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in this new reality

CONTENTS Share magazine stories online: The Luther magazine is online in a mobile and shareable format. Share stories through email, Facebook, or Twitter at luther.edu/magazine. Luther Magazine Volume 53, Number 3, Spring 2020 Published by Luther College Editor Kate Frentzel Art Director/Designer Michael Bartels Contributors Sherry (Braun) Alcock ’82 Sue (Franzen) Drilling ’78 Kirk Johnson ’82 Quang Anh Le ’19 AJ Perling Judy Riha Rachel Schunder ’20 Luther College Photo Bureau Luther 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 Magazine, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045; magazine@luther. edu; 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 emailed to the Alumni Office at alumni@ luther.edu. Questions and concerns about the magazine may be emailed to magazine@luther.edu. Alumni Office (800) 225-8664; (800) 2 ALUMNI Admissions Office (800) 458-8437; (800) 4 LUTHER Web luther.edu luther.edu/magazine © Luther College 2020


Supporting the online classroom

A new center on campus shows resilience as Luther shifts to online learning.


Learning globally

A refreshing reminder that Luther learning happens everywhere.


Good fellows

Meet five alumni poised for influence and leadership in their fields—and prepared to change the world for the better.


Singing sacred music together

The National Lutheran Choir includes 13 Luther alumni who continue to find deep meaning in singing with fellow Norse.

Departments 2 President’s Letter 3 Campus News 26 Alumni 38 43 44 44

Class Notes Births/Adoptions Marriages In Memoriam

46 President’s Council 48 Luther-Made Calendar (inside back cover)

Many faculty wore their Luther blue as a show of solidarity during an all-faculty call on Tuesday, April 21. This image is a composite image from the Zoom call.


As students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Luther College, we have the ability to help shape the world that emerges from this pandemic.”

Be Luther Dear Luther community, I came to Luther ready for a new adventure. Little did I expect that the first ten months of my presidency would hand me one like leading the college through a global pandemic! We all face a challenging time, and many of us feel anxious and unmoored. But I know that the Luther College way of learning has equipped us for this moment. Every day in this current reality, I see examples of the Luther community leading with courage and grace, living with purpose and meaning, learning with curiosity and an open mind, and supporting one another as we strive toward the common good. In

other words, I see examples of us continuing to be Luther. This issue of the magazine is full of them. It’s true that we’re sitting with a lot of uncertainty and a lot of questions right now. But we also have the opportunity to answer them. As students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Luther College, we have the ability to help shape the world that emerges from this pandemic. So I urge all of you to sit with perhaps the most important question we can ask right now: What kind of world do we want to live in, even after our most pressing proximate concerns, such as vaccines, are addressed? If we approach that question with the tools, values, perspectives, and

collaborative spirit we’ve cultivated at Luther, the world that emerges will be infinitely better for it. On the cover of this issue, we pose the question: How can we be Luther in this new reality? Maybe a better question to ask is: How can we afford not to—for ourselves, for others, and for the world? Soli Deo Gloria,

Jenifer K. Ward



Luther president Jenifer K. Ward and NICC president Liang Chee Wee signed an agreement in February to create a pathway for social work students to complete an associate of arts degree at NICC and transfer those credits directly to Luther, where they can complete a bachelor of arts degree in just two more years.

PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS Luther College and Northeast Iowa Community College are partnering in an effort to meet growing workforce needs in the social work field.

lows students to complete an AA at NICC with credits that directly transfer to Luther, where they can earn a BA with a social work major in just two additional years.

In February, President Ward and NICC president Liang Chee Wee signed an articulation agreement that creates an AA to BA Social Work Transfer Pathway. This al-

“This partnership signals an important step in advancing Luther’s strategic plan initiative to create new Iowa and Minnesota community college transfer pathways

and improve institutional capacity for transfer student success,” President Ward says. A 2019 report conducted by the University of Iowa and the National Association of Social Workers Iowa Chapter found that the social work workforce is projected to grow in Iowa between 15 and 22 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Britt (Hellgren) Rhodes ’96, associate professor of social work at Luther, says, “We have a responsibility to those living in our state and region to provide the highest quality professional social work services, and one of the ways we can do that is by opening additional pathways for students to pursue a career in social work.”

Community care during COVID-19 During a difficult time for people across the world and in the Decorah area, Luther staff members are working with the Decorah and Winneshiek Co. Mutual Aid Network to help those in need. It started with an email from Kayla Scholl, director of music marketing and Dorian programs at Luther, to people at Decorah Now, a website dedicated to building community through the arts, cultural and recreational events, and the exchange of goods and services. Scholl asked, “How can we connect those with a greater need to those who may now have the capacity to help?” “For me,” Scholl says, “life is about serving others, and finding

ways to do that in all seasons of life is important, especially now.” With the help of Decorah community members Brad Crawford ’08 and Kristen Eggen and people at Winneshiek County Development and Tourism, the group started the Decorah and Winneshiek Co. Mutual Aid Network. By the end of March, the group had 10 requests for help. “Ten requests may not seem like much now, but we recognize this pandemic will ripple through our community in various ways, and we expect the needs to grow,” Eggen says. “During a time of crisis, people want to help. That’s

the case with the volunteers who started this initiative, that’s the case with myself, and that’s the case with the rest of our community! Together we are weaving a tighter net that holds our community up in times of uncertainty and scarcity.” According to Eggen, so far volunteers have been busy raking leaves, delivering groceries, con-

necting people with child care and referring people to community agencies and businesses that are offering programs to help during this time. Other volunteers, including Scholl and other Luther staff members, have been working behind the scenes to ensure this resource is fully functional. Help is available at decorahnow.com/mutual-aid-network. Anyone without access to a computer can call (563) 362-2288 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. For additional information, email mutualaid@ decorahnow.com.




NEW VP FOR ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT In January, President Ward announced the appointment of Derek Hartl as vice president for enrollment management. Hartl has worked at Luther since 2002, rising through the ranks from admissions area coordinator to his current position. As VP of enrollment management, Hartl oversees a comprehensive enrollment plan and leads and mentors a team charged with recruiting an academically driven and diverse student body. He also serves as the principal steward of Luther’s financial aid initiatives. “I have high confidence in Derek’s ability to orient his seasoned team to ever-changing external realities, guided by concrete strategies, to share the good news about a Luther College education to the right audiences and in the right ways for our era,” President Ward says. Derek Hartl

“Higher education faces challenging times ahead, but with every significant challenge comes great opportunity. We have to recognize that the world has changed and we must continue to change with it, and that very much begins with the ways in which we attract, enroll, and retain students,” Hartl says. “Developing partnerships and expanding relationships both on and off campus while establishing aggressive new enrollment strategies will be necessary to guarantee Luther’s future success,” Hartl says. “I’m excited to lead a great admissions and financial aid team forward in support of a fresh vision.”

PHYSICS SCHOLARS Aiden C. Berdahl ’21 and Nicholas A. Behrens ’21 have been awarded $5,000 Rossing Physics Scholarships for the 2020–21 academic year. The award is made possible through gifts from Thomas D. Rossing ’50, who created the scholarship fund through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Foundation.

Aiden C. Berdahl ’21

Berdahl, a physics and political science double major and math minor, plans to attend law school with the goal of becoming a patent attorney. “The scholarship gives me invaluable flexibility in how I approach my education, and I certainly won’t take this opportunity for granted as I finish my physics major at Luther,” Berdahl says.

Behrens, a physics major with chemistry and math minors, plans to pursue a career in physics or engineering that will allow him to uplift humankind and benefit the planet. Behrens Nicholas A. Behrens ’21 says it’s a great privilege to receive the award and notes that since his start at college, Luther faculty “have inspired me to envision myself as a physicist, by exploring the frontiers of science and becoming actively engaged in this close-knit community.”

Written words Congratulations to Robert Christman, professor of history, on his book The Dynamics of the Early Reformation in Their Reformed Augustinian Context. The book studies the execution of two Augustinian friars and traces the influence of that event in shaping the content and spread of the Reformation. Nancy Gates Madsen (left), professor of Spanish, and Kristin Dykstra, Saint Michaels’ College distinguished scholar in residence, have been awarded the 2020 PEN Literary Award for Poetry in Translation. The prestigious award recognizes book-length translations of poetry into English. Gates Madsen and Dykstra met as high school students and worked together to translate The Winter Garden by Cuban poet Reina María Rodríguez.






In February, the Board of Regents approved tenure and promotions to associate professor for Brittany Cord, accounting and management; Maren Johnson, Nordic studies; and Tommy Occhipinti, mathematics. The board also announced the promotion of Molly McNicoll, biology, to associate professor and Eric Baack, biology, and Britt Rhodes, social work, to full professors. Read below about what makes these valued faculty tick. ERIC BAACK, BIOLOGY

Research interests: My research looks at how new plant species arise through chromosome doubling, and what happens to crop genes when they move into wild relatives in sunflowers. But my research with students has led me to look at bacteria and other pathogens in the springs, streams, and rivers of northeast Iowa. Fun fact: My first job was working on software for a lumber company. I’m the fourth generation in my family to have worked in the timber industry. I teach because . . . I cannot imagine anything more fun than working with students as they come to understand a scientific concept and see the world in a new way. BRITTANY CORD, ACCOUNTING AND MANAGEMENT Research interests: Service learning is one of my particular interests. Along with colleagues Alexandra White and Britt Rhodes, I have facilitated three Social Impact Research Fellowships over the past two summers. These fellowships pair social work and management or accounting majors with a local organization to facilitate a project or fill a need. Making connections with our community as well as giving students an opportunity for service learning has been a highlight of my time at Luther. Fun fact: I am a lifelong swimmer and currently swim on the Decorah Masters Swim Team! I teach because . . . I love the challenge of meeting students where they are. MAREN JOHNSON, NORDIC STUDIES Research interests: My research interests focus on contemporary Nordic literature and television and participatory pedagogy in the language classroom.  Fun fact: My summers are spent at our family cabin in northern Minnesota with lots of water skiing. I teach because . . . of the creativity, innovation, and connection that happen in the classroom.

