"You’re the result of survivors,” Homer Luther told those gathered for October’s anniversary celebrations. For his many years of service to the school, Luther was honored as Chairman Emeritus of the NOLS Board of Trustees.
Luther spoke about watching the Nature Channel with his grandson, in particular a program about the evolution of primates. “I watched these chimps hitting one another over the head with rocks, trying to crack nuts,” he said. “This is how it was at the beginning of NOLS. The stories we could tell.”
Luther has completed several NOLS courses, as well as exploratory trips for the school. Following his Wind River Mountain-eering course in 1977, Luther joined the NOLS Board of Trustees. Since then he’s held various positions, including several terms as chairman, vice chairman and treasurer.
Stability was the main goal when Luther first joined the board in the 70s. “I think the orangutans and chimps that were there would say that survival in the wilderness is important,” reflects Luther. “But the survival of the school was critical there for a number of years.”
A private investor and graduate of Harvard Business School, Luther sought to diversify and strengthen NOLS through the involvement of individuals with specialized talents like legal, insurance, marketing and financial expertise. “What a lot of people don’t realize,” Luther says, “is that when the two worlds of wilderness and business came together, it wasn’t a one-way exchange. These competitive career people would often just flat rearrange their lives after coming into NOLS, meeting the people and experiencing the wilderness.”
Luther’s contributions to NOLS over time have been representative of more than just a passing interest. “Rather than an incidental thing, NOLS has been closer to the core of what’s important to me,” says Luther. “The school has always been consistent with my own personal interests.”