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FALL 2012


Luther alumni and friends forge a path where no bike had gone before

Q&A with the President




Senior Candids


Editor Ellen Modersohn Luther Magazine Volume 46, Number 1, Fall 2012

Writer Kate Frentzel

Published by Luther College for alumni, parents, and friends

Designer Michael Bartels

Contributors Dave Blanchard Leah Broderick ’15 Sue (Franzen) Drilling ’78 Sara Friedl-Putnam Jerry Johnson Kirk Johnson ’82 Katherine Langston ’15 Karen Martin-Schramm Marissa Schuh ’14 Ann Sponberg Peterson Judy Riha

Luther Alumni Magazine welcomes articles and signed letters to the editor; submissions may be edited for style, clarity, or length. Inquiries and submissions may be sent to the Editor, Luther Alumni Magazine, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045, phone (563) 387-1350. Class Notes submissions and changes of address may be sent to the Alumni Office at the address above. Alumni news may be e-mailed to the Alumni Office at alumni@ Questions and concerns about the magazine may be e-mailed to

Contents Features Why alumni giving matters


A celebration of grads and green


Senior Candids


Trout Run: A trail come true


The number of alumni who give back to Luther matters even more than the amount each person contributes, says President Richard Torgerson in a Q&A about college costs and support.

Even the graduation gowns were biodegradable at May’s commencement as Hans Brattskar ’79, Norway’s director general and special envoy for climate change, urged graduates to keep the environment foremost in thoughts and actions.

Ten 2012 seniors share the experiences at Luther that helped them decide a course of study, opened doors to a new endeavor, or changed the focus of their entire lives.

A recreational path to provide fun, exercise, and maybe even an economic boost to Luther’s hometown of Decorah was for years just a dream. With help from college alumni and friends, the Trout Run Trail is now complete.

Departments Campus News


Editor’s Note....................................................3 Faculty/Staff News..........................................4 Development News..........................................9 Donor Spotlight.............................................10 College Ministries..........................................12 Student News................................................13 Athletics........................................................14

G.V. Suos ’15

Alumni News


Alumni Profile................................................40 Class Notes...................................................42 Marriages.....................................................59 Births/Adoptions...........................................59 In Memoriam.................................................61

Endpage 64 Alumni Office (800) 225-8664; (800) 2 ALUMNI Admissions Office (800) 458-8437; (800) 4 LUTHER Web Copyright Luther College 2012


inside back

Cover: Alumni and Luther friends who helped create Decorah’s Trout Run Trail gather on the trail’s bridge over Highway 9: (left to right) Keith Christensen ’80, John Hjelle ’87, Harlan Satrom ’82, Larry Grimstad, Mike Harman ’87, Lindsay Erdman, Karla (Luzum) Erdman ’89, Jerry Freund, Don Wurtzel ’74, Mark Donhowe ’70, Mike Huinker, Lora Friest, and Kirk Johnson ’82. Photo by Bob Modersohn

Jerry Johnson

Campus News Among the team of faculty and staff who developed the proposal for the science education initiative were (front, left to right): Mark Eichinger, associate professor of biology; Scott Carlson, associate professor of biology; Jodi Enos-Berlage, associate professor of biology; Eric Baack, assistant professor of biology; (back) Barb Bohach, associate professor of education; Deb (Rusch) Fordice ’82, assistant professor of education; Richard Bernatz ’77, professor of mathematics; Jeanie Lovell, director of corporate and foundation relations; Brad Chamberlain, associate professor of chemistry; Birgitta Meade ’84, instructor in education; (not pictured) Jim Langholz ’77, associate professor of education; Deborah Norland ’75, professor of education; Erin Flater ’01, assistant professor of physics.

Luther receives $1.5 million toward science education A $1.5 million grant to Luther from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute “will provide extraordinary opportunity and resources to link two of Luther’s signature programs—the sciences and teacher education,” Luther President Richard Torgerson said. The grant, announced in May, will go toward the college’s interdisciplinary program fostering development of elementary and secondary science teachers. Luther is one of 47 small colleges and universities in the United States to receive grants totaling more than $50 million to enable the schools to work together to create more engaging science classes, bring real-world research experiences to students, and increase the diversity of students who study science. Each four-year grant is in the range of $800,000 to $1.5 million. Luther is one of eight schools receiving a first-time HHMI award. Robert Tjian, HHMI presi-


Luther Alumni Magazine

dent, said in May that the small size of most of the recipient schools can make them more nimble than larger research universities and better able to quickly develop and test ideas. Luther is one of five schools to receive a HHMI award in the Preparing Future K–12 Teachers program. Others were Lewis & Clark College, $1 million; St. Olaf College, $1 million; the University of Puerto Rico, $900,000; and Whittier College, $800,000. Tjian said a key component of the HHMI grant program is the incentive for these institutions to work collaboratively. “Collaboration is a vital activity that drives science forward,” said Tjian. “We believe that collaboration among institutions can have a similar catalytic effect on science education, and we look forward to seeing these schools work together to develop new science and teaching programs that inspire their students.”

Torgerson spoke about the excitement and enthusiasm the HHMI grant has generated on campus. “We are deeply grateful to HHMI for this award,” he said. “Collectively, the science departments and education department graduate over 25 percent of Luther students. The HHMI award provides a major boost to new initiatives that will transform science education and prepare our students to become future teacher-leaders in science education in the nation’s secondary and elementary schools,” he said. Luther recently completed a $30 million expansion and renovation of its science facilities, which are designed to encourage and promote student-faculty interaction both within and outside the classroom and laboratory. The initiatives funded by the HHMI award will accelerate and enhance those interactions between the science and education disciplines.

More than 30 Luther faculty members from seven academic departments were involved in the conversations leading to the comprehensive grant proposal.

Additional grants • $216,000 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for the Luther archives to host the Archives Leadership Institute for three years, 2013−15. • $2,000 from the Iowa College Foundation’s McElroy Student/ Faculty Research Fund in support of a collaborative student/ faculty research project by Luther biology professor Kirk Larsen and Calla Olson ’14. • $1,810 from the Iowa College Foundation’s McElroy Student/ Faculty Research Fund in support of a collaborative student/ faculty research project by Luther associate professor of biology Beth Lynch and Madeline Kofoed ’14.

Campus News

Campus News Search begins for new Luther president The search for Luther’s new president is under way. Richard L. Torgerson, who has led the college since July 1999, will end his tenure in the summer of 2013. A committee co-chaired by Luther regents Sandy Lee and Paul Torgerson, working with Bruce Alton of AGB Search Inc., has completed a search profile that: • provides an overview of the college • outlines the achievements Luther has made in recent years • defines the primary challenges and opportunities for which the next president will provide leadership • lists the attributes expected of a successful candidate.

Members and friends of the Luther community are urged to consider people they know who could serve effectively as Luther’s next president or who might know of potential candidates. Forward names of prospective candidates or nomination sources in care of The search committee will contact them. Names may also be refered to Alton at AGB Search at (202) 262-8250 or via e-mail at The search committee will begin to narrow the candidate pool in November, and finalist interviews involving the entire Luther campus will be held in February. Read the full presidential search profile online at

Editor's note: A year of changes ahead Welcome to the first Luther Alumni Magazine of the 2012– 13 academic year. This year promises to be one of significant transition for Luther. • Richard Torgerson will end his tenure as president of the college, and a new leader will be selected and join the campus community. (See above.) • Luther’s new 1,250 solar panels will come online, bringing campus closer to the Regentsset goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. (See page 23.) • The college will be seeking to add 1,000–1,200 alumni to the list of those who give back to the college, to bring Luther greater visibility, respect, and support. (See page 17.) • And, at long last, those of us who live, teach, and study in Decorah—along with all the alumni and friends who visit—will be able to ride and walk completely around the town on a beautiful new trail that alumni and friends have worked for years to help create. (See page 35.)

Significant changes are happening at the magazine, too. We’re now online! At, you will find a flipbook version of the magazine as well as extra content such as the full text of the May 2012 commencement speech by Hans Brattskar ’79. Links within the flipbook will also direct you to added content—videos, websites, and more—at the click of your mouse. You will also find the full text of alumni obituaries. In the past, we have had to edit the obituaries for length, but now we list in print the alumni who have passed away, and post their memorials online uncut. We’ve also made design changes in the print magazine. You’ll see more as the year progresses and we strive to make the publication even more engaging. E-mail comments and ideas to magazine@luther. edu, and thanks for reading. — Ellen Modersohn

Left to right: Dennis Flatness ’68, Richard F. Theiler ’72, Chinyere Ukabiala, Lance J. Vander Linden ’79

On board: Four named to Luther regents Luther President Richard Torgerson has announced four additions to the college’s board of regents: Dennis Flatness ’68, Richard F. Theiler ’72, Chinyere Ukabiala, and Lance J. Vander Linden ’79. “By adding three alumni and a current parent, each with distinctive gifts and experiences, we bring to the board individuals who have a passion for Luther and the desire to strengthen and enrich the Luther student experience,” Torgerson said. Dennis Flatness is president and chief executive officer of WFL, a risk management company in St. Louis. He serves in leadership positions with several not-for-profit agencies, is on the boards of civic and educational organiza-

tions, and has been involved with many other community activities and organizations. Flatness has a degree in history and political science. He and his wife Eugenia (Jean) live in St. Louis, and are the parents of John Flatness and Jennifer Romney. Richard F. Theiler served as senior vice president of research and development at Henkel North America from 2003 until his retirement in 2011. After earning a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign, Theiler began his career at the Dial Corporation in 1977. Throughout his career, Theiler has held senior managecontinued on next page

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


ment positions with Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive. He is the author of more than 40 patents and publications. Theiler is on the board of trustees of La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is involved with many Scottsdale community activities and organizations. Theiler lives in Scottsdale with his wife, Jane. They are the parents of Devan Theiler Mourtos and Dana Theiler ’07. Chinyere Ukabiala is a staff attorney for Iowa Legal Aid and an adjunct professor at Drake University Law School in Des Moines. She studied law at the University of Buckingham, College of Law in Buckinghamshire, England; the Inns of Court School of Law in London; and Lagos Law School in her native Nigeria. Her focus has been on human rights and legal issues concerning women and families. After practicing in Nigeria and England, she earned a law degree from Drake in 2001. She received the Gertrude Rush

Campus News award in 2010 for her work to further human rights. The award memorializes the first AfricanAmerican woman to be admitted to the practice of law in Iowa. Ukabiala lives in Urbandale, Iowa, with her husband, Onyebuchi. They are the parents of Nawi, Chibuzor, Obi ’13, Kene ’14, and Amarachi. Lance J. Vander Linden is chairman of National Bankruptcy Services. NBS, headquartered in Dallas, provides bankruptcy solution services, including legal and compliance expertise and technology. Vander Linden served as chief executive officer of NBS from 2004 to 2011. He has also been a managing shareholder at Brice, Vander Linden & Wernick P.C. since 2000. Vander Linden has a degree in management and political science from Luther and a law degree from Drake University Law School. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Shari. They are the parents of Jack, Haley, and Owen.


Campus News

Stump ’12 wins opera performance prize Matthew Stump ’12 (center) of Goshen, Ind., received the 2011–12 Alan R. and Sally J. Brudos Family Prize for Opera Performance. He is shown here with prize patrons Sally and Alan Brudos ’55, regent emeritus, following his senior recital. A voice student of Luther professors of music David Judisch (emeritus) and Jessica Paul, Stump is the 10th recipient of the Brudos Prize, presented annually to a Luther senior. The prize includes a $5,000 award. Stump majored in music, sang in Nordic Choir, and had three leading roles in opera productions. He was also a three-time first place winner in the Iowa and Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions. The son of Courtney and Christina Stump, he plans to earn a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of North Texas.


G.V. Suos ’15

Professors retire from Luther

Retiring faculty and those with 25 years of service to Luther were honored in May at a faculty recognition dinner. Among the honorees were (left to right) Jennifer Cantine, communication studies, and Jacqueline Wilkie, professor of history, both with 25 years of service; and David Judisch, professor emeritus of music, and James Rhodes, professor emeritus of political science. Kathleen Stokker, professor emerita of Scandinavian studies, at Luther since 1978, also retired this summer but did not attend the dinner.


Luther Alumni Magazine

Generally, it’s students we think of when we ask the question, what have you learned in your time at Luther? But they aren’t the only ones soaking up knowledge and new experiences in this educational community. Upon their retirement from Luther this summer, professors emeriti David Judisch (at Luther since 1975) and James Rhodes (at Luther since 1968) shared a bit of what they’ll take away from their years at Luther. David Judisch What did you learn? I think I have learned that students may

not remember everything that I may have told them, but they will remember how I made them feel. What’s next? I will continue teaching a music education course called Vocal Methods and private voice lessons at Luther on a part-time basis. James Rhodes What did you learn? In a world overwhelmed by rapid change, the young adults who enroll each year at Luther College still display great enthusiasm for and commitment to contributing to better communities, to better nations, and to a better world. They keep the future bright! What’s next? Ann and I will remain in Decorah to enjoy the community and the college without 8 a.m. classes.

Campus News

Campus News

Campus says farewell to two familiar faces among Luther staff Every year, Luther College bids farewell to a number of excellent staff who’ve decided to retire to the next phase of their lives. Here, we profile two members of the Luther staff whose close and constant involvement with students through the years makes them familiar faces to many Luther alumni.

Ann Highum, vice president and dean for student life, 1991–2012 As leader of all things student life, Ann Highum wore many hats. Her office oversaw the Career Center, the Diversity Center, the Student Activities Council, student health services, recreational and intramural sports, student counseling, the Nena Amundson Lifetime Wellness Program, Residence Life,

Jerry Johnson, director of public information, 1987–2012 Jerry Johnson claims serendipity played a large role in his career. Soon after college, with almost no news-writing experience, he was offered a newspaper editorship. And, after 13 years in newspapers, it was serendipity that led him to Luther. In 1987, he was asked to fill in for the director of public information, who was on sabbatical for a year; Johnson ended up staying for 25. During his time at the college, Johnson crafted communications that put Luther’s best foot forward. He also oversaw the news, photo, and video bureaus—working with nearly 150 student staffers over the years. He says, “If I’ve had success at Luther College, it’s because we’ve been fortunate to recruit really good students to produce the marketing and communications products that we rely on at Luther.” An award from the Career Development Office recognized Johnson for con-

and Safety and Security. Coordinating such massive operations might seem to require a drill sergeant’s mien, but Highum’s warm spirit and joie de vivre proved that sugar (and, let’s be honest, a little spice) can get the job done just as well. “The one constant in student life is change,” Highum says with a laugh. “So from that perspective I was challenged on a regular basis by new and interesting things.” She worked closely with thriving students and with those who struggled. “We were out there mentoring and coaching and encouraging and working with the dark side of student life, sure, but also with the considerable talents in the student body,” Highum says. “You just have to love students and all their ups and downs to do this work.” Among her many efforts to make the “ups” outnumber the “downs,” Highum 12 years ago used an alumna gift to develop— with Joe Thompson, director of intercollegiate athletics, and President Richard Torgerson—the Nena Amundson Lifetime Wellness Program. ducting internships for 34 students seeking work in communications/marketing. Johnson’s skill and rapport with students, faculty, and staff earned him the 2010 Employee Excellence Award. He credits the supportive ethos among Luther staff—notably, his right-hand woman, Julie (Satre) Shockey ’01—as one of the college’s strongest assets. Officially, Johnson was a reserved and explicit spokesperson for the college; unofficially, his irreverent humor “off camera” kept his colleagues eagerly anticipating what he’d say next (for example, “We do things for scholars and dollars”). As for postretirement life, Johnson says, “Having been a public person for 25 years, my immediate goal is to become a total recluse.” That means raising another birddog puppy, gardening, and other “porch rocking-chair pastimes” on his 50-acre farm. But he won’t settle gently into retirement: this winter he’ll be in Texas, conducting ballistics research that requires FBI and secret service military clearance.

The program, she explains, “includes intellectual, spiritual, psychological, and social wellness, and there’s a way to incorporate it into every aspect of the college.” Three years ago she and Jon Lund, executive director of Luther’s Center for Global Learning and international admissions, initiated the Launching Luther Leaders (L3) program, allowing interested students to choose among several tracks to strengthen their leadership skills. Highum and her husband, Jerry Freund, always planned to retire early (Freund stepped down from his position as Decorah city manager last October) to spend time with family and devote more energy to travel and philanthropy. This summer, they spent three weeks in Namibia with the Empowering Learners Program, through which they delivered supplies to a Lutheran high school. They hope to turn their attention next to building a primary school in Oniipa, Namibia. — Kate Frentzel

Says Johnson, “Serendipity plays a big role in life, so I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing in the future. Who knows what the next opportunities will be or where they will go, but I’ll pursue them and have fun doing it.” — Kate Frentzel

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Last ’97 joins Luther as choral conductor; Peter ’86 moves to Stetson post

Andrew C. Last ’97 joined Luther’s music department in August as assistant professor of mu-

Campus News sic. He succeeds Timothy Peter ’86 as director of Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen. Last holds a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and is completing his doctorate in choral conducting at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln. He has wide experience directing high school and university choirs and has traveled widely as a guest clinician. Last comes to Luther from Concordia University in Nebraska, where he was on the voice faculty. Peter, who had served on the Luther faculty since 1991, assumed his new role as director of

Holland receives Fulbright to teach in Montenegro Steven J. Holland, Luther associate professor of economics, has received a Fulbright award to teach in Montenegro for the 2012–13 academic year. Holland will work with a Montenegrin university to help students and faculty better understand the relationships

Alcock ’82, Rollinger receive staff awards Sherry (Braun) Alcock ’82 and Joni Rollinger each received the Luther Staff Excellence Award for 2012.

Alcock is executive director of alumni relations and development services in the college’s alumni and development offices.


Luther Alumni Magazine

between economic growth and the legal and social institutions that affect it. He says he hopes to offer courses in environmental economics and policy, insti-

Rollinger is employer relations coordinator in the Career Center. Alcock and Rollinger will be granted an individualized educational opportunity, funded by the college. Past winners have participated in January Term study abroad programs, spring break service-learning trips, summer courses off campus, Luther music ensemble tours, unique professional development opportunities, or semesterlong courses on campus. Alcock heads the 11-person alumni relations and development services staff. She coordinates and oversees the majority of the 60 events the office

choral activities and professor of music at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., in August as well. Sandra Peter will continue at Luther as associate professor of music, and Decorah will remain the family’s home base. In celebration of their teaching and choral conducting careers, The Timothy and Sandra Peter Music Leadership Award was established in April. The award will be presented to two first-year students, one member each from the choral ensembles Aurora and Norsemen, with a one-time financial benefit for their sophomore year.

Timothy Peter conducted Luther’s Collegiate Choir during the choir’s spring tour homecoming concert in April.

tutional economics, and sustainable development, all designed to engage students whose nation is facing rapid economic and legal changes. The courses will use local case studies and problem-based learning, Holland said. Holland also plans to work with Montenegrin faculty to build connections between economics, law, and the environment at their institutions.

Montenegro is about the size of Connecticut, with a population of about 657,000. Numerous economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental issues confront the nation, which became independent in 2006 when its people voted to separate from Serbia. Holland has taught economics for eight years; he practiced law for seven years before becoming a college educator.

conducts each year for alumni, parents, and friends of the college, and directs Luther’s annual three-day Homecoming. Alcock’s award citation lauded her skill and years of success coordinating not only these events but also dozens of alumni services and programs, frequently on tight time schedules and often with budget, staffing, and logistical challenges. As employer relations coordinator, Rollinger manages several programs, including oncampus recruiting, job shadowing, and mock interviews. She also coordinates six career fairs each year.


Campus News

Rollinger is a member of several state and national professional associations and has served as adviser to the Tau Delta Gamma sorority for 15 years. Her award citation praises her years of dedicated work and notes that supervisors and coworkers have called her a key player in the success of the career center operations.

Campus News

Campus News • (563) 387-1357 The Water Coolers

• Sept. 8, 2012

Sweet Honey in the Rock®

• Sept. 29, 2012

Abigail Washburn

• Oct. 20, 2012

Sphinx Virtuosi

• Oct. 26, 2012

Luciana Souza Quartet

• Nov. 8, 2012

As You Like It

• Feb. 15, 2013

Cirque Zíva

• Feb. 21, 2013

First Person: Seeing America • Mar. 5, 2013 Hot Club of San Francisco

• Mar. 15, 2013

MOMIX Botanica

• April 12, 2013

All shows 7:30 p.m, Center for Faith and Life, Luther College


Center Stage Series

Special thanks to all our Center Stage Series sponsors and media supporters for lifting up the arts in northeast Iowa: Luther College Diversity Council

The Decorah Newspapers


Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine

Decorah Newspapers


Campus News

Campus News

Preus Library helps send Decorah students to history competition nationals It seems like something straight out of Footloose, but there was a time in Luther’s not so distant past when social dancing was verboten. More recently, using Chips archives and oral histories on file at Preus Library, Luther archivist Rachel Vagts helped three Decorah High School sophomores research this chapter of Luther’s history. As part of the library’s outreach mission, Vagts and other Preus staff regularly work with high school students, in particular lending support in researching topics for the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition. One documentary that resulted from this year’s efforts qualified at the state level and sent Aidan Spencer, Clara Kittleson, and Lydia Hayes to the national competition, held in June in College Park, Md. Among the materials that Vagts pulled for the students was an oral history provided by Barbara (Sanden) ’61 and Robert Fett ’60, who participated in a protest dance in the spring of 1960. Following the dance, says Barbara, “We were put on social probation for the rest of our college career—which meant we could not screw up one more time.” The ban was lifted in the 1960s, following the retirement of President J. W. Ylvisaker.

Creations, honors, and presentations The following is a sample of the many publications, research, musical collections, and more that Luther faculty and staff produce throughout the year, often in collaboration with students. Find more of their accomplishments each Tuesday at CAROLINE GILES BANKS (anthropology, retired) published her memoir, The Weight of Whiteness: A Memoir in Poetry, with Wellington-Giles Press in May 2012. The book reflects on the author’s awareness of her “whiteness” during the segregated 1950s, through her interracial marriage and family life in the heyday of the civil rights era during 1960s and ’70s.


Luther Alumni Magazine

DAVID NJUS ’90, Luther associate professor of psychology, coauthored with five students three papers presented at two conferences in May: HOLLY GODAR ’13 and ANDREW TJOSSEM ’13 coauthored “Avoidant Attachment Mediates the Relationship Between Parental Attachment and Short-Term Mating Desire,” which was presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science. RACHEL HODAPP ’13 was the coauthor of a presentation titled “Political Orientation, the Correspondence Bias, and Attributions of Wrongdoing” at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Also at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting, KATRINA OKERSTROM ’14 and KAELA STUART ’12 were co-presenters of the paper “Mortality Salience, Self-Esteem, and Attachment to Adults and God.” DALLAS WULF ’12 and TODD PEDLAR, Luther associate professor of physics, attended the April meeting of the American Physical Society in Atlanta. Both presented the results of work they have been involved with in conjunction with their affiliation with the Belle Collaboration, an international team of physicists that conducts experimental elementary particle research at KEK, the national high-energy physics laboratory of Japan. Wulf presented a parallel session talk titled “Recent Observations of Bottomonium and Bottomonium-like States at Belle”; Pedlar presented an invited talk titled “Recent Results from the Belle Experiment.” In each of their presentations, results were announced concerning elementary particle states and their decays that Wulf, Pedlar, and close associates within the Belle Collaboration observed for the first time.

CHAR KUNKEL, Luther associate professor of sociology, has done research for the What Works project in partnership with the Luther Diversity Council, with support from the St. Paul Foundation. Kunkel conducted interviews with organizations across Minnesota in an attempt to compile a compre-

hensive overview of what is being done in community antibias work and what has been most effective. The goal is to provide a resource for other communities to draw on. The project can be accessed on the Diversity Council website at

An essay, “Traveling to Mary,” by AMY WELDON, Luther associate professor English, has been accepted for the book The Best Travel Writing 2012 (Solas Press). Her story “Burning Lou” was published in the online literary journal Fiction Southeast,

Gems Rediscovered, a recording by SPENCER MARTIN, Luther associate professor of music, and MIKO KOMINAMI, Luther adjunct faculty in music, has been released by Delos Productions. The CD features sonatas for viola and piano by four lesserknown, late-romantic-era composers: Benjamin Dale, Robert Fuchs, Paul Juon, and Ernest Walker. Get the CD at the Luther Book Shop for $16.99, or online at

Campus News


Sesquicentennial Fund surpasses goal Earlier this year, Luther’s Sesquicentennial Fund reached and passed its goal of $50,000,000 thanks to the generosity of Luther alumni and friends across the country and around the world. As of publication, the funding initiative, in its fifth and final year, now totals $50,067,995.

Sesquicentennial Fund as of 7/31/12





Current Support






Total Outright



Planned Gifts





Grand Total

Campus News

Alumni Marvin Bertelson ’50, Dean Hanson ’65, and Steve Holland ’71 reminisce with an old College Chips during the Sesquicentennial Fund campaign event held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on July 15.

President’s Council recognizes life members New President’s Council life members Alvin Berg ’55, Barbara and J. Robert Paulson ’78, and Catherine and Dale Ruosch ’62 were honored for their exemplary giving during the council’s annual recognition event May 5. Unable to attend the event but also achieving this level of support were new life members Susan and Stephen Kraabel ’63 and Carole Olson. The estate gifts of Karen Berg, Patricia Gunderson ’70, Delores Kudej, Alice Paulson, Ruth Steinmetz, and Henrietta Torgerson ’39 were also recognized, as were Associated Colleges of the Midwest, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. continued on next page


Ground broken for aquatic center

(Left to right) Shannon (Miller) Duval ’95, Luther pastor Mike Blair, President Richard Torgerson, Board of Regents chair Paula (Hermeier) Meyer ’76, NCAA honorable mention All-American swimmer Stephanie Drewes ’12, and Luther swimming coach Lance Huber take part in the groundbreaking for the Luther College Aquatic Center.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Luther College Aquatic Center was held May 11. A $1 million fundraising challenge in support of the Luther College Aquatic Center was met and exceeded last spring. As of August 1, 2012, just over $5.3 million has been committed toward this $6.1 million planned facility. In November 2011, David E.G. and Patricia Miller of Fort Myers, Fla., framed their $500,000 commitment to the aquatic center as a challenge to other donors, matching one dollar for every two dollars contributed by September 2012. The college met the challenge in less than six months. In the aquatic center, the Miller Natatorium will feature a competition pool with eight lanes of a consistent eight-foot water depth and a 14-foot-depth diving area. The plan also includes a shallow area for swimming lessons, adaptive physical education classes, and water aerobics. Contruction begins this fall. To contribute to the aquatic center fund, call (800) 225-8664 or visit

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Campus News

Campus News have established irrevocable planned gifts with remainder interest present values of $100,000 or more, those who have made irrevocable gifts of life insurance policies with cash values of $100,000 or more, or those who have contributed combinations thereof.

