RAISE Podcast: Jenifer Ward, Luther College

On this special episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent chats with Dr. Jenifer Ward, President of Luther College. Dr. Ward is a classmate and friend of Martin Shell, VP of Development at Stanford University, who we featured on an earlier episode of the pod. We love connecting the podcast dots!

Dr. Ward shares about her journey to the presidency at Luther College, and shares helpful insights for any higher ed folks with aspirations to become a college president.

Catch the full episode here.



On this episode, you’ll learn more about…

  • How Dr. Ward’s life was changed because a high school German teacher believed in her potential, and even went so far as to drive Dr. Ward to a Germanic language convention on her way to her honeymoon.
  • The potential benefits of taking an “I love this, therefore I will study this” approach to selecting a college major.
  • Dr. Ward’s experience singing with “Jenny K and the Sidewinders” in Nashville.
  • Dr. Ward’s father, John Ward. Among many other things, he was the PR director for Winthrop Rockefeller, managing editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, founder of the Institute of Politics and Government in Arkansas, and Martin Shell’s mentor.
  • Dr. Ward’s dissertation on “Germanness and womanness” through the analysis of the films of Margarethe von Trotta.
  • How “weekly poundings” (the local community’s providing of a pound of meat, coffee, eggs, etc. to the doorstep of their local minister) were the original crowdfunding.
  • Dr. Ward’s decision to move a full day of her Luther inauguration activities off-campus to downtown Decorah.
  • Her first-hand reflections on the regular Zoom coffee gatherings that she holds with groups of 10-ish alums.

Quick bio 

Jenifer K. Ward is the 11th President of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Born and raised in Conway, AR, she received a BA at Hendrix College, a PhD at Vanderbilt University, and taught German and Film Studies at The College of Wooster, Rhodes College, and Gustavus Adolphus College, before embarking on an administrative career as Dean of the College at Cornish College of the Arts, Provost at Centenary College of Louisiana, and finally President at Luther. Her scholarly work has been in the area of German film and adaptation studies.

Want to connect with Dr. Ward? Reach out to us and we will put you in touch!

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