MOLLY MCNICOLL, BIOLOGY Research interests: I conduct ecological restoration and research with students on Luther’s 700+ acres of woods, prairies, and other native habitats. I use research as a tool to learn how we can improve conservation efforts. Fun fact: I’ve conducted prescribed burns on thousands of acres of prairies and woodlands. I teach because . . . engagement from students is a constant and meaningful motivator to learn new approaches. TOMMY OCCHIPINTI, MATHEMATICS Research interests: I’m a number theorist primarily, but I’m also particularly interested in combinatorics and other areas of discrete math.  Fun fact: I own over 300 board games.  I teach because . . . math is something I am really passionate about, and I enjoy sharing that with others.

BRITT (HELLGREN) RHODES ’96, SOCIAL WORK Research interests: I’m particularly interested in trauma-informed care in both social work practice and social work education. My research seeks to bridge education and practice by studying the ways in which trauma-informed principles can enhance teaching and learning.  Fun fact: When I was a social work student at Luther, I did an internship at Helping Services for Youth and Families; now I get to watch my own students thrive in that field placement! I teach because . . . I am continuously inspired and hopeful about the future because of the young people I get to meet each year. The ways in which they think critically about social issues and injustice combined with passion and empathy for others helps me know that our world will be in good hands when they are our leaders.  





This spring, to protect the health and well-being of college athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rivers Conference cancelled all conference competition. This left many Luther student-athletes in the disappointing situation of being unable to finish out their seasons. Seniors in particular are feeling the sting of not ending their college careers with their teams. In April, Luther coaches recorded messages to their athletes, a few of which are transcribed here, to remind them that no matter where in the world we are, we’re still Norse.




Dear Track and Field Team,

Dear Luther Tennis,

I will miss you this spring—your enthusiasm for the challenge of working hard each day, whether it’s a day of seemingly neverending sprints, long tempo on the gravel, or technique drills until each movement is imprinted in your body for eternity. I’ll miss not only your willingness to work hard but also your willingness to embrace the challenge with determination, with fortitude, with humor, and most of all with your teammates at your side.

I will always remember the journey that was the 2019–20 season, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to go on this special ride with all of you. There were wonderful moments along the way—another conference title for the women, an ITA Cup berth for the men, and so many more. Of course, there were bumps in the road along the way too, but through it all, this group, this program, this family stuck together and persevered.

It’s Coach. I hope you’re all safe and sound back at home and getting the hang of learning and doing your classes in a new way. I’m sad that we have only had a few moments together, and I’m also disappointed that none of those moments have been on the golf course. Just know that when that does happen, we’re going to have a lot of fun working on your golf swings and be putting a lot more birdie stars on your birdie boards.

I will miss the pain of watching many of you get increasingly more sunburnt at our first warm outdoor meet. I will have told you so.

Forever proud to be your coach. Go Norse!

I will miss the many celebrations that will happen at each meet over the course of the season, miss seeing you congratulate each other, sometimes console each other, but always support and rally behind each other. What we can do together is always far greater than what can be done alone. In this time, know you are not alone. Your teammates are striving alongside of you. Challenge yourself, and challenge them, to keep striving. And know too that we are with you every step of the way. Best wishes. Go Norse!

Thank you for all that you have done for each other, and thank you for all that you have given me.

Hi Team,

One of my favorite golf quotes is from Bobby Jones, probably the best amateur golfer to ever play the game. He said, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots, you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” You have all been there on the golf course, right? Your ball is under a tree. You can’t get a full swing on the ball. Either way, you’re not making par, and you may even have to take a penalty stroke for an unplayable lie. A double bogey at this point would be good enough, right? It’s time to forget what happened and move on to the next hole. That’s what I’m asking you to do at this weird place in our lives. We’re looking at a double bogey. But know that the next hole—the next day—is filled with opportunity, and we’ll get there. Be well, and I hope your dreams are filled with six-foot birdie putts. Peace and health to you and your families. Coach



Centered on connecting

CELT director Kate Elliott with associate dean and faculty member Jeff Wilkerson

A new center on campus shows resilience as faculty shift to online learning.

In September, a brand-new center for faculty support and development opened its doors on the Luther campus. CELT—the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching—was founded as a space where faculty can gather to learn inclusive, innovative classroom practices and to collaborate with and learn from peers across disciplines. Little did we know in September that what we created as a distinctly place-based center would have to stretch and pivot to support faculty in a very non-place-based way as campus shifted to distance teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Fortunately, the strong groundwork that CELT staff laid during the fall semester allowed them to support this transition with speed, understanding, innovation, and resilience. The result? Luther professors who feel empowered to teach and able to connect with students even through a new kind of classroom.

“Kate is incredible at relationship-building within the college, and that became a key in this transition. Faculty felt like she was someone they could talk to, and she would then help make the connections that needed to be made for them to do what they needed to do.” —Sean Burke, associate dean and director of faculty development

In the non-pandemic world, CELT is a welcoming room in Valders Hall of Science—one with couches, a giant whiteboard, and a stocked mini fridge. It’s a place where faculty take workshops on how to grade faster and how best to use KATIE, the college’s web-based system through which students and faculty access digital course materials. Through the center, faculty looking to revamp a writing assignment or revise a rubric that’s not working can schedule a one-on-one session with writing director Mike Garcia, who helps to staff CELT. If they want to explore technology in their classroom, they can book time with CELT staffer Holly White, instructional technology librarian. CELT is also a place for faculty to talk about their biggest triumphs of the week, late-work policies, or the newest book on inclusive pedagogy. “Those sorts of practical but also philosophical discussions are what interest faculty most,” says CELT director Kate Elliott. “People really want to talk about the craft of teaching, and CELT is a place to find some fellowship and talk about what it is that we do at Luther.” Of course, these in-person resources were part of a world before COVID-19 turned every classroom in the country upside down. 

As soon as there were signs of colleges starting to move online, CELT pulled a team together to consolidate resources behind this possible transition. So when President Ward announced in mid-March that Luther too would move to distance learning starting the Monday after

spring break, March 29, CELT was already in full swing. The team CELT assembled quickly created a landing page for faculty called Moving Your Courses Online Rapidly. It includes video training and written instructions on how to make the most of the digital tools that are always available to faculty, like KATIE and Norse Apps. The team offered in-person consultations to faculty with specific needs. They troubleshot software issues and gathered and dispersed new digital media resources.  One thing CELT helped faculty think through early on was whether to teach online courses synchronously (in real time, with everyone gathered at the same time in the same virtual space) or asynchronously, so that students access lectures and course materials on their own timeline.  Sean Burke, the associate dean and director of faculty development who oversees CELT staff, says, “The challenge is how to keep the sense of connectedness and the relationships that are the core of a residential liberal arts college experience. We’re trying to help faculty think through how to do that through more limited means, like one-on-one conferencing or breaking your class into small groups that can do some Google Hangouts with each other.”  The trick, Burke says, is balancing that realtime connection with real obstacles that students may encounter, like bandwidth limits, data plans limits, time zone issues, or caring for young siblings who are also at home. “So we’re helping faculty balance how to keep the rhythm of a residential liberal arts college without overwhelming students who are also now reintegrating into some sort of rhythm at home,” he says. Jacki Wright ’75, associate professor in health promotion and exercise science, had never taught online before the pandemic. She originally thought she’d teach synchronously. But after a CELT workshop, she says, “I found it would be more beneficial, in my case, to offer

Below is professor of biology Scott Carlson’s remote-teaching setup. He works with tools CELT staff trained him on so that during class discussion, he can write details on his shared screen, draw on figures to emphasize parts, and move between files easily.



“People really want to talk about the craft of teaching, and CELT is a place to find some fellowship and talk about what it is that we do at Luther.” —Kate Elliot, CELT director

courses asynchronously. If I do need to meet with students as an entire class synchronously, I now know how to do that.”

Scott Carlson, professor of biology, says, “The general biology instructors meet via Zoom quite frequently to establish what our goals for each lab are and how we can best meet these goals in an online format. We also regularly seek feedback from students so that we can revise our approach as we go.”  

CELT was designed to be synergistic, with faculty members sharing their expertise in order to elevate the entire Luther teaching community. That’s exactly what happened when professor of Spanish Nancy Gates Madsen shared with CELT staff her experience using VoiceThread, a tool that facilitates online discussions and allows for multimedia engagement between students and faculty. Gates Madsen says, “Kate wasn’t as familiar with VoiceThread, which we’ve been using for many years in Spanish. Since we live in the same neighborhood, she was able to stop by my house for a bit of training, which she could then pass along to the wider Luther community. The benefits of working at a small college in a small town!”

Some faculty are finding positives in the growth they’ve done as educators during this time. “I had to learn new technology quickly but have found this process to be stimulating, challenging, and fun!” Wright says. “One of the positives about this experience is that I have to think more outside the box to discover creative ways to engage students and keep them excited to learn.”

Part of CELT’s synergy results from the strong relationship-building that the center’s staff—particularly Elliott—have done in its short time. Burke says, “Kate is incredible at relationship-building within the college, and that became a key in this transition. Faculty felt like she was someone they could talk to, and she would then help make the connections that needed to be made for them to do what they needed to do.” Burke continues, “That’s another role that has emerged for CELT during this time: as a connector. We may not have all the resources directly, but we can connect you with where you can get those resources.”

For a tight-knit college community like Luther, the remote-learning format is really different. In order to provide the best experience possible, faculty are actively seeking feedback as the semester unfolds. Nancy Barry, professor of English, says, “Students are being very proactive at responding to problems or ‘kinks’ in the system, and KATIE can help me keep track of how many have been able to access the system, which is great.”