Banking family works toward the long-term good for Luther, community

Interdependency. Common good. These are marvelous words when it comes to describing the role of a place like Luther College in the Decorah community. The college thrives in part because the Decorah community thrives, and Decorah benefits by having Luther as a business colleague in town. This mutual economic synergy is something we all treasure. Enter Decorah Bank & Trust and Luther’s relationship with this three-generation, family-owned business, and we add even more descriptive words—fiduciary, family, leadership, vision, sustainability. Decorah Bank & Trust and the Grimstad family have actively invested in the Decorah community and Luther College at every turn. In every Luther campaign and in every building initiative on campus, Decorah Bank & Trust has been there to provide a lead gift, or a concluding gift, and sometimes both. We should probably add the phrase one and the same to our narrative, since the bank’s legacy is also the family’s legacy, and the current leadership of Decorah Bank & Trust—brothers and co-presidents, Ben Grimstad and Joe Grimstad ’98—wouldn’t have it any other way. “The bank has existed, under three generations of family ownership, to serve the community,” Ben Grimstad says. “We’re here to help the townspeople, farmers, businesses, and nonprofits in the


President’s Council life members were honored on campus May 5. Pictured are (left to right) Dale ’62 and Catherine Ruosch, Alvin Berg ’55, Luther President Richard Torgerson, and Barbara and J. Robert Paulson ’78.

Luther Alumni Magazine

Chip Peterson ’80


G.V. Suos ’15

Special acknowledgment was also given to the life members of President’s Council who advanced to the next cumulative recognition level—Olson Circle to Preus Circle—Sandy and Mick Lee ’57, Ruth and Arne Sorenson ’80, and Bank of the West. Membership in the President’s Council honors those who have provided financial support to Luther of $1,000 or more in a calendar year. Life membership honors those whose cumulative outright gifts total $100,000 or more, those who

Decorah Bank & Trust employees donated more than 2,000 hours of time and talent in 2011. region grow and prosper.” But the bank uses more than sound fiscal management to move the Decorah community forward; Decorah Bank & Trust invests locally by encouraging community activism by everyone on its banking team. “Servant leadership is what we practice and promote,” Joe Grimstad says. “It’s one of our core values, both internally and externally. We encourage our staff to be leaders and volunteers within the community, and we strive to have someone involved in almost every community cause out there.” Joe and Ben together add that many volunteer hours spent in service are done on bank time, and “that’s OK with us.”

In 2011, Decorah Bank & Trust staff donated more than 2,000 hours of time and talent to local nonprofits, often serving in lead positions to assist organizations in achieving their strategic vision. But activism doesn’t just happen. It’s usually taught—in this case, taught well. “Our parents, Larry and Diane Grimstad, are good examples to us of how to be good parents, good business people, and good community members,” Joe says, smiling. “And now in their retirement years, they continue to contribute to society with their efforts in sustainability and renewable energy.” In support of the Sesquicentennial Fund, Decorah Bank & Trust and the Grimstad

Campus News

Campus News


Students who benefit

Beyond Luther College, the reach of Decorah Bank & Trust’s philanthropy is dramatic, from small-scale and grassroots projects serving families in need to the more highly visible efforts such as the Trout Run Trail, Nordic Fest, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, United Way of Winneshiek County, Helping Services of Northeast Iowa, Winneshiek Medical Center


family have made leadership gifts to Luther’s new aquatic center, the Annual Fund, Norse Athletic Association, and the Center for Sustainable Communities through endowment support of the renewable energy fund, the sustainability coordinator, and a sustainability internship. The bank also partnered with the college to secure lending of $1.28 million toward construction of the campus wind turbine completed in November 2011. One and the same. The Grimstad family and the family banking business have had an ever-growing commitment to environmental stewardship. “It really started with Dad and his interest in environmentalism late in his career and into his first years of retirement,” Ben says. “Conversations around the dinner table at the Grimstad house focus as much on sustainability as they do on banking.” The brothers in leadership believe that good environmental stewardship starts with their family and then trickles through the entire bank. Banking decisions on every level include discussions about environmental impact and what opportunities there are to further reduce and reuse. Pleased to be making a tangible difference beyond just the balance sheet, Joe says, “we are focused on banking and community success in the long term. By not having pressures of outside investors who want a return on their investment this quarter, and the next, and the next, we’re allowed to make decisions with the long term in mind.”

Ben (left) and Joe Grimstad ’98 lead Decorah Bank & Trust, owned and operated by three generations of family.

More than 50 student scholarship recipients gathered at the Legacy Trust scholarship luncheon held May 5 on campus. The Legacy Trust recognizes gifts to the Luther endowed scholarship program, with membership offered to donors who establish endowed scholarships of $25,000 or more. A list of scholarship donors can be found at

Foundation, and countless arts, culture, and community events. “It would be impossible to measure the compound impact the Grimstad family and Decorah Bank & Trust have had on Luther College and the Decorah community,” President Richard Torgerson says. “We are all beneficiaries of their time, talent, treasure—and trust.” Luther College, in cooperation with Vesterheim Museum and the Trails of Winneshiek group, nominated Decorah Bank & Trust for consideration as the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization through the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter. We are pleased to share that others also recognize the leadership and support of Decorah Bank & Trust in this region—it will receive the award at the November 2012 annual meeting in La Crosse, Wis. Congratulations to the Grimstad family and Decorah Bank & Trust. Interdependency and the common good. Family and banking. One and the same. All working together to create a balanced and thriving economy in this beautiful Oneota Valley. Recognition richly deserved. — Ann Sponberg Peterson Learn more about giving to Luther at (800) 225-8664;

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Campus News

Campus News College Ministries

Team leads ropes course at ELCA Youth Gathering

Seniors Give Back Katie Carnes ’12 (left) and Nick Devine ’12 presented a ceremonial check for $29,280—the amount pledged through the 2012 senior giving campaign—during the college’s senior send-off event held May 17 at Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah. Nearly 50 percent (276 members) of the Class of 2012 made pledges as part of the campaign, a project of the Annual Fund.

Imagine Fellowships return to Luther Luther’s incoming first-year students again have the opportunity to apply for a unique scholarship. The Imagine Fellowships, based loosely on the MacArthur Fellows Program, seek to cultivate “imaginative learning experiences” with an award of $5,000 to use toward a self-directed, individualized, creative exploration of an academic nature during their junior or senior years. The program, which was piloted in 2006, was temporarily suspended after its inaugural year, but the college is now working to endow the fellowship at $1 million. Five award recipients have been chosen from the class of 2015, and 10 have been selected from the class of 2016. While recent recipients’ plans haven’t been cemented yet, previous fellows have used their scholarships for endeavors including working in a women and children’s clinic in Ghana, interning at a microfinance in-


Luther Alumni Magazine

stitution in Bangladesh, and embarking on a literary tour of settings that inspired Ernest Hemingway. Brandon Reed ’10, a 2006 Imagine Fellow, was instrumental in bringing the opportunity back to Luther. “What Luther does so well,” he says, “is provide a foundation for students to completely re-evaluate and recreate their own personhood, who they are, what they believe. The Imagine Fellowship lines up with that so beautifully. This is what you already do on campus, now we’re going to give you the opportunity to do that somewhere else. Let’s take socially minded people who are already doing cool things and give them some resources and see what they come up with.” To learn more about how you can fund an Imagine Fellow, call the Development Office at (800) 225-8664.

Participants in the summer 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans had a chance to work with Luther students and staff on a high indoor ropes course. Under the direction of Adventure Based Experiential Educators Inc., Luther Wellness Director Greg Lonning ’83 and a team of students and staff who have completed coursework in experiential leadership and ropes course training helped

CYF to host 100 Wells Tour as followup to ELCA Youth Gathering Luther’s 2012 Church Youth Fest (CYF) will host the 100 Wells Tour at the Center for Faith and Life, Saturday, Oct. 27. Registration information about CYF will be available online at The 100 Wells Tour is a follow-up to the 100 Wells Challenge to participants in the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering to raise $250,000 for clean water projects around the world in cooperation with ELCA World Hunger. Musicians in the 100 Wells Tour include David Scherer of HipHop Outreach, Lost and Found, and Rachel Kurtz. Gifts given to the 100 Wells

Zalk Larson ’96 on sabbatical leave Amy Zalk Larson ’96, campus pastor, is on sabbatical leave for the 2012–13 academic year as she develops a contemplative learning and leadership initiative for Luther. She will take

facilitate an indoor ropes course at the Youth Gathering’s Interaction Center. The 30,000 participants at the Youth Gathering July 18–22 learned about core practices of discipleship, justice, and peacemaking and had the opportunity to run an indoor zip line thanks to the efforts of Luther students and staff. Kelsey Anderson ’11, admissions counselor, worked with the high ropes team along with staff members Roger Jaeger, Vicky Jaeger, and Reid Wilson ’10. Mike Blair, campus pastor, represented Luther at the Youth Gathering Hotspot for ELCA Colleges and Universities.

Tour through ELCA World Hunger support projects in nearly 60 countries around the world, many of which contain clean water components. Examples include wells in Sudan to provide clean water to people returning to their homeland after decades of war, congregations and programs providing water to families in rural areas of Arizona and West Virginia who don’t have running water, and irrigation canals to bring water to rural communities in China. More information about the 100 Wells Challenge is available online at A portion of the proceeds for the CYF 100 Wells Tour concert will be designated for the ELCA Malaria Campaign in support of the Northeastern Iowa Synod Malaria Campaign goal of raising $250,000 by 2015.

part in the 16-month Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program through the Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C. Her research project for the program will focus on how campus pastors can influence contemplative learning and leadership on college campuses.

Campus News


The book campus is talking about Once upon a time, every incoming first-year student was required to read The Odyssey in the hot and humid throes of summer. But since 2000, the Paideia summer reading program has assigned each first-year class its own unique book to kick off the Paidea 111: Enduring Questions course. The text for this year’s class is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. The book recounts the experience of an impoverished black

woman who sought cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. While she did not survive her cancer, the cells gathered from her by the medical scientists without her knowledge or permission did. They were subsequently bought and sold by the billions, becoming one of the most important tools in medicine, contributing to a cure for polio and treatments for AIDS and numerous other conditions—all while Lacks’ family remained in poverty and continued to suffer from untreated medical conditions. As with all Paideia texts, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was chosen for its potential to answer “enduring questions,” in this

case, questions about the rights of all human beings and about whether the pursuit of knowledge for the good of many trumps the rights of the individual. The book also asks readers to look at how people of lower social classes are treated in contemporary medicine and science, and it brings to the fore questions of human dignity and who has the right to control our bodies. Students weren’t the only ones reading Skloot’s book this summer—the Paideia program and the dean’s office made free copies of the book available to interested faculty and staff.  Jackie Wilkie, professor of history and the Paideia program

Students honored for entrepreneurial achievements Austen Smith ’12 received a $2,000 Accenture Scholarship during the 26th annual Luther Entrepreneurial Showcase, which was held in April at the Hotel Winneshiek’s Steyer Opera House in Decorah. The award was presented by Peter Newburg ’97. The Accenture Scholarship recognizes a Luther student who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership while majoring in computer science, management, economics, or mathematics. The Entrepreneurial Showcase is an annual forum for students, faculty, alumni, and friends of Luther who support entrepreneurship. This year, student entrepreneurs displayed their ventures before the program during a networking session that gave students an opportunity to interact with and receive feedback from fellow students, faculty, alumni, and community members. Keynote speaker Mark Hanawalt, Luther past parent and CEO and owner of United

Austen Smith (center) received the Accenture Scholarship at the Entrepreneurial Showcase. With him are (left) Peter Newburg ’97, of Accenture, and Julie Jensen ’95, Luther associate professor of management information systems. Equipment Accessories in Waverly, Iowa, discussed the entrepreneurial spirit at his company and how UEA has grown into a major supplier to the wind industry and wind turbine manufacturers. Also awarded during the program were the E-Club Leadership Prize and the Erdman Prize for Entrepreneurship. The Luther College Entrepreneurship Club Leadership

Prize, which included $400, was awarded to Luther senior Cami Czech. The E-Club Entrepreneurial Leadership Prize is given to a current E-Club member in recognition of leadership contributions during his or her time at Luther and particularly the past year. The Daryl and Audrey Erdman Prizes for Entrepreneurship were awarded to Kelly Dotseth ’12 for, Scott

director, believes that a campuswide reading program “is important to freshmen because it says that this academic life you’re entering into isn’t just you and your teacher in the classroom with the door shut. It sends the most appropriate message of the liberal arts, of the interdependency of intellectual endeavor: it isn’t some solitary pursuit, but a conversation.” Read along with the rest of campus and consider these “enduring questions” and others with the Paideia summer reading guide available at

Bisbey ’12 for Bisbey Computer Services, and Lindsey Bjorge ’15 for Lindsey Bjorge Photography. Along with Bisbey and Tyler Zey ’12, Dotseth started in November of 2011. The website establishes relationships with nonprofit organizations and online retailers. After selecting an organization to support, consumers click their favorite online shopping website and shop as usual. directs a portion of anything the customer buys online to benefit that cause. Bisbey has operated Bisbey Computer Services since 2008 and offers computer repair, website development, and information technology consultation for small businesses and home users. He maintains seven small business contracts and continues to build a strong client base in and around Decorah. Bjorge runs a small photography business that specializes in event and portrait photography. She began in high school with a film camera and then used the money she earned from portrait sessions to buy a high-end digital camera.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Campus News

Campus News

Ultimate team places fifth at nationals In a third nationals showing in four years, Luther’s Ultimate team tossed its way to a tie for fifth place in the Ultimate USA Division I National Tournament in May. During the Boulder, Colo., tournament, Luther went 2-2 in pool play, claiming the second seed in the pool to advance to the round of 16. The club defeated the University of Michigan, University of Texas, and University of Colorado, but lost to the University of Pittsburgh, University of California–Davis, and University of Oregon. The Luther club had advanced to the national tournament by placing in the top five teams in the 14-team North Central Regional Tournament played in April. Among regional tournament highlights was a 12-10 win over the University of Iowa, which had defeated Luther three times earlier in the season.


Three alumnae receive Fulbrights Rachel Barclay ’11, Bianca Lutchen ’12, and Lauren Griffin ’12 have each been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship for the 2012–13 academic year.

Rachel Barclay

Lauren Griffin

Barclay will study at the Central Institute for Art History in Munich, Germany, with scholars leading efforts to establish provenance of art objects that changed ownership under suspicious circumstances or were subject to unlawful appropriation under national socialism, 1933–45. Griffin was awarded an English teaching assistantship with placement at the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro. Lutchen will have a teaching assistantship in Germany. (Read about Lutchen in “Senior Candids,” page 26.)


Luther Alumni Magazine

Kittleson nominated for NCAA Woman of Year; more NCAA Postgraduate recipients named Kelsey Kittleson ’12 appeared frequently in Luther news throughout her four years, wrapping up her collegiate softball career with nearly every athletics award imaginable. To cap it all off, the catcher was the Iowa Conference’s 2012 nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year. The biology major graduated with a 4.00 GPA as well as this list of achievements: • 2012 and 2011 College Division Softball Player of the Year from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) • 2012 and 2011 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America • First National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) student-athlete at any level to earn the NCAA III Elite 88/89 Award (athlete with the highest cumulative gradepoint average participating at the championship finals) • 2012 NCAA Postgraduate

Kelsey Kittleson ’12 ended the 2012 season batting .372 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs. Scholarship • Four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar Athlete • Three-time Iowa Conference Academic All-Conference • 2012 NFCA Second-team All-America • 2012 First-team All-Midwest Region • 2011 Second-team All-Midwest Region

• 2012 and 2011 First-team AllIowa Conference • Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader • Member of Luther Athletes Serving Others In her final season, Kittleson helped lead Luther’s softball team to a third consecutive appearance at the NCAA III National Championships. (See softball recap, opposite.)

Campus News

Campus News More NCAA Postgraduate scholarship winners In addition to Kittleson, NCAA Postgraduate recipients for 2012 include Emma Spoon ’12, reported in the May issue of the Luther Alumni Magazine; and Scott Sundstrom ’12, who graduated magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.88, as a French and management double major. During his tennis career at Luther, Sundstrom helped lead the Norse to three Iowa Conference championships and three NCAA National Tournament appearances; he was named the Iowa Conference MVP three times, including this past season. His 85 career singles victories ranks second on Luther’s alltime charts. Earlier this year, Sundstrom was named the 2012 recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for the Division III Central Region.

Spring sports Softball IIAC champions (15-1); 41-9 overall The 2012 campaign was another outstanding season for the Norse softball team. For the third time in as many years, Luther qualified for the NCAA III National Championships. The Norse finished fifth at the national finale, completing the year with

a record of 41-9 that included a 15-1 mark in the Iowa Conference and a seventh league title. Luther has now posted three consecutive seasons with 40-plus victories and capped the best four-year record in school history with a mark of 159-33. For the second time in school history, three Norse players were named NFCA Division III All-America in the same season. Pitcher Becca Girvan ’14 was a first team honoree. Girvan—who was also named the Iowa Conference Pitcher of the Year and Pella Regional Most Outstanding Player—finished the season with a singleseason school record 30 wins against seven losses. She also set Luther’s single-season strike-out record with 264, en route to an ERA of 1.21. Catcher Kelsey Kittleson ’12 and outfielder Shari Huber ’13 were named second and third team All-America respectively. Along with Girvan, Kittleson, and Huber, Lauran Snyder ’12 and Kelsey Weindruch ’13 were first team all-Iowa Conference selections. Second team honors went to Mallory Broderick ’12. Girvan, Kittleson, Snyder, and Huber were also named first team Midwest Region, while second team honors were presented to Weindruch and Abby Christian ’12. The NFCA named head coach Renae Hartl, who just wrapped up her 11th season; pitching coach Tracy Hjelle; and assistant coaches Teri Olson and

The 85 career singles victories earned by Scott Sundstrom ’12 rank him second on Luther’s all-time charts.

Erika Randall the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Hartl was also recognized by the Iowa Conference as Coach of the Year for the second time. Men’s tennis IIAC 8-0; 22-7 overall The men’s tennis team fell one match shy of making a sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA III National Tournament. After finishing the Iowa Conference regular-season schedule at 8-0, the Norse entered the league’s six-team automatic national tournament qualifier as the top seed. The Norse defeated Wartburg 5-0 in the semifinals, setting up another date with Coe College, who had been defeated by the Norse 7-2 at home during the regular season. The Norse held a 3-2 lead following doubles, but Coe won four of six singles matches

to secure the 5-4 victory. The loss ended Luther’s season with an overall record of 22-7. For the third time in his career, Scott Sundstrom ’12 was named the Iowa Conference MVP. Sundstrom is the first player to earn multiple MVP honors since Coe’s Nick Barnes won three from 2002 to 2004 and the fourth Luther player to do so, joining Bob Frost ’74 (1971, 1973–74), Jeff Renken ’76 (1975–76), Sujay Lama ’92 (1989–90, 1991, 1992), and Chris Rovn ’95 (1993, 1995). Nick Mozena ’13 and Ramesh Karki ’12 were also named to the 2012 allconference team. Mozena was named all-conference in singles, while Karki was selected allconference in doubles. Both also earned this honor in 2011.

Luther wins all-sports championship Luther and Wartburg share the 2012 Iowa Conference All-Sports Championship Trophy for a second straight year. Luther also won the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (IIAC) Elmer Hertel Men’s All-Sports Championship. Behind a league title in soccer, runner-up finishes in

cross country, golf and tennis, and finishes of fifth or better in nine of 10 championship sports, Luther totaled 60.7 points. The Norse also took third in wrestling, fourth in outdoor track and field, basketball (tie) and baseball (tie), fifth in indoor track and field, and sixth in football. Luther has won the

Elmer Hertel Men’s All-Sports Championship 20 times, more than any other school. Find more information on Luther College athletics at

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Campus News

Campus News Scott Fjelstul ’83 played Joel Bruns ’14 during the first two rounds and Saad Javed ’15 the final two rounds. Following the season, Smith was named a 2012 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar.

Four-time all-conference Chris Reynolds ’12 at bat. Men’s golf Second in IIAC Luther wrapped up another successful season with a second place finish at the Iowa Conference championships. The Norse shot a final round of 304 for a 72-hole total of 1,273, to finish 37 strokes behind Central College. For the second time in as many years, Tobias Kohl ’14

South ’05 honored for wrestling career

Garrett South ’05 will be inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Wrestling Coaches’ Association’s Hall of Fame prior to the 2013 NCAA III National Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, March 15–16, 2013. During his Luther career, South was a four-time national


Luther Alumni Magazine

earned all-conference honors. The top-10 place winners are recognized as all-conference performers. Matt Axelrod ’14, Aaron Smith ’12, and Jack McLeod ’12 joined Kohl in playing all four rounds of the tournament. Using an Iowa Conference rule that allows a coach to change his team at the midway point of the tournament, Coach

qualifier, earning All-America honors three times. Academically, he was named a NWCA Scholar All-America three times and CoSIDA Scholar All-America twice. He was also awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was named the Iowa Conference Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. South will become the fourth Luther wrestler to be inducted into the NWCA Division III Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame. He will join Jeff Bouslog ’81, who was inducted in 1993; Dan Boos ’80, who was inducted in 2001; and Garrett Kurth ’03, who was inducted in 2008. Paul Solberg ’61 was inducted as a coach in 2005.

Baseball 13-11 in IIAC; 25-20 overall Winning 14 of its last 19 games, the Norse baseball team finished the 2012 campaign with an overall record of 25-20, 13-11 in the Iowa Conference. Three of these wins came during the second day of the six-team Iowa Conference Tournament. After securing the fourth seed, the Norse dropped an 8-5 decision to Buena Vista in the opening round, setting up the three victories over Simpson (8-2), Central (7-6), and Wartburg (11-0). Luther was eliminated by Buena Vista 10-2 on day three, finishing third. Second baseman Chris Reynolds ’12 was named the league’s Position Player of the Year. With this honor, Reynolds joined Alex Rowell ’68 (1965–68) and Adam Kohls ’09 (2006–09) as the only four-time all-conference performers in Luther history. Reynolds joins former Luther greats Jay Kamin ’85 (1984 and 1985) and Norse assistant coach Kyle Schroeder ’07 (2007) to be named an Iowa Conference MVP. Reynolds was a two-time first-team ABCA/Rawlings AllCentral Region selection. First-team honors were also presented to pitcher Augie Lindmark ’12 and outfielder– first baseman Chris Erikson ’13. Catcher Kevin Bradley ’12 was a second team selection. Men’s track and field Fourth in IIAC Outdoor Dalen Dirth ’12 headlined Norse efforts, was crowned the conference champion, and qualified for the outdoor national cham-

pionships in the decathlon for a second consecutive year. At the outdoor championships, he placed 10th with a personal best of 6,516 points. At the IIAC outdoor championships, all-conference honors (top three finishes) were recorded by Andrew Papke-Larson ’12 and Logan Langley ’13 in the 1,500, finishing second and third respectively. Scott Mittman ’14 was conference runner-up in the 5,000 as was Marty Mitchell ’13 in the 10,000. Nick Clark ’13 established two school records during the season. He posted the fastest time indoors in the 55 meter dash (6.63) and in the outdoor 200 meter dash (21.88). Women’s track and field Fourth in IIAC Outdoor Christina Storlie ’13 was Luther’s lone national meet qualifier, making a second consecutive appearance at the outdoor championships. She missed qualifying for the finals of the 3,000 steeplechase by one position. Her national outdoor appearance wrapped up a year in which she earned all-conference honors (top-three finish) in the 5,000 and 3,000 meter runs indoors and was the conference runner-up in the steeplechase outdoors. At the IIAC Championships, Emma Spoon ’12 was a two-time all-conference performer. She placed second in the 10,000 and third in the 5,000. Individual honors were also recorded by Maggie Pierson ’14, who was third in the 1,500; Addy Rickels ’13, second in the heptathlon; Leah Broderick ’15, second in the javelin; Lisa Richter ’12, third in the triple jump; and Amanda Dunn ’14, third in the discus. The 4 x 800 relay of Sam McAllister ’12, Lauren Stokke ’13, Nicole Powers ’14, and Pierson finished second.

Q&A with the President

College Costs, and Why It Matters That Alumni Give Back In an economy where homes have lost value, jobs can be hard to find and keep, and nest eggs have been lost to the stock market, many people question whether higher education—especially at liberal arts schools—is worth the increasing tuition and fees. We asked Luther President Richard Torgerson to talk about why college costs what it does, the challenging economic model that residential colleges operate under, and what alumni can do to help maintain or enhance the value of their Luther degree.

Luther Alumni Magazine: Why does college cost so much? Richard Torgerson: The experience that Luther provides requires hiring and investing in highly educated faculty and staff who provide considerable one-onone interaction in both the academic and residential realms throughout the four years; unprecedented levels of financial aid; and new technology, which, unlike other sectors in our economy, hasn’t resulted in an increase in productivity or a reduction in cost. An interesting study done by a couple of economists at the University of William and Mary* found that over the last 40 years, the cost of college has increased at the same rate as other high-touch, high-interactive services, such as dental care, personal care, and medical care.

Is the type of residential, liberal arts experience Luther offers sustainable? R.T. I think many are asking whether or not the residential, liberal arts experience is sus-

tainable. But it’s well-documented that the gap between lifetime earnings of someone with a liberal arts college degree and someone with only a high school degree is at or near record levels. And, enrollment at these colleges remains strong. I would also suggest that a residential liberal arts college provides a learning experience that is unduplicated. It creates a lifelong passion for learning, it instills curiosity and wonder, it nurtures in students the ability to develop a hypothesis and to connect the dots. It enables the examination of why you believe what you believe and lets you develop the capacity to defend what you believe. In no other place does that happen in the same way. It is the reason employers like to hire liberal arts graduates. Add to this the fact that Luther is a community of faith. Fundamental to this intersection of faith, learning, and vocation is the desire to educate whole persons with the ability to respond to a rapidly changing world. This is the kind of transformative education that citizens of the world need.

