A Message from California Lutheran University

A Message from California Lutheran University

California Lutheran University is home to 3,981 graduate and undergraduate students who come from more than 49 countries and represent a wide variety of faiths. As an institution of the ELCA and member of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU), we are delighted at this opportunity to share about the university.

At the beginning of September, Cal Lutheran welcomed its eighth president. Dr. Lori Varlotta is the first female president in Cal Lutheran’s 61-year history, and she comes to the university as an established leader with broad experience in academic affairs and curriculum reform, enrollment management and student affairs, budget and planning, and fundraising. To learn more about Dr. Varlotta, click here.

Cal Lutheran is committed to a safe return to campus in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have welcomed 385 residential students to campus and 21 students in the Overture Apartments in Berkeley. We are also delivering virtual instruction, and providing both virtual and in-person service to students. Per health guidelines and recommendations to reduce risk for students, undergraduate classes began on August 31 and conclude before a week-long Thanksgiving break. Finals will be given virtually during the week following Thanksgiving. Graduate and Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals programs will maintain their previously planned schedules and are in a virtual format. At Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS), this is the first year that the MDiv degree is hosted completely online.

Many offices on campus have worked to provide virtual and hybrid programming. Student Life has offered a variety of ways to engage in-person with physical distancing or virtually. One example is Paint Night in the Park, where students could come to Kingsmen Park to paint or choose to participate virtually and all of the materials were sent to them. Another is Latinx Heritage Month Trivia Night and Playlist in the Park to listen to musical genres from Bachata, Urban Latin music, and Salsa. Campus Ministry has partnered with the Community Service Center to host an Interfaith Mindful Meditation Prayer Group.

Cal Lutheran is committed to building and supporting a culture of equity, inclusion, and diversity. One initiative is to initiate and maintain broad systemic changes to support a culture of anti-racism in our community. Visit our website to learn more about our projects and progress.

PLTS has now completed a three-year Green-Justice Seminary certification process by the Green Seminary Initiative. PLTS is one of thirteen seminaries in the U.S. which has met all of the requirements to receive this certification. In September, they announced the establishment of the new Center for Climate Justice and Faith. In collaboration with the Lutheran World Federation, Lutherans Restoring Creation, and the ELCA Hunger Program, a new Certificate program in Climate Justice and Faith will be offered beginning next fall.

There are many programs and initiatives at Cal Lutheran that extend our reach beyond the campus community. Offered through the School for Professional and Continuing Studies, the “Fifty and Better” program is designed for members of our community who are 50 years of age and older and want to continue learning — just for the enjoyment and stimulation of pursuing knowledge and social engagement through interactive courses and extracurricular activities. The Thriving Leadership Formation program brings pastors, deacons and other ELCA leaders together in person and online to cultivate skills and networks of trust, support, spiritual practice and accountability. We offer resources for congregations to host a Cal Lutheran Sunday providing video sermons, music from Cal Lutheran, downloadable brochures, and a representative from the university to speak with the congregation. To learn more about Cal Lutheran Sunday, contact Linda LeBlanc at leblanc@callutheran.edu.

Thank you for your support of California Lutheran University. The generosity of your gifts fuel the caring, community efforts necessary to lift up our students as leaders for a global society.