But for a breed of teachers who are truly enlivened and inspired by their students, nothing can replace spending real-world time together. “Perhaps the biggest challenge,” Carlson says, “is that teaching at Luther is very relational. We get to know students personally as we interact with them, and we are all richer for this experience. For my neuroscience course, I have had almost all of these students before, some in multiple courses, and this course represents the pinnacle of our time together. With general biology, these interactions serve as the starting point for getting to know a new group of students, many of which I will encounter again in my courses down the road. So I am saddened by the loss of this, whether it be getting to know a new group of students or seeing a group I know so well finish their time at Luther. I think we would all agree that online educational experiences are not nearly as effective as when students are seated in our classrooms and laboratory spaces, but we have to accept the uniqueness of this situation and, in response, strive to create the best possible educational outcome that we can.” Fortunately, the team that CELT assembled to respond to this crisis has positioned teachers— and students—for the best possible outcome. While the semester may not be traditional in any sense of the word, we know one thing holds true: Luther learning transcends classrooms.  —Kate Frentzel

The team that CELT assembled helped faculty quickly transition to online teaching in March. Jacki Wright ’75 (above), associate professor in health promotion and exercise science, had never taught online before COVID-19. But, she says, “One of the positives about this experience is that I have to think more outside the box to discover creative ways to engage students and keep them excited to learn.”

For information on ways to support CELT, please call the Development Office at (800) 225-8864 to speak with a Development officer, or visit luther.edu/giving.



Appreciation. Management major Wyatt Hill ’21, who studied on Luther’s Malta and the Mediterranean program, writes, “I do not know what the future holds for me, but I do know one thing. I will be back to watch the sheer power of the Matterhorn as its peak cuts through the sky.”

Learning happens

EVERYWHERE In light of the limited travel most of us are doing these days, these photos seem like postcards from another era. Hopefully they’ll offer a breath of vicarious fresh air to those of us enjoying them from indoors. The images represent some of the transformative global learning experiences Luther students have had over the past year. But even while the current normal doesn’t allow for these kinds of trips, transformative Luther learning continues to happen everywhere— because, with students from 39 states and 74 countries and alumni living on almost every continent, the Luther community is everywhere.



Orientation. Matt Benson ’22 participated in Luther’s Ethical Engagement in a Changing World course in Roatan, Honduras. He took this photo during a group dive on Roatan’s northern barrier reef at a site called Bear’s Den, so named for its cave that divers can swim through to emerge on the fore-reef wall. Precision. Nursing major Abby Tefft ’21, who spent January Term on the course English Theatre: Mirror of Society and of the Human Condition, writes, “After spending time in awe looking at the architecture inside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Genevieve Sheehan ’21 and I decided to climb to the top of the dome to the Golden Gallery. After being told that the view would not be that stunning because of the rain, we decided to climb the 600 steps anyway. When we arrived, the storm had broken just in time for an incredible sunset. An unforgettable moment.”

Observation. During Luther’s Earth and Environment in Italy program, Mackenzie Miller ’21 and classmates found time for work and play. Miller writes, “After a day in the field collecting soil samples throughout the Jelsa Valley on the island of Hvar, Croatia, we detoured into town to get gelato. We found a gelateria along the water and watched the light change over the harbor to end our day.”



Illustration. “After a busy day in Paris,” writes biology major Maren Gabor ’21, who studied on the Islam in Europe course, “the beautiful Arc de Triomphe shed some light on my apprehensions and perspective on what I had just learned about the French and their views on what it means to be French.”

Relaxation. Nursing major Abby Tefft ’21 took this photo during a Paideia 450 course on English Theatre. She writes, “The tunnel view overlooking the ruins of Fountains Abbey puts into perspective just how much the English countryside resembles a fairytale. Fountains Abbey, founded in 1132, was the most successful monastery in England. Today, it is enjoyed by locals and tourists for its natural beauty and history.”


“After many hours of bumpy roads in a Land Cruiser,” writes Hannah Jennings ’21, “we passed through God’s footprint and made it to the bottom of this majestic volcano.” Jennings took part in the People and Parks: Pastoralism and Conservation in East Africa course.



Suspension. Computer science major Nell Himlie ’21 captured this tableau of a floating lotus garden in West Lake during a semester at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Realization. Leah Schmickley ’21 took this photo of Mont Blanc in Charmonix, France. She writes, “At the bottom you can see the sea of ice that leads into the glacier we got to go onto. It was incredibly sad to see how much the glacier has melted since the year 2000.”

Palpitation. During the course Ethical Challenges in 21st-Century Norway, social work major Grace Weinrich ’21 took this picture from the Holmenkollen Ski Jump in Oslo. “Norwegians love their skiing!” she writes. “This picture features the beautiful nature area surrounding the ski jump as well as the urban city of Oslo. The view from the top of Holmenkollen is absolutely breathtaking.”



Meditation. Thawdar Zin ’21, who went on the Semester at Sea program, writes: “The westernmost coast of Europe, Capo da Roca, Portugal, may look like it is always angry, with massive, unforgiving waves crashing hard at its cliffs. A friend and I went on a hike to witness the anger but were mesmerized by the soft light of evening sun and peacefulness of the cliffs forgiving the waves.”

Reflection. Annika Dome ’22 participated in the J-term course In Frankenstein’s Footsteps: The Keats-Shelley Circle. “This picture was taken from inside the colosseum, looking out over a handful of Roman pines,” she writes. “While taking the picture, I wondered how differently this outlook might have appeared to those in the Romantic era who traveled to the colosseum.”


Data science major Zachary Sturgeon ’21 took this photo of the London Tower Bridge on a free day during the Paideia 450 course Islam in Europe: The History and Politics of Muslim Belonging.



Population. During Luther’s Ethical Engagement in a Changing World course in Roatan, Honduras, Matt Benson ’22 took an underwater photo of the barrier reef. He writes, “Our class identified the corals, fish, macro-algae, and sponges while scuba diving and back in our classroom. After learning the organisms on the reef, we completed research projects on a few.”


French and mathematics major Mae Cody ’21 spent a semester in Rabat, Morocco, and took this photo in the Sahara Desert from the back of a camel.

Examination. Matt Benson ’22, whose photo is featured above, writes, “Our class took an underwater coral identification quiz on the barrier reef in Roatan, Honduras. Our marine biology instructor placed red weighted floats with numbers on them next to corals for our class to name and write down on our dive slates.”



by Kate Frentzel

Among Luther alumni there are a lot of good folk, but there are also a lot of good fellows. From graduate students to mid-career professionals, these alumni have distinguished themselves in their areas of expertise and earned fellowships that cover their tuition, widen their networks, or develop their professional skills—sometimes all three. We checked in with a few of these current and former fellows poised for influence and leadership in their fields—and prepared to change the world for the better.

Augie Lindmark ’12 • Resident physician in primary care and HIV medicine at Yale University • Former Oryema Fellow As a resident physician in primary care and HIV medicine at Yale University, Augie Lindmark provides healthcare in a system that he desperately wants to change—but he thinks he’s got the right vantage point. “In some ways, practicing clinical medicine is like being at ground zero of the successes and the faults of any given health system,” he says. “As a clinician working in the US, you get to sit firsthand with people asking questions like How much will I get billed for this? If you’re going to work and comment on larger systems that are perhaps designed to get the results that they currently get, it helps to sit with the very people who are ignored in that system.” Lindmark’s interest in social medicine has Luther roots. Learning about HIV in both his biology and sociology classes helped him see the condition from a medical and human rights perspective. He also felt challenged by his Luther professors and peers to think about power structures, and he carried this thinking into medical school at the University of Minnesota. “Systems of power aren’t generally something that’s taught during medical school,” he says, “but they certainly play out in the interactions between health professionals and in how health systems are set up.”  Wanting to focus more on power structures and how inequities form in the first place, Lindmark pursued an Oryema Fellowship sponsored by SocMed, a nonprofit that teaches health professionals to advance health equity. As an Oryema Fellow, Lindmark looked at systems of power and privilege in the Twin Cities area. He also traveled to Rwanda and Uganda to connect with a global community of social medicine students thinking about how to build the movement for the right to health and how to bring



health professionals into that movement. “It was a little bit of a respite after the third year of medical school, when I was racking up a lot of work inside a building,” he says. “There’s a whole world out there that leads to someone coming to a hospital in the first place, and we don’t seem to be addressing any of those issues in our medical training.” Camaraderie was among the biggest benefits Lindmark experienced during his year as a fellow. “There are systems that will prioritize profits over people’s access to healthcare in every corner we look,” he says. “Being able to develop a sense of solidarity in that struggle really helped to break down the isolation that can come from doing this work.”   In spite of his demanding residency at Yale, Lindmark finds time to publish articles on the US healthcare system—most recently about doctors and dark money—and use his social media platform to tweet about health system injustice to his 11,000 followers. Lately, as a practicing physician and health justice activist, his Twitter feed is dominated by coronavirus-related content. “My friends joked the other day that crises and pandemics are probably your greatest recruitment efforts for a universal healthcare system,” he says. “There’s fear and hysteria, but there’s also an element of people having to face their privilege and recognize how fragile that can be when we live in a global community and interact with our neighbors every day. Regardless of who you are, your health intimately depends on whoever is next to you. We’re all in the same boat together, and wouldn’t it be great to raise the floor, especially when someone needs to access healthcare.”

Good fellows

Above: Kamin Mukaz at the American Heart Association Epilifestyle Conference 2019. Left: Kamin Mukaz at the International Stroke Conference 2020.

Debora Kamin Mukaz ’10 • Postdoctoral associate in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont (UVM) Debora Kamin Mukaz is a cardiovascular and metabolic disease researcher involved in one of the largest cohort studies of its kind in the US. Sampling more than 30,000 people from the so-called stroke belt of the American southeast, the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) project aims to understand racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities of stroke. Last year, Kamin Mukaz received a travel grant to the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles to present her work on defining biomarkers of hypertension. She’s also researching biomarkers of diabetes and studying how white blood cell counts relate to diabetes. Kamin Mukaz came to this research through doctoral work that focused on the health of migrant African communities in the US, especially concerning diabetes. “My work is very much an intersection of my passion for science and my passion for addressing the health disparities of communities that tend to be ignored,” she

says. “I want to understand what is happening here and to help answer some of these questions so that we can figure out ways to lessen these disparities.” Kamin Mukaz credits her love of research to Luther biology professor Marian Kaehler, who helped her secure a Lutherfunded grant as a student to look at the genetics of race and ancestry. “As a female scientist,” Mukaz says, “you really have to have these mentors, and I owe her a lot.” Kamin Mukaz also appreciates her Luther education more generally. “The liberal arts education that I got at Luther allowed me to understand that health and diseases do not happen in a vacuum. You have to look at all these different factors and understand them,” she says. “At Luther, I got a better, broader understanding of how diseases interact with biology, genetics, environment—everything.”