What other challenges does the residential, liberal arts college face? R.T. There are many, among them: for-profit colleges and universities, e-learning, and MOOCs—massive open online courses. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University are some of the schools championing these courses. If you complete a course and meet its expectations, you get a certificate. Where all that’s going to go, who knows? Demographic changes taking place present another challenge. The number of high school graduates is declining and becoming more ethnically diverse, and these aren’t necessarily young people who have traditionally looked at a residential, liberal arts experience. They may be attracted to different education models. And since 2008–09, the economy has been a challenge, with the loss of home equity. Many families were funding college with home equity, and there’s hardly any home equity left for many people.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


I HOPE ALUMNI UNDERSTAND that it’s not the amount of the gift that counts, it’s the fact that you gave something.

—President Torgerson

rankings, foundation, and corporate support. We have goals to raise significant funds each year to support scholarships and programs, so the amount raised is important, but I hope alumni understand that it’s not the amount of the gift that counts, it’s the fact that you give something. Regular annual alumni support is critical for Luther to fulfill its mission aspirations. The Luther Board of Regents has challenged us this year to increase alumni giving by one percent. This is huge—not only do we have to retain all of those who gave last year, but we have to add another 1,000 to 1,200 people.

Why do you think some alumni don’t give to their alma mater? Many say the financial model of higher education is broken and that the only way to fix it is for colleges to change their approach to financial aid. What does this mean?

Coast, there are institutions with wealthier families where 65 percent of the students pay full price. I don’t think many people understand what a challenge it is to fairly administer more than $38 million of financial aid each year.

R.T.: What is lost in all of the media headlines about the cost of colleges is what colleges themselves are investing to make the experience possible. Next to compensation, financial aid is the highest expenditure in Luther’s budget. Together, they comprise about 75 percent of our $110 million budget. We’re discounting our experience to the tune of about 43 percent. And that discount rate is being driven by increased need—more needy students—more merit scholarship eligible students, and more increased competition. To put this in stark terms, the class of May 2012 collectively received $31 million in grant aid over their four years. That’s aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. So, every college is concerned about where we go with financial aid. There are some institutions in Iowa that are discounting 60 percent for the first-year class. I just don’t know how that can be sustained over the long haul. Colleges may be forced into a position where we don’t give merit aid. Maybe we only give need-based aid. Or maybe we only give aid equal to a certain percentage of the cost of tuition and fees. It’s so different across the country. I mean, 98-plus percent of Luther students receive some form of financial aid. But on the East

Do you think Luther alumni understand how important their support is?


Luther Alumni Magazine

R.T.: Well, 24.5 percent of them understand—the percentage of alumni who, on average, give annually. We so appreciate their giving back to their alma mater—paying it forward, so to speak. But compared to other peer institutions, 24.5 percent is not good enough. That’s not a benchmark that reflects well on Luther. While that number is above the national average for alumni support, we want to be recognized for the exceptional place we are, and rating agencies and foundations who look at these numbers do not perceive our current level of support as being exceptional. My experience over these last 13 years is that Luther alumni have a deep and abiding love for this place. Luther is a place that builds enduring relationships, but there seems to be a disconnect between their affection for the place, their loyalty, and the percentage who give. Perhaps we haven’t been effective in articulating the relationship between making an investment in Luther and the enhanced value that investment brings to their Luther degree through greater visibility, respect,

R.T.: Let me give you an example: One alumna, who graduated about 10 years ago, said this: “Alumni give, the endowment grows, and tuition increases. This is not an economic model that I can support.” Well, she doesn’t understand that no student pays the full cost of what it takes to educate that student. Even a student who pays the full price is paying only roughly 85 percent of what it truly costs. The rest has to be made up through gifts, grants, endowment earnings, and auxiliary revenue. Our endowment, which over the past 14 years has grown to $115 million—about triple since 1998— provides less than what we hope to achieve for scholarship, program, and faculty/staff support. About five percent of the annual budget comes from this source versus 14–45 percent each year at some of our peer colleges. We must continue to build this important asset, most of which supports student scholarships. I suspect that student loans are an issue, too. And I’m concerned about the growing debt burden. I’m sure we have many alumni who are still paying off student loans 10 or more years after they graduate. On average, a Luther student leaves with loan indebtedness of $25,000 to $30,000, and roughly 26 percent of our students graduate with little or no loan debt. I suspect, too, that younger alumni, as they get into their family years, have a lot of competing interests. But again, I would say that it’s not the amount that counts, it’s that they give something back to Luther that matters. The percentage of alumni who give speaks volumes about Luther College.

How have public attitudes about higher education (and the value of a liberal arts education) changed since you began as Luther’s president? R.T.: There’s much more focus now on careers, credentials, and a job. A degree is now viewed as a commodity, where the cost and not the quality of the experience seems to be paramount. There’s too little understanding and appreciation of the liberal arts. And there is a growing unwillingness on the part of families to invest in college or to take on debt as part of that investment. I think some of this has been our fault. We’ve not articulated the value-added dimensions of the residential, liberal arts college of the church. So we’re focusing a lot more on how we do that, and being clear about what the outcomes are that result from the investment that a family makes. For instance,

Percentage of Alumni Giving, 2011 Carleton College*


Macalester College*


Grinnell College*


Lawrence University*


Knox College*


Ripon College*


Augustana (Ill.)


Beloit College*


Cornell College*


Gustavus Adolphus College


Luther College*


St. Olaf College*


Wartburg College


Coe College*


Carthage College


Concordia College


Loras College


Colorado College*


College of Saint Benedict


Lake Forest College*


Central College


*Associated Colleges of the Midwest member As reported in the Voluntary Support of Education Report

96 percent of Luther graduates are employed, attending graduate or professional school, engaged in an internship, or doing volunteer work six months after graduation. We have put a lot more of this type of information on the Luther website at

Is there a tipping point beyond which the consumer might say, “The investment you are asking me to make is beyond my capacity to respond”? R.T.: That’s a question that haunts me. I think we have to manage operating expenses wisely. We have to do a better job of providing definitive evidence that investing in college has value. We have to provide academic offerings with a balance of workplace skills that the world is asking for while we instill a deeply rooted sense of vocation—that sense of passion, where we help students understand that each one of them is called and can make a difference in this constantly changing world. These are strategies that diminish the notion there is a tipping point.

Luther has recently done some experimenting with nontraditional distance and online teaching models. Where do such alternatives fit into the future at Luther and at other liberal arts colleges? R.T.: This is another issue that we’re thinking about. I don’t think that e-learning and MOOCs represent a silver bullet for a challenging business model. Somebody said that a MOOC is like the difference between playing golf and watching golf. Both can be enjoyable and exciting, both can be boring and frustrating. We did experiment with several online courses this summer, and I’m really anxious to get some feedback from the faculty who taught those courses and the students who were enrolled in those courses. I think there’s going to be more of it. Many people are talking about blended learning, where you have a combination of online and more traditional learning. When you think about online course outcomes, you have to be careful to differentiate between information transfer

and education. There’s probably a lot of information that can be transferred online, but those students are not developing the same kinds of abilities and strengths if that’s the only kind of experience they’ve had. Perhaps blended learning can shorten the time to earn a baccalaureate degree, thus decreasing the cost for some students.

Are you thinking about teaming with other colleges? R.T.: We are. In fact one of the advantages about being a part of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) is that this year ACM is going to be looking at several online courses that can be collectively offered to members next summer. Luther would be positioned to provide a couple of those courses.

What strengths does Luther have in navigating this unpredictable, ever-changing landscape of higher education? R.T.: I think Luther is as well-positioned as any college to meet the challenges. We’ve got an exceptional faculty and a staff who are here because they love working with students in this kind of environment. I think Luther’s reputation and visibility have grown significantly, and I would cite as examples our invitation to become a member of the ACM, and the recent climate leadership award (see page 23), which recognizes our national profile in the area of environmental sustainability. We are focused on our mission. We know who we are, and we know who we are not. And that’s a strength. We are fiscally prudent. We have strong operating reserves. We have low debt. Planning has been a strength at Luther that will carry the college forward. And I think our location is a strength. We have just an amazing, truly exceptional physical plant in an exceptional setting. All of that collectively bodes well for Luther. * Why Does College Cost So Much, by Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman (Oxford University Press, 2010) For information about giving to Luther College, go to or call (563) 387-1862 or (800) 225-8664.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Top Photos: Maria da Silva ’15; Bottom photo: EmIly ’13 Temte

Commencement 2012

Celebrating graduates and dedication to a healthy planet


Luther Alumni Magazine

I have a favorite Greek word, which is oikos. In ancient Greece, an oikos was the equivalent of a household, house, or family. The English words “ecology” and “economics” derive from oikos. In this one word we are taught that the welfare of our household is intricately connected to ecological and economic well-being. Dr. Brattskar’s vocation has wound through and within this

powerful concept. His life has been dedicated to protecting the oikos for future generations. He has dedicated his life to making our planetary household more sustainable— economically, socially, and environmentally.

Brattskar accepted his citation and addressed the class of 2012 about how they could respond to global climate change as twenty-first-century citizens. Their success, he said, would in many ways be measured according to their ability and willingness to adjust to change—and those changes will be more global in nature than ever. He asked the graduates to keep climate change at the forefront of their conscience and to realize how it affects many of the world’s challenges, from poverty to natural disasters, armed conflict, and health problems. Finding climate solutions, he said, “will make our air cleaner, our cities more livable, our energy more renewable, and our fields more productive.” The speaker said that dealing with climate change first requires a change in attitude: “You need to see through and dismiss those who represent special interests at the expense of our common interests.” Second, he said, “you have to try something. You have to do something. Here at Luther you did that on climate change. You made an ambitious commitment to carbon neutrality, and with your wind turbine, your innovation, and your follow-through, you are making it a reality.”

Zach StoTtler ’15


ast spring’s commencement ceremony celebrated not only the achievements of the class of 2012, but also Luther’s efforts toward sustainability. The main symbol of this dedication was hard to miss. A warm, gusty breeze spun the arms of the wind turbine presiding over the commencement field from its perch across Highway 52. Luther President Richard Torgerson pointed out to the crowd packing the bleachers that this year’s 561* assembled graduates were “the first to sit in this football stadium and gaze at a wind turbine that is supplying one-third of the campus’s electricity.” The college is on track to meet its goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2015, and at its May meeting, the board of regents passed a resolution to set an even bolder goal, Torgerson announced—reducing the campus carbon footprint by 70 percent by 2020, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Also this spring, the nonprofit group Second Nature named Luther a recipient of the 2012 Climate Leadership Award in the category of baccalaureate colleges. Torgerson accepted the award at a June ceremony in Washington, D.C. (See page 23) Linking its Norwegian roots with its dedication to sustainability, the college awarded an honorary degree to Hans Brattskar ’79, Norway’s director general and special envoy for climate change. Brattskar, who came to Luther from Norway as a student, earned his bachelor’s degree in history and business management. He has a master’s degree in international management from Baylor University and a doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University. Brattskar taught economics, held varied positions in Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs over 24 years, and joined the country’s Ministry of Environment five years ago. Jim Martin-Schramm, Luther professor of religion, presented the honorary doctor of laws degree to Brattskar, praising his work toward an equitable policy solution to global climate change:

Creative application of new technologies, Brattskar said, is also necessary: “We need to generate energy in enormous volumes and with greatly reduced or no emissions. And if you think it’s not doable, remember that when I graduated from Luther in 1979, the Internet was almost unheard of and cable TV was a novelty.” Finally, he urged the crowd, “we need to realize the complexity of the issue. Climate change does not recognize geographical borders. We need to work together to find common solutions among countries and societies.” * 567 students graduated, but 561 participated in the commencement ceremony. Read the full text of Hans Brattskar’s speech at

Brattskar's message, in 140 characters or less

The commencement speaker also presented his message as a Twitter post:

LutherCollege May 20 Congratulations. Be optimistic, think big, and stay engaged; you can make a difference, so go change the world.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Mallory Heinzeroth, a Luther College senior from Denver, received the college’s Jenson Medal during commencement. Each year, the graduating class elects as the medal winner an outstanding senior who

Grad gowns go ‘green’ The class of 2012 could use its caps and gowns to fertilize tomato plants, Luther Book Shop director Deanna Casterton ’91 jokes. For the first time at Luther, graduates received caps and gowns made of fiber proven to decompose in soil within a year. “Green” gowns, as they’re known, have been around for several years, but were expensive to buy. Casterton says the Book Shop staff had to work closely with the supplier, Jostens, to be able to provide the gowns. The shop has always given caps and gowns to graduating seniors. “It’s our gift,” Casterton says. As an added boost for the environment, during the grad fair in May, Luther sustainability coordinator Dan Bellrichard ’01 and his staff helped seniors register the unique code found on each gown with Jostens. The company then donated a dollar per entry to support the Green Belt Movement and the Nature Conservancy. Casterton says the Book Shop plans to give biodegradeable caps and gowns to future Luther grads, too.


Luther Alumni Magazine

abilities, and distinctive service to Luther or society. Their record of commitment, leadership, character, and ethics exemplify the college mission. Gregg Luther ’90, president of the college’s alumni council, presented Hegrenes the citation. His remarks are excerpted here:

Tory Hegrenes came to Luther from Brooklyn Park, Minn., intent on becoming a high school mathematics and physics teacher and coach. … He studied, played basketball for the Norse for three years, and even did his student teaching in his senior year, while serving the Norse basketball program as a student coach. That spring, Tory met a Navy recruiter at a Luther job fair. It piqued his interest and something clicked. … “I have this one chance to try something completely different,” he thought. Tory applied to Navy Officer Candidate School after graduating in 2001 and was admitted just 11 days before the events of 9/11 unfolded. … In 2003, Tory became a naval flight officer, flying an F-14 Tomcat assigned to the “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 11. … Tory’s commanders recognized his superior skills and selected him to attend the Navy Fighter Weapons School, known as TOPGUN, with follow-on orders to Strike Fighter Weapons School, Atlantic. … He completed a seven-month deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Young Alumni Award goes to Tory Hegrenes ’01 Tory Hegrenes ’01, a U.S. Navy lieutenant and flight officer, received the Luther College Young Alumni Award for 2012. The Young Alumni Award recognizes Luther alumni who have graduated in the past 15 years and who have rendered notable service to their profession and society in their vocation or avocation. Award recipients have demonstrated significant professional achievement, leadership

Maria da Silva ’15

Zach StoTtler ’15

Mallory Heinzeroth ’12 is Jenson Medal winner

best demonstrates the ideals of the college through service to students and the college community. The Jenson Medal was established through an endowment gift from Luther alumni Elizabeth A. Jenson ’45 and Paul G. Jenson ’47, of Vassalboro, Maine. The award includes a $500 stipend. Ann Highum, dean and vice president for student life, now retired, read the citation, praising Heinzeroth for her leadership skills, sense of collaboration, and passion for service. Heinzeroth earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude with majors in management and biology and a minor in Spanish. Other accomplishments at Luther include: • membership on the Student Activities Council, serving as president her junior and senior years • election to the Student Senate and acting as a student representative to the college’s board of regents during her junior and senior years • playing on the Luther women’s rugby team for four years • completing the Launching Luther Leaders certificate program, which she also helped create • coordinating the Relay for Life event for three years as a service project for the sorority Alpha Beta Psi • volunteering with the student organization Students Helping Our Community. Heinzeroth’s major service endeavor is the nonprofit organization With Love, Incorporated, which she started with her mother, Susan (Engen) Heinzeroth ’84, in 2004 after a service experience in South Africa. The organization seeks to support those around the globe in need of assistance. Heinzeroth—whose father, Todd Heinzeroth, was a 1985 Luther graduate—began a fellowship in July through the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, working at a prenatal and maternity clinic in Nicaragua. In October she’ll become a project manager at Epic Software Systems in Madison, Wis.

He currently serves as the safety/combat readiness department head with the “Fighting Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron 213 in Virginia, and has accumulated over 1,700 flight hours, 275 in combat, logging over 200 arrested landings. So . . . what is an “arrested landing?” Aircraft carrier runways are just over 300 feet long. Tory’s FA-18 Super Hornet aircraft is 60 feet long, weighs 20 tons, and can travel at speeds up to Mach 1.9 at altitude (that’s nearly 1,200 mph). On approach to the carrier runway, the plane slows to 150 mph and lowers a claw-shaped tailhook at the rear of the aircraft so that it will contact the deck as the wheels touch down. The hook drags along the deck surface until three or four cables, stretched across the landing area, engage the hook, transferring the inertia of the aircraft, stopping it . . . rather quickly, in fact. Complicating this delicate maneuver, the instant the plane touches the deck, the pilot must go to full throttle—just in case the tailhook does not engage and the aircraft needs to take off again and make another attempt at landing. “That actually happens now and then,” says Tory. Taking off is a piece of cake. A steampowered catapult in the carrier deck literally “shoots” Tory’s aircraft off the deck from 0 to 165 mph in 2.5 seconds, and, Tory confesses, “That’s probably the most fun part of the job.” Lieutenant Commander Hegrenes has received numerous decorations, including two Strike Flight Air Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terror Service Medal. And last year he was named the Commander, Naval Atlantic Air Forces Atlantic Naval Flight Officer of the Year. … Tory Hegrenes is an outstanding representative for all Luther faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have served our country. We recognize their collective sacrifice, their heroism, and their commitment to preserving the freedoms we hold so dear. Tory was called to serve his country as an aviator, and he is the very best there is. For the way in which Tory exemplifies the Luther mission statement “to serve with distinction for the common good,” for his willingness to stretch his learning beyond his immediate interests into a broader knowledge of a larger world, and for his commitment to connecting life’s work with service, we recognize Tory Hegrenes, class of 2001, with Luther’s Young Alumni Award.

Luther received a 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award, recognizing the college as one of the nation’s leading colleges and universities with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus and integrating this goal with the college’s educational mission. The 10 award recipients in the Second Nature competition were honored at the 2012 Climate Leadership Summit in June at American University in Washington, D.C. Luther’s Climate Leadership Award is in the baccalaureate college category. Two award winners were selected in each of five categories: doctorate-granting universities, master’s degree-granting colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, associate/tribal colleges, and special focus institutions/others. Solar energy field grows: Luther’s new $1.2 million solar energy field was under construction this past summer. Dragonfly Solar constructed the array of solar panels which comprises the largest single solar energy production facility in Iowa. Situated on a two-acre site along Pole Line Road on the north side of the Luther campus, the 1,250 separate solar panels mounted in six rows are the main feature of the 280-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. The solar field will come online this fall to provide electricity for Baker Village, an all-electric student housing facility that uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling. Luther will lease the solar panel array for seven years from Decorah Solar Field LLC, a corporation owned by Decorah resident Larry Grimstad. The college plans to purchase the solar array after seven years.

Luther President Richard Torgerson (left) with Dr. Anthony Cortese, a cofounder of Second Nature, after Torgerson accepted the Second Nature award on behalf of the college at the Climate Leadership Award Ceremony on June 21. Below: Luther’s solar array, under construction this past summer.

G.V. Suos ’15

Read the full text of Gregg Luther’s remarks at

Luther’s sustainability efforts earn national honor

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Senior Candids Last spring we asked the Luther community to recommend who among the class of 2012 we should feature in the magazine. Well, we were inundated. But this magazine has only so much space, so we ultimately chose 10 students who we thought, collectively, might represent the breadth of interests and capabilities of the graduating class. In trying to discover how Luther touched their lives, we asked about the proud achievements, “aha” experiences, and key decisions of their past four years. Rarely, if ever, was there one defining moment that summed up their entire Luther experience. That’s because they were so thoroughly engaged in all aspects of campus life. Be forewarned, just reading about their double majors, sports schedules, study abroad, volunteering, and service work is enough to wear a person out. Photographs by Julie Strom ’93


Luther Alumni Magazine

Jason Block

Perfecting a balancing act among service, scholarship, and athletics “Soccer teaches you to balance your time wisely,” says Jason Block. “During the season, you buckle down and phase out distractions because you know you don’t have any time to spare.” Saying that Block has made good use of the spare time he did find at Luther is a huge understatement. Block, who knew even before starting college that he wanted to practice medicine, interned over two summers with a Luther alumna at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. His experience working with transcripts in the bioethics department there inspired him to instigate a bioethics course at Luther. With the help of Dr. Marian Kaehler, professor of biology, he developed a directed-readings class that allowed more than 20 students to earn two credits exploring issues ranging from genetic testing to organ selling to physicianassisted suicide and euthanasia. While biology is his first love, Block also completed a Spanish minor, which included a January Term for medical majors in Ecuador. Upon returning, he continued to use his Spanish skills and medical knowledge for the common good by volunteering at the Decorah Free Clinic, where he interpreted for Hispanic patients during his final two years at Luther. Block also put his philanthropic leanings to good use in cofounding Students Helping Our Community (SHOC), a service club that matches student volunteers with organizations in need of help. SHOC originated when Block and his cofounders noticed that many of the service organizations on campus were exclusive or required membership dues. “We wanted to create a free organization that was open to everybody,” Block says. Because he has distinguished himself so thoroughly in an academic and service capacity, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Block is also a first-rate athlete. Among other accomplishments, he scored the gamewinning goal to advance Luther to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2011 NCAA tournament. For his excellence on and off the field, Block, who graduated summa cum laude, was chosen for the CoSIDA Academic AllAmerica team this past season. Block, who has long been interested in emergency medicine—he earned his EMT license between his first and sophomore years—is attending the University of Iowa Medical School this fall. — Kate Frentzel

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Bianca Lutchen

Always looking for a challenge and ways to help the vulnerable Bianca Lutchen chose to study German because it was the most challenging language offered at her high school. “Of course, now they offer Chinese,” she jokes. Regardless, that early decision has served the Northfield, Minn., native well. In addition to traveling to Germany on a Congress-Bundestag scholarship before enrolling at Luther, Lutchen spent a spring semester in Muenster during her sophomore year, and in the spring of her senior year she received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, which will send her to Germany for a third time this September. Lutchen relishes a challenge, which is why the double major in political science and German wrote her senior paper, a 20-page exploration of womanhood in pre- and postunification Germany, in the German language. She knew it would improve her written language skills and that she could press those augmented skills into service in applying for the Fulbright. But the research Lutchen did for her thesis also reinforced her interest in working with vulnerable populations. “One of the most valuable things I did in Germany was have conversations with women who lived there before the fall of the Berlin Wall and just hear these fascinating stories. I mean, their parents lived through a world war, and they also have experiences of being behind the Iron Curtain.” In addition to working within Fulbright’s diversity program, through which she will be


Luther Alumni Magazine

teaching new immigrants to Germany, Lutchen hopes to find time to focus on issues facing German women, particularly the topic of fertility rates and how they substantially dropped after reunification, as well as the identity change facing today’s German women and what it means to be a German mother in the twenty-first century. Lutchen’s drive is fueled by a well-developed sense of empathy, and this concern for others has influenced many of her travel experiences. From her semester in Washington, D.C., during which she volunteered at Luther Place Night Shelter, to a Habitat for Humanity trip to Ocean Springs, Miss., Lutchen seems determined to better the lives of the people she encounters. “She is a deeply empathetic person,” says Robert Christman, associate professor of history and faculty adviser during Lutchen’s Muenster semester. “It is clear that she has a soft spot for anyone struggling academically or socially,” which is sure to help Lutchen’s students thrive. — Kate Frentzel

Thato Masire

Natural diplomat learns to “just go for opportunities and see what happens” Thato Masire met a constant flow of nods and smiles each time he crossed Luther’s campus. The geniality and even demeanor that earned this reception are two reasons why Masire was chosen to become a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Scholar. Masire’s curiosity about the world may also have played a part in his receiving the illustrious award. As a first-year student, the Botswana native hosted a KWLC radio show called International Beat, during which he interviewed other international students about global affairs and played music from their home countries. Masire considers his radio experience invaluable: “Coming in, auditioning, and getting a show was a big deal. It taught me that here at Luther, you should just go for opportunities and see what happens.” Another experience that Masire took a chance on, and one of his most rewarding at Luther, was serving as a student board member for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, which the college hosted in March 2011. Becky Bowman, assistant professor of political science, speculates that Masire’s “keen diplomatic sense” and his “openness to positive change” contributed to his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize Scholar recognition that summer. Masire, the son of Gaone Masire ’82, counts the scholarship as his proudest moment at Luther. The six-week stint studying at the University of Oslo and visiting leaders in Norway taught him, he said, that “attitude is powerful, and, like anything in life, peace requires action and perseverance.” Masire’s passion for peacemaking is matched by his devotion to education. His senior paper envisioned a school for business and information technology in southern Botswana, which Masire iden-

tified as the area most in need of such training in his home country. Asked whether he hopes to help make these plans a reality, Masire demurs, but others agree that he’s bound to play an important role in bettering his community. Bowman suggests that the Peace Scholar award “is only one indication of his potential to positively impact the world around him.” While Masire developed plenty of important skills through his coursework at Luther, it’s his experience outside the classroom that really allowed his diplomatic nature to blossom. “I learned to interact with different people with different interests from different countries, faith traditions, and age groups. In life, I am going to have to interact with people outside of my immediate circle, and Luther has prepared me for that.” — Kate Frentzel

