, Dennis Klatt WLS ’88 (Minnesota District president).

The MLC Governing Board met September 27-28, 2018, on campus. They participated in Bible study, heard reports, discussed multiple topics, and acted on the following issues:

Calls: Approved the calling of one teacher candidate to serve as physical education professor and coach.

Costs: Approved undergraduate tuition, room & board increases of 3% for 2019-20. Concurrently approved a 5% increase in institutional financial aid. Per-credit cost for continuing education and graduate students will remain unchanged.

Athletic Facilities: Granted permission to MLC Administrative Council to continue a feasibility study of a partnership with New Ulm Department of Recreation for the building of a multipurpose permanent structure at the MLC Athletic Complex.

Facility Preservation: Approved the setting aside of monies for asset preservation, specifically related to Centennial Hall and Old Main, in surplus of unrestricted funds. Also approved a request to the Synodical Council for a grant from the Financial Stabilization Fund for the remaining costs of MLC’s unfunded Centennial Hall projects in FY20.

Asset Policy: Approved the revised Unrestricted Net Asset Policy dated September 28, 2018, which includes provisions for ownership of movable equipment and library books and increases the Economic Stabilization Fund minimum to 10% of the current operating budget.

Scott Schmudlach DMLC ’85
Vice President for Administration

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

Football on a Roll

A lot can happen in two years. The MLC football program can attest to that. Two years after a winless 2016 season, the Knights sit in first place in the UMAC with a 5-1 record (4-0 in conference play) and several nationally recognized players.

Following a strong performance in a season-opening loss to Gustavus Adolphus (32-20), the Knights came from behind to win 28-24 at Rockford, thanks to a 68-yard touchdown strike from #4 Zach Bloomquist (WISCO / St. Jacobi-Greenfield WI, pictured) to Josh Arndt (St. Croix LA / Good Shepherd-Burnsville MN) with under one minute to play.

That win got the ball rolling for the Knights, who opened league play on September 22 with a dominating 63-28 win at Greenville. Bloomquist accounted for five touchdowns (three rushing, two passing) in the win, and was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week for his performance. The following week, MLC proved it belonged with the best teams in the conference with a 49-21 win over St. Scholastica. The Knights trailed 21-7 in that game in the second quarter, but ripped off 42 unanswered points on the way to their first win over CSS since 2010. This time, it was defensive lineman Dan Gensmer’s (Michigan Lutheran Seminary / Abiding Love-Cape Coral FL) turn in the spotlight, as he became the first MLC defensive player in program history to be named to the D3football.com Team of the Week thanks to a three-sack effort.

MLC came out of that game with a target on its chest, and the team needed second-half comebacks the next two weeks to remain unbeaten in league play. The Knights overcame a 21-7 deficit in the fourth quarter at Iowa Wesleyan, with Arndt once again scoring the game-winner on a 74-yard toss from Joshua Schroeder (Luther Prep / St. Peter-Modesto CA) on a trick play.

The following week, the Knights scored four touchdowns in the second half to secure a 28-12 Homecoming win over Westminster. That victory, the fifth straight, put this team in the books, tied for most consecutive wins in program history. Through the season’s first six weeks, the Knights set new single-game records for total yards (711 at Greenville), passing yards (405 at Greenville), and rushing yards (477 v. St. Scholastica). They lead the UMAC in points (36.0), total yards (461.2), and rushing yards (265.8) per game on offense, while also ranking first in rushing yards allowed (90.2) and interceptions (nine) on defense. Four different players—Arndt, Bloomquist, Gensmer, and Austin DeNoyer (Lakeside LHS / St. Paul-Lake Mills WI)—have earned UMAC Player of the Week honors as well.

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

A Strong Principal for Every School

The 21st Century Lutheran Principal Initiative

The 2017 Principal Cohort with mentors and CLS staff: (front) Lowell Holtz (mentor), Charles Galecki ’15, Nathan Schultz ’05, Brett Bengel ’07, Justin Krause ’09,’18, Kyle Seim ’11; (back) Ben Washburn ’97 (mentor), Tom Plitzuweit ’97, ’16 (CLS associate director), Dave Schroeder DMLC ’93 (mentor), Jim Rademan DMLC ’82 (CLS director), Philip Gustafson ’09, ’16

Goal: Every WELS school will have a strong principal— with the training and experience needed to manage today’s complex educational environment, with adequate time for all duties, and with a compensation rate commensurate with the demands of the call.

