- Mr. Dave Biedenbender, who currently serves as an admissions counselor, has accepted the appointment as interim athletic director for the 2022-23 school year. In addition to having earned a master’s in athletic administration, Dave has considerable coaching experience and has worked with the MLC athletic department in many capacities.
- Mr. Jeff Sitz, a recently retired athletic director at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee and assistant executive director of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association, has agreed to serve as a consultant/mentor for Mr. Biedenbender as he assumes the interim athletic director role.
- The MLC Governing Board, at its October meeting, will determine the wisest long-term path for moving forward to fill the athletic director position.
Today (Saturday, July 30), in wisdom far beyond our own, and in boundless love for us in Christ that is also at times hard for us to fully understand, God has seen fit to call to himself in heaven the soul of our brother, Jim Unke.
After the stroke Jim suffered on Friday, July 15, it became clear, as last week drew to a close, that the fatal brain injury the stroke caused would mean that God would soon be calling his faithful servant home to himself in heaven.
We will be sure to pass on information about Jim’s funeral service as soon as that is shared with us.
You may recall that just this April, Jim was among those on our campus who thanked God for completing a significant ministry milestone as he celebrated 40 years of public gospel ministry:
- 1 year as an emergency instructor at East Fork Lutheran High School, Whiteriver, AZ (1980-1981);
- 4 years as 8th grade teacher and athletic director at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in New Ulm, MN (1983-1987);
- 10 years as athletic director at Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills, WI (1987-1997); and
- 25 years as director of athletics at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN (1997-2022).
The seal of MLC where Jim served so faithfully for 25 years has the Latin word vivit (“he lives”) inscribed around the outside. Vivit is a reminder that, in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we have the certainty that God has declared us not-guilty and that because Jesus lives, we too shall live (John 14:25).
On this day, Jim has begun to experience in a whole new glorious way that truth on our MLC seal under which he served for 25 years, Yes, even on this day of Jim’s death, this is true: Vivit!
Please remember to keep in your prayers Jim’s wife Lori, their children, grandchildren, and the rest of their extended families, as they mourn the earthly loss of a faithful and loving husband, father, and grandfather. Please keep our college of ministry in your prayers as our campus family feels the earthly loss of a friend, a co-worker, and a brother in Christ.
But, in Christ, while we do indeed grieve, we do not grieve without hope as the unbelieving world does (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We grieve in hope. Why? Vivit!
President, Martin Luther College
Professor Jim Unke, Martin Luther College Athletic Director, suffered a major stroke on Friday, July 15. After being transferred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, a surgical procedure was performed to relieve pressure from bleeding in the brain. The doctors are pleased with the results of that procedure. He will likely remain in ICU for the next 10-14 days. Prayers for God’s continued blessing on Jim, Lori, and their family are appreciated during this long road to recovery.
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We’ll be posting photos and stories, highlighting special classroom incentives, and updating progress reports on the MLC Facebook and Instagram pages.
- – Converting the two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway
- Bypassing Courtland by realigning Hwy 14 north of the city
- Constructing new interchanges in Courtland and at Co. Rd. 37 in New Ulm
- Constructing safer intersections between New Ulm Quartzite Quarries and Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School
The 2021 WELS National Choral Fest took place November 12-14, 2021 at Martin Luther College under the theme “One Faith, One Hope, One Lord.” Twenty-three WELS Lutheran High Schools from around the nation participated.
You can view the archived livestream of this event below:
Learn more at welsfinearts.org/2021-wels-national-choral-fest
MLC President Rich Gurgel provides an overview and rationale related to the health and safety protocols for the start of our new school year.
Greetings, Knight Nation! Your MLC family is very, very eager to see you on campus!
We have been hearing concerns from some of you for what it may mean on our MLC campus as our country feels the impact of a rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant. You may even have heard that many colleges and universities, such as the entire University of Minnesota system, will be requiring masks as this fall semester begins.
Allow me to say it very simply! We have not changed our plans at MLC to be an open campus this school year and to leave masking and social distancing protocols behind.
Why the change from last year? Last year we sought to honor our governor’s mandate, protect those most vulnerable in our campus family, as well as respect the welfare and concerns of a host community with a significant senior population. In addition, vaccines had not been approved during the first semester and didn’t become readily available until the end of our second semester.
All of those key factors have changed. There is no governor’s mandate at present in Minnesota, and no indication that one is being planned. Our faculty and staff vaccination rate stands at over 84%. And the vaccination rate for those 65 or older in Brown County is 98%. Many of you, our students, have also been vaccinated, including those with underly health challenges that make them especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Also consider this: in the state of Minnesota less than 3,500 documented cases of COVID have been reported among more than 3 million vaccinated. That’s a .1% breakthrough rate. Hospitalization from severe cases of COVID 19 among those vaccinated stands at only 1 in 10,000, and the death rate among vaccinated people is less than 2 in 100,000.
All of that has convinced us of this! The good that will be gained by you, our students, as you enjoy as normal of life on campus as possible, far, far outweighs any current risks to our campus family. We say that knowing that we all rest, in the last analysis, in the nail -marked hands of our Savior. We are far more than numbers and statistics to him.
The protocols that will be in place will be very few: the US Department of Transportation has not changed their masking requirement on public transportation (which includes our chartered buses for athletic teams or musical ensembles). Allina Health Care, which staffs our training room, has a mask mandate which will apply to all who enter the training room. There will also be quarantine for unvaccinated students, staff or faculty who are in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID 19. And, finally, just as would with any contagious illness, those who test positive for COVID 19 will be isolation until they have recovered.
Other than that, we thank God that we are anticipating that life on and off campus will resemble a regular school year. I know many of you, in particular, are glad for the return of open dorms! I am most looking forward to seeing our whole campus family all together at one time in Chapel of the Christ as we gather for daily worship! We thank God for these and all such restorations of what it means to be a campus family on this hill! Most importantly, we know how all of this can contribute to your preparation for gospel ministry!
See you soon, Knights!
Martin Luther College
1995 Luther Court
New Ulm, MN 56073
1 (507) 354-8221
M - F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
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