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Greg Siems

An “out there”decision took career at Luther in unexpected directions Greg Siems has never been one to take the easy route. Needing to choose a course to fulfill his Luther language requirement, he could have signed up for Spanish, in which he excelled in high school. But, true to his nature, Siems opted for a different course—Russian, the “most out there” language he could find in the college’s catalog, he says. “It was always a challenge, and that’s what kept me coming back—just wanting to figure it out,” says Siems, a Russian studies and political science double major and the son of Sheryl (Luckow) ’82 and Jay Siems ’84 of North Liberty, Iowa. As it turned out, enrolling in Russian 101 shaped not only his academic path but much of his college experience beyond the classroom. “The whole community that surrounds the Russian program really appealed to me,” said Siems, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science) honor societies. He soon became one of that community’s most active members, coordinating a Russian film series, tutoring Russian, and playing lead balalaika—a triangular, three-stringed Russian folk instrument—in the college’s Balalaika Ensemble. He also traveled to Russia twice—the first time as part of a January Term class that also stopped in Norway, the second on a prestigious Critical Language Scholarship that took him to Kazan, Russia, for two months in the summer of 2011. This summer Siems joined his girlfriend, Mandie Mickelson ’12, in Minneapolis, while he applied to graduate school in political science. In the meantime, he’s landed a paid research internship with the Minnesota Housing Partnership and a part-time sales position with Scheels. Although he’s unsure whether his knowledge of Russian “will be relevant” in the future, Siems says the Russian course he enrolled in his first year on campus—the class in which instructor Laurie Iudin-Nelson introduced him to the wonders of Russian folk music—remains a key experience. “Laurie brought out her accordion and tambourine and started singing. It was just so fun, and I was able to read the words even though I didn’t really know what they meant,” he says. “If you had told me when I arrived at Luther that I would major in Russian studies and study abroad in Russia, I wouldn’t have believed you, but that class took me in a direction that I hadn’t planned on or expected at all. Taking Russian was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.” — Sara Friedl-Putnam


Luther Alumni Magazine

Kristi Holmberg

Seminar sparks inspiration to spread eco-justice message Kristi Holmberg, a religion major and sociology and writing minor from North Mankato, Minn., describes her Luther years as a journey of self-discovery that has equipped her well for whatever lies ahead. “My professors were amazing,” she says. “They taught me how to think critically and gave me many tools with which to engage complex problems in the future.” Holmberg began using those tools long before she donned cap and gown last spring, devoting much of the last two years to studying, conducting research on, and advocating for eco-justice. The “Christianity and the Fate of the Earth” seminar she took with Jim MartinSchramm, professor of religion, her junior year inspired her to action. “It opened my eyes to the grave reality of climate change and its relation to religion and economics,” she says. “I wanted to do something to address the issue but didn’t immediately know what that should be.” After a semester abroad in Malta, she conducted a project with Martin-Schramm that involved interviewing Decorah residents leading sustainable lifestyles. “My goal was to learn about their motivation and vision,” Holmberg says. “I decided to record them and create a short film so I could share what I had learned with others.” That film, Live Simply So Others May Simply Live (, placed second in the student film competition at the 2012 Oneota Film Festival. “My research was one of my most significant experiences at Luther because it led to so many other things,” she says. That included flying to Durban, South Africa, last November to be part of the first “Youth for Eco-Justice” program sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation. She followed up that “life-changing experience”—two weeks spent examining socio-economic and environmental injustice during the United Nations Climate Change Conference—by staging a climate justice campaign on campus. That campaign may never have happened were it not for a lecture Martin-Schramm gave her junior year that she cites as a defining moment. “He told us that there are only a certain number of people who get to go to college, only a certain number who get to go to Luther, and fewer still who are learning about this issue,” Holmberg says. “I realized I’ve been privileged with education, and this privilege is intertwined with ethical responsibility. It’s this sense of responsibility that pushes me to educate others about issues like eco-justice.” The recent Phi Beta Kappa inductee assisted nine churches with sustainability measures this summer, and joins the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Atlanta this fall. —Sara Friedl-Putnam

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Ashley Matthys

Research brings healing, new connections Ashley Matthys had barely arrived at Luther when she received the devastating news that her cousin, just 19, had died by suicide. As she mourned his death, she also started combing through the literature on suicide, seeking something—anything—that might help her cope with her grief. She found plenty that dealt with parents, spouses, and children of suicide victims, but surprisingly little that focused on siblings or other family members. “I thought there might be something in the literature to help me out, but soon realized that there was a real lack in that area,” she says. That void served as inspiration, as Matthys, a communication studies major from Red Wing, Minn., began researching communicative coping mechanisms of sibling survivors of suicide, or the “forgotten mourners.” “It was a healing process for me,” she says of that work, which led to a McElroy grant to conduct a broader study with Kim Powell, professor of communication studies. This spring Matthys presented her work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research; the study is also the basis of a paper, co-authored with Powell, slated for publication in the Journal of Family Communication. The project was but one of many enriching experiences Matthys, a Phi Beta Kappa inductee, had at Luther. In her four years, she also


Luther Alumni Magazine

volunteered with Luther Athletes Serving Others, ran cross country and track, served as news editor of Chips and assistant editor of the Iowa Journal of Communication (under Powell), participated in the “Launching Luther Leaders” program, and spent a January Term in China and a semester in Washington, D.C., during which she interned at C-SPAN. But Matthys says the moment that defined her college experience occurred just before graduation this spring. Back on campus after having taken part in a panel presentation at the “Women as Global Leaders Conference” in the United Arab Emirates, she received an e-mail from a young Emirati college newspaper reporter she had met overseas. “We’ve stayed in touch after we chatted about reporting during the conference,” says Matthys, now a project manager with Epic in Madison, Wis. “Had I not worked for Chips, I wouldn’t have approached this girl at the conference…had I not majored in communication studies, I wouldn’t have been there to meet her in the first place,” she says. “We come from different family backgrounds and different cultures, but we really connected, and that is a result of all I did while at Luther.” —Sara Friedl-Putnam

Ethan Schultz

New educator expands skills while filling an empty library The library at Oshigambo Lutheran High School in Namibia was a palace compared to the wellworn buildings around it. The four rooms of the brick-and-cinder-block building gleamed.

But in two minutes you could count the books it held. Ethan Schultz, then a Luther sophomore, scanned rows of empty shelves, and something clicked in his mind. “As an educator, seeing an empty library—that’s a powerful thing,” says Schultz, who majored in music and elementary education at Luther. “Students at that school have the same exact passion to learn, but not the same resources.” That tour of Oshigambo with the 2010 January Term class “Choral Singing in Namibia and South Africa” inspired Schultz to actions that have expanded his perspective and life skills and are benefiting learners half the world away. Ann Sponberg Peterson, Luther director of development, was with the class and later corresponded with officials in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia about the dearth of books. They’d asked, “Can you help us?” Sponberg Peterson e-mailed students from the class about the plea, and immediately, she says, “Ethan answered the call.” “I’m in—let’s do something,” he said. Schultz stepped outside of his comfort zone, and at his home congregation of St. John Lutheran Church in Waseca, Minn., made the first of dozens of fundraising appeals for the effort. Sponberg Peterson enlisted help from Books For Africa, in St. Paul, Minn., whose mission is to end the Africa book famine. On July 28, 2011, a 40-foot sea container of books arrived in Namibia. The philanthropic project, now known as Empowering Learners (, had raised more than $24,000 to fill the container with more than 19,000 volumes and 40 computers. This past June, Schultz and Sponberg Peterson, along with Luther faculty, staff, alumni, and family members, helped deliver more supplies to Oshigambo, where the earlier donated books now fill three rooms of the library. Schultz is using his new public speaking and fundraising skills to establish an endowment for the project, so educational support can continue. In helping supply learning materials to the Namibians, Schultz says, the project is supporting “the potential for these kids to make an impact on their country.” The new Luther graduate—son of Mary (Hamilton) ’79 and Merril Schultz—looks forward to helping the elementary school students he’ll be teaching make an impact, too. Schultz completes student teaching this fall. “I’ll have an effect on students at an important developmental stage—laying the groundwork for a lifetime,” he says. “I get a lot of joy being part of that.” —Ellen Modersohn

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Di Yin

An artist develops talent for telling Luther's stories As a high school student, Di Yin knew that she wanted to study in the United States because it offered, she says, “more freedom to explore critical ideas, while Chinese education really stresses rote learning and memorization, and it requires a very specific focus.” Luther was “exactly what I was looking for . . . an opportunity to explore different areas of study,” she says.

So Yin made the trek to Luther from bustling Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Although she arrived at the college as an accounting major, she quickly found a second home in Luther’s Photo Bureau, and she wasted no time in training her lens upon her new environs. Jerry Johnson, then director of public information, explains that Yin “had a talent at capturing images that ‘tell the story.’ ” These suspended narratives, one of which captures the joy of a woman being dipped by her dancing partner, another of which records the hopefulness of a soccer player as the ball arcs away from her foot, grace the hallways of many buildings on campus. Yin, who ultimately declared a double major in art and management, admits that “art is hard to take on as a career—it requires a lot of courage.” But she is hopeful that her business background will help with self-marketing, and she’s bolstered by the Luther art faculty. “The example they provide of themselves as artists relieves you of a lot of that hesitance to pursue your passion,” she says. Yin describes herself as “very observant, but not always the most active in a social situation.” Photography helped her strike a balance between these two qualities, allowing her to become intimate with a subject, usually through portraiture. Yin’s photographic endeavors often led to lasting relationships, as well: “Most of my subjects are not professional models,” she says, “and they would naturally get nervous in front of the camera. As we got to know each other, we often became friends. Plus, as they became less nervous, I was able to capture some surprising, spontaneous moments.” Yin’s fondness for her subjects is evident in her work. Her rapport with her models, her ease behind the lens, and her knack for “creative-artistic storytelling,” says Johnson, result in “honest, candid, truthful images of what it means to learn and live and grow as a person at Luther.” — Kate Frentzel


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Dallas Wulf

A passion discovered: Physics doesn’t seem like work When it comes to talking particle physics, Dallas Wulf has the lingo down pat. “Every process in the universe can be explained through four fundamental forces, including the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force,” says the physics and math double major of the research he conducted while at Luther. “Our studies focused on measuring the decay transitions of different particle states, a process governed by the strong nuclear force.” There’s no denying Wulf’s a whip-smart student—his résumé boasts the Strom Prize (for math) and Ellingson Prize (for physics), induction into four academic honor societies, and a Spanish minor—but there’s much more to this Durant, Iowa, native than just academics. A quick Google search, for example, yields a YouTube video of Wulf onstage jamming bass guitar with the rock band “Crash the FM.” He also knows how to do a mean fox-trot—thanks to participation in the Luther Ballroom/Swing Club—and can, literally, toot his own horn, having played tuba in the college’s Wind and Percussion Ensemble. Still, it was Luther’s varied academic offerings that ultimately brought him to campus. “I hadn’t really found a particular academic area in high school that I wanted to pursue, and I was attracted to the broad liberal arts curriculum,” he says. Wulf did branch out in his studies—his first semester at

Luther was the first in years that he hadn’t taken any math or science classes—but he quickly noticed that he missed the rigors of scientific and mathematic inquiry. He signed up for a physics class the next semester and never changed direction. This fall Wulf begins doctoral studies in physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on a $10,000 graduate study fellowship from the R.J. McElroy Trust—a path he credits to the “transformative experience” of the summers he spent conducting research with Todd Pedlar, Luther associate professor of physics. “It wasn’t until Dr. Pedlar asked me if I would be interested in joining him in doing research over the summer that I really considered that I could do physics professionally and be a physicist,” he says. “That first summer I remember thinking, ‘if I can do this as a career, then I’ll never really work again’ because it didn’t seem like work. I was never as passionate about what I did before, so to experience that was a really cool thing—I knew from that moment that I would be doing physics for the foreseeable future.” — Sara Friedl-Putnam

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Emma Spoon

Transfer gave long-distance star a second chance at running Anyone familiar with the Norse cross country team knows Luther runners have school spirit. This was especially evident on November 19, 2011, as Emma Spoon crossed the finish line at the NCAA III National Cross Country championships in Oshkosh, Wis. Spoon’s teammates rambunctiously cheered and tooted vuvuzelas in celebration of one of Luther’s most talented runners. She placed 18th in a field of 277 runners, earning All-America honors and 10 points for the Norse women’s team in her second year at nationals. Spoon, a biology major, wasn’t always a member of the Norse. After graduating high school in Verona, Wis., she attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. “I liked the idea of a big school in the Twin Cities. ... Running was a major part of my decision though, and that’s why I chose St. Thomas,” Spoon said. But after a year and a half in St. Paul, things weren’t adding up. “There were some things about the bio program at St. Thomas that I didn’t like.” Running also factored in to Spoon’s dissatisfaction. “Running in the Twin Cities … you see a lot of pavement,” she said. “Stoplights also tend to be a problem. … Luther’s co-ed running program and the overall sense of community really appealed to me.” After an injury-ridden cross-country season her sophomore year at St. Thomas, Spoon transferred to Luther. By fall she was running with the Norse women at nationals. “There’s something about running the trails in Decorah that’s different. Steve and Yarrow Pasche (Luther cross-country coaches) really gave me a second chance with running—it was a fresh start that made me realize I could actually succeed in and enjoy college running.” Sometimes, Spoon said, it can be hard to find harmony between academics and athletics schedules. She seemed to have found that equilibrium, graduating summa cum laude and receiving a postgraduate scholarship from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Spoon’s postgraduation plans were still up in the air last spring. “I know I’ll go to grad school eventually, but I haven’t decided whether I’ll pursue medicine or education,” she said. This fall Spoon is working and teaching at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, Minn. “It’ll be good teaching experience,” she said, “and I’m lucky it’s only 45 minutes away from Decorah. I’ll be coming back a lot.” — Katherine Langston ’15


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Long and Winding Road Years of community effort lead to beautiful Decorah trail by Kate Frentzel photographs by Bob Modersohn


f not your classmate, it was probably your classmate’s parent, spouse, or child who helped make Trout Run Trail a reality. The effort, after all, involved dozens of Lutheraffiliated volunteers and scores of alumni donors. The fruit of that collective effort is an 11-mile loop that girds Decorah, providing vital recreational space for city residents, visitors, and Luther students. The trail

brushes the outskirts of downtown, traces the gentle bends of the Upper Iowa River and Trout Run Creek, and traverses pictureperfect farmland through a clever series of slopes and switchbacks. It winds its way over and under bridges and even through a passage blasted from a limestone bluff. But as stunning as the trail is, even more phenomenal is that it was built at all.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Construction photographs: Erdman Engineering

Trail engineers decided their best option for completing the loop was to blast a path through the bluff along Highway 52 and north of Highway 9; contractors removed 20,000 tons of limestone in the process. While other options for this stretch of path were considered, a combination of factors led to cutting through the bluff—among them, having to stay on city-owned property, federal law that protects spillways, and not being able to shut down Highway 52 for a construction project because any detour would reroute motorists 60 or 70 miles.

At-a-glance Building the Trout Run Trail involved cooperation at the city, county, and state levels; easement through the property of two dozen private landowners; $1.2 million in local funding; and more than $5 million in grant support.

Fundraisers sold naming rights for everything from bridges to individual miles to the three pieces of public art that grace the loop. Benches were a popular sell at $5,000, and they now pepper the trail, offering spots to relax with a view. Some benches echo their surroundings. The sitting space beside Bounnak Thommavong’s trout arch sculpture, for example, loosely mimics the contours of the arch.


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The metamorphosis of Dug Road

The right stuff to launch a trail

As early as the 1980s, there was interest in building a trail that used an abandoned railroad bed to delineate part of Decorah and its outskirts. The city’s mayor at the time, and longtime Luther faculty member, David T. Nelson ’49, later said that his greatest frustration in the endeavor had been trying to get landowners along the rail to allow passage through their properties. The ambitiousness of the project and the reluctance of property owners colluded to bury the trail idea for years. In the early 1990s, however, the Decorah city attorney took a good, hard look at a gravel road that hugged the bluff over the Upper Iowa River on Decorah’s west side. It narrowed to a single lane in places, and the attorney suggested it was too dangerous to be a public thoroughfare. Making it fit to drive proved too expensive, so the city barricaded Dug Road, and people soon adopted the closed gravel stretch as a place to walk and bike. It wasn’t long before Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a service fraternity at Luther, launched its Million Pennies project, with Jason Zabokrtsky ’96 at its helm and the goal of raising funds to pave Dug Road. The effort attracted a state grant, and in 1995 almost two miles were paved. This was the first leg of what would eventually become the Trout Run Trail.

Meanwhile, after graduating from Luther in 1987, John Hjelle spent a few years bicycling around the world. He returned to the Midwest to earn a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. When he started a career at Erdman Engineering in Decorah, he had just the right combination of education and experience to know what was possible in trail construction. As early as 1998, Hjelle drew a mockup of a 17-mile loop trail that made use of the two abandoned railroad beds. The engineer showed his plan to Don Wurtzel ’74, who had been a proponent of the Dug Road trail and who was then director of the Winneshiek County Conservation Board (WCCB), and the two of them again approached local landowners. Owing to difficulties in acquiring property easements, however, the idea stalled. It wasn’t until 2001 that the Trout Run Trail found an anchor, with the establishment of a group of bike enthusiasts who called themselves Trails of Winneshiek County (TOW). The group, which included several Luther alumni, brainstormed ways to increase Decorah’s bikeability. They decided that building a dedicated trail from Wold Park, on the city’s east side, to the Decorah Fish Hatchery south of town would be a good start. That nascent trail was possible because the city of Decorah had already set aside hotel/motel tax money to the tune of almost $100,000. Between those monies, grants, and in-kind support from Winneshiek County, the group was poised in 2005 to break ground on the trail that would connect Decorah to the fish hatchery.

“A trail like this has such far-reaching impact that you need to look at what this does for the economic life of a community.” — Keith Christensen ’80

There’s a grant for that

A leap of faith and great timing

That’s when Andy Anderson ’87 said, “Think bigger.” Anderson, who was working for the state of Iowa, had heard about the original loop concept and thought it sounded tailor-made for a Vision Iowa Community and Attraction Tourism (CAT) grant. As Hjelle recounts, “Until the Trout Run Trail, the Vision Iowa CAT grants had funded museums, municipal parks, and the restoration of historic sites. They’d kicked in money here and there for swimming pools. Few of those things were as big a tourism draw as this was.” Because Vision Iowa requires proof of broad-based local support before it commits to a project, the Decorah trail advocates had to keep their funding intact and delay work on the trail in favor of applying for the CAT grant. The group’s patience was rewarded: in 2006, the Trout Run Trail project was prepared to accept a whopping $1.5 million Vision Iowa CAT grant—the largest single grant awarded to the Trout Run project throughout its 12 years of construction. Before the trail group officially received the offer, however, it hit upon the idea of asking Vision Iowa to increase the grant by a percentage to enhance the trail with public art and simultaneously raise extra money by selling naming rights for that art. The grant panel concurred and contributed an extra $100,000. “That $1.6 million was a huge pivotal point of our project because we were validated by the state of Iowa,” says Mike Huinker, husband of Kim (Pilgrim) Huinker ’82 and father of Hannah ’08, Lydia ’09, and Dane ’13.

While the CAT grant was a strong start, the grant alone didn’t ensure success. Vision Iowa generally funds no more than 25 percent of a project, which meant that most of the money for the burgeoning trail had to be found elsewhere. This is the point at which an intrepid team of grant proposalwriters and fundraisers put pens to paper and knuckles to doors to raise more than five million additional dollars, including an incredible $1.2 million—about 20 percent of the total cost—from local donors. “There was a real leap of faith we had to take without having all the funding in hand,” says Kirk Johnson ’82, Luther associate director of alumni relations. “We had a good start with the CAT funding, but we still didn’t have all the other trail grants in a row to make the project happen without the city and county having to pony up with the cash. We had to keep raising money and having faith that over the long haul we would get project funding.” The fundraising and grant proposalwriting group—which included, among others, Johnson, Keith Christensen ’80, Mike Harman ’87, Harlan Satrom ’82, Lora Friest (wife of D. J. Friest ’90), Mark Donhowe ’70, Larry Grimstad (father of Joe Grimstad ’98), Paul Hudson (father of Megan Hudson ’14), and Jerry Freund (husband of Ann Highum, former Luther dean and vice president for student life)—had to think strategically to continue to bring in money. They applied to a governor’s program called Iowa’s Great Places, which led to a significant cash infusion. “After we became an Iowa Great Place,” Johnson explains, “it became easier to garner more and more small grants to

Engineers decided that a post-tension concrete bridge was the best way to cross Highway 9. While post-tension bridges are more expensive than many others, they last longer, require less maintenance, and—owing to their design, which involves overstretching cables before securing them in place—they’re incredibly sturdy.

The works of public art that adorn the trail went through a competitive selection process. A panel used weighted votes to narrow a pool of several dozen qualified artists to a list of 10 favorite proposals. Donors were then invited to bid on naming rights for their favorites among these, and the three highest bids determined which artworks would have a presence on the trail. Above, Walking with Birds, by Doug Freeman ’75.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


presented logistical delays. The first step in forging a path through private holdings was getting landowners to sign a letter of intent that would allow for trail easement through their property. Hjelle recalls that for the stretch of trail that runs from Wold Park to the fish hatchery, this required 19 alignments—which meant that trail volunteers had to go back to the drawing board 19 times to find a continuous path through the properties of people who would agree to host the trail. In the end, the trail’s serendipitous path, which courses through 24 private properties, is very much a product of landowner generosity—as well as of the dynamic northeastern Iowa landscape.

The Trout Run Trail was designed to highlight the area’s abundant trout streams. Its 11-mile loop passes the Decorah Fish Hatchery and crosses trout streams five times. The trail also includes 1.5 miles of handicapped-accessible trout fishing—the longest such stretch in Iowa. complete each section. As the process continued, we were literally applying for grants for three-tenths of a mile or a quarter mile.” Christensen, Luther vice president for development, marvels at how funding crystallized: “The timing always hit at the right time: an idea, or a door opening, or a grant opportunity, or a significant gift. I think that’s what really made this happen: vision and passion for a project from different groups and different people, and a whole series of exactly the right timing.”

Hills and other steep challenges Building a trail through geography as varied and intense as Decorah’s poses certain challenges. Trail planners—in this case, Erdman Engineering, the firm responsible for most of the path’s construction—have to make sure they’re not obstructing floodplains or threat-

ening endangered species. They have to choose building materials based on soil content. They have to consider the maintenance costs involved in long-term upkeep and plan for no-mow grasses and prairie plants. And, of course, they have to counter dramatic elevation changes by building gradual slopes or switchbacks. One of the biggest challenges in constructing the Trout Run Trail, however, was related not to the geography, but rather to the citizenry. In an echo of Nelson’s complaint in the 1980s, securing a path through a labyrinth of private property proved a true feat of endurance. In addition to reservations that property owners had about allowing trail users on their land, properties in and around Decorah subdivide frequently. That raised complications that included families who had to settle estates, property changing hands during the planning and construction phases, and out-of-state landowners who

Grand opening Give the Trout Run Trail a trial run during the Decorah Rotary’s 5K and half marathon on September 22, or celebrate its grand opening on September 23 in conjunction with a Decorah Open Streets event. The dedication ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m. at Decorah High School’s Viking Stadium, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on the Highway 9 bridge at 5:30 p.m.

“The holy grail of this trail is the landowners. When I ride it now, I think about how grateful I am to the landowners that gave us such a choice route.” —Mike Huinker


Luther Alumni Magazine

The loop includes seven miles of level ground and four miles of steeper terrain. While the journeys uphill may test one’s lung power, the reward is a view fit for the eagles.


Map Printed January 16, 2012



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Pulpit Rock Campground


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Winneshiek County Fairgrounds Bowstring Bridge






Map Printed August 8, 2012

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Photos courtesy Mayo Clinic.

Alumni News

Doug Summerfield ’00 (left) measures lung capacity at 17,500 feet above sea level at Mount Everest base camp.

Doug Summerfield (far left) with the Mayo Clinic team during a research expedition on Mount Everest in the Himalaya Mountains.

