Story Magazine - Third Quarter, 2004

Alum Survey Asks, “What Can Luther Seminary Do for You? What Can You Do for Luther?”

by By Jeanne Markquart, '01, Alumni/æ Council member

In January of 2004, more than 1,500 alumni/ae of Luther Seminary and its predecessor bodies responded enthusiastically to a survey initiated by the Luther Seminary Alumni/ae Council. The council hoped to span the information gap between Luther and alums, and "to listen better to the actual needs of our constituency," said Joel Quie, '86, president of the Alumni/ae Council.

The survey addressed:

  • Alumni/ae's experience with Luther Seminary as an equipping institution;
  • Their ongoing needs as leaders in Christian communities and how Luther Seminary might be a resource; and
  • Their willingness to encourage others to pursue a call to ministry at Luther Seminary.

The data was divided into three demographic categories: All Respondents, Class of 1960 and beyond, and Class of 1990 and beyond. These distinctions allow us to look at more specific needs and trends for groups at different stages in their ministry.

What Did We Learn from our Survey Respondents?


  • After reviewing Luther Seminary's mission statement, 84.7 percent believe that Luther Seminary is fulfilling its mission or fulfilling it very well.
  • Approximately 92 percent have encouraged individuals with gifts to pursue a call to ministry. About 80 percent have encouraged individuals to attend Luther Seminary.
  • Our alumni/ae are committed to encouraging the next generation of leaders for the church. Overall, 89.6 percent of respondents would encourage individuals with gifts for ministry to pursue their call by attending Luther Seminary. Among recent graduates (Class of 1990 and beyond), 93.3 percent of respondents would encourage others to attend Luther Seminary.
  • Among the resources for ministry that Luther Seminary offers, respondents expressed that it is more important for Luther Seminary to provide continuing education opportunities, resources and information via the Web Site than provide opportunities for networking with colleagues in their geographic area.
  • Of respondents from the Class of 1990 and beyond, 70.4 percent believe it is very important for their ministry that Luther Seminary provides continuing education opportunities.
  • 43.1 percent of respondents who have attended Mid-Winter Convocation at any time since 2000 have found it very helpful to their ministry. An additional 51 percent have found it somewhat helpful.

Additional questions were asked about specific continuing education opportunities and other ministry resources. These results have been shared with those working directly in these areas.

What Will We Do with the Data?

The Alumni/ae Council's role is to facilitate the relationship between the alumni/ae of Luther Seminary and its predecessor bodies, and the seminary community and its resources. The information gathered shows some of what Luther Seminary is able to provide that has ongoing value to those leaders already witnessing to salvation in Jesus Christ and serving in God's world.

The council would like to focus on the types of resources that build value for real life ministry. These results will shape our discussion as, according to Joel Quie, we ask the question, "How can Luther Seminary be an advocate, a blessing so that those who are prospering, surviving, or thriving receive on-going support?"

The flip side of that question is, how can alumni/ae "benefit and bless a great institution like Luther Seminary?" As Luther Seminary pursues its mission, our alumni/ae, with their experience and passion for the gospel, are an important resource for shaping how the next generation of leaders will be educated.

Survey Distribution & Demographics

About 3,400 surveys were sent via email to all alumni/ae for whom Luther had an e-mail address. Another 2,800 surveys were sent via standard mail. A total of 1,562 surveys were completed for an exceptional overall response rate of 25 percent.

Of those who responded:
  • 86 percent graduated in 1960 and after
  • 27 percent graduated in 1990 and after
  • 19.8 percent of respondents were female
  • 80.2 percent were male 69 percent are between the ages of 40 and 69

The Luther Seminary Alumni/ae Council thanks all who participated in this survey.