Luther College Scholarship


David A. Dettmann was born on March 30, 1949 in West Allis, WI. When he was three years old, his family moved to Knoxville, IA and by the time he was six, they had settled in Caitlin, IL. There, he attended and graduated from Caitlin High School. Jenee A. (Nelson) Dettmann was born on February 2, 1950 in Cedar Rapids, IA where her family lived until she was five years old. They then moved to Arlington Heights, IL where she attended Arlington High School.

Dave and Jenee met while enrolled at Luther College in Decorah, IA. Jenee received her B.A. degree in Sociology from Luther in 1974, and Dave received his B.A. degree in accounting and economics in 1971. He then went on to receive his J.D. and M.B.A. from the Drake University Law School. Since 1974, Dave has been an attorney with Lane and Waterman, and has led a very successful career. Jenee became a stay-at-home mother and used her time and talents as a volunteer for community organizations.

The Dettmann’s have a long family history of association with Luther College. Jenee’s grandfather, Jacob A. Nelson, was an attorney in Decorah. He had three daughters and one son. Until the middle 1930’s, Luther College was an all men’s school. Mr. Nelson wanted to see to it that his daughters received a good post-secondary education, so he became involved and helped organize the Decorah Women’s College, which originally operated independently of Luther College. Over time, the Women’s College and Luther College worked out an arrangement so students attending the Women’s College could take classes on the Luther campus. Mr. Nelson is noted in the history of Luther College by David T. Nelson, Luther College: 1861-1961, as being a strong supporter of making Luther College a co-educational institution. He was reported in history as making motions at the annual Norwegian Lutheran Synod meeting to make Luther College a co-educational institution.

Jenee’s three aunts were among the first women to be awarded degrees from Luther, and her parents and sister attended the college as well. Jenee’s parents established the Justin A. & Milly M. Nelson Scholarship at Luther. Her father served as an advisor to several Luther College presidents, and was a member of the college’s Board of Regents.

Dave’s uncle, brother, the Dettmann’s two children and their spouses also attended Luther. Dave and Jenee have been very active in serving on various committees at Luther, and have participated in many campaigns to raise additional funds for the college.

The Dettmann’s have also managed to be very involved in their community. Jenee has volunteered at their children’s school and for other organizations including the Bettendorf Family Museum. Dave has been an active board member and officer with the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, board member and officer for the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, and also with Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bettendorf. Additionally, he has led two building projects that have added educational space to the church, a new sanctuary and a gathering area.

"Our fund allows us to support programs that enhance the lives of children, individuals, families and businesses."

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Did You Know?

The Rotary Club of Davenport has utilized the Community Foundation to administer their annual scholarship since 2001.
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