Summerfield ’00 scales new heights to study heart, lung disease It was a gorgeous laboratory, but Doug Summerfield ’00 was on Mount Everest to do more than take in the scenery. As a Critical Care Medicine Fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., he traveled to the world’s highest mountain as part of a team of researchers hoping to gain insight into heart and lung disease. It turns out that these conditions are related to a hypoxic (low-oxygen) state, which is exactly what extreme climbers experience. While the proportion of oxygen in the air remains at a constant 21 percent across the globe, at higher altitudes there is less air pressure available to force oxygen into tissue, which leads to oxygen deprivation. Other stresses that extreme climbers experience, such as muscle wasting and sleep disorders, further mimic the experience of heart patients. “What we were doing is looking at sleep architecture, lung function, cognitive function, and metabolism, and how those things were affected by high altitude and hypoxia. Basically, we were using high altitude as a model for congestive


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heart failure,” Summerfield says. To do this, the expedition—a collaboration between Mayo Clinic, National Geographic, and North Face—sent nine climbers to acclimate at base camp, which is at an elevation of 17,500 feet above sea level. The Mayo researchers—traveling from Rochester’s more modest elevation of 1,300 feet—then joined the climbers, monitoring them from base camp while the extreme athletes eventually reached summit at 29,000 feet. Summerfield and his colleagues conducted tests on the climbers as well as on themselves, and they took measurements at sea level, as they ascended, and at base camp. Summerfield admits that while the backdrop was stunning, it was “also a bit scary at times. Khumbu Glacier, where base camp is located, moves about 15 feet a month, which is, geologically speaking, really extreme. So there are a lot of avalanches. We would hear them come down all night long.” While the threat of avalanche loomed large at base camp, simply arriving there

presented its own difficulties. Summerfield’s team flew into Lukla Airport in Nepal. Built on a steep incline at 9,000 feet, it earns the distinction of being the world’s most dangerous airport. From there, the team trekked an astonishing 52 miles to base camp—with about 1,500 pounds of equipment. The endeavor required the services of 31 Nepalese porters and three yaks. “Those guys are amazing,” says Summerfield of the porters. “They’re a lot smaller than I am, but they could carry phenomenal loads—up to 80 kilos [176 pounds].” Conducting tests in an environment as extreme as Everest certainly took its toll on the researchers. “I got fairly sick there,” Summerfield says. “I lost about 10 pounds in just three days. And the hypoxia was pretty rough—I would become short of breath just trying to get the ultrasound machine going. Experiencing that gave me a lot of empathy for patients.” But Summerfield is confident that any discomfort on the mountain will have been worth it. In addition to the collection

of medical data, which researchers are currently sifting through, one of the objectives of the expedition was to test a remotemonitoring device that measures the beat-to-beat variability of a patient’s heart rate. “If that can withstand the rigors of Everest,” Summerfield says, “it should be able to monitor people on the ground and pick up arrhythmia before it occurs, which would be great. Because as much as I love the ICU,” he laughs, “it’s more important to keep people out of it.” After Summerfield completes his current fellowship, which is a two-year appointment, he plans to pursue a second fellowship in aerospace medicine, conducting risk assessment for extreme athletes and perhaps someday for space tourists. Whether he will volunteer for field research in zero gravity remains to be seen. — Kate Frentzel Follow Doug Summerfield and his fellow Everest researchers at their blog,

Alumni News

Class of 2012 has 69 alumni children The following sons and daughters of Luther alumni participated in the commencement ceremonies on campus in May. ARIZONA Prescott Amy Wilson, daughter of Julie (Ipsen) ’78 and David Wilson CALIFORNIA Irvine Laura Schultz, daughter of Lisa and Fred Schultz ’54 COLORADO Colorado Springs Kelly Dotseth, daughter of Sylvia and Mike Dotseth ’84 Denver Mallory Heinzeroth, daughter of Susan (Engen) ’84 Heinzeroth and Todd Heinzeroth ’85, Denver ILLINOIS Moline Kevin Bradley, son of Sheri and John Bradley ’82 Palos Park Katherine Moan, daughter of Becky (White) ’74 and Rolf Moan ’73 St. Charles Astri Snodgrass, daughter of Kirsten (Rove) ’79 and Bob Snodgrass ’77 Tinley Park Valarie Fyfe, daughter of Mary and John Fyfe ’76 IOWA Cedar Rapids Adam Bertroche, son of Sharon (Tarnasky) ’81 and Joe Bertroche ’79 Coralville Joel Dotseth, son of Joni and Jeff Dotseth ’80 Council Bluffs Richard DeVoss, son of Nadine (Bunge) ’76 and Gary DeVoss

Cresco Abigail Nance, daughter of Karen (Dietz) ’78 and Richard Nance Decorah Daniel Grainger, son of Phyllis (Kadlec) ’72 and Robert Grainger (deceased) Jordan Humpal, son of Lois ’93 and Dean Humpal Joshua Humpal, son of Lois ’93 and Dean Humpal Teresa Procter, daughter of Ruth (Bruemmer) ’75 and Ken Procter Laura Reutlinger, daughter of Sherri (Hanson) ’93 and David Reutlinger Paige Wettach, daughter of Barb and Jeff Wettach ’79 Des Moines Ellen Mumm, daughter of Christie Rosheim ’83 and Bruce Mumm ’83 Hiawatha Alan Lohff, son of Lori (Mauer) Lohff ’85 and Geoffrey Lohff ’85, Cedar Rapids

Paige Ofstedahl, daughter of Linda and Denny Ofstedahl ’76 Austin Mandie Mickelson, daughter of Maria (Spieker) ’89 and Todd Mickelson

Preston Erik Mattson, son of Miri (Peterson) ’81 and Paul Mattson ’81

Breezy Point Hannah Ilika, daughter of Patricia Lundeen ’73 and William Ilika, Rochester Brooklyn Park Ariana Cervantes, daughter of Donna Woodruff ’79 and Richard Cervantes Burnsville Paul Armstrong, son of Maureen and Michael Armstrong ’74 Delano Robert Matthiesen, son of Becky and Edward Matthiesen ’77 Eagan Siri Lokensgard, daughter of Mary and Rolf Lokensgard ’71 Hastings Seth Duin, son of Ann (Hill) ’77 and Doug Duin ’77

Marion Danielle Gibbs, daughter of Sonja (Shatzer) ’84 and Paul Gibbs ’84

Inver Grove Heights Denna Downhour, daughter of Denise (Swenson) ’85 and Doug Downhour ’83

Mount Pleasant Matthew Wettach, son of Mary and Steve Wettach ’75

Jordan Amanda Dietel, daughter of Beth and Greg Dietel ’92

North Liberty Gregory Siems, son of Sheryl (Luckow) ’82 and Jay Siems ’84

Lake City Emily Berkeland, daughter of Mel (Morris) ’77 and Luther Berkeland ’76

Pella Danielle Meirick, daughter of Norma and Phil Meirick ’87 Preston Karl Bear, son of Annis (Moon) ’74 and James Bear (deceased) Rockford Jacob Seibert, son of Louise (Trettin) ’83 and Todd Seibert MINNESOTA Albert Lea Amy Sandager, daughter of Denise and Charles Sandager ’79 Apple Valley Dalen Dirth, son of Geri (Grimm) ’76 and Rod Dirth ’76

Plymouth Erik Hageness, son of Martha (Petersen) ’81 and Mark Hageness ’79 Matthew Moen son of Kim and Peter Moen ’79

Red Wing August Lindmark, son of Kristen Schlauderaff ’78 and Larry Lindmark Mikki Sodergren, daughter of Jane and Scott Sodergren ’78 Rochester Kayla Norman, daughter of Rose (Welsh) ’85 and Mark Norman Roseville Samuel Libra, son of Karen Libra and David Libra ’81, Roseville Rushford Carina Schiltz, daughter of Carrie (Storhoff) ’83 and Troy Schiltz St. Peter Meghan Pedersen, daughter of Terry (Petersen) Pedersen ’76 Waseca Ethan Schultz, son of Mary (Hamilton) ’79 and Merril Schultz White Bear Lake Laura Gardner, daughter of Debra and Mark Gardner ’78

Lino Lakes Elias Johnson, son of Paula and William Johnson ’76

Willmar Britta Pederson, daughter of Sheri and Brent Pederson ’77

Maple Grove Michelle Boursier, daughter of Kimberly (Torrey) ’85 and Michel Boursier

TEXAS Austin Samantha Sojka, daughter of Lori Drinovsky-Sojka ’84 and Marvin Sojka ’83

Marshall Shelby Klein, daughter of Jenifer (Hanson) ’83 and Michael Klein

Southlake Anna Looft, daughter of Martha (Anderson) ’83 and Jim Looft ’85

Northfield Louise Vivant daughter of Beth (Solberg) ’84 and Ed Vivant

WASHINGTON Fircrest Joshua Hoffman, son of Becky (Leschensky) ’81 and Charles Hoffman

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

Olympia Marita Whipple, daughter of Jean (Hausknecht) ’73 and Kim Whipple WISCONSIN Cadott Alexa Plass, daughter of Pamela Johnson and Tim Johnson ’93, Mondovi

(Bakker) ’78 and Brian Knutson ’78

Holly (Greedy) ’86 and Brian Knutson ’86

Kenosha Erik Ripley, son of Kathryn and Jim Ripley ’81

Wausau Hailey Punke, daughter of Jodi (Bowen) ’84 and Todd Punke ’84

Minocqua Eliza Harrold, daughter of Shirley (Newman) ’73 and Greg Harrold

Eau Claire Michael Noltner, son of Kari and Steve Noltner ’81

Monona Carl Sorge, son of Liz (Knutson) ’83 and Ken Sorge

Janesville Jeffrey Knutson, son of Jan

Monroe Elizabeth Knutson, daughter of



ARNE BREKKE was recognized by the North Dakota

SAUDI ARABIA Andrew Finanger, son of Lois (Dunleavy) ’77 and Mark Finanger ’77

30 years, he has contributed his time, energy, and money to the growth of the collection.



CHUCK ENGE of Downers Grove, Ill., helps Norwegian athletes wishing to study in America find colleges. He has visited more than 750 colleges and helped hundreds of student athletes find their appropriate academic and athletic niche in U.S. schools.

BETH (LIEN) WATERFALL of Norwich, Vt., is studying Northern Renaissance art at Dartmouth College.


Library Association as its Major Benefactor Award winner. Brekke was nominated by Wilbur Stolt, University of North Dakota library director, who noted that Brekke has been a driving force behind the growth of the Library’s Norwegian Bygdebok Collection. For more than

ETHIOPIA Thato Masire, son of Gaone Masire ’82

JAMES BERGQUIST received an honorary doctorate from the Senate of Serampore University of India in Serampore Town, India. The award, representing 90 ecumenical seminaries in India, recognized more than 45 years of involvement with theological education in India.

FELICE (HAHN) BASTIAN is retired in Hubertus, Wis.


JOHN BRUGGE is a visiting professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. LINDA (SWITZER) LASOTA of Athens, Ala., donates her time at the senior center playing games, singing music, and teaching a calligraphy class.

We want to hear from you Class Notes submissions may be e-mailed to Luther’s Alumni Office at or mailed to Editor, Luther Alumni Magazine, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045.


NORMAN G. OMODT has written a book,

From LOG HOUSE to MUD HOUSES and Other Houses of the Lord, describing the hardships and sacrifices of living in poverty in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. Also included are stories of life as a missionary, living with his wife, ANITA (HAUGEN) OMODT ’61 in the Andes Mountains in the 1960s. The book can be found at or

Weston Noble ’43 receives honors

Weston Noble was recognized for vocational service by Trinity Lutheran College. He conducted two choral rehearsals and a master class prior to the award banquet and concert.


Luther Alumni Magazine

In April, Weston Noble ’43, Luther professor emeritus of music, received the Vocatio Award for a lifetime of vocational service by Trinity Lutheran College, formerly the Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle. The award was presented at Trinity’s Celebration of Service banquet. Noble was also honored in the U.S. Territory of Guam in June. Noble, who was in Guam for the eighth consecutive year to conduct music education workshops and guest conduct at Cantate, Guam’s Pacific Summer Music Festival, was presented the Governor’s Award, and Governor

Eddie Baza Calvo declared the week of June 2–8, 2012, Dr. Weston Noble Week in Guam. The award was issued for Noble’s service and contributions toward positive change in Guam. Also in June, Noble was designated a Lowell Mason Fellow by the National Association for Music Education. The honor is named for Lowell Mason (1792–1872), who is credited with introducing music instruction to American public schools and establishing teacher training in music education. Lowell Mason Fellows are recognized for furthering music education for all.

Alumni News

I want to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. Your gift allows me to pursue my passion. Thank you.” —Paige Schneider ‘13 Mount Carroll, Illinois Elementary Education IS II: Behavior Disorder/Learning Disabilities

Each gift to the Annual Fund, no matter how small or large, makes a difference in the lives of Luther students like Paige. Make your gift online today:  

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New! Order tickets online

5:45 p.m. 6:30 and 9:15 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m.

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Christmas at Luther 2012 T C J

Thursday, November 29 Friday, November 30 Saturday, December 1 Sunday, December 2

Center for Faith and Life • Luther College

This fall you may order Christmas at Luther tickets online or by phone.

(563) 387-1357

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News


JERRY AAKER published The Spirituality of Service,


BOB NIEDRINGHAUS is retired in Duluth, Minn.


HAROLD DAHLSTRAND is executive in residence and a full-time teacher in the business department at Elmhurst (Ill.) College.

Clarie (Renslo) Streng Broste ’55, Hanska, Minn., and Buda,Texas; Solveig Otte ’56, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; and Paul Thompson ’53 and Kristi (Hendrickson) Thompson ’56, Mankato, Minn., gathered in the Thompson home July 8, and enjoyed reminiscing about Luther experiences.

which is based on his 40 years of experience in international development and relief work with faith-based organizations. He is retired in Sheridan, Mont. KLAUS DAHLKE is retired in Springfield, Va. JOHN NESSET was featured in the Taunton Press’s Fine Woodworking magazine. He is a furniture designer and builder in Minneapolis. LAVONNE SHARP retired in 2004 and moved back to Decorah. She volunteers for the Winneshiek County Historical Society.


At his trip blog at, David Ellingson ’69, left, writes: “Because we learn best by ‘doing,’ I decided to ‘do’ a (Mississippi River) paddling trip with the river as my ‘laboratory’ so that I might learn about water, soil, and creatures (including humans).” He met with Luther pastor Mike Blair at an ELCA youth gathering in New Orleans.

CHRISTINA (VIGNEC) WINCH is CEO of Winch Financial in Appleton, Wis. She and her fiancé, John Nienhaus, started a mini farm with a large garden, fruit trees, grape arbor, chickens, and ducks. They are long supporters of the farm-totable food movement and also build their farm’s main structures out of recycled materials.

DAVID ROSHEIM published the book A Pictorial Bibliography of Cities and Towns in the State of Iowa. He is also owner of Timber City Books in Maquoketa, Iowa, where he buys and sells used and rare collectible books.


ROSANNE BLISS published Pitching My Way through WWII: Letters Home to North Dakota, which discusses her uncle’s World War II experiences. She lives in Minneapolis. SUSAN (THORSEN) SLETTEN teaches kindergarten in the Robbinsdale School District in New Hope, Minn.


DAVID HANFORD is a self-employed life coach in Columbia, S.C.


DAVID ELLINGSON is professor of children, youth, and family studies at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, Wash. In May, he launched a three-month kayak adventure down the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to New Orleans, La. (Photo far left)

Ode ’63 authors second Iowa book, this time on celebrations

Luther alumni gathered at the Austin (Minn.) Symphony’s 55-year anniversary concert in April. (Left to right) Glenn Monson ’78, John Metcalfe ’71, Amy (Nordin) Duma ’81, George Feuerhelm ’64, Janet (Rawson) Metcalfe ’73, Benjamin Yates ’08, Ann Flisrand ’66, Laverne Walheim ’58, and Jim Knutson ’81.


Luther Alumni Magazine

If you want to know how to enjoy yourself in Iowa, ask Carson Ode ’63 of Des Moines. Over the course of two years, he attended 103 festivals and other events throughout the state. It was all research for his new book, Celebrate Iowa, which has more than 2,000 photos and descriptions of festivities. Six pages detail Decorah’s Nordic Fest. Celebrate Iowa is a sequel to Ode’s book Iowa Spaces, Places, Faces, which has sold more than 8,000 copies. Both books are available at


Alumni News

Members of the Alumni Nordic Choir companion tour to Ireland and England in May toured Windsor Castle. (Front row, left to right) Lloyd (Mick) Lee ’57, Nancy Diener, Karen Martin-Schramm, Dawn Heimer, Bobbi Hansmeier, Ruth (Bruemmer) Procter ’75, Jim Martin-Schramm. (Middle row, left to right) Sandy Lee, Julie Nystrom, Jeri Smith ’71, Gwen Ladner, JoAnn Evans ’52, Mindy Berns, Lynn Black, Connie (Marlow) Overholt ’71, Ken Procter. (Back row, left to right) John Nystrom ’67, Brad Schmugge ’93, Diane Berns, Jutta F. Anderson, Rose Weigel, Daryl Hansmeier ’95, Steve Smith ’71, Steve Overholt ’68, and Philip Baker. KAREN (OYLOE) and ED KRAMER ’68 are both recently retired. Ed is still the choir director and organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grayslake, Ill.


DIANNE FRANTZ, retired from Gulliford Sales Co. in Eden Prairie, Minn., traveled with her husband to France and Greece.

BETTE (GRINDE) STERN is retired in Melrose, Wis.


GARY McKERCHER is music director of the San Diego Master Chorale. The group gave a lauded performance of Faure’s Requiem at a San Diego Symphony Masterworks concert. JANET PREUS is editor of Specialty Fabrics Review magazine in Roseville, Minn.


CORRINE BRUE is director of organization development at Advanced Micro Devices in Austin, Texas.

CHUCK GIPP of Decorah was appointed director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

WILLIAM KOBLER of Rockford, Ill., was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees.

DAVID CHRISTENSEN works in retail sales at On Deck Clothing in Fish Creek, Wis. AMY (CHRISTIAN) and DARYL DODD live in Anaconda, Mont. She owns a gift shop called Beyond Necessity Gifts. He is the director of Rehab Services at Anaconda Community Hospital. RICK FROMM of Decorah is managing editor for Decorah Newspapers. He received the Iowa Newspaper Association’s highest honor at the association’s annual awards banquet in July. The plaque states that by becoming a master editorpublisher, “His peers determined that he has worked hard, lived honorably, thought soundly, influenced unselfishly and is entitled to the highest honors of the profession.”

LOIS (ANDERSON) and BRUCE GARBISCH ’70 live in Cook, Minn. She is a homemaker and he is a physician with Spectrum Primary Care at Scenic Rivers Health Services in Hibbing, Minn. He is also the medical director in the Cook Hospital nursing home.

R. Martens Consulting. He also works in receiving at Korbel Champagne Cellars.

RITA GARRISON is a retired Wisconsin State Patrol trooper in Madison, Wis.

THOMAS NINNEMANN is the news director at Chaparral Broadcasting Inc. in Jackson, Wyo.

CARL HANSEN is a financial associate with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Flushing, Mich.

CHRISTY (TURNER) NOONAN is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines in Naples, Fla. She is a self-employed artist who created the Language of Art workshops and lectures, and a certified Reiki master who practices in her home.

MARK HANSEN is retired in Manchester, Iowa. DOUGLAS HOWARD retired after 37 years as a school media specialist in New Ulm, Minn. JIM KING is an environmental compliance manager at EnviroNET in Davenport, Iowa. KERRY KNODLE is CEO of Comprehensive Community Solutions Inc. in Rockford, Ill. CHERYL (DIETZMAN) LICARY is the organist and choir director at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Beloit, Wis., and serves as a music adjudicator and field representative for the Wisconsin School Music Association. BRIAN MARTENS of Forestville, Calif., earned a master’s degree in organization development from Sonoma State University and is a consultant and mediator with Brian

ROBERT MILLER is on special assignment working on EHS integration issues for Lonza Inc. in Mapleton, Ill.

GARY RIEMER of Neenah, Wis., retired as security operations manager in corporate safety and security for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. DARRELL SEELEY is vice president at Rockwell Laser Industries in Sedona, Ariz. CAROL (BENKE) SHEINGOLD is an adoption consultant at Adoption Simplified in Sudbury, Mass. TODD SMITH is the regional sales director for Assist America Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa. JOAN (LANDER) and RICHARD STACH are retired in Appleton, Wis.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

MARK SWANSON of Mission, S.D., is a long-term pulpit supply pastor at Trinity Episcopal Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church. NANCY THOMAS is program director for Health Information Technology at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Fla. JEAN (KRIEGERMEIER) THOMPSON is a program assistant at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. JOLENE VRCHOTA is retired in Seattle. MARY WAARVIK is library director at the Elroy (Wis.) Public Library. JAMES WEGER is a math teacher for the Iroquois (S.D.) Schools. JANIS (FERGUSON) and DAVID WELLER live in Robbinsdale, Minn. She is chair of the Liberal Art Division at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. He is the senior solutions engineer for Allianz Life.

MARK NESS retired after 38 years as a pilot. He also retired as a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He is area director at Profiles Inc. in Eden Prairie, Minn. DEBBY (STEINHORST) ROSHOLT retired after teaching elementary school for 37 years in Reedsburg, Wis. JEROME RUD of Greencastle, Ind., retired after 29 years with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. JOAN (BRUMWELL) and JOHN STRAND ’72 live in Polk City, Iowa. She is a substitute teacher for the high school in Ankeny. He is a certified financial planner designee at Pede & Strand Financial Services in West Des Moines.


ANTHONY ALBERT is retired in Cornville, Ariz.

CHUCK ENGEBRETSON is senior vice president and CEO of Array Services Group Inc. in Sartell, Minn.

DEBORAH (COREY) and JOE WEMETTE live in St. Paul, Minn. She serves as director of community programs with FamilyMeans. He retired as assistant superintendent for the Roseville Area Schools.


BARB (STOEN) DOWD retired after 36 years of teaching in Cedar Falls, Iowa. DOUG HUFFAKER works for Broward County Parks and Recreation in Oakland Park, Fla. JAN KOE of Deer Park, Ill., is president of GoStar and principal of Method K Partners, a commercial real estate firm. He was recently appointed to the board of directors for Provectus Pharmaceuticals. CHRIS MUNDY retired from teaching high school Spanish at West Delaware Schools in Manchester, Iowa.


Luther Alumni Magazine

JIM NEILSEN is a self-employed investor engaged in management/ human resources consulting in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China.

NORMAN JAMESON is assistant dean for development at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, N.C. MELODY (LARSON) MELIN retired as K–12 technology integration specialist from the KassonMantorville (Minn.) Schools. JANE (BOWERS) REMMEN is retired in Waterville, Iowa.


JANICE OLDENBURG is the vice president of patient engagement for Aetna Consulting in Menlo Park, Calif. PENNIE PRIES is a simulation technologist educator in the simulation center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. ROSS SUTTER was awarded the Sally Ordway Irvine Award in education from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts; he is a selfemployed musician and teacher in Minneapolis.


CARL HOMSTAD has an exhibit, A Sense of Place: A Carl Homstad Retrospective, on view at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah.

LENORE FRANZEN is marketing communications manager at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners in Plymouth, Minn.

ROBYN SAND ANDERSON is an artist in New Ulm, Minn. Her exhibit, Contrasts: Suffering and Hope, was shown at Luther last winter. She is exhibiting her abstract paintings in acrylic at the Nina Bliese Gallery in Minneapolis from November 2012 through January 2013. She will continue working on the theme of contrasts.


JIM FRANCIS teaches and tutors math at ITT Technical Institute in Seattle. He also serves on the board of the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

1977 MARION BEATTY of Decorah received the Iowa State Bar Association’s highest award—the Award of Merit. Beatty is past president and longtime active volunteer with the association. Outgoing president Bob Waterman praised Beatty for upholding the three pillars upon which the 66-year-old award is based. Those pillars are service to the legal profession, to the bar association, and to their communities. “Marion L. Beatty embodies the principles upon which the Award of Merit was established,” Waterman read from a framed plaque presented to Beatty. “He has tirelessly applied the law to assist his clients during the 35 years he has been in practice. He has far exceeded what is expected in serving his state bar association, including as its president, and national professional organizations. And he has worked to improve the lives of fellow citizens in his community.” BOB DAKE is a senior UNIX administrator for the State of West Virginia Office of Technology in Charleston, W.V.

ANDREW WARD is an insurance specialist and business analyst at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore.


TIM FISHER teaches mathematics at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. DENNY HANSON is a research investigator in biomedical imaging at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. NANCY (HAWBAKER) HARMS retired from teaching physical education and special education in the Madison (Wis.) Metro School District. CECELIA (NYBRO) MANLOVE is chief operation officer of Amerigroup Community Care of Austin and San Antonio, Texas.


MARK GOULD is director of liturgical music at St. Bruno Parish in Dousman, Wis. DONNA LAGER is director of renal pathology at ProPath in Dallas.

JIM JACKSON retired after 32 years coaching wrestling at Apple Valley High School. Jim holds the best winning percentage in Minnesota’s history at 619-26-3. He had 169 wrestlers qualify for the state tournament, with 131 placing in the top six, and 56 of them becoming state champions. In 2011 and 2012 he also coached the team to consecutive national championships. Jim will continue to teach physical education at Falcon Ridge Middle School. CHRISTI (MUNSON) NOWLAND is a therapist at Garrison Counseling in La Crosse, Wis. She is also a teaching adjunct at Winona State University.

Alumni News

BRAD THOMPSON was inducted as a fellow in the American College of Radiology. Brad is associate professor and chief of cardiovascular and pulmonary radiology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

CHRIS (ALTHUIS) SCHAFER earned a doctorate in leadership from the University of St. Thomas. She is the college librarian and director of the Vogel Library at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.


his wife, Jill, are owners of Dybdahl Design Group in Middleton, Wis. DONITA (HOOK) JOENS is the superintendent of River-Valley Community Schools in Correctionville, Iowa.


JAY GANSKE is senior vice president at Mutual of Omaha Bank in Scottsdale, Ariz. ELIZABETH (WIENER) GRUBISICH is an alternative high school science teacher in the Valley View School District in Bolingbrook, Ill. MARK PENNING is founder of Root River Brewers LLC in Northfield, Minn., and cofounder of Cannon Valley Brewers LLC. He is also CFO for Stebgo Metals Inc. CHARLES PREIS, along with his Northeast Middle School Concert Band from Minneapolis, presented a clinic for the 2012 Minnesota Music Educators Association Convention. Preis also directs the band at Century College and the adult handbell choir at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church.

1983 STEVE NOMELAND was named Business Person of the Year by the Chamberlain-Oacoma Area Chamber of Commerce and Lake Francis Case Development Corporation in Chamberlain, S.D. Nomeland is president of Great Western Bank in Chamberlain. JOAN (ROHLF) PETERSON is director of human resources at Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago.

KRIS (WURTZEL) CHURCH of Wayzata, Minn., was invited as a panel presenter to the Children’s Book Council in New York. JANEAN (GARDNER) KLEIST is assistant professor of accounting and finance at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. MARY (PETERSON) MURILLO retired from teaching elementary school in Ankeny, Iowa. BILL RAMETTE is a wealth adviser for Morgan Stanley in Chicago.


JOEL FELDKAMP is an independent financial advisor for K-F Financial in Woodbury, Minn.

DAVID SWENSON was inducted into the Austin High School Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding teaching and conducting efforts in Boone, Iowa.

DAN KUESTER is a marketing communications specialist for Becker Underwood in Ames, Iowa. JEFFREY SWIGGUM is a narrator on the shortwave and Internet radio program Let’s Read the NIKKEI WEEKLY, as well as a writer for NHK TV English educational programs in Tokyo, Japan.

On the road to adventure in Spain The Luther College Camino de Santiago Adventure tour in July took participants along the route to Spain’s Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where legend has it the remains of St. James the Apostle are buried. Luisa and Peter Forsgren ’82 led the tour. (Front, left to right) Ken Meyer ’79, Theresa Meyer, Diane Jokinen ’82, Lindsey Levorson ’08, Eda Morsch ’08. (Back, left to right) Luisa Forsgren, Pat Duffie, Eva Forsgren, Margaret Sadeghpour-Kramer, Bob Forsgren, Kathleen Ausen ’71, Mitra Sadeghpour ’94, Gary McKercher ’71, Peter Forsgren.


KARL AREND is a project manager and sales representative for Art’s Way Scientific in Monona, Iowa, and owner of Arend’s Moving and Storage in Decorah.

KRIS (MADSON) FOLSOM is marketing director at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. JULIE GROTNES is the business initiatives manager/HR policy and ER with Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Iowa. JANE (JOHNSON) JACOBS is senior manager of enterprise operations change implementation at Allianz Life in Minneapolis. MARCIE VAAGE earned a master’s degree in professional accountancy from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. She is director of finance at Attic Angel Association in Middleton, Wis.