“My work is very much an intersection of my passion for science and my passion for addressing the health disparities of communities that tend to be ignored. I want to understand what is happening here and to help answer some of these questions so that we can figure out ways to lessen these disparities.” —Debora Kamin Mukaz ’10



Good fellows

Timothy Bumpus ’15 • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Cornell University

Timothy Bumpus ’15, pictured above with mentor Jeremy M. Baskin, won the 2018 Gordon Hammes Scholar Award, which is given to a trainee-level author of the best paper in Biochemistry. “Reading papers is so critical, and it’s a skill that you have to learn and practice,” he says. “I was definitely ahead of the curve coming out of Luther because I’d taken a number of classes where we had to read literature reports regularly.”



Timothy Bumpus is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Baskin Lab within Cornell University’s Department of Chemistry and the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology. While his title is a mouthful, Bumpus explains his research in a straightforward way.  “Biology basically functions using chemistry as its language, so we try to develop tools to understand the ways that cells are talking,” he says. “Particularly we look at lipids—fats. They’re most frequently thought of in biology as the things that make up the membranes of cells, that hold it all together, but they’re also really important signaling molecules—communication tools for the cells.” Bumpus’s project focuses on one enzyme—phospholipase D—that makes one kind of lipid—phosphatidic acid—and on developing a method to see when cells are using that lipid to communicate. This work has important implications for disease research since the dysregulation of phospholipase D enzymes is found in infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and several cancer types.

Bumpus hopes to use his scientific and liberal arts training to further federal policymaking and implementation. “I’d like to be able to help people understand the effects that science has on their daily lives, whether that’s the American populace writ large or working in an advisor capacity for policymakers. One of the biggest things I took away from Luther is the ability to communicate really complex topics to fairly general audiences. It’s become one of my favorite parts of science. I want a job where I’m able to do that but also have a measurable and direct impact on society.” Bumpus conducted undergraduate research with chemistry professors Olga Michels and Brad Chamberlain. By the time he entered grad school, he says, “I knew what I was doing in a lab and what I was signing up for. I knew that the experiments always come first, that you have to bend to the will of the little cells that you grow. With that expectation came an advantage. I was able to hit the ground running.”

Amy Dorman ’11 • Eileen R. De Dea Fellow at the University of Minnesota Amy Dorman packed a lot of living into the eight short years between Luther and her start at the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, one of the top ten public affairs programs in the country. First, Dorman worked for WomenVenture, which provides opportunities and job training for women in the Twins Cities area. Then she moved to LA, where she built a career as a singer-songwriter and worked increasingly as an activist. She was on the board of directors for two nonprofits, started a dance class for survivors of sexual assault, and founded the For Her Concert Series, a female-centric concert series that benefits women in need. Her advocacy work, she says, started ramping up as her patience with the misogyny of the music industry wore thin. “That’s when I realized that I had an opportunity to take the next step in a new direction,” she says.  Dorman is nearing the end of her first year at the U of M, but the women and gender studies major—who completed her Luther degree in just three years—is continuing at a breakneck speed. She’s involved in the Violence Prevention Roundtable in Anoka County (Minn.), and she plans to use this community work as the basis of her PhD thesis proposal. She’s also studying domestic violence law in

Mexico and Eastern Europe for two Twin Cities–based organizations: Global Rights for Women and Advocates for Human Rights. Dorman has just been certified as a Minnesota state sexual assault crisis counselor, and works as a volunteer violence prevention educator at the U of M’s Aurora Center. Recently, Dorman was one of eight researchers around the nation asked to help update the US Human Rights Network’s 2019 Status Report, for which she’s focusing specifically on violations in the areas of marriage, family, and children’s rights. Dorman believes her degree will help her bridge the gap between academic research and the practical implementation of public policy. “It’s important to be able to apply our theories and make sure that our research has actual impact on the folks who need it most,” she says. “That’s my general life goal. I would love to be at the forefront of this research and find ways to emphasize prevention policies to eliminate domestic and sexual violence before it starts.”

“That’s my general life goal. I would love to be at the forefront of this research and find ways to emphasize prevention policies to eliminate domestic and sexual violence before it starts.” —Amy Dorman ’11



Good fellows

“The discussions we’ve had around diversity are unbelievable. It’s done so much for me to talk about hard or complex history topics, like slavery and women’s rights. Conversations are usually deep among the fellows, and that translates to the classroom.” —Jason Rude ’07



Jason Rude ’07 • Social studies teacher at New Hampton Community School, Iowa • Ford Theatre National Oratory Fellow Jason Rude’s fellowship is changing his classroom—and his students—for the better. A seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher at New Hampton Community School in Iowa, Rude is in the middle of a five-year Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellowship, which helps bring public speaking skills to the everyday classroom. “This has been career-changing professional development,” Rude says. “Schools try hard to support us, but there are financial limitations. There aren’t a lot of resources out there for social studies teachers at a district or state level.” Through his fellowship, however, Rude has access to mentors and a network of peers with whom he talks about pedagogy and best practices.  “The discussions we’ve had around diversity are unbelievable,” he says. “It’s done so much for me to talk about hard or complex history topics, like slavery and women’s rights. Conversations are usually deep among the fellows, and that translates to the classroom.”  The core mission of the National Oratory Fellowship is to promote speaking skills and reasoned argument in the classroom. Rude’s students break down famous

speeches according to Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, and they take things a step further by writing their own speeches on a social justice topic of their choosing. Once a year, the students who delivered the top speeches in each fellow’s class fly out with their teacher to Washington, D.C., where they deliver their practice run on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to thousands of spectators before delivering them in a celebration of oratory onstage at Ford’s Theatre.   Through the work of his fellowship, Rude is seeing higher levels of student engagement, a stronger student-teacher connection, increased interest in history and writing, and better attitudes toward school. Just as important, he’s seeing students learn to argue for causes they believe in. From organ donation to suicide prevention to addressing the pay gap between NBA and WNBA players, Rude’s helping students find their voice. In the process, he’s equipping a whole new generation of activists.








From college ensembles to the renowned Lutheran National Choir, 13 Luther grads find deep meaning making sacred music together. PHOTO BY STEPHEN GEFFRE




engineers, teachers, IT workers, and speech pathologists. They’re graduates from four years ago and thirty-five years ago. Their circumstances and daily lives look different, but each Tuesday night, they gather at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis to lend their voices and their spirits to creating transcendent music together as part of the National Lutheran Choir (NLC). Founded in 1986, NLC has a national reputation for strengthening, renewing, and preserving the heritage of sacred choral music. NLC singers of all faiths perform this music— from early chants to complex masterworks—with a high level of technical skill, artistry, and meaning. And they share this gift of sacred music with audiences nationwide. Luther grads in NLC really valued their time in choirs like Nordic, Cathedral, Collegiate, and Aurora. They’ve been happy to find that, while NLC is its own unique experience, it also mirrors the connection—to people, music, and worship, however it’s defined—they felt during their choral experiences at Luther. Luther is the best-represented college in the choir: a whopping 13 of its 62 members are Norse. Why do so many Luther singers find their way to this new community? What do they bring to it? What does it give to them? And, singing together, what do they offer the wider world?



A new choral home among familiar faces At the beginning of each season, NLC members meet for a daylong retreat during which new members are introduced. Choir director David Cherwien, himself an Augsburg grad, says, “One of the first things that usually gets announced is where they went to college. When the Luther people come up, there’s a massive uproar. It’s always fun to watch the face of the person coming in, because they don’t really know yet how many people from their college are in the group. So when you see and hear that, it’s pretty overwhelming.” He continues, “It’s fun too that they kind of divide themselves into groups. I was a Weston Noble singer. I was a Craig Arnold singer. I was an Allen Hightower singer. We have all of those in our ranks.” While Luther alumni may be surprised at how many Norse are in the choir, most audition for NLC knowing that Luther grads gravitate there. Maybe they already had friends in the choir. Maybe a Luther professor pointed them toward the group. Regardless of how they heard about it, most auditioned for NLC because they were looking for community, high-caliber singing, and spiritual engagement with choral music. In those areas, NLC can’t be beat. Will Heller ’16 was well aware of the choir’s reputation even as a Luther student singing with Cathedral Choir his sophomore year. “We actually performed at the church where NLC rehearses. That was how I learned about them, because my more musically savvy friends were all abuzz when we were at this church. There were rumors left and right. Oh, I hear this is where NLC rehearses! I hear that their director will be at the concert! It went so far as I hear they have their own private jet!” They don’t, for the record, have a private jet, but the rumors speak to the perception—and the reality—that NLC is an elite group of volunteer singers who make sacred music at a very high level. That’s part of what attracted Travis Karstad ’00 to the group. He was living in the Twin Cities with two Luther alumni—including fellow NLC member Brian Lensch ’00— when the three of them decided to audition. “I was familiar with NLC and the high quality of sound that they produced,” he says. “I was in awe of it then, and I still feel that way now.” He’s been singing with NLC since 2001.   

finding my new choral home with was a part of the Lutheran choral tradition, but I’d like to think that the Holy Spirit had something to do with that fortuity.” For many singers, however, the Lutheran choral tradition is the draw.

