Luther College Chips

Women’s cross country receives $1 million donation

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Women’s cross country receives $1 million donation

The women's cross country team starts a race during their meet against LaCrosse.

The women's cross country team starts a race during their meet against LaCrosse.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau

The women's cross country team starts a race during their meet against LaCrosse.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau

The women's cross country team starts a race during their meet against LaCrosse.

Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto, Staff Writer

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An anonymous Luther alum donated $1 million to the women’s cross country and track and field program. The donation will go toward creating the Kent Finanger Endowed Chair. This will honor Coach Kent Finanger, who coached from 1956 to 1996 and was vital in developing Luther’s women’s cross country team.

The establishment of this endowed coaching position is the first of its kind in Luther history. The announcement of this gift coincided with Kent Finanger’s 85th birthday. The functions of the chair, in addition with other details related to the gift have not been decided.

Photo Courtesy of luther.edu
Former Luther cross country coach Kent Finanger.

Associate Head Coach of Women’s Cross Country Yarrow Pasche said she expects that this donation will positively impact athletes in the women’s cross country team in the future.
“[The donation] will have a direct impact in the coaching experience for these athletes,” Pasche said. “[It will ensure] a long-term, high-caliber staff that invests and inspires each athlete in the program and is able to recruit individuals that can contribute in a great way to the program. Personal coaching attention is key to the success of any one individual and thus to the success of the team as a whole.”

According to Pasche, the announcement of this gift exemplifies the impact that sports and coaches can have on both athletes and the entire Luther Community.

“[The donor] wanted to give this gift on his 85th birthday in recognition of the tremendous impact Kent Finanger had on her life, both in the realm of running and her overall growth as a person,” Pasche said. “It has the effect of carrying forward the memories and success she experienced here as a runner and allowing for them to be encouraged and supported.”

Member of the women’s cross country team Katherine Hoffman (‘20), hopes that the donation will be used to strengthen the team.

“I think it could be used for equipment for our team, which would really help for recovery and injuries treatment,” Hoffman said. “It will really help our program and encourage people who would want to join the cross country team.”

Hoffman echoed Pasche’s gratefulness toward the donor.

“I feel really grateful that we received [the gift] and I know that we will make a good investment with that [donation],” Hoffman said. “I also thought that it was especially generous because they are not putting their name out there. This is someone who really loves the team.”

Pasche hopes that the positive impact of this donation will continue in the future.
“We look forward to continuing to build on the strong tradition of running here at Luther College and to the fantastic opportunities this gift will inspire for generations to come,” Pasche said.

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