MICHELLE (WALL) and ERIC BIERSTEDT live in Sioux Falls, S.D. She is a substitute teacher in the Sioux Falls School District. He is a software engineer at Citibank. KRISTAN (HARDY) BOURESTOM is executive coordinator for the Dallas Fort Worth American Marketing Association. JANE (JORGENSEN) BURNETT is an attorney and business manager at Bean, Smith & Burnett in Crossville, Tenn. JEFF CARDEN is director of commercial industrial sales for Leviton Manufacturing Company in Chesterfield, Mo.


THERESA KASEL is an administrative assistant at CalciMedica in La Jolla, Calif.


ANDY ANDERSON is a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels in Des Moines, Iowa. ARNE ANDERSON is an academic adviser and instructor at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

DENNIS CLARK is a physical therapist at Northwoods Therapy Associates in Eau Claire, Wis. RENEE (SOJKA) CUNNINGHAM is the director of liturgy and music at St. Stephen, Martyr, Catholic Church in Chesapeake, Va.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

KELLY (HAUPERT) ENYART is the employee relations and development specialist for Catholic Health Initiatives in Coralville, Iowa. DEBORAH HANSON-GERBER and DARREL GERBER ’88 live in Dunkirk, Md. She plays clarinet in The President’s Own United States Marine Band. He is a technical manager for Blackstone Technology Group. MARK HAMMAN is a singer for Theater Osnabrück in Osnabrück, Germany. PETER HANSON is the interim associate pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minn. MARIA (STILLMAN) HERTEL is manager at Barn’rd’s Restaurant in Wichita, Kan. MARTHA (KORSNESS) and MARK JEPSEN live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is a preschool teacher at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. He is a principal software engineer for Intermec Technology.

Golden Valley, Minn. JEFFREY MAHNKE is the system analyst consultant for Cambia Health Solutions in Portland, Ore. ELISABETH MAURLAND and GUNNAR SCHWARZ ’86 live in Decorah. Elisabeth owns Elisabeth Maurland Studio. Gunnar is a potter with Schwarz Pottery. DAVID MILLER is an expert adviser of management consulting for Accenture in El Segundo, Calif. LINNEA (NELSON) NICOL is a juvenile public defender in Waterloo, Iowa. LISA (ANDERSON) NORGARD is a special education paraprofessional for the Washington County Board of Education in Hagerstown, Md. KRIS (KLEPPE) OLSON is owner and president of Carpe Solution in Maple Grove, Minn. JEFFREY OWENS is principal and athletic director at Marseilles (Ill.) Elementary School. BRENDA RAMLO is a selfemployed psychotherapist in Colorado Springs, Colo. JIM SHUTT earned a master of education degree and administrative endorsement from Viterbo University. He is the middle school vocal music director for the Dallas Center−Grimes (Iowa) Community Schools.

CHRIS (SCHWEIZER) JOHNSON is a professor of dance at Beloit (Wis.) College. She has been selected to show her work for the National Dance Educator’s Organization, World Dance Alliance, and the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival. SANDEE (NEITZEL) and JON JOPPA ’85 live in Plymouth, Minn. She is vice president of human resources and commissions with Donaldson Company Inc. He is senior manager for IT for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. MICHAEL KUNSCHKE is director of auto product and management at Hallmark Insurance in Plano, Texas. JON LAAKSO is an athletic trainer at Sandford Health in Bemidji, Minn. LYNDA LEHRMAN is a project manager at General Mills Inc. in


Luther Alumni Magazine

TIM OLSON is owner and architect at Big Creek Design Group in Polk City, Iowa. BRET VAN CAMP is a U.S. Army colonel and commander of the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Fort Polk, La.


LIBBY BECK is regional marketing leader for the Pacific West for Nationwide Insurance in Denver. AMY (LARSEN) and MICHAEL KRULL ’87 live in Reston, Va. She is a speech pathologist at Fairfax County Public Schools. He is the managing partner at Resilient Corporation.


BRENT ASPLIN is president of Fairview Medical Group in Minneapolis. VANESSA (GRIMA BALDACCHINO) FRAZIER has moved to Brussels to be the Ambassador of Malta to the Kingdom of Belgium, Luxembourg, and NATO. She has also been selected as one of 12 women to appear in the Women Inspiring Europe Calendar 2013. STACY JAYCOX is director of Tyson Foods’s IS program management office, change management, QA/testing, and compliance/audit in Fayetteville, Ark.


KATHI (KLINK) and MIKE ANDERSON live in Iowa City, Iowa. She is a physical therapist in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. He is an associate professor in the physiology, ophthalmology, and genetics departments at the University of Iowa. MARK DAVIS works at First LeRoy Agency Inc. in LeRoy, Minn. DOUG DELAHANTY of Uniontown, Ohio, is professor of psychology and director of the Initiative for Clinical and Translational Research at Kent State University. LAURA (SMITH) GENTRY gave a lecture, “A Healthy Dose of Laughter Medicine,” at the Jerusalem International Conference on Integrative Medicine held in May in Israel. DEBORAH (JOHNSON) RODDA is a postpartum nurse at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colo.


JENNIFER (ROLANDS) BAUSCH works in human resources at Riverfront Inc. in La Crosse, Wis.

JEFF WELLNER, of Victoria, Minn., is a pilot for Delta Airlines. THERESA (NEILL) WOODS of Lafayette, Ind., is a pediatrician at Indiana University Health.

PAUL ERICKSEN is director of technology at the American School of Kuwait.

TOM WHITFORD is principal in the K–8 school in the Iowa Grant School District in Livingston, Wis.

ANNE (NESSET) WOGEN is a cataloging librarian at the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand.

LAURIE UTHOFF teaches second grade and serves as an assistant administrator in the North Fayette Community Schools in West Union, Iowa.

DANIEL COTTON is president of Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic Associates in Overland Park, Kan.


SHARI (JULSON) SEIDL is a business analyst in output production at the Neilson Company in Green Bay, Wis.

KRIS (WOLANDER) TRECKER is chief human resources officer at MTS Systems Corp. in St. Paul, Minn.


ELAYNE (STOEN) WERGES of Wellsburg, Iowa, is diaconal minister at Bethany Lutheran and St. Paul Lutheran churches.

Rod Manson ’91 is owner of TriCounty Enterprises, a gutter and roofing company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The business was featured in the Corridor Business Journal and was ranked the tenth fastestgrowing company in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area.

KARI BOSTROM is the ELCA Region 3/Luther Seminary Archives administrative assistant and fine arts coordinator in St. Paul, Minn. SARA (PETERSON) CONNELLY is CFO at Stevens Wealth Management in Deerfield, Ill. AMANDA (NICHOLS) FICEK is founder and owner of Mama’s Happy in Independence, Minn.

Alumni News

nesota. She was a keynote speaker for International Nurses Day at the University of Salford (England). She is a critical care nurse practitioner in cardiovascular surgery and heart/ lung transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


JENNIFER (JENKINS) HUBBS is the account manager at Thomson Reuters in Eagan, Minn.

JOY (MORKEN) AFDAHL founded Forte Art

Craig Murphy ’94, physical therapist, receives army excellence award Before Craig Murphy ’94 was sworn into the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps, he attended a Fourth of July celebration with his father. “They had all the veterans stand up, and they just looked so proud of what they did. They had such pride of country,” he says. Witnessing this emotional display confirmed for Murphy, the son and grandson of veterans, that his decision to enter the reserves was the right one. In his 11 years of service, Murphy, a physical therapist, has been deployed twice, the first time for 515 days and the second time for 176 days. During both stints, he worked to rehabilitate war-wounded soldiers—all delivered to stateside hospitals within 72 hours of injury—and many of whom began physical therapy while still in the intensive care unit. During his second deployment, Murphy, a captain, was instrumental in consolidating rehabilitation units during the historic merger between the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. For this, as well as for his excellent rapport with wounded soldiers, he was recognized in May with an Army Medical Specialist Corps Award of Excellence. “My priority was to make myself available to the war-injured,” he says. “I tried to really reach out to these guys, many of whom were double and triple amputees. I was a physical therapist, but also a counselor. You just become a lot to these soldiers. When you share a uniform with them, you just want to give them everything they deserve, because they deserve so much.” Craig Murphy ’94 (far left) with patient Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe DesLauriers and Kathryn Ellis.

Academy, which provides music lessons and art classes, in Lakeville, Minn.

STEVE MATTSON is clinic manager in physical therapy for the Institute for Athletic Medicine in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

KRIS MOE is a licensed school counselor at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn. He served as the 2010–11 president of the Minnesota School Counselors Association and is the secondary vice president of the American School Counselor Association. SUSAN (HALVORSON) ZELLER earned a doctorate in nursing practice from the University of Min-

BETHANY (BIERMAN) KREPELA of Minneapolis received the Chapter Leader of the Year Award at the 2012 Association of Lutheran Development Executives’s International Conference in Minneapolis. The award honors an ALDE chapter member for exhibiting extraordinary effort in leading a chapter and providing a model of exemplary chapter leadership. Krepala is leadership gift officer at Luther.

HEATHER CLEFISCH and JOSH JOHANNINGMEIER both received InBusiness magazine’s 40 under 40 Award, which honors people in the Madison (Wis.) area for their excellent leadership qualities, professional expertise, and community involvement. They are attorneys with the Godfrey and Kahn law firm.

DEREK PENDERGAST is the director of development/major gifts at the University of Iowa Foundation in Iowa City.

NICOLE HOLT is executive for Texans Standing Tall, a nonprofit organization that promotes healthier and safer communities for young people, in Austin, Texas.

SUZETTE (LAMOREAUX) TWEET is an accountant at The Insurance Center Inc. in Onalaska, Wis.

STACEY PETERSON is the adult services manager at the Batavia (Ill.) Public Library.

SUZANNE (ROVERUD) MINECK was featured in an article,

STEVE SMITH is lead developer for Reason Content Management at Luther. He also serves as an adjunct professor.


SARAH (RUBLE) SLADEK of Maple Grove, Minn., is author of The End of Membership as We Know It: Building the Fortune-Flipping, Must-Have Association of the Next Century. She is also CEO at XYZ University, a management consulting firm.

1995 SONJA (HEELER) and ANDREW HIGHUM live in Waterville, Minn. She is a school nurse at WaldorfPemberton (Minn.) High School. He is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon in Owatonna.

Business Record magazine. She is president of the Mercy Foundation, which generates private funds— $5–$7 million annually—for the Mercy Foundation, which supports Mercy Medical Center of Des Moines and other Mercy organizations and services.

SHANNON (MILLER) DUVAL was featured in an article,

“Forty under 40,” by Des Moines Business Record magazine. She is president and CEO of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa. Mineck also serves on the leadership council and several committees of a new health initiative in Polk County, Iowa; serves on the Faith Lutheran Church council; and is a member of Presidentsråd at Luther.

“Forty under 40,” by Des Moines

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


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MARIANNE (MATHER) MORGAN is an intern at the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago. JILL OSIER of Fairbanks, Ala., received the 2011 Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah Lawrence College and was invited to recite her poetry at Poets House in New York City in April 2012. Other


JENNA (ZALK) BERENDZEN is a family nurse practitioner with the Black Hawk County Health Department in Waterloo, Iowa. KARLA (BERG) FOSSAND is a regional health office director at USAID West Africa in Accra, Ghana. MICHAEL JACKSON is director of properties at Olmsted Center in Buffalo, N.Y. BLAKENEY (NICHOLS) JONES is an account executive at the Integer Group in Denver.

recent honors include: the 2011 Robert Watson Poetry Prize from the Greensboro Review, runner-up for the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, honorable mention for the 2011 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize, and finalist for both the 2012 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and the 2012 Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Arts & Letters, Crazyhorse, the Gettysburg Review, Granta, Ninth Letter, Subtropics, and West Branch.


MATT DOLLINGER of Chicago was named head of industry relations with Trulia Inc., a


KELLI (PUNT) BACON earned a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is a preservation archivist for the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln. ERIN (MEYER) BOCKOVEN is client accountant at Bergan, Paulsen & Co. PC in Cedar Falls, Iowa. NORAH BRINGER and DAVID WAKE live in Perryville, Md. She is a trial attorney in the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division, in Washington, D.C. He is a law clerk for the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. KYLE HOLZHUETER earned a doctorate in bioresource science from Nihon University in Japan.

NATE STEWART was featured in an article, “Forty under 40,” by Des Moines Business Record magazine. Nate recently became vice president of marketing for Hy-Vee. He also received the 2011 Hy-Vee Officer of the Year award in operations, volunteers for Variety—The Children’s Charity telethon, and is on the Blank Children’s Hospital board of directors. JARRAD WALTER is the inside sales director at Adometry in Austin, Texas. JOEL ZYLSTRA is a trial attorney at Farmers Insurance Group in St. Paul, Minn.

BEN JOHNSON of Shakopee, Minn., earned an MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas. He is senior clinical research specialist at Medtronic Inc.


MELANIE (NEES) and FRANK CAIN ’00 live in Madison, Wis. They are cofounders of the Fresco Opera Theatre, where she serves as artistic director and he is the executive director. JOE DEVER is a scientist at Standard Process Inc. in Palmyra, Wis. KATHRYN (ANDERSEN) and ROB GERDTS ’02 live in Minneapolis. She is a school counselor in the Osseo Area School District. He is a project manager for Rust Consulting.

LINDA (KLOTZBACH) FERRIS is a nurse at St. Croix Regional Medical Center in St. Croix Falls, Wis. BETH (SWANSON) ROELOFS is senior executive sales manager at Norwex Enviro Products in Louisville, Ky. TRICIA WALKER is vice president of MassMutual Financial Group in Springfield, Mass.


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CARRYN (ENSRUDE) ANDERSON is a radiation oncologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

KATHY UTHOFF is a kindergarten teacher at St. Benedict’s School in Decorah.

JOSHUA TWEDT received the State of Wisconsin’s 2012 Herb Kohl Educational Fellowship Award from the Kohl Foundation. He is a fifthgrade teacher at Purdy Elementary School in Fort Atkinson, Wis. JEN WADE earned an MBA degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She is assistant vice president for public finance investment banking with Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis. SARAH (JEPSEN) WOODBURN is the music teacher and choir director for grades 2–5 at Frankfurt International School in Oberursel, Germany.


BRADLEY ALBERS is a pediatric anesthesiologist at Northwest Suburban Anesthesiologists Ltd. in Arlington Heights, Ill. CHRISTOPHER AMUNDSON earned a master’s degree from Emporia State University in Kansas. He is a teacher in the West Des Moines (Iowa) Community School District.

BETH (KARLGAARD) and BYRON BAILEY ’01 live in Savage, Minn. She is a stay-at-home mom, and he is a software architect with AT&T.

JAMES KNAPP is the senior partner with Heritage Wealth Architects LLC in St. Paul, Minn. LORI (HAGEN) SCHOENHARD is a business systems analyst at AEGON in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

LAURA SHAW earned a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the cello faculty at Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa. Shaw is also assistant principal of the Quad Cities Symphony.

ERIN APPEL is a writing tutor and graduate assistant at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

1999 leading national real estate website for home buyers.

MICHELLE (MEYER) and ERIK SCHLICHT ’02 live in Rochester Minn. Michelle is a software engineer for IBM. Erik is an associate clinical research coordinator for Mayo Clinic.

The band Six Mile Grove, composed of Luther alumni Brandon Sampson ’98, Barry Nelson ’01, Brian Sampson ’01, and their friend Dezi Wallace, released their sixth album, Secret Life in a Quiet Town.

CHRISTI (COLLINS) and PETER BANGSUND live in North Liberty, Iowa. She is an instructional coach for the Iowa City Community School District. He is a gastroenterology fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Alumni News

Sproston ’97 wins 100K race Amy Sproston ’97 of Portland, Ore., won a gold medal and led the U.S. women’s team to gold at the 100K World Championship in Seregno, Italy, in April. According to the website, Sproston’s race was quite dramatic. At the 90K mark, she was in a pack of three runners. Teammate Meghan Arbogast, Kasja Berg of Sweden, and Sproston were within 15 seconds of one another. A fourth runner, Russian Irina Vishnevskaja, was less than a minute back. Sproston pulled away at the end, finishing in 7:34:08. It was the fourthfastest time in U.S. women’s history.

Magnus Hellmark ’98 organized a golf team reunion/alumni tournament at Oneota Golf and Country Club in Decorah on the Sunday following Nordic Fest. For information on next year’s event, contact Hellmark at (Front row, left to right) Matt Peschau ’99, Andrew Odean ’08, Chase Forkenbrock ’10, Cory Moore ’01, Adam Christopherson ’96, coach Scott Fjelstul ’83, Terry Tipton ’01. (Back row, left to right) Brian Decker ’97, Hellmark, Steve Numedahl ’03.

Mary Elizabeth Williams ’97, left, and Rebecca (Olson) Sjöwall ’99 were reunited in March while doing a production of Verdi’s Aida at Arizona Opera.

In March, Luther Associate Professor of Music Sandra Peter traveled to The American International School of Muscat, Oman, to guest conduct the school’s International Choirs Festival. This photo was taken after the public performance. (Left to right) Luther Rauk ’98, who teaches physical education in Muscat, Oman; Martha Jensen-Miller ’05, choir director at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sandra Peter; Jason Drahos ’08. Jensen-Miller directed her own school’s choir, and Rauk and Drahos were event emcees.

Ashburn ’99 testifies at EPA hearing On May 24, Alycia Ashburn ’99 delivered testimony before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C. Ashburn, director of the creation care campaign at Soujourners, a Christian organization that seeks social and environmental justice, spoke at the hearing in support of the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standard for power plants. Air-quality concerns are of special import to Ashburn, who suffers from asthma. In her testimony, she made certain to represent other people with health concerns, particularly those

of lesser means: “I have great health insurance and access to specialists and affordable medication. But so many do not,” she said. “Whose stories are we not hearing? How about those who don’t have access to health care?” The EPA has been taking public input, including hearing testimony, into account as it finalizes its new pollution standards. Read Ashburn’s full testimony at

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

SARAH (ROOT) and JON BENGTSON ’03 live in North Liberty, Iowa. She is a senior pediatric physical therapist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is a help desk technician for CompleWare Corporation. MANDY (HERRICK) and KYLE BARTELT ’00 live in Minneapolis. She is a dance artist, bodyworker, and yoga instructor. He works at Allina Hospitals and Clinics. GREGORY BLOCK is vice president of commercial banking for Park Bank in Milwaukee. ALLISON (RESCH) and SEAN BREININGER ’01 live in St. Paul, Minn. She earned a master’s degree in education from Hamline University and is a self-employed education

consultant. He is a regional manager for Friends of the Orphans. BETSY (STREY) and DAN CHRISTENSON live in Silver Spring, Md. She is a physician assistant for Kenilworth Internists. He is chief of staff for USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. SARAH (MALANAPHY) CHRISTOPHER of Decorah teaches special education for the North Winneshiek Schools. MELISSA (WALKER) and JOEL CONAWAY live in Prior Lake, Minn. She is a client representative for IBM. He is a storage sales specialist for Evolving Solutions. ERIN (GULLICKSON) and RYAN CONWAY ’03 live in Iowa City, Iowa. She is a project manager for

Mercy Care Community Physicians. He is a surgery resident at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. REBECCA (KARNER) CORSON is a self-employed musician in Fort Worth, Texas. LYNN DALHED of Lakeville, Minn., is a corporate trainer for Optum Health with United Health Group. VICKI (CALDWELL) and DANIEL DRASHER ’01 live in Eagan, Minn. She is a manager in controllership for Best Buy. He is a senior chemist at Ecolab. ANGIE (FENEIS) ELLINGSON is a pediatric occupational therapist at the Therapy Place in Bloomington, Minn.

KELLY (STENSON) and SIMON ESCORCIA ’00 live in Centennial, Colo. She is controller for Steigers Corporation. He is owner of Colorado Race Timing. TANA FIELD is assistant professor of music at Murray (Ky.) State University. AMANDA (BOCK) FLESCH is a stay-at-home mom in Winona, Minn. TY FLOM earned a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. He teaches science at Durango (Colo.) High School. ANN (ROCAREK) and NICK GEFALLER live in North Liberty, Iowa. She teaches English in the Iowa City Community School

Gene Tesdahl ’01 fires up love of history to produce “top 10 best” new magazine “For years I wanted there to be a magazine like this,” says Gene Tesdahl ’01. “There are some magazines for historical reenactors out there, but none were publishing carefully researched articles about more than just guns.” So two years ago, Tesdahl, with his wife and her family, launched the Journal of the Early Americas. Last year the fledgling enterprise made Library Journal’s list of the 10 best new magazines of 2011. While Tesdahl’s publication contains the requisite rifles and battle maps, a survey of recent issues turns up everything from colonial textile techniques to Ojibwa hunting practices to the pencil in the eighteenth century. And while many modern stomachs turn at the thought, recipe readers among us may be riveted by the magazine’s instructions for such delicacies as haggis (all you need to know is that it starts with a lamb’s stomach) and beaver meat (prepared with lots of maple syrup). While his publication uses the word “journal” in its title, Tesdahl stresses that it aims to be accessible to all readers. “We see what we’re doing as a conversation about history, and we feel the conversation is richer the more people get involved in it.” Tesdahl is serious about including everyone in the dialogue. As both a historical reenactor and a professor at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., he says he


Luther Alumni Magazine

“really walked on both sides of the fence.” “With the magazine, Gene Tesdahl ’01 and his magazine collaborators mug for the camwe’re trying to bridge the era in true reenactor style. Pictured are (seated on ground) Casey gap between the museum Criswell, (seated, left to right) Peggy Criswell, Jasmine Criswell community and academia Tesdahl, Aspen Tesdahl, Tesdahl, and Summer Criswell. on the one hand, and history buffs and enthusiasts and he explains that it was his Luther proon the other,” he says. “Many academics fessors who “poured kerosene on my love of think of reenactors as yahoos who dress in history and my desire to share it with the funny clothes and have insufficient knowlpublic. Seeing my life’s work as a vocation, edge. Conversely, history enthusiasts think and not just teaching in a college classroom of academics as stuffy, ivory-tower types who but in the community as well, is really never get their hands dirty. But ultimately rooted in what I learned at Luther.” they’re fighting the same battle on the same team: they both want to give the public the —Kate Frentzel most accurate picture of history that they can.” Go to to visit Tesdahl thinks of this as his life’s goal, the Journal of the Early Americas.

Alumni News

District. He is a copyrights and permissions coordinator for Pearson. KARI (KOCH) GILBERSON is an account financial manager for Johnson Controls in Milwaukee. JOAN and MITCH GUNDERSON-PALMER live in West St. Paul, Minn. She is the public programs manager for Minnesota Children’s Museum. He is a process analyst for Lifeworks Services, Inc. JON HEEREN earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University. He teaches mathematics for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools. ANNA HEINEMAN earned a doctorate in art history from the University of Iowa. She works with art in state buildings and public art at the University of Florida in Gainesville. KELLY (SCHERGER) HOLTZ earned a doctor of nursing practice degree from the University of Minnesota. She is a family nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. RACHEL HORSTMANN earned a master’s degree in education and reading from Concordia University in St. Paul. She teaches fourth and fifth grade in the Eastern Carver County School District in Victoria, Minn. KATE (COOPER) and WILL HOYER live in Dubuque, Iowa. She is assistant professor of biology at Loras College. He is a research assistant for the Iowa Policy Project. JARED ILLG owns Rogue Dog International LLC in New Hope, Minn. JASON JENKINS is a customer contact professional with Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis. EMILY (ROCK) JOHN earned a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Bowling Green State University. She owns Headwaters Music in Mound, Minn. MEGHAN (CHOZEN) KONOLD is the senior applications analyst and project manager for the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar, Minn. ANDI (HULS) and CHRISTIAN LOGER ’01 live in Lakeville, Minn. She is an instructional coach for the

Edina Public Schools. He is practice manager for Minnesota HematologyOncology P.A.

REBECCA SKAAR teaches voice at the International School of Music in Bethesda, Md.

REBECCA (DOIDGE) LONG is a senior social worker for Hennepin County in Minneapolis.

BENJAMIN SWANSON teaches high school with the Peace Corps in Liberia, West Africa.

JULIE LUTZ is a global product manager for American Express in Phoenix.

KATIE (CARSON) and BRIAN THOMAS live in Northglenn, Colo. She is a stay-at-home mom. He is a pre-engineering teacher/ coordinator in the Boulder Valley School District.

JENNIFER MAGEE teaches third grade at Arboretum Elementary in Waunakee, Wis. JON MCGEE is a reporting engineer for EPIC Systems in Madison, Wis. CORI (JAEGER) MICHALOWSKI earned a master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University. She is a reading specialist in the Mayville (Wis.) School District. JUSTIN MOSBO is a manager of insurance and actuarial advisory services for Ernst & Young in New York. NICK NELSON is an attorney for Keay & Costello PC in Wheaton, Ill. SCOTT NELSON is self-employed as a software developer in Rochester, Minn. JOE NESS is the manager of new market development for Deere & Company in Moline, Ill. RYAN NEWBERRY is a flight medic for OSF Lifeline Helicopter in Rockford, Ill. JEREMY OLSEN is an emergency medicine physician at United Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

KATHRYN (DICKSON) and ADAM WOLKENHAUER ’01 live in Plymouth, Minn. She is a stay-athome mom. He is project manager in technology assurance for Target Corporation.


KENDRA (NORDICK) BINGER is a regional care consultant for the Alzheimer’s Association of MN-ND in Fargo, N.D. RIAN HELGERSON is a training and event manager at Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis.

B. J. THOMPSON is manager at Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company in Phoenix. HEATHER (GUTEL) TORRES is study abroad coordinator at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. CHERI (DHUSE) TROUMBLY is the lead teacher for Invest Early in Taconite, Minn. ALLISON (PRUNTY) WALLACE is general counsel at SumTotal Systems Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. DEVON WHITEHEAD is a psychological trainee/mental health therapist at Central Mental Health Center in St. Cloud, Minn. JESSICA (THORIUS) WILLIAMS is a mortgage loan underwriter/ processor for Community Resource Bank in Northfield, Minn. ELI WILLIAMSON is director of the veterans program for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and cofounder with Roy Brown Sartin ’02 of Leave No Veteran Behind in Chicago.