Singing spiritual music “My main interest in joining was the religious aspect of the choir,” says soprano Emily (Lillegard) Tryggestad ’07. “There’s something sacred in choral singing that can’t be achieved through secular music.” “It’s a lot of the music I love and have a deep spiritual connection to,” says Allison Alpers ’12. “One of the things that NLC does really well is explore spirituality through music and what that means for different people, because we’re not, by any means, all Lutherans in the choir.” Like many Lutheran choirs, NLC begins each practice with one of the singers offering a devotion—a brief reflection on the text the group will be singing. “It gives a glimpse into what’s going on in their minds and how they’re connecting with the meaning of the program,” Cherwien says. “As the person who puts these programs together, one thing I’m careful not to do is dictate what they’re going to mean. People perceive different things in the common song that we’re singing. That’s actually the way art needs to work, because people perceive art through the lens of their life experience, and devotions give us a little glimpse of that. It’s always fascinating. People are at radically different places with their faith or what they believe or what they’re thinking about, and this is a place where diversity can shine.” “There have been times when a song, the lyrics, or even a devotion from a fellow singer pull on my heart strings, and it’s those times when you truly know why you’re there,” Lensch says. Tenor Shaun Halland ’00 says, “I connect so strongly with the texts we sing, and one can’t help but emotionally engage with the music. Life experiences continue to shape the music we make and provide renewed meaning to music that was written ages ago.”

Eli Pollock ’08 had been searching for something like his college choral experience. He says, “I realize now that the college experience can never really be re-created, but NLC and the Lutheran choral tradition that it holds feel like home to me.”

This season, the 62 singers in NLC come from a total of 23 colleges and universities. The top three include:

Sarah (Bane) Olson ’07 sought out NLC for similar reasons. After graduating from Luther, she says, “I had a choir-sized hole in my heart. . . . It’s coincidental that the choir I ended up

Luther: 13 St. Olaf: 11 Concordia: 10

Allison Alpers ’12

Eli Pollock ’08

Brian Lensch ’00

Ellie (Dundek) Demitrius ’07

Sarah (Bane) Olson ’07

Dan Streeper ’85

Emily (Lillegard) Tryggestadt ’07

Shaun Halland ’00

Travis Karstad ’00

Daniel Dahl ’06

Matt Olson ’10

Sam Olson ’15

Will Heller ’16





NLC choir members Ellie (Dundek) Demitrius ’07 and Emily Tryggestad ’07 sang together—along with 11 other Luther grads—during NLC’s winter tour. Photo courtesy of Emily Tryggestad ’07.

NLC members in 2016 took a moment after a concert in the Twin Cities to commemorate the event. Front row (left to right): Sandra Peter, Sarah (Bane) Olson ’07, Emily Tryggestad ’07, Brittany (Kallman) Arneson ’06, Ariel Gauslow ’13, Zach Busch ’09. Back row: Travis Karstad ’00, Eli Pollock ’08, Matt Olson ’10, Brian Lensch ’00, Soren Tryggestad ’05. Photo courtesy of Emily Tryggestad ’07.

“We get to mean what we sing.” NLC choir director David Cherwien on the character of Luther singers: “There’s kind of a different outlook on life that comes from each of these colleges that I’ve witnessed as director. The singers from Luther are some of the best disciplined musicians. They’re the ones who have pencils behind their ears, ready to work. They mark their scores. They come prepared. I think it’s just part of the ethos at Luther. Singers from Luther tend to do that, but they also have a look at life that’s different. The Luther students tend to come out of college and aren’t looking for the world to repeat their college experiences. They’re really out to see what they can bring to life and what life will bring to them in an open, eager, very flexible way. I’m really reluctant to offer stereotypes like that, but it’s pretty consistent with the Luther singers.”



From the annual All Saints concert to locking eyes with an elderly audience member while singing “It Is Well with My Soul” during a tour in Arizona, most Luther choir members can name NLC singing experiences that have moved them spiritually. Heller points to a Midwest tour during which the group performed the “Holy Spirit Mass” by Kim André Arnesen at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Indiana. In that piece, Heller says, there is an Agnus Dei, which translates to Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Heller hears this as a cry for peace. It was the group’s first stop on the tour. They’d spent eight hours on the bus.  Heller says, “I’d never been to Notre Dame, I was geographically confused, and I’d left a score on the bus—my very first performance on an NLC tour. The fifth movement sort of erupts in a very particular moment. It was one of those moments I really couldn’t help feeling deeply. It was this call for peace in the middle of a really hectic day. I remember after the concert walking back to our changing rooms when I ran into Brian Lensch. He said, ‘Hey, I thought we did a good job.’ I was clearly out of it. He said, ‘Oh, you’re feeling it, aren’t you?’ And he brought me in for a hug.”  Cherwien says, “I think what distinguishes us as an adult performing choir is that we are unabashedly meaningful. In other words, we mean what we sing. Actually, our phrase is we get to mean what we sing. The choral music world is such that you could find enough to love in the music alone. But we get to go to that next layer of owning the meaning that so much of it is. The group finds deep meaning

NLC singers Brian Lensch ’00 (left) and Travis Karstad ’00 have been the best of friends since their first year at Luther. Photo courtesy of Brian Lensch ’00.

in our programs, and they look for it, and then we get to own it. We get to embody it.” This is, Heller says, what motivates him as a singer, and the personal, emotional experiences just happen to derive from it: “At the end of the day, I’m embodying the music so the audience can have that experience.”

There for each other “There’s nothing like making music with other people,” Cherwien says. “Especially vocal music. I know instrumentalists don’t like to hear that, but there is a difference: in singing, the vibration is internal.” A growing body of research suggests that group singing produces physical effects from increased endorphins to reduced stress hormones to syncopated heartbeats and breathing. Luther NLC members report these and other benefits. Alpers says, “Even if it’s an intense rehearsal where we’re really focused on learning music and maybe not making music quite yet, it’s still so mentally engaging—you have to be in the moment where all of that mindfulness and grounding and other benefits from singing happen.” There’s also the benefit of emotional support during some of life’s biggest moments. One ministry of the choir is to sing at the funerals of NLC singers and their family members. “A contingent of the choir sang at my mother’s funeral in 2012, which was so incredibly meaningful,” Halland says.      NLC members (and other Luther choir friends) also sang at Olson’s wedding. “Instead of the pastor closing with a spoken benediction, my choir friends surrounded me and my husband on the altar and blessed us with their gift of song,” she says. “They sang ‘The Lord

NLC sang at the 2017 American Choral Directors Association conference in Minneapolis. Afterward, NLC members met up with attendees, all class of 2000. From left: Travis Karstad, Jon Kopplin, Adrienne (Moyer) Gerst, Brian Lensch, and Shaun Halland. Photo courtesy of Brian Lensch ’00.

Bless You and Keep You’ by Peter C. Lutkin. About a measure in, I was ugly crying. It was the perfect ending to one of the most special moments of my life.” In a couple of cases, Luther grads met their spouses through the National Lutheran Choir, like Emily Tryggestad and former NLC member Soren Tryggestad ’05. Emily says that they connected through the choir even though they overlapped without knowing it at Luther. “He remembers seeing me around Jenson, but I don’t really remember seeing him. That’s not a sore point for him at all,” she jokes.

Making music in a time of pandemic Ensemble singers and musicians are feeling the pinch of physical distancing in a unique way— their art depends on being together. With singing in person no longer on the table, NLC members are turning to digital connection, even if it isn’t quite the same. They arrange regular virtual happy hours and connect through social media, but as a “very, very relational” group, according to Cherwien, it’s been a struggle.   “We really miss singing with each other. Our Tuesday nights anchor us, and I’ve felt a little lost without my weekly musical and social connections,” Olson says.  “I can’t wait to sing again with my fellow brothers and sisters in the NLC,” Lensch says.  Members are drawing heavily on their library of YouTube recordings during this time. “It doesn’t replace breathing and vibrating together,” Cherwien says. “But it does help with the music-making part—it’s all we can do right now.” 

Brian Lensch ’00 (left) and Will Heller ’16 grew up about a mile from each other in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, attended the same high school and college, and now sing in NLC together. Photo courtesy of Brian Lensch ’00.

Luther singers are still finding opportunities to make music when they can. Tryggestad sings with her two-year-old, Lillian, and Olson sings with her young daughter, Silja. “It’s been filling the void of not singing with my NLC people during the pandemic,” she says. “If Silja remembers nothing else about me in her old age, I hope it’s that we sang together. Planting the seed for a lifetime of loving music is one of the best gifts I think I could ever give her.” Pollock, who teaches pre-K–8th grade music, says, “It feels like it goes against most of my favorite parts of making music and being together with students, but I’m doing what I can. I have a middle-school choir group that used to meet before school on Fridays. We’ve held a couple of online chats where we catch up with one another, and then we all sing a song together—with everyone’s microphone off because otherwise it’s a garble of sound. So far we’ve sung ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and ‘How Can I Keep from Singing?’” So how does a choir advance its art and its mission during a time when people aren’t gathering in the same physical space? By continuing to connect with each other, even if that connection is digital. “The time we get to spend together extra-musically is really something I cherish being a part of this choir,” Heller says. “Being on a bus for eight hours, being at a hotel bar after a concert, the times we’re able to connect not just as musicians but as people— some of my strongest friendships have been formed during those times. That’s how we’re able to come together as an ensemble—because we’re able to come together as humans.”

Eli Pollock ’08 and Sarah (Bane) Olson ’07 both sang under Weston Noble ’43 at Luther. Now they sing together in NLC. Photo courtesy of Sarah (Bane) Olson ’07.

Two Luther music faculty members— professor of music and college organist Greg Peterson ’83 and harp instructor Rachel Brandwein—play for NLC’s annual Christmas concerts. Peterson, who just finished his ninth concert season with the choir, says that NLC is a perfect fit for Luther graduates: “Here at Luther, we’re teaching people to project themselves into a larger world, and this is a natural way in which musicians do that. The singers in NLC come from all walks. Some of them are professional musicians, some of them are not. But they’ve all got this connection and love to sing.”