Problem: WELS loses 25 principals a year, only six of those to retirement. Others go back to classroom teaching or leave the ministry altogether. Those who leave cite insufficient time, training, and compensation as the main reasons. Those same insufficiencies also hinder recruitment of new principals.

Proposed solution: The 21st Century Lutheran Principal Initiative was approved by the WELS 2017 Convention (resolution 14-2) to meet all these needs, thereby strengthening schools and increasing student learning. Dr. John Meyer DMLC ’87, MLC director of graduate studies and continuing education, explains: “The 21st Century Lutheran Principal Initiative is a plan to stop the attrition and give principals the tools they need to be successful. We want to recruit and fully prepare experienced teachers prior to calling them to principal position —positions that will provide sufficient administrative time and compensation.

“This is a radical departure from the historical approach to Lutheran school leadership, where we called teachers with little training to the principalship. We even assigned new graduates to teacher-principal positons. With scant training and experience, these graduates, often the most promising teachers, burned out. From 2012-2016, for example, 30% of the 31 principal assignees left ministry completely.”

The 21st Century Lutheran Principal Initiative addresses these concerns with three key components:

  1. Only proven teachers with at least three years of
    experience will be recruited to the principalship.
  2. These candidates will be fully trained before being
    called to a principal position.
  3. These candidates can be called only by schools that
    provide at least the synod-adopted minimums for
    administrative time and compensation.

The training (#2 above) is a program developed jointly by the WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools and Martin Luther College. It involves three years of leadership experiences and the completion of MLC’s MS-Educational Administration. Annual cohorts of 15 people will be recruited. Two cohorts have already begun.

Scholarships: Because graduate studies tuition may be an impediment, we’re seeking a quarter million dollars in scholarship funding to incentivize experienced teacher leaders to join the principal cohorts.

“The 21st Century Lutheran Principal Initiative creates a new WELS organizational paradigm for leadership recruitment and preparation,” says Dr. Meyer. “We ask God to bless our efforts to prepare strong leaders for WELS schools, that we may even more effectively educate our children, nurture our families, and share the good news of life in Jesus Christ.”

Interested? Contact Dr. John Meyer at meyerjd@mlc-wels.edu.

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

Lindemann Named All-UMAC

Junior Alison Lindemann (Luther Prep / St. John-Lewiston MN, pictured) became the first player in MLC women’s golf program history to earn All-UMAC honors this fall. Lindemann earned the honor after taking seventh place at the UMAC Women’s Golf Championships with a three-day score of 278 strokes. She started that tournament with a round of 98 in tough conditions, but came right back to tie for the lowest round-two score at the event (87) before closing the tournament with a 93 on the final day.

Lindemann recorded a strong fall season, finishing sixth in the conference with an average score of 92.9 strokes in 11 rounds of competition. She tied for first place at the UMAC Preview event on September 6, and also took home individual medalist honors at the UNW Invite on September 25 with a career-best round of 86.

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

Luther Interpretive Trail & Environmental Site

Established by a Faculty Initiative Grant requested by Professor Steve Thiesfeldt in 2006, Luther Interpretive Trail & Environmental Site (LITES) is a seven-acre plot adjacent to Flandrau State Park that has been patiently developed to serve as an outdoor classroom for environmental science students.

Ongoing improvement of the site includes removing invasive species, reestablishing native prairie flora, creating an interpretive trail with markers noting points of natural interest, building a pavilion/shelter with benches for classes, and beginning the collection of data: vegetation, animal life, soil conditions, temperature and moisture, and so on. MLC Grounds Supervisor Tim Rambow oversees all physical improvements to the property. Professor Thiesfeldt envisions that every MLC student will visit LITES at least once during a required science course. Science education majors might use the site in many different ways. Visitors from elementary and high schools could also participate in outdoor activities on the site.

“Ultimately,” he says, “the project will emphasize the wise stewardship of resources entrusted to us by our gracious God. Students will enhance their knowledge of the natural world and learn to appreciate the delicate balance required to sustain life on this planet.”

Professor Dan Fenske has already utilized LITES with his biology students to do tree, bird call, and animal-track
identification. He also plans to do a study of the invertebrates in the pond. “And no,” he adds, “there have been no Bigfoot sightings so far.”

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