ANGELA (DEMMER) HIETALA earned a master’s degree in education at Ashford University. JESSICA (WROBEL) KOENIG is a principal HR generalist at Medtronic in Columbia Heights, Minn. EMILIE (FRALEY) LARSON is a business analyst and forms designer at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Appleton, Wis. ANDREW PETER earned a doctor of optometry degree from Pacific University College of Optometry. He is an optometrist at Homer Eyecare in Homer, Ala. JOHN POVOLNY is director of bands at Henry Sibley High School in West St. Paul, Minn., and instructs percussion at Bethel University. MEGAN SALLEY is a communications specialist at Highland Community College in Freeport, Ill.

HOLLY (HANEWALL) OLSON is a special education teacher for the Mason City (Iowa) Community School District. ANGELA RICHARDS is catering sales manager at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott. EMILY RICK is the brand and editorial planner for Baby and Kids with Target Corporation in Minneapolis. CAREN (HANSON) and STEVE SHANK ’98 live in North Liberty, Iowa. She works with key accounts with Integrated DNA Technologies. He is the manager of store operations at Hy-Vee.

Six Luther alumni attended an art opening in April at the Eckheart Gallery, 107 Water Street in Decorah, where their work is being exhibited this year. (Left to right) Ashley (Dull) Lindeman ’05, Christopher Cudworth ’79, Georgiann Eckheart ’93, Doug Eckheart, Derrik Gagliardi ’91, Lennis Moore ’72, and Tim Armstrong ’09. Exhibiting but not present at the opening were Emily (Gregory) Gilbertson ’04 and Jack Raddatz ’70.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


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THADDAEUS MORELOCK is the front house supervisor at Mei’s Kitchen in Chicago.

JUSTIN SANDS earned a master’s degree in music education from the VanderCook College of Music. He is director of choirs at College Community Schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

ELISE (BIERI) and JEFF PATZKE live in Kasson, Minn. She earned a master’s degree in health and human services administration from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is a transfusion medicine quality specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is broadband care supervisor with Charter Communications.

COURTNEY (SCHUBERT) STANGL works at St. Luke’s Child Life Ministries in Waukesha, Wis. ARVID VON TAUBE is an associate attorney at Masterman, Culbert, and Tully LLP in Boston.

SUSIE PETTINGER is a paraeducator at Hastings (Minn.) Senior High School.

TIM ZICK is the math department chair at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis.


BRET ASKELAND is a senior software engineer at Allscrips in Raleigh, N.C. LAUREN CHRISTEL teaches firstgrade English at the International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, Calif. LINDSAY COLWELL earned a master’s degree of theology from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. ANNA (PLAGMAN) DAVIS is band director at Remsen St. Mary’s School in Remsen, Iowa. LISA FRANEK is marketing manager at Korn/Ferry International, Leadership and Talent Consulting in Minneapolis. AMY FRYE is acting director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. TYLER HESSELTINE is AA sales representative at Davey Tree in Minneapolis. RACHEL MILLER-BLEICH and DAVID BLEICH live in Arlington, Va. She earned a master’s degree in organizational science with a concentration in organizational management from George Washington University. He is a clerk for the Caucus on International Narcotics Control in Washington, D.C. TERYL (PRICE) and JAMES RUSSEL ’02 live in Cross Plains, Wis. They each earned a master’s degree from Buffalo (N.Y.) State University. She teaches seventhgrade English in the Middleton– Cross Plains Area School District. He teaches sixth-grade U.S. history in the River Valley School District.


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Seven Luther alumni reunited—with babies in tow—in July 2012. Pictured are (children, left to right): Linnea Carlson, Everett Barker, Gavin Getchius, Ian Barker, and Amelia Winter; (middle) Becky (Weaver) Carlson ’05, Jackie (Denison) Getchius ’05, Christy (Patchin) Barker ’05, and Annie Winter; (back) Jeromy Carlson ’05, Tom Getchius ’05, Marshall Barker ’04, and Aaron Winter ’05. NICOLE SCHULT is an attorney for the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago.

HELEN (GRIESE) HANDLEY is a stay-at-home mom in Lake Zurich, Ill.

AMY (HOODJER) UPDEGRAFF is an elementary teacher in the Pleasantville (Iowa) Community Schools.

BRADLEY HARRIS is director of operations at Blue Stars Performing Arts for Youth Inc. in La Crosse, Wis.

ERICK WEEG is the senior analyst for Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo business in Minneapolis. REBECCA (SCHARPE) and CHRIS WENTHOLD ’02 live in Minneapolis. She is a registered nurse at Allina-United Hospital. He is a manager and a retail software specialist at Accenture.


GABRIELLE ATWOOD is an e-learning education coordinator at Ottobock Healthcare, a German prosthetic, orthotic, and mobility company with North American headquarters in Plymouth, Minn.

JON HOFFMAN is visiting lecturer of rhetoric at the University of Maryland in Adelphi. KATIE (SCHAEFER) HOM is a graduate teaching assistant in choral pedagogy at the University of Kansas School of Music in Lawrence. ALISA (WHITE) MAGALLÓN is a regular chorister and teacher artist at the Houston Grand Opera. She also teaches an introduction-toopera course for children titled Once upon an Opera.

BRET POWELL is resident physician of family medicine at Duke University in Durham, N.C. KRISTIN RICE of Kingsford, Mich., earned a master of divinity degree from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. BETHANY SCHIEFELBEIN and MATTHEW BURNS live in Monona, Iowa. Bethany is a registered nurse at Prairie du Chien (Wis.) Memorial Hospital. Matthew is a special agent for the Iowa Department of Public Safety. TIANA (TOSO) STINSON is the e-mail marketing designer for MagnetStreet in Blaine, Minn. JOSEPH THERING teaches music in the Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools. MEGAN (MINNIHAN) TORKELSON is program manager at Midwest Arts Conference in Minneapolis. JON TRULLINGER earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina. He is

DANIEL CARLSON is a graduate student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif. ANA (MEYER) ELIASON is a career and internship specialist at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. KELLY GIERLUS earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Iowa. She is assistant professor of chemistry at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

Katie Lane ’06, John Still ’06, and Ana Eliason ’05 all graduated from St. Thomas University with master’s degrees in the Leadership Affairs program.

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a senior chemist for TensTech Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. BECCA TUMM is volunteer coordinator at St. Stephen’s Human Services in Minneapolis. MICHELLE WEBER is a nurse practitioner at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. STEPHANIE WHERRY is pastor at Seeds of Faith Lutheran Church in Lisbon, Iowa. DAVID ZELINSKAS earned a doctor of orthopedic medicine degree from Des Moines University. He is a resident in family medicine and a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy at Naval Hospital Bremerton in Bremerton, Wash.


ANDREW BAKEHOUSE is a self-employed stage manager and props master. He is a technical apprentice at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minn. ABBY BALLAIN is a senior consultant at Nordic Consulting Partners in Madison, Wis. JAKE BOUMA was featured in the Des Moines Register and the Huffington Post for his work producing a feature-length documentary film sharing every part of his Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis and recovery. Bouma hopes the film, when completed, will help others with cancer and their families know what to expect from cancer treatment and its side effects, and let them know that they are not going through the process alone. Jake is director of youth and family ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Clive, Iowa. KRISTY (STROM) CARMODY was named one of the top 10 nurses for 2011 at Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. JANICE (SUMMERFIELD) and JEREMY DUNCAN live in Reisterstown, Md. He earned a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Iowa and is a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore. JENNA (ZIEMS) ELMBERG is a critical care registered nurse at Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Eau Claire, Wis.

ANDREA (CRAVEN) INGALSBE earned a master’s degree in music from Kansas State University. BRITTANY KALLMAN ARNESON earned a master’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas and is a graduate writing consultant at the university. KELLI (ANDRE) KELLERHALS earned a master’s degree in historic preservation from Ball State University. She is an architectural historian with 106 Group Ltd. in St. Paul, Minn. MEGAN (FINNEGAN) and NICK KELLEY live in Bloomington, Minn. She earned an MBA degree from Minnesota State University and is manager of fund administration for La Crosse Global Fund Services. He was named a 2012 fellow in the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity initiative at the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. SUZANNE KOCKLER teaches middle school choir and general music at Northwood Middle School in Woodstock, Ill. MAGGIE SCHNEIDER is a graduate student in the Mount Royal School of Art MFA program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. CHRISTINA (ALDERSON) VANDERBEEK earned a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling from Adams State College. She is coordinator for Hope for Eternity Christian Counseling in Alamosa, Colo. ZACH ZUBOW earned a doctorate in music composition from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He is a lecturer at Coe College and Cornell College.


DUFFEY AINSWORTH is a project manager assistant at HCA in Charlotte, Tenn. KELLI BILLSTEIN is a staff writer at Exhibitor Magazine in Rochester, Minn. She is also a freelance writer and editor, and organizes the Foodie Book Club. DEREK BROMAN earned a master’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of New Hampshire.

Stenson ’08 joins Metropolitan Opera This fall, Andrew Stenson ’08 joins the Metropolitan Opera through the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. He will be making the move to New York from the Seattle Opera, where he has apprenticed since 2010, and where he will be returning in 2013 as a principal artist. While the tenor will be new to the Lindemann Program, he has already appeared on the New York stage—once in the spring of 2011, in a production of The Seven Deadly Sins with the New York City Ballet, and again last January, when he stepped in for a Metropolitan Opera colleague with tonsillitis. Last March, Stenson covered for another colleague, this time as Orphée in Orphée et Euridice at the Seattle Opera. In addition to appearances with the Met, Stenson will sing as a tenor soloist in the San Francisco Symphony’s Messiah in December. The Rochester, Minn., native insists that he’s been “very, very lucky. I was given opportunities in the Luther Music Department that were fundamental to my future success. Even at top conservatories, undergraduates do not get these opportunities.” While his star is certainly rising, Stenson’s aspirations remain grounded: “I hope to make a living and be happy doing it,” he says.

TIMOTHY BRUETT is a loan document specialist II at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Minneapolis. ELIZABETH (HANSON) and ERIK BUTLER live in Northwood, Iowa. She teaches high school English in the Northwood-Kensett High School. He is a soil technician for the Worth County Soil and Water Conservation District. TIM CARROLL is an AmeriCorps crew supervisor for the Utah Conservation Corps in Logan. RENAE (HOLTHAUS) DAHL teaches second grade at St. Benedict School in Decorah. MARISSA GRASMICK earned a master’s degree in transpersonal counseling and art therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colo. She is a self-employed art therapist in Boulder. KATIE (STRAWBRIDGE) HALL is an occupational therapist at Melrose Institute in St. Louis.

NATE HANSEN was named head wrestling coach at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. EMILY HOLLEY is campaign manager of Citizens for Rock, the campaign organization for the election of William Rock to the Iowa State House in District 36 in Des Moines. KARLIE (ARMOUR) HUEY is a business development manager at Epicor Software Corporation in Minneapolis. RACHEL LITTLE is an assistant teacher at Sunflower Child Development Center in Decorah. STACY MYHRE is a legislative liaison for the Minnesota Department of Human Services in St. Paul.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

KAYCEE (GREEN) ROGERS is an ELL teacher in the Eau Claire (Wis.) School District.

ANNALISE (CONAWAY) and JOE NELSON ’09 live in North Liberty, Iowa. She teaches in the Iowa City Schools. He is a physical therapist at Accelerated Rehab.

ERIN (HOKANSON) and MATT ROLING ’06 live in Madison, Wis. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in civil (structural) engineering from Iowa State University.

EMILY NELSON earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa. She is a school social worker in the Albert Lea (Minn.) Public Schools.

ASHLEY TEKIPPE earned a medical doctorate from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. She is a resident physician at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

STACY (HORNING) OLSON is a senior service specialist at Hartford Life in Woodbury, Minn. MOLLY SHEPPARD is an ACT vocational counselor and social worker for South Metro Human Services in St. Paul, Minn. MELISSA SIMMONS is a pilates instructor at Discover Happy Studio in Decorah. KEITH “CHIP” SMITH works for UPS in Fargo, N.D. KENDRA SWANSON earned a master’s degree in science education and a certificate in environmental education from Northern Illinois University. She is a camp instructor at YMCA Camp St. Croix in Hudson, Wis. BRANDON TEWALT is a coordinator in the Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District. DANA THEILER is a senior copywriter at Torre Lazur Managed Markets in Parsippany, N.J. SARAH WARNER is waivered services director at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development in St. Louis Park, Minn. JORDAN WIKLUND is a developmental editor at Quayside Publishing in Minneapolis. JOHN XAVIER is executive director of Camp Tomah Shinga in Junction City, Kan.


KARL AMLIE is a union enrollment officer and supervising agent at American Income Life in Minneapolis. JORDAN ANDERSON is associate investigator at USIS/Labat in Washington, D.C. JAMIE (NEWMAN) and TONY BRANTNER live in Algona, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine


Luther Alumni Magazine

(Left to right) Charlie Moe ’08, Joe Olynyk ’10, and Brett Epperson ’11 performed with the Omaha (Neb.) Symphony Orchestra in April. All three are music teachers in the greater Omaha area. Physician Assistant Program and is a physician assistant at Hancock County Hospital. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and is an associate dentist at Louscher Family Dentistry.

NICOLE EGAN earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Iowa and is an administrative fellow with Mayo Clinic Health Care Systems in Eau Claire, Wis.

WINONA BRUEGGEMANN teaches biology at St. Paul (Minn.) Conservatory for Performing Arts.

KIM ENGELS is a graduate student and research assistant in the philosophy department at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

LINDSEY BULGER is a graduate student in divinity at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and works as faith community relations assistant for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. ELISE (KLINE) CHRISTOPHERSON is a stay-athome mom and owner of Elisabeth Ann Photography in Brooklyn Center, Minn. LAURA (ANDERSON) and GREGORY COCHRANE live in Minneapolis. She earned a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Augsburg College and is a physician assistant with the United Hospital Emergency Department. He is a dental student at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. HALEY DOUGLASS is the inhouse associate for Laborers’ Pension and Welfare Funds in Westchester, Ill. SHALLYN DUFFY is a senior recruiting specialist at Weichert Realtors in Morris Plains, N.J.

SETH FULTON is a financial adviser at Transamerica Financial Group in West Des Moines, Iowa. A. J. GREGG earned a doctor of chiropractic degree from the University of Western Studies. He is an exam doctor at Chiropractic Health and Wellness in Edina, Minn. JOSH LEINEN owns Orpheus Art and Sound in Ames, Iowa. ANDY LOWER is a quality control manager at Hormel Foods in Shawnee Mission, Kan. EMILY (WORKMAN) McGINNIS is the middle school and high school band director at Bishop Miege Catholic Schools in Shawnee Mission, Kan. She is also a graduate student in music education at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. CALE NELSON is a senior actuarial assistant for Travelers in St. Paul, Minn. MIKE OWENS is a web developer for in Beloit, Wis.

SAM WEYERS is an associate attorney in the Law Offices of Nathan J. Mirocha LLC in Chicago. JANE YEBOAH is a trauma and surgical ICU registered nurse at Methodist Hospital Dallas in Dallas.


MEGAN ARNESON of Decorah is a loan assistant at Decorah Bank & Trust Co. SARA (JONES) and JON BAKKEN live in Mobridge, S.D. She is the sixth through 12th-grade band director for the Mobridge Public Schools. He is the K–12 music and choral director in the Selby Schools. ELYSE BENDEL earned a master’s degree in clinical social work from the College of St. Catherine’s/ University of St. Thomas. She is a primary care social worker at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center. JAMIE CHRISTOFFER earned a K–6 elementary teaching certificate from the University of St. Thomas. She works as a math achievement specialist in the South Washington Public Schools in Cottage Grove, Minn., and as substitute teacher in surrounding districts. ALYSON GANGSTEE is a marketing programs analyst for the Toro Company in Bloomington, Minn. MAREN (PENNING) GUNDERSON works in human resources and accounting compliance for Stebgo Metals Inc. in South St. Paul, Minn. JESSICA HAZELTON is catering services manager at the Millennium Hotel in Minneapolis.

Alumni News

Alumni tackle burglar, earn medals for bravery

Scott Martin ’10 (left) and Mark Mateski ’10, with roommate Keslie Allen ’10, wear their Medals of Valor.

MEGAN (REUTLINGER) LYON earned a doctor of physical therapy degree from Des Moines (Iowa) University. BAILEY MILLER is a web content coordinator and SEO specialist for TN Marketing in Wayzata, Minn. SARAH OSBORN earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She is a doctoral student at the university and a summer intern at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, N.M. AARON PETERSON earned a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin– Madison.

Mark Mateski ’10 and Scott Martin ’10 were relaxing on a Saturday afternoon in their Bloomington, Minn., apartment when a desperate-looking man burst through their front door. “The first thing that went through my head is that someone was hurt outside or that this guy was lost or confused,” Mateski says. But when William Roy St. John threatened that he had a gun and ordered the young men and their two roommates to get on the ground, things took a darker turn. St. John, who had broken into two Bloomington homes prior to theirs, demanded a hostage and a car. Mateski volunteered himself as the hostage, but when he saw the chance, he tackled the man down a flight of stairs and pinned him to the ground in the laundry room. Martin quickly

KRISTIN SWEDLUND is a development associate for institutional giving at the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation in St. Paul, Minn. JOY WAUGHTAL is the street outreach worker for St. Francis Center in Denver. TARA (MEYER) ZUERCHER is a registered nurse/Iowa clinic float nurse for Gundersen Lutheran Clinic in Decorah.


PHUONG DAU earned a master’s degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of California–San Diego. He is a

came to his friend’s aid, striking the stranger with the first weapon-like object that he stumbled across, which happened to be a clothes iron. The Bloomington Police Department recognized the bravery of Mateski and Martin by awarding them the Citizen Medal of Valor at a ceremony on May 17. When asked whether the events of that harrowing day have had a lasting impact on him, Mateski replied that “I’m not scared to be sitting in my house—it was such a freak incident. But it definitely made me believe that anything can happen at any time. The things you see on TV can happen in real life.” St. John was also a suspect in bank robberies and was charged with two counts of bank robbery. He is serving a 20-year sentence.

doctoral student at the university and a research assistant working in metal organic frameworks and other smart materials. LANDON JACOBSEN is a commercial analyst at American Midstream Partners LP in Denver. GINA KLENNERT teaches health and physical education in the Chisholm (Minn.) Public Schools. LAURA RAUCHWARTER is a graduate student and teaching assistant in communication, technology, and society at Clemson University, and works as a guest services associate at the Hampton Inn in Clemson, S.C.

ERIC SCHULTZ earned a juris doctor degree from Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa.

KIRSTEN (JENSSON) and TAYLOR SCHOLZ ’11 live in Chaska, Minn. She is a test staff and health advisor at HealthSource Solutions. He is an athletic trainer at Tria Orthopedics. LAUREL WHITIS is a graduate research assistant in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. VANESSA (OELRICH) WIEST is a marketing assistant at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah.


KELLY BANDMAN is an AmeriCorps program coordinator for Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization that builds and repairs homes in Minneapolis.

KRISTIN SKAAR is the special events coordinator for the ALS Foundation in Minneapolis.

BRAD BROGE is a production software tester for IBM in Rochester, Minn.

JENNY SLETTEN earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling with an emphasis on children and adolescents from the University of Wisconsin–Stout. JULIAN STANKE is a Spanish teacher in the South St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools at Lincoln Center Elementary School and the coordinator of the Targeted Services Program and the IB/PLC leader for specialists at the school.

DAVID SCHMITT teaches pre-K through fourth-grade general music and fifth through 12th-grade choir at St. Labre Catholic Indian Mission School in Ashland, Mont.

SONJA ECKLUND is the school outreach contact for the Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative at Luther.

Jeremy Henning ’10 and Sarah May ’10 show off their Luther rings at commencement at Bowling Green University in Ohio in May. Each earned a master’s degree in music, in piano performance.

EMILY ELLSON is an emotional and behavioral disorders teacher at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Rochester, Minn.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

Internships take Kotz ’11 to offices of President Clinton, NATO in Belgium It’s not unusual for a Luther graduate to engage in a highly selective internship, but Zach Kotz ’11 has had two in a row. If you wrote a letter to former President Bill Clinton earlier this year, the response you received may have been written—at least partially—by Kotz, now in graduate school at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University. The Lamoni, Iowa, native did an internship in the Correspondence Department of the William J. Clinton Foundation in New York City from January through May. Clinton’s foundation employs staffers to help him respond to what Kotz describes as unbelievable amounts of mail. Kotz worked in the office that handled such things as requests for autographs and photographs, thank-you notes, and responses to school classes, going out to “everyone from John Doe to Jon Bon Jovi,” he says. Transcribing Clinton’s speeches helped Kotz learn the statesman’s way of communicating. “You have to assume his voice,” Kotz says. He typed up the text of videotaped addresses given by Clinton—translating the spoken speech patterns into smooth written words—so that there’s a written historical record and so Clinton can incorporate them into his books. “You learn a lot while you’re doing it, about the economy or whatever he happens to be speaking about. And you get to help him shape his ideas,” says Kotz, who majored in history and political science and minored in classical studies at Luther. This summer, Kotz worked at the United States Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, as an intern in the political section. “I had the great opportunity to gain insight into life in the U.S. Foreign Service while interacting with diplomats from 28-plus countries,” he says. Much of his time was spent working with the Afghanistan team. “Without straying into too much detail,” he says, “working with our brilliant Afghanistan team helped me appreciate the complexity of the political and security situation of one of the most pressing global issues.” His work included preparing cables—reports sent to Washington (and then disseminated abroad) that help the United States craft foreign policy and helped keep various authorities posted around the world informed. “Slightly nerve-wracking for an intern to prepare and release,” Kotz says, “but it was a great skill to learn.” — Ellen Modersohn


Luther Alumni Magazine

LAUREN FLADLAND teaches fifth- through 12th-grade vocal music in the Martin County West School District in Welcome, Minn.

STEVEN THAI was appointed by President Obama as assistant press secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.

J. SCOTT HARRISON is an independent contractor with Hanging Out LLC and director of sales and operations at Fireplace Blocker LLC in Leawood, Kan.

CASSIE TYSLAND is the Waukon economic development coordinator for the Allamakee County Economic Development Corporation in Waukon, Iowa.

TATUM (NORTON) IVERSON is a case manager with Northland Agency on Aging in Decorah.

LEAH WALTERS earned a certificate in nuclear medicine from the Mayo School of Health Services. She is a medical imaging analyst at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

MADELINE JUNGBAUER of Dellwood, Minn., is an AmeriCorps Minnesota Reading Corps literacy tutor. ADAM KRUSE is working with the Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization in Dhaka, Bangladesh. TYLER MCCUBBIN is a guest service agent for Courtyard by Marriott in West Des Moines, Iowa. ALEXIS MEADE BURNEY is a corporate operations specialist at CT Corporation in Chicago. DUSTIN NOBLE of Decorah is running for the Republican nomination for the Iowa House in District 55. TESS SPINDLER is a trauma registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. CAITLIN STEINBERG is a staff writer and works in public relations and marketing at Veteran’s Outreach in Cedarburg, Wis. TRENT STONEROOK is a business technology analyst for American Family Insurance in Madison, Wis.

BETHANY WICHMAN is development assistant for the Milwaukee (Wis.) Children’s Choir. KATELIN WILSON teaches eighthgrade mathematics in the Austin (Minn.) Public Schools.


JACOB BARKER teaches middle school and high school vocal music in the Keokuk (Iowa) Schools. STEPHANIE DREWES is the head girls swimming and diving coach for Decorah High School. AUGIE LINDMARK was inspired to help spread medical training to foreign countries in need because of a sociology course he took his junior year. His quest reached a new level when he was chosen to bike in the 2012 Ride Against AIDS this summer, riding from San Francisco to Boston—about 4,000 miles over 68 days. With 19 other cyclists, the goal was to raise nearly $100,000 for AIDS research and treatment.

(Left to right) Tyler McCubbin ’11, Joe Thering ’05, and Kim Jones ’76 performed with the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus July 7–11, 2012, at the 2012 GALA (Gay and Lesbian Choral Association) Festival, in Denver. The choir performed in front of nearly 2,000 other LGBT singers.

Alumni News

MANDIE MICKELSON is an applications specialist at LSS Data System in Hopkins, Minn. AMY SANDAGER is a volunteer with the Teach and Learn with Georgia program, sponsored by the Republic of Georgia’s Ministry of Education and Science. She is also a freelance writer and guest contributor to Georgia’s Teach and Learn blog in Gurjaani, Republic of Georgia. AMY WILSON is a physical therapy technician at Sport and Spine Physical Therapy of Winona, Minn.