—Kate Frentzel




Welcoming President Ward

This winter, Norse across the country welcomed President Jenifer K. Ward to the Luther community. Alumni in Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, and La Crosse, Wis., turned out in force for joyous gatherings with President Ward. Sadly, the pandemic required us to postpone Presidential Tour events in Phoenix, Ariz.; Minneapolis/St. Paul and Rochester, Minn.; Chicago; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Iowa City/Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; and Seattle, Wash. We hope to reschedule these events for the next academic year. In a March 20 message to alumni, President Ward stressed that social distancing does not mean disengagement. She invited alumni to stay connected to the college through Luther’s Facebook page (facebook.com/ luthercollege) or her own Twitter and Instagram feeds (@jenifer_ward). She ended her message by saying, “The mission of Luther College remains vital now more than ever, and together we as a community will learn actively, live purposefully, and lead courageously in creative new ways as we continue to advance our mission. We are truly grateful for your steadfast support of this special college! I look forward to when we can, once again, gather in person and celebrate as a Norse community together.” In the meantime, let’s enjoy these photos of Presidential Tour events from January and February. 





u o GIVING DAY 2020 Y k n ha

donated $948,933 including challenges and matching gifts

2,164 Who Gave? alumni 86% parents 21% faculty, staff, or emeriti 13%

donors 145 new

(current and past)

President Jenifer K. Ward matched

$10,000 in faculty, staff, and emeriti gifts


staff and faculty made gifts to the Luther Fund

top decade by participation


$549,662 in the Gnome Team challenge pool



people viewed the livestream on Facebook

volunteer hours pledged


states and 11 countries represented




la o d on i l i am 2021




Aaland describes her process: “I buy sheets of stained glass— the same kind that goes into the windows that everybody knows. Typically they’re two feet by three feet. Once they’re home, I cut those pieces down into manageable sizes. I use an oil cutter, which is a handheld little buddy with a tiny, tiny wheel on the end that contains small amount of oil. You press down and zip it across the glass and it makes a score, then you use this other tool—I call it a glass breaker—and you line it up with the score that you made and snap it. It breaks apart super easy. It’s really shocking. It’s like cutting paper but different. You just snap it, and it will follow along the lines you made. And then I have a tool called a wheel cutter, which I use to do all the small cuts—all the leaves and tinier pieces. Then I glue them to the board and grout them.” 

Seen through glass

Bailey Aaland ’12 transforms the world around her into stunning mosaic art. Bailey Aaland ’12 is an emerging mosaic artist. Many of us would recognize her work around Decorah, but she’s also done commissions— some quite large-scale—for Hennepin Theatre Trust, Lanesboro Arts, Minnesota Orchestra, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and other Twin Cities–based organizations. Aaland describes her work as “heavily influenced by the ways humans interpret and connect with the natural world.” This summer, she’ll have her first solo show at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota. Aaland started working in mosaics in 2007, and her mom gets a lot of the credit for it. “We went up north to our cabin on the Gunflint Trail,” Aaland says. “My mom had all these books she’d bought from Michaels on how to use old pottery and dishware for mosaics. She said, ‘We’re doing this today, it’s a rainy day, there’s no better time.’ I fell in love with it immediately—the act of breaking something and rebuilding it into something new. It’s unique, something I didn’t find with other mediums. I grew up a watercolor painter and love to draw but never created original pieces; I felt I had to copy something for it to



be good. Mosaics opened the door for me to translate something I envision in a way nobody else has done. I could create original art. I felt I was being authentically me as an artist.” Aaland spent the next few years honing her skills. By the time she graduated from Luther as an art major, she felt confident enough to seek out commissions—starting with the Decorah community. The summer after graduating, she was living a block from Rubaiyat restaurant and was friends with owners Kim (Carlson) ’02 and Andy Bonnet. She approached them about creating a custom piece for behind their bar, and they happily agreed. This led to additional commissions from downtown Decorah business owners, like Kate Rattenborg ’83 of Dragonfly Books and Mark Smeby ’70 of La Rana Bistro. Since then, Aaland moved to the Twin Cities, where she works as a marketing specialist for Minnesota Public Radio. She’s created a number of high-visibility outdoor mosaics, including a 25-foot vertical piece that was featured in the Star Tribune. But increasingly, she’s focused on creating work for her

solo show this July. Among other pieces, Aaland is translating photos she’s taken of Tettegouche into large and small mosaics. About one large scene, she says, “It’s for the show, but I probably would have made it anyway, just to challenge myself to create something this detailed and to find creative solutions.”   She continues, “What I’m working on right now is something that is both subject matter that I enjoy and subject matter that I don’t see a lot of other mosaic artists working in. My Luther art professors really encouraged me to move beyond simple design, and by moving into pieces based off of photos I’ve taken, I’ve really expanded on what I thought I could make.”  —Kate Frentzel See more of Aaland’s work at baileyraemosaics.com.





Mackenzie Zenk ’21

To sing every story

An alumna working to represent the Hmong experience in opera enlists the help of a Luther student intern. Mitra Sadeghpour ’94 wants to expand the opera repertoire, and she’s starting that effort with kids. Sadeghpour taught opera to college students in the Midwest for twenty years. She loved her work but recognized that by the time they hit college, many students have already selfselected out of opera for a number of reasons. She was also concerned by the college audition process; it typically requires that one music selection be sung in a foreign language, which can disadvantage students who can’t afford private lessons. Working as education director for MN Opera was a way for her to build interest in opera among younger students from all backgrounds.



She connects strongly with MN Opera’s educational mission: to sing every story. “To me, that means not just the upper-class Western European story, but also the stories of people who live here, in the Twin Cities, which is a wonderful, rich, vibrant, interesting place. And many of the people who live here don’t have representation in opera.” Sadeghpour is working to change that. Recently, MN Opera commissioned The Song Poet, an opera adapted from a memoir of the same name by Kao Kalia Yang. Yang’s book details the life of her father, Bee Yang, a song poet in the Hmong tradition who was born in Laos, then fought on behalf of the U.S. during the Vietnam


Left: over J-term, Zenk (left) interned for Sadeghpour (right), supporting production of the very first opera to feature Hmong characters. Center: Zenk and Sadeghpour enjoy lunch with Hmong Archives expert Marlin Heise. Right: Zenk poses outside MN Opera. “I never thought I’d be able to encounter these two worlds—both the opera and Hmong culture— so intimately,” she says. War. He and his family struggled through many hardships during life in a Thai refugee camp, where Kalia was born, then as immigrants in the U.S. Since St. Paul is home to one of the largest populations of the Hmong diaspora, it makes sense, Sadeghpour says, that MN Opera is telling this story and reflecting the lives of people in its community. “I’m really proud of this company,” she says. “Because change is slow and sometimes expensive and sometimes a gamble. You can make a lot of money doing a Gilbert and Sulllivan production—and that’s fine—but to say that we’re going to take a venture on this new thing because it’s im-

portant to do? I’m proud of any arts organization that does that.” The Song Poet will be performed in spring 2021 by Project Opera, MN Opera’s youthtraining program, which Sadeghpour directs. All of the opera’s performers, including the orchestra, will be kids in grades 4–12. Sadeghpour is really excited about this, since the story focuses in part on children’s experiences. She hopes the production will involve lots of Hmong children—not only because the story is part of their heritage but also because she wants them to experience the pleasure of opera. In an effort that’s part Song Poet recruit-

ment, part community-building, and part outreach to show kids representation in the arts, Sadeghpour has been connecting with Hmong communities in the Twin Cities and around the Upper Midwest, partnering with interested organizations and doing outreach in schools with large Hmong populations. She wants these kids to feel seen by the cultural institutions and art scenes in the communities in which they live, so she donates to the schools she visits a selection of books featuring Hmong American characters. “Most of the kids I meet have never seen a storybook about kids who share their heritage,” she says.

To research the story Part of getting a production like this right is making sure that you’ve done your homework, and that’s where Mackenzie Zenk ’21 comes in. Zenk, an English major, loves research. It’s not uncommon for her to spend an afternoon on Wikipedia, creating virtual rabbit holes for herself. So it felt like a perfect match when Marie Drews ’02, assistant professor of English, connected Zenk with the opportunity to intern over J-term with Sadeghpour, supporting production of The Song Poet by researching the Hmong experience, Hmong culture, and Hmong musical tradition. “I never thought I’d be able to encounter these two worlds—both the opera and Hmong culture as a whole—so intimately, and it was wonderful,” Zenk says. “I am really lit up by learning about things that are novel or unfamiliar to me.” Zenk split her research time between two institutions in St. Paul: the Hmong Cultural Center and the Hmong Archives. “My focus was musical—how music enshrines culture and perpetuates it. But as I was learning about music, I had to learn about historical and modern contexts,” she says. One of her biggest

partners in this work was Marlin Heise, who works closely with the Hmong Archives. Partnering with local resources, Sadeghpour says, was critical work: “Fifty percent of my job here is making relationships with people, and Mackenzie was really able to do that, particularly with the Hmong Archives and Marlin there. In nonprofit, we have to have that relationship-building in every area.”  As an intern, Zenk was able to see this in action too, by sitting in on meetings with marketing, development, and production staff. “I got exposure to a healthy, thriving nonprofit institution,” she says. “Everyone worked together in a way that was smooth and mutualistic, and I saw all components of that.”  Through her internship, Zenk produced several pieces of writing that MN Opera will use to educate the community and also the children who will perform in The Song Poet. But while she worked to educate others, Zenk learned something about herself. “Through my Luther classes, I’m really used to looking over a large amount of information from disparate sources and synthesiz-

ing it to make it more accessible,” Zenk says. “But I now know that I love to work with community resources. I was amazed and delighted by people’s willingness to help and lend their expertise.” Sadeghpour, for her part, is grateful for Zenk’s help in launching this opera—the very first in the world to focus on a Hmong experience. As an example of why that’s so exciting and meaningful, Sadeghpour remembers a woman who came to their last Project Opera performance with her kids. The woman picked up some Song Poet promotional materials after the show and later posted on Facebook: “I am overwhelmed that MN Opera is telling this story.” She tagged MN Opera, Sadeghpour says, “And the last thing she posted was a picture of her family fleeing Laos. And I said, There it is. This is the story we’re telling. This woman has never felt seen in the opera, and we’re telling her family’s story.” —Kate Frentzel




Bringing power— and empowerment— to rural villages

Prometheu Tyagi ’15 helps marginalized women become changemakers.




Tyagi trains nontraditionally educated women as solar engineers, allowing them to bring power their villages. At right, a solar mama works on the printed circuit board of a home lighting system. As the son of an Indian Air Force fighter pilot, Prometheu Tyagi ’15 and his family moved around the country every two years. He loved meeting people from different backgrounds, including at his international high school, United World College Mahindra. But when he arrived in Iowa, Tyagi says, he really connected with Decorah. “It’s a very small, tight-knit community. It made me feel very at home. And it made me wonder: What makes this place so good and so warm? That’s when I first started thinking that I’d like to work in communities where there’s this kind of warmth between people.” Tyagi, an economics and management major, also points to the liberal arts education—and particularly his philosophy courses—as critical to his decision to work toward bettering communities. “That’s when I started thinking more deeply about humans in general and what we ought to do. C.S. Lewis talks about a thing called universal truth, a sense of moral objectivity. It made me think about the crux of what we live or what defines us,” he says. For Tyagi, this crux was situated in addressing inequality. “To see that a small community like Decorah can be so well-equipped, and people are respected as equals there—it made me think about why that’s not the case where I’m from. The Decorah area is categorized as the rural US. You look at rural India, and the story’s very different. It kind of inspired me to ask why my community can’t have what Decorah or Luther is providing? And all of this thinking started out with the philosophy courses and the readings I was doing. They made me realize that I have an opportunity to help reduce that inequality.” He ultimately decided to do this by working for Barefoot College, a nearly 50-year-old nonprofit with a mission to connect rural communities to solar power, clean water, education, professions, and advocacy. One of

Barefoot’s major initiatives is its solar engineering training program, which brings women from all over the world to global training centers, then trains them for five months with the knowledge to return home and electrify their villages. Tyagi manages these centers, which are located in India, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Senegal, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Zanzibar, Tanzania, and, soon, Fiji. The women Barefoot trains are mostly rural, illiterate mothers and grandmothers— solar mamas, Barefoot calls them. They’re identified in partnership with nonprofits that have been working with their communities for a long time on a grassroots level, and Barefoot tries to select women who come from marginalized communities and have often been discriminated against because of race or caste. The electrification of rural villages as a result of this training is powerful, Tyagi says, but “The more amazing stories actually come from the sense of empowerment that happens and the dignity the mamas develop in themselves. So the stories revolve around the idea that Yes, I’m bringing electricity to my village but also around the idea that *I* am the one who’s bringing it. The least expected people are making the biggest changes.” In addition to training them as solar engineers, Barefoot also gives solar mamas programming around health and hygiene and social stigma, particularly in relation to menstruation. “We talk about it openly and freely,” Tyagi says. “At the start, they’re very reserved because they’re unsure if this is actually a thing you can talk about with other people. By the middle of the training, the same mamas who were very shy are loud and outspoken. They’re putting forward their point of view on different topics. That’s when you actually see the impact of empowerment and the training they’ve gone through. Now this person is able to put their point of view

in front of anyone, and they’re so proudly making a statement. They’re not afraid of the social stigma or perception—they’re confident. That’s something you can’t measure. You can measure the number of villages we’ve electrified, the number of trainings we’ve had, the number of solar mamas who have come, but you can’t measure empowerment.” He continues, “When I’ve visited these villages afterward, the solar mamas kind of become the queen of the village, because you have this woman who wasn’t given any preference, and now suddenly she’s the one who’s electrifying your village. And at the same time she’s spreading awareness on topics that are contextualized to place. That’s an amazing thing to see, and that’s what we aim to do through this training—make these women more confident and more empowered through these experiences.” —Kate Frentzel

Tyagi helps train groups of women like the one at left, celebrating graduation, to become solar engineers for their home villages.




Anderson, pictured here in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in 2018, has taken several trips to the country to study the long-term social and economic impacts of the 2014–16 Ebola crisis.

The hardships behind the disease

Fulbright winner Brittany Anderson ’16 moves beyond “Patient was lost to follow up.” Brittany Anderson ’16 started out at Luther as a pre-med major with a biology focus. To fill electives, she began taking anthropology courses and was quickly drawn to some of the questions medical anthropology was asking that biology wasn’t. “When you have doctors doing any sort of medical work, they’ll often say, ‘Patient did not comply’ or ‘Patient was lost to follow up.’ And the questions I had were: What does that mean, why is that happening, and what’s actually going on there?



Those weren’t the sort of questions that biology or even a lot of the medical literature was really addressing,” Anderson says. “What’s going on in the other parts of these patients’ lives? Why are some people successful here and other people aren’t? I didn’t like that so much was written off to personal choice. That felt like it wasn’t moving anything forward.”       As a Luther student, Anderson added an anthropology major to her biology major and started pursuing the kinds of questions

that mattered to her. In biology, she did an analysis of the available research on glycoproteins in Ebola, which at that point weren’t well-understood. At the same time, she wrote her anthropology senior thesis on how the 2014–16 Ebola crisis unfolded across the various regions of Sierra Leone, paying special attention to the social aspects she could glean from reports and articles that detailed timing and why the outbreak happened where it did.    These lines of inquiry would prove foundational to Anderson’s future path, as would the opportunity to be a research assistant to Maryna Bazylevych, a Luther anthropology professor. In 2015, the two women went on a threeweek research trip to Ukraine during its conflict with Russia, where they interviewed students about their sense of health and risk. “In a very practical way,” Anderson says, “that gave me a lot of experience on what it’s like to be an anthropologist, what it’s like to go out into the field and do research, and whether this is something I actually want to do with my life. And in a pragmatic sense, it meant that when I applied to graduate school, I had some of that experience I could put on applications, which I think really helped to show that I could do this kind of work and be successful.” Anderson’s research has traced a fairly linear path from Luther to her PhD candidacy in anthropology at the University of Iowa, with the social aspects of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone as a throughline. During her graduate program, she spent two summers in Sierra Leone investigating the long-term implications for households placed in quarantine—sick or not, sometimes under armed guard—during the outbreak. She found a lot

of economic hardship, social stigma, and emotional trauma. Anderson was awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Award for 2019–20 to expand on this research. In February, she returned to Sierra Leone to continue tracking the longterm social and economic effects for Ebola survivors. While the COVID-19 pandemic required her return to Iowa in March, in general, she says, she’s noticed that social stigma seems to have subsided but that economic challenges remain—especially as government and nonprofit resources have dwindled. “These individuals are really having to find their own way of getting treatment and trying to mitigate the chronic side effects of the disease,” she says. “That’s what I’m studying now: How are people making choices to pursue one treatment over another, and what goes into influencing those choices? One of the things that anthropology does really well is ask questions like: If somebody’s choosing this kind of health care, what are they giving up? What’s the trade-off for them in terms of making one choice versus another?” Whatever the answers, Anderson wants her research to have real-world impact. “I want to make sure that whatever I do—whether it’s in the academic realm or the public sector—I’m putting something forward that will make a difference for the people I’m working with. I don’t want to write something that gets lost in an academic journal that you have to pay $40 to read. Whatever work I end up doing, I want to make sure that it’s benefiting people.” —Kate Frentzel

The Key to Security in an Uncertain Economy If you are like many people, you have seen the value of your investments fluctuate with the markets.

If you are looking for a way to secure the future for yourself or a loved one, a charitable gift annuity may be the answer for you. Not only will your gift help further Luther’s mission, especially in times of global crisis, but you will receive the security of fixed payments for your lifetime. • Fixed payments for life, a portion potentially tax-free • Income based on age • Charitable deduction • Bypass of capital gain To find out how much your payments could be, and to learn more about charitable gift annuities, contact Kelly Sorenson, assistant director of legacy and gift planning, at 800.225.8664, kelly.sorenson@luther.edu, or visit legacygiving.luther.edu.







On All Saints Sunday, Richard Larson ’61 capped his illustrious conducting career with Requiem by Bob Chilcott, performed by the Augustana Lutheran Chancel Choir and the Stratus Chamber Orchestra. Pictured with him after the performance on Nov. 3, 2019, are (left to right): Midge (Myrah) Parkos ’61, Jan (Groth) Shelton ’61, and Andrea (Bakken) James ’61.



Luther friends in Des Moines who frequently get together decided to sport their Luther gear for a photo during a winter gathering at the home of John Kenworthy ’88. Left to right: Eric Vander Linden ’88, John Kenworthy ’88, Susan (Dengler) Vander Linden ’88, Greg Rohlf ’88, Kirsten Elstad ’18, and Britton Vander Linden ’17.

Luther grads took this celebratory photo at Augustana Church in Boone, Iowa, on Christmas Eve. Left to right: Kyrsten Swenson Darby ’10, Austin Swenson ’13, Kara (Hebrink) Swenson ’83, Dave Swenson ’81, Anne Marie (Ouverson) Bice ’01, Jerry Anderson ’60, Beth (Hedlund) Solomon ’83, Steve Sandvig ’86, Dan Solomon ’82. Not pictured: Kathy (Jones) Abrahamson ’79, Laura (Martin) Wallén ’16.






A group of Luther alumni gathered for some winter fun at the Grand Rapids, Minn., home of Audrey (Pederson) ’61 and Daryl Erdman ’61. While the men in the group, which also included Steve Harder ’84, snowmobiled their annual 660-mile ride, the alumnae held down the fort watching movies, reading, snowshoeing, drinking wine, and reminiscing about Luther! Left to right: Bonnie (Pederson) Torgerson ’67, Kelly (Huxford) Sutton ’84, Inga (Pederson) Enge ’64, Denae (Erdman) Harder ’87, and Audrey (Pederson) Erdman ’61.

Luther alumni gathered for a celebration of life for Steven Holland ’71 on Feb. 22, 2020, at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Berkeley, Calif. From left to right: Steve’s wife, Laurel “Laurie” Lynn (Jameson) Holland ’71, Corey Hoodjer ’99, Ryan Pearson ’99, Lisa Boyd ’00, Briana (Elfstrom) Holland ’00, Reuben Holland ’01, and Erik Holland ’99.


The “Luther supts.” lead Minnesota schools through the pandemic School districts across the country are getting tested to their very limits as they face the challenge of how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Superintendents across the country are on the front lines, making decisions that will affect how children learn and how education is delivered moving forward. In Minnesota, eight of these superintendents share a common bond—we are Luther College graduates. The Luther supts., as we call ourselves, serve over 57,000 pre-K to 12th-grade students in Minnesota. We vary from small school districts to some of the largest districts in the state. We all have a common mission of serving kids and making sure all students are successful. That mission continues as we lead our districts through this pandemic. As we reassure families, care for kids, support our teachers, and help our communities, we want our Luther family to know that we, along with the other superintendents in the US, are making a difference. I remember a quote from one of my favorite professors, Walt Will: “Go out there and be the best superintendent you can be.” This was even before I became a superintendent. That is exactly what these superintendents in Minnesota are doing today. Thank you, Luther College!

Pictured (left to right): Mary (Burbridge) Kreger ’79 of Rosemount/Apple Valley/Eagan, Curt Tryggestad ’81 of Pine City, Jamie Skjeveland ’86 of Crosby Ironton, Teri Staloch ’89 of Prior Lake, and Todd Sesker ’85 of Faribault. Not pictured: Rachel (Deters) Udstuen ’95 of Spring Grove, Krin Abraham ’85 of Houston, and Clint Christopher ’97 of Eastern Carver, which includes Chaska and Chanhassen.

Todd Sesker ’85 Faribault Public Schools

Congratulations, Class of 2020! We’ve loved being a part of your educational journey.

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Prior to social distancing, several international students gathered for a celebratory photo (left to right): Sai Oo Hseng Ngin, management, Myanmar/Burma; Biruk Kassahun, computer science, Ethiopia; Phuong Anh Hoang, accounting, mathematics/statistics, Vietnam; Anila Bano, psychology, biology, Pakistan; Tomas Dandas, art, Czech Republic; Iju Regmi, international studies, Nepal; Mitchell Kaleso, chemistry, Zimbabwe; Elisabeth Do Rosario Vicente, data science, economics, Timor-Leste LUTHER MAGAZINE



CLASS NOTES By Rachel Schunder ’20


Fay (Rasmussen) Bohn of Santa Cruz, Calif., is a retired ESL teacher.

Elaine Amundson of Waterloo, Iowa, is a retired secretary.

Caroline (Knutson) and James Crompton ’79 live in Wilmington, Del. Caroline is an accountant at Union Park Automotive Group. James is retired.

Karen (Strum) Bear of Marietta, Ga., is a retired program administrator. Paula (Spoerl) and Leroy Bradway ’71 live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Paula is a library cataloger for the Ely Public Library. Leroy is a library cataloger for the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Karen (Bezoier) DeBuhr of Waukon, Iowa, is a retired preschool teacher. Linda (Oleson) Haddock of Franklin, Wis., is a retired librarian. Willa (Blesie) Holger of Peterson, Minn., is a retired music educator. Kurt Leichtle is interim executive director of the North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting and a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. John May of Fond du Lac, Wis., is a retired professor. Kirsten (Lauridsen) Renehan is a retired art teacher. Donald Schubring of Manassas, Va., retired as director of property management at Sugar Oak Management Services. David Snow is a sales associate at Macy’s in Indianapolis.

David Devlin of Glendale, Ariz., is a retired biology teacher. Brian Martens of Forestville, Calif., published his first book, Three Raven Gate: Haiku and Other Poems.


Rebecca (Banken) Brindle is a CPA and wealth advisor with Withum Wealth Management in Bethesda, Md.


Stephanie Hoff, now of Decorah, retired from her position as the Iowa Administrative Code editor.


Jeffrey Gustafson of Edina, Minn., is a retired software developer. Steven Schick is a percussionist, professor of music at University of California–San Diego, and music director for La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. In January, he was interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune about his career dedicated to exploring music.

Sarah Strandjord of Aurora, Colo., is a retired pediatric hematologistoncologist. Louise (Spielman) and James Stromberg ’69 live in Houston, Minn. Louise is visitation pastor at Central Lutheran Church in Winona, Minn. James is owner of MC Mini Storage. Dennis Szymkowiak of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., is a retired reading specialist and English teacher. Melva Underbakke of Decorah is executive director at the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms in Washington, D.C. Cheryl (Evansen) White works in sales at Loker’s Shoes in Holland, Mich.


Jim Leix of Roscoe, Ill., retired from teaching health at Harlem Senior High School.


Brian Rude is vice president of government and community relations for Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse, Wis. He was recently awarded the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. Rude was cited for his years with the Trane Company, his service in the Wisconsin State Assembly and as Senate president, and his current role with Dairyland. In their words, “Brian has been a dignified voice for western Wisconsin through his Senate years and as a voice for business through his work at Dairyland. A leader is someone people want to follow. Brian is the role model.” David Stanley of Decorah retired as CEO at Bear Creek Archeology. Priscilla (Monson) and Mitch Abraham ’81 live in Mooresville, N.C. Priscilla is a retired special education teacher. Mitch is a field manager at Interior Logic Group in Charlotte, N.C.


Russ Morris is a partner at Vail Scientific in Eagan, Minn. Lisa (Engelhart) O’Brien is a financial planner assistant at Lifetime Wealth Management in Rochester, Minn. Timothy Overlund is principal data solutions analyst at Liberty Mutual in Seattle. Tim Welch is musical director at Los Cantantes Del Lago in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico.


Donita (Hook) Joens of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is a retired school superintendent.

Mike Ostermeyer is a partner at Ballard Spahr in Phoenix, Ariz. He focuses on guiding public infrastructure projects; developing commercial, institutional, and industrial real estate; and advising on real estate portfolios.


Toby Olsen is director of privacy and security at Customer Elation in Bloomington, Minn.


Krin Abraham earned the AASA National Superintendent Certification in 2018. She is superintendent for the Houston (Minn.) Public Schools. Ross Aseron of Chester Springs, Pa., is a self-employed IT consultant. Vickie (Seeger) Azadian of New Canaan, Conn., retired as chief underwriting officer at General Reinsurance Corporation. John Brugge is manager of engineering at Benetech in Palo Alto, Calif.




Scott Hanson is president and CEO of Hanson Development in Marion, Iowa.

Rob Serres of Platteville, Wis., was inducted into the Wisconsin High School Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Feb. 8, 2020. Rob has coached track and field at Platteville High School for the past 36 seasons, beginning as an assistant in 1984. He became the boys’ head coach in 1986 and has been the PHS girls’ head coach since 2000. The Platteville boys have won an incredible 32 conference titles during Serres’s 34 years as their head coach. They have also won 18 WIAA regional titles and six sectional titles and won the WIAA Division II state title in 1988 and 1989, finishing second in DII at state in 1987 and 1993. The Platteville girls have won 13 conference titles during Serres’s 20 years as their head coach. They have won seven regional titles and one sectional title and finished second at state in Division II in 2012 under Serres’s guidance. Serres has also coached 19 individual state champions. Over the span of his career, the Hillmen have sent 503 male and female athletes to compete at the WIAA state track and field meet, including his three children: Tricia ’16, Allie, and Jace.

Holly Christianson of Waterford, Wis., retired from teaching at Union Grove High School. Jennie (Thang) and Jon Ellefson live in Harker Heights, Texas. Jennie is a dentist at Loop Dental Clinic. Jon earned a master of science degree in financial planning and services from the College for Financial Planning and is owner of Ellefson and Associates. Janis (Weiher) Fox earned a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the school library media coordinator at Thomasville (N.C.) Middle School. Michael Hahn of Bettendorf, Iowa, is a chiropractor at Crow Valley Chiropractic and also serves as a board member for the Iowa Chiropractic Society and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Lisa (Heydenburg) Harris is assistant general counsel at Steelcase in Grand Rapids, Mich. Joanne Hillery is store team manager at American Eagle Outfitters in Dubuque, Iowa.

ALUMNI NEWS Sara (Christensen) and William Hollander live in Rochester, Minn. Sara works in the Department of Audiology at Mayo Clinic. William is a business administrator at Mount Olive Lutheran Church. Linda (Watermann) and Duane Hovick ’84 live in Appleton, Wis. Linda retired as a senior manager at Thrivent Financial. Duane is CFO at Access.

Raymond Landherr is AVP of litigation and recovery services at QBE North America in Olathe, Kan. Stephen Nelson of Big Piney, Wyo., retired after teaching science for 30 years at Big Piney High School. Jeff Netzeband of Pleasant Hill, Calif., is an electrophysiology sales specialist for Harvard Bioscience. Charissa (Olson) Reid of Gardiner, Mont., is editor of Yellowstone Science for the National Park Service. Thad Schriever is senior systems administrator at Core Bank in Omaha, Neb. Barb (Seltzer) Tako of Hugo, Minn., is a freelance writer for curetoday.com. Kari (Severson) Toft is vice president for care delivery systems at HealthPartners in Bloomington, Minn. Cindy (Frieden) Torkelson of Elgin, Iowa, is a retired teacher. Jerry Wilde is dean of the School of Education at Indiana University East in Richmond. Bradley Will is a residential substance use disorder therapist at Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City, Mich. Jo (Heims) Williams is a family practice physician at MercyOne Carlisle Family Medicine in Carlisle, Iowa.


Kris Fadness was featured in the photo essay “True Colors: As Immigration Changes the Face of the City, Packers’ Red-and-White Unites” by reporter Chip Scoggins and photographer Aaron Lavinsky that appeared in the Feb. 23, 2020, edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Fadness has been Austin High School’s highly successful basketball coach since 1997. The

Erik Beguin of Austin, Texas, is CEO and founder of Austin Capital Bank and serves on the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC) for the Federal Reserve Board. He is president of the council for 2020.


Jane (Johnson) Jacobs is project manager, business reporting and analysis, at Ecolab in St. Paul, Minn. Sue (Dokkestul) Kohnert is a social worker at Inclusa in Blair, Wis.


Austin community has grown from 1% minority population in 1980 to 32% today, and the essay points out the positive ways the community supports one another, celebrates its diversity, and