ANGELA WHITE and Hans Swolfs, June 23, 2012




KRISTEN LEARMAN and Tom Stengl, March 3, 2012


EMILY BERNAU and Jordan Bohonek, Sept. 17, 2011 STEF DICKENS and Jason Underferth, Sept. 10, 2011 CHERISE OLSON and Michael Weber, June 16, 2012 MARC RUNDE and Shelly Westhoff, Oct. 8, 2011 REBECCA SCHARPE and CHRIS WENTHOLD ’02, Feb. 4, 2012 ALISSA WENDELSCHAFER and Christopher Brody, July 7, 2012



DAVID HANFORD and Anne Grogan, May 19, 2012


JOAN ROHLF and Kurt Peterson, April 30, 2011


STEPHANIE SPEAR and Joe Filigno, Sept. 10, 2011 ANDREA TEKIPPE and Mark Gerber, Aug. 20, 2011



LESLEY HIEBING and Brian Friedhoff, May 12, 2012 SHANNON JOHNSON and John Gravelle, June 30, 2012 MEGHAN KARELS and Kelsey Myron, June 30, 2012 STEPHANIE MOCK and RYAN NILSESTUEN, Aug. 20, 2011 STEPHANIE NOVAK and Rick Bond, April 14, 2012 ALISA WHITE and Alejandro Magallón, Dec. 17, 2011

KAYCEE GREEN and Robert Rogers, Sept. 3, 2011

ANDREW ZAFFKE and Rebekka Hagen, Aug. 21, 2010


CARRIE HARRIS and Robin Schmitz, June 2, 2012 SARA JONES and JON BAKKEN, July 9, 2011 BRIANNA KUNKEL and Joseph Iverson, Jan. 21, 2012

Ilknur and STUART AREY, a son, Melih, May 2011 Carole and SOREN SPICKERMAN, a son, Reed, March 2011


Michele and MARTY COLE, a daughter, Amelia, May 2012


JANA (WINCH) and Carl Damcke, a daughter, Siri, October 2011 KIRSTEN (HOFFSTEDT) and Michael Keefe, a daughter, Hannah, December 2011

MAREN PENNING and Ethan Gunderson, Jan. 28, 2012 JILL SUNDBY and Casey Yordy, Feb. 29, 2012 KRISTIN SWEDLUND and Andy Twiton, Aug. 13, 2011


MAGGIE FONS and Jason Britton, June 29, 2012 ERIN GEIS and John Mann, Oct. 15, 2011 MESHA HALL and BRANDON JACOBSON ’08, June 1, 2012

STEPHANIE (ROLLIE) and John Rodriguez, a daughter, Zoey, February 2012 HILARY (GOFF) and Bret Shirven, a daughter, Hannah, February 2012


Lisa Dellinger and DEE BROWN, a son, Elias, May 2012 Heather and RYAN COGSWELL, a daughter, Merryna, April 2012


ERIKA (HENDRICKSON) and Steve Connelly, a son, Maxwell, November 2010

ALYCIA ASHBURN and Andrew Genszler, March 10, 2012


JEN MORGAN and BRETT HAZEN, June 25, 2011

AMY (CARLSON) and Einar Floan, a son, Oscar, November 2011

ANGELA GOEPFERD and Julie Pollock, Oct. 1, 2011

STACY GREENE and Eric Loneman, June 9, 2012


LAURA DAVIS and Nathan Dahlke, June 9, 2012

JILL (KOVACH) and John Otte, a son, Micah, born July 2011, adopted December 2011

JULIE VANO and Brian Gruber, Aug. 13, 2011

KRISTY STROM and Tom Carmody, Sept. 10, 2011

JON ZORA and Sara Robertson, March 27, 2011



AMANDA (GRELL) and CLINT SCHNEKLOTH ’95, a son, Ezra, January 2011

DUFFEY AINSWORTH and Katie Raisanen, May 20, 2012

KATE PATTERSON and REID MASON ’08, June 30, 2012


KARLIE ARMOUR and NATE HUEY, Oct. 29, 2011



AMY FLECK and Chris McCoy, Feb. 18, 2012


JAKE BOUMA and Libby Lennon, May 14, 2011


LUCIAN CAMP and Paige DeVine, Sept. 4, 2011

LAURA RIORDAN and Gianfranco Berardi, May 26, 2012

ANNALISE CONAWAY and JOE NELSON ’09, July 23, 2011


JANE HOOVER and Viren D’silva, Dec. 21, 2011

EMILY HOLLEY and Greg Hauenstein, July 2, 2011

STEPHANIE PRATT and Jason Schmid, Aug. 26, 2011

RENAE HOLTHAUS and Ryan Dahl, Dec. 18, 2010

AMY (BONCHER) and Josh Berman, a daughter, Margaret, April 2012

EMILY ADAMS and Aren King, May 27, 2012 JENN WINDER and BEN KOST, June 2, 2012



Kealy and GREG LONNING, a daughter, Shanae, born and adopted May 2012

HALLIE (HITE) and NATE EVANS ’96, a son, Finn, October 2011 NICOLE (EICHHORST) SWANSON, a son, Carter, March 2012


SONJA (JOSEPHSON) and Jeremy Beyerlein, a son, Ezekiel, September 2011

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

JILL HOCKEMEYER and Rob Prendergast, a son, Ryan, December 2011

EMILY (ROCK) and Brian John, a son, Walter, January 2011

KRISTIN (STROMBERG) and ADAM NAFSTAD ’99, a son, Jakob, December 2011

CARRIE KEENAN, a son, Jaxon, January 2012 KELLY (EKEDAHL) and Chad Kliefoth, a son, Andrew, April 2012

VANESSA (FOLZ) and Phil Royer, a daughter, Elyse, April 2012

DAWN (SCHEWE) and Chad Carlson, a daughter, Ruth, February 2011

Luther College Book Shop

CARRIE (NIEBUR) and Eric Eisnaugle, a son, Ethan, October 2011

Phone (563) 387-1036 or (888) 521-5039

JENNA (ZALK) and Peter Zalk Berendzen, a son, Maxwell, June 2011


CARRYN (ENSRUDE) and MIKE ANDERSON, a son, Braden, August 2010

KRISTIN (DUEBER) and Noel Johnson, a daughter, Maren, December 2011

Renea Hartl, head softball coach

ANN (WITTE) and Aaron LaPoint, a son, Reid, May 2012 LORI (HAGEN) and Ryan Schoenhard, a daughter, Elizabeth, July 2010


LAURA (LINDEMAN) and Josh Barnard, a son, Jesse, September 2010 JENNIFER (BRADEN) and James Dunne, a son, Thomas, May 2011 SARA (DONHOWE) and Josh Goldberg, a son, Micah, June 2012 Liz and BEN JOHNSON, a son, Landon, January 2012 KAISA (ULLSVIK) and JED MILLER ’98, a daughter, Maibritt, November 2010


YULIYA (MAKSIMOVA) and Phil Marcuson, a son, Anton, February 2012 KAREN (HOLTKAMP) and Alex Mason, a son, Gabriel, November 2011 LAURA (NASLUND) and BEN READY, a son, Tait, February 2012


CHRISTI (COLLINS) and PETER BANGSUND, a daughter, Leona, April 2012 MANDY (HERRICK) and KYLE BARTELT ’00, a son, October, October 2010 SARAH (ROOT) and JON BENGTSON ’03, a son, Aaron, January 2012

MEGAN (KASTAMA) and Joshua Loahr, a son, Eli, January 2011 ANDI (HULS) and CHRISTIAN LOGER ’01, a daughter, Grace, January 2011 HEIDI (CORCORAN) and Aaron Marx, a son, Arthur, June 2011 Aleta and JON MCGEE, a son, Barrett, September 2011 CORI (JAEGER) and Matt Michalowski, a daughter, Ella, June 2011 Becca and MATTHEW POOCK, a son, Micah, May 2012

Your source for Norse apparel

Yesika and ROSS KNUTSON, a son, Octavio, May 2012

MEGHAN (CHOZEN) and Jon Konold, a son, Jackson, May 2012

STEPHANIE (PRATT) and Jason Schmid, a daughter, Abigail, June 2012

LAUREN BUSEY and Amy Lillibridge, a son, Noah, November 2011 BETSY (STREY) and DAN CHRISTENSON, a daughter, Hannah, March 2011 KATE COOPER and WILL HOYER, a daughter, Sage, November 2011 Tara and ERIC CORSON, a son, Jonas, August 2011

Katy and KARL SCHWEITZ, a daughter, Emma, March 2012

KATIE (HANSON) and Jered Gehling, a daughter, Tessa, December, 2010

ANGIE (GRANTHAM) and MATT SHERWOOD, a son, Evan, May 2011

JEN (SHINBORI) and Joe Giordano, a daughter, Stella, July 2011

KATHRYN (DICKSON) and ADAM WOLKENHAUER ’01, a son, Eli, November 2011

Kate and NATE GUESS, a daughter, Harper, August 2010


Jessica and GREG BLOCK, a son, James, May 2011

Kristin and JON HEEREN, a daughter, Anna, March 2012

ANN (ECKERMAN) and JOE DEVER ’01, a daughter, Amelia, November 2011

ELIZABETH (KEPHART) and Eric Reisinger, a daughter, Ann, March 2011

HEIDI (MURKEN) and Brian Borkenhagen, a son, Bennett, October 2011

BETH (HUINKER) and CHRIS HODEN ’00, a daughter, Ivy, November 2011

GINA (ALLEN) and NATE ERICKSON ’01, a son, Samuel Douglas, May 2012

LORI (ABELS) and Lucas Scharenbroich, a son, Liam, January 2012

KELLY (GYEKIS) and JEFF BRIGHAM, a son, Marshall, August 2011

KELLY (SCHERGER) and Adam Holtz, a daughter, Lydia, February 2012

JACKIE (HALVERSON) and Ben Inbody, a daughter, Harper, February 2012

JENNIFER (TESMER) and Colin Pickett, a son, Harper, November 2011


Luther Alumni Magazine

Alumni News

KELLY (HAVE) and JOSH JANSEN ’02, a son, Beckett, January 2012

SAMANTHA (STEPHANY) and COREY COLBURN, a daughter, Sofia, June 2012

Natalie and TADE KERNDT, a son, Heaton, August 2010

HELEN (GRIESE) and Matt Handley, a daughter, Beatrice, September 2011

HEATHER (SCHEUMANN) and MATT LANDERS, a son, Kieran, September 2011 EMILIE (FRALEY) and ROSS LARSON ’02, a son, Andrew, June 2011 Caroline and JOHN POVOLNY, a son, Linden, September 2011 JENNI (BOERGER) and Chris Sewell, a son, Henry, March 2012 SARAH (COOLEY) and Dan Solberg, a son, Sawyer, December 2011 CHRISTIE (MORSE) and ERICK WEEG ’04, a son, Henrik, May 2011


CAROLYN (YOUNES) and EVAN ALMELIEN ’03, a son, Charles, June 2012 EMILY (LUNDQUIST) and AARON BARNES ’03, a daughter, Lucia, February 2012

ALEX (ELLISON) and ZACH RODASTI, a son, Asher, March 2012 LINDSEY (RISLOW) and Jake Ruhland, a daughter, Sylvia, January 2012 KELSEY (SCHMIDT) and Matt Weiss, a daughter, Lily, October 2011 Sara and DAVID ZELINSKAS, a daughter, Charley, January 2012


SARAH (TWEDT) and JONATHAN CARLSON ’07, a son, Knute, April 2012 TANIA CONNOLLY and Michael Hultengren, a daughter, Rylin, January 2012 JANICE (SUMMERFIELD) and JEREMY DUNCAN, a son, Campbell, April 2011

Amy and JOE KOENIG, a daughter, Riley, March 2011 Sara and ALEX LEWKE, a daughter, Piper, January 2012 ASHLEY (THOMPSON) and Jason Morehouse, a daughter, Zoey, November 2011 EMILY (JACOB) and KYLE PEARSON, a son, Thomas, April 2012 Genna and TODD SCRIPTURE, a son, Cooper, February 2012 MELISSA SIMMONS and Caleb Timp, a daughter, Lillian, December 2011 REBECCA (WESTPHAL) and CHRIS SORENSON, a son, Nolan, January 2012


Amanda and ANDREW BAILEY, a daughter, Anna, June 2012 ELISE (KLINE) and JAKE CHRISTOPHERSON, a daughter, Addison, January 2011 LINDSEY (VOTH) and Nick Dutchak, a son, Ethan, October 2010

Emily and DAVID HOVLAND, a daughter, Harper, April 2012

JENNA (MOCKLER) and RYAN GJERDE ’99, a son, Thomas, March 2012

ANGIE (SCHNEIDER) and Jason Montgomery, a son, Drake, February 2012

EMMA (HATCHER) and ANDY HOEGH, a daughter, Eleanor, May 2012

ANNE (PETERSON) and Jeff Murphy, a daughter, Avery, January 2012

ANDREA (CRAVEN) and Scott Ingalsbe, a daughter, Camille, February 2012

TERYL (PRICE) and JAMES RUSSELL ’02, a son, Samuel, December 2010

KELLY (SCHEMA) and ALEX THORESON, a daughter, Madelyn, August 2011

AMY (HOODJER) and Eric Updegraff, a son, Grayson, August 2011

CHRISTINA (ALDERSON) and Grant Vanderbeek, a son, Micah, April 2011

Rebekka and ANDREW ZAFFKE, a son, Hagen, January 2012

JEN (CRAWFORD) and BLAKE WAYSON ’02, a son, Bo, October 2010

JULIA YOUNG and Armando Martinez, a son, Ayden, December 2011


SARA (CROSS) and Dan Wientzen, a daughter, Meredith, June 2012; a son, Landon, August 2010



BETHANY (SCHIEFELBEIN) and MATT BURNS, a daughter, Cecelia, March 2012

JENNY (JEFFERSON) and HANS GUSTAF ’06, a son, Nolan, November 2011 ALLISON (KRUGER) and DANIEL HERMAN ’06, a daughter, Olivia, November 2011 ASHLEY (WIRTZ) and MATT JOHNSON ’05, a daughter, Jordan, April 2012

STACY (MALECHA) and JIM KOWITZ ’03, a daughter, Ella, May 2012 LANE (PALMER) and Eric Rich, a daughter, Knightley, May 2012 KATIE (BACHELDER) and JORDAN STRACKE, a son, Keillor, March 2012 JESS (JEWELL) and MIKE TANGEN, a son, Jaden, March 2012

STACI (AMDAHL) and Espen Amdahl, a daughter, Harley, September 2011 RACHEL (SCHUTTE) and Rod Vsetecka, a son, Derek, March 2012 TARA (MEYER) and Matt Zuercher, a son, Brooks, May 2012


BRITTANY (BUCZEK) and NATHAN TODD ’09, a son, Carter, August 2011


From Kirk Johnson ’82, Luther associate director of alumni relations: For more than 20 years, I have been privileged to produce the obituaries on these pages. When I mention to others that handling obituaries is part of my work, I often get looks of horror or sympathy, until I explain what an honor it is to document the lives and accomplishments of such wonderful people. Luther alumni are pillars of communities, their work and service is varied and interesting, and the distinctive honors they accrue are impressive. And I am always struck by their love and loyalty for the college. As the college has grown, so has the number of alumni. In the magazine’s editorial meetings, we have often questioned how much longer we would be able to publish so many complete obituaries, dedicating an increasing number of pages. Beginning with this issue, we will publish in print a listing of departed classmates and friends, along with a link to the full obituaries online. We will continue to add the alumni relationships in our records to those online obituaries. Please know that this decision has not been made lightly, and that informing you of the passing of your classmates, friends, and loved ones, and documenting the significance of their lives, will always be priority for Luther. Soli Deo Gloria. Find full obituaries online at

1936 MARJORIE (SCHWINEFUS) LANSING of Ossian, Iowa, died April 13, 2012, age 94.

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine


Alumni News

GEORGE A. PFISTER of Decorah died March 2, 2012, age 97.


1939 WILLIAM D. NESSET of Gulf Shores, Ala., died April 30, 2012, age 95.



WALTER S. “WALLY” MOE of El Dorado Hills, Calif., died April 26, 2012, age 89.

KATHRYN (GROTH) PETERSON of Rockford, Ill., died July 18, 2011, age 76.

CHARLES BUNGUM of Alexandria, Minn., and Casa Grande, Ariz., died June 8, 2012, age 75.

PAUL THOMPSON of Prescott, Ariz., died Sept. 13, 2011, age 85.

THEODORE L. “TED” ROTTO of Dallas died April 25, 2012, age 77.

ALLEN LEE GUNDERSON of Adams, Minn., died March 22, 2012, age 76.

1940 DONALD LUNDE of Richmond, Texas, died March 5, 2012, age 93.

PATRICIA L. “PAT” (BUSHEY) SALMELA of Duluth, Minn., died April 10, 2012, age 78.

1948 GERALD AMUNDSON of Sun City West, Ariz., died March 4, 2012, age 90.

1942 RODNEY MCCONNELL of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, died Feb. 17, 2012, age 91.

BETTY (HENDRICKSON) JOSEPHSON of Greenwich, Conn., died Dec. 19, 2010, age 82. ELDON G. PRITZ of Colorado Springs, Colo., died March 15, 2012, age 86.

1944 RUDOLF “BUD” LUDVIGSON of Anoka, Minn., died March 17, 2012, age 89.

1949 ALFRED I. ROSGAARD of Havre, Mont., died March 2, 2012, age 94.

CLIFFORD TENOLD of Northwood, Iowa, died May 6, 2012, age 91.

KAREN (DAHL) ANDERSON of Eagan, Minn., died March 7, 2012, age 77.

Luther Alumni Magazine

MARION (MOLZAHN) HAMPEL of Palacios, Texas, died Feb. 23, 2012, age 69. PATRICIA (MOSBO) MECKSTROTH of Bloomington, Ill., died May 6, 2012, age 69.

DAVID EGELAND of Worthington, Minn., died May 18, 2012, age 76. LOIS SWENSON of Minneapolis died June 6, 2012, age 76.

SHELDON TOSTENGARD of Roseville, Minn., died April 29, 2012, age 76.

1967 LOU ANN LUNDEBERG of Kennewick, Wash., died Jan. 1, 2012, age 67.

1968 DIANE MARIE “DEE DEE” (VARME) PEARCE of Twisp, Wash., died Sept. 15, 2011, age 65.

1951 LINDA (ROST) TREHUS of Keller, Texas, died Jan. 20, 2012, age 81.



RICHARD THOMSEN of Windsor Heights, Iowa, died April 7, 2012, age 75.

ALDEN G. SWENSEN of Omaha, Neb., died Nov. 3, 2011, age 79.




GENEVIEVE LAMAE (THOMPSON) MIKELSON of Onalaska, Wis., died Dec. 9, 2011, age 83. LORRAINE “LOLLY” (JOHNSON) MELDAHL of Rochester, Minn., died Dec. 29, 2010, age 84.

DENNIS A. CHARLSON of Maple Grove, Minn., died April 23, 2012, age 71. ALLEN J. RUDIN of Hilliard, Ohio, died Dec. 31, 2010, age 72.

1950 1946


Alumni News

1979 MARTHA MEADE of San Francisco, Calif., died June 25, 2012, age 55.

1982 BARBARA MELAASSWANSON of Port Byron, Ill., died Feb. 29, 2012, age 51.

1986 LISA ANN BECKSTRAND of Madison, Wis., died June 15, 2012, age 48.

1989 MARTIN GUNDERSON of Minneapolis, died May 23, 2012, age 44.


Ray Bentdahl Former chair of Luther’s board of regents RAY BENTDAHL ’59, of Scottsdale, Ariz., died from respiratory failure caused by pulmonary fibrosis on April 2, 2012, at age 74. Bentdahl was a resident of Scottsdale and also maintained a home in Edina, Minn., with his wife of 53 years, SHIRLEY (KLINGSHEIM) BENTDAHL ’59. He was raised on the family farm near Hanska, Minn., attended a one-room country schoolhouse, and graduated from New Ulm (Minn.) High School. Bentdahl began a 44-year career in commercial banking in 1963 at the Rushford State Bank in southern Minnesota. At the age of 29, he acquired the Commercial State Bank of Hokah, Minn. Through the ’70s and ’80s, he acquired 12 bank locations in various southern Minnesota communities. The Bentdahl family moved to Edina, and in 1978, he acquired the Americana State Bank of Edina. In the ’80s and early ’90s, he sold the southern Minnesota banks to focus on growing Americana Bank in the Twin Cities. In 2002, the bank name was changed to Excel Bank, and in 2007, Excel merged with Milwaukee-based M&I Bank. Bentdahl served on Luther’s board from 1978 until 1990 and was chair from 1984 to 1986. He

also served as chair of several other boards, including the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and Excel Bank Corporation. He was a member of the Minnesota Bankers Association, Rotary Club, and the Minneapolis Club. Bentdahl was a generous philanthropist and active fundraiser for many charitable causes. He and Shirley, life members of Luther’s President’s Council, received the Distinguished Service Award from Luther in 2009. Bentdahl Commons, the centerpiece of Luther’s campus, was inspired by the work of renowned Prairie School landscape architect Jens Jensen, whose 1911 plan for Luther College laid the foundation for the look and feel of the campus. In celebration of the college’s sesquicentennial, the commons was dedicated in the Bentdahls’ honor on October 10, 2010. Bentdahl was also an avid motorcycling and sports car enthusiast, and he spent many joyous hours behind the wheel at various racetracks driving a Porsche or Ferrari, or driving his Harley Davidson to the four corners of the United States (11,000 miles in 18 days). His greatest joy was spending time with his family and many friends. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter, ANN BENTDAHL ’85 (Roger); son, Craig (Stephanie); grandchildren, Kelsey, Kinsey, Kelly, and Kate; nieces, Kristi Nitz (Mike) and Mary Babel Tzucker (Bob); grandnieces, Avery, Lyla, and Carolyn; and grandnephews, Ryan, Noah, and Keane.

COREY C. MALLOCH of East Lansing, Mich., died March 3, 2012, age 34.

2002 ALISON A. HILL of Milwaukee died March 13, 2012, age 32.

2007 JOHN FISHER of San Diego, Calif., died Feb. 23, 2012, age 27. GINA SEXE of Postville, Iowa, died June 9, 2012, age 43.

Bentdahl Commons, at the center of Luther’s campus, was made possible by a gift from Ray and Shirley Bentdahl. In a tribute to Ray Bentdahl at his funeral in April, Luther President Richard Torgerson said, “When I am in Bentdahl Commons, taking in God’s magnificent creation and giving thanks for His steadfast presence in the history and mission of Luther College, I will be always reminded of my friend Ray whose big heart and generous spirit are now gently gathered and enfolded in his Creator’s expansive embrace. Soli Deo Gloria.”

Fall 2012 Luther Alumni Magazine



Outdoor biology class taught by Dr. Karl E. Goellner, 1948

1912: First biology class offered, ‘driving out quackery and humbug’ This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the appearance of a biology course in the Luther curriculum. The need for such a course was eloquently articulated the previous year, when Dr. Ludvig Hektoen, Luther class of 1883, of the Alumni Association wrote in the October 1, 1911, edition of Chips: “I venture to mention . . . that for some time it has seemed to me, and no doubt to many others, that general biology should be represented just as chemistry and physics have been since many years. . . . A grasp of the fundamental facts of biology would be of particular value to clergymen and teachers, in dealing with the problems of health that come up for consideration in their daily work. It would also aid in driving out quackery and humbug, which, I regret to say, largely by the aid of newspapers, unfortunately long ago succeeded in fastening their evils on our countrymen.” The first biology course was offered for eight credits in conjunction with education, and was taught by Professor Hans Sjurson Hilleboe, Luther class of 1881. In addition to teaching biology, Hilleboe was a professor of sociology and Norwegian. Luther’s catalog today lists 53 biology courses.


Luther Alumni Magazine

Calendar In March, past Luther board of regents chair Paula (Hermeier) Meyer ’76 led a trip to Kenya. Among those traveling were Luther grads (left to right) Chad Nelson ’09, Jim Looft ’85, Ron Anderson ’57, Anna Looft ’12, Meyer, Emily (Looft) Nelson ’10, Lorna (Haugland) Anderson ’60, Martha (Anderson) Looft ’83, and Kurt Meyer ’76.

Luther College Lunch Connection in Des Moines

Luther College Lunch Connection

Luther College Lunch Connection

Friday, October 19 Center for Changing Lives Minneapolis

Friday, January 18, 2013 Center for Changing Lives Minneapolis

Community Day Picnic, Football vs. Wheaton

Luther College Lunch Connection

Saturday, September 15 Luther

Friday, November 16 Center for Changing Lives Minneapolis

Sesquicentennial Fund Celebration and Torgerson Tribute

Friday, September 14 Windsor Heights (Iowa) Community Center

Parents Council Meeting Saturday, September 22 Luther

Get Down, Give Back Scholarship Benefit

Family Weekend

Friday, November 16 Wabasha Street Caves St. Paul, Minnesota

Friday, September 21Sunday, September 23 Luther

Alumni Reception Thursday, September 27 Jon Anderson White riverboat Des Moines, Iowa

Luther College Lunch Connection Friday, September 28 Center for Changing Lives Minneapolis

Alumni Council/ Class Agents Meeting Friday, October 5 Luther

Homecoming Friday, October 5− Sunday, October 7 Luther

Luther College Lunch Connection in Des Moines Friday, November 16 Windsor Heights (Iowa) Community Center

Christmas at Luther Performances Thursday, November 29− Sunday, December 2 Luther

Sesquicentennial Fund Celebration and Torgerson Tribute Tuesday, January 8, 2013 Naples, Florida

• Friday, January 18, 2013 San Diego • Saturday, January 19, 2013 San Francisco

Luther College Lunch Connection Friday, Feburary 1, 2013 Center for Changing Lives Minneapolis

Sesquicentennial Fund Celebration and Torgerson Tribute Saturday, February 2, 2013 St. Louis

Luther College Lunch Connection in Des Moines Friday, February 8, 2013 Windsor Heights (Iowa) Community Center

Sesquicentennial Fund Celebration and Torgerson Tribute • Sunday, February 24, 2013 Washington, D.C. • Monday, February 25, 2013 New York City

• Monday, March 4, 2013 Des Moines, Iowa • Thursday, March 21, 2013 Denver

Luther College Lunch Connection Friday, March 22, 2013 Center for Changing Lives Minneapolis

Norse Athletic Association Golf Outing Eighth Annual Ken Finanger ’54 Golf Classic Saturday, March 23, 2013 Goodyear, Arizona

Sesquicentennial Fund Celebration and Torgerson Tribute • Sunday, March 24, 2013 Phoenix, Arizona • Monday, March 25, 2013 Tucson, Arizona

Concert Band Companion Tour to Iceland and Norway Hosted by President Rick and Judy Torgerson May 20−31, 2013

Sailing the Wine-dark Sea Cruise 12-day Mediterranean Empires Cruise hosted by Professor of Classics Philip Freeman and Alison Dwyer May 26−June 8, 2013

Luther alumni events are open to all alumni and friends of the college, including parents and other family members of graduates and students. Please note that some dates listed are tentative; specific information about upcoming events will be mailed or e-mailed to alumni, friends, and parents who live near the event sites. If you need more information or if you’re interested in planning an event in your area, call the Alumni Office at (800) 225-8664. We’d love to hear from you!














Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID La Crosse, WI Permit No. 909



Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045

Human mosaic helps promote sustainability around the world Luther students, faculty, staff, and others formed a human mosaic on the lawn near Preus Library to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Kristi Holmberg ’12 (see “Senior Candids,” page 29), designed the mosaic to represent a tree. The event culminated Luther’s climate justice campaign, organized by Holmberg. The event intersected with an international movement of youth through the Earth Day Network trying

to get one billion “acts of green” such as pledges, educational events, or voter registrations. This photo was taken to serve as an advocacy tool for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June in Rio de Janeiro. Read about the national recognition Luther received this year for its own sustainability efforts on page 23.

Luther Alumni Magazine Fall 2012  

Luther Alumni Magazine Fall 2012 Volume 46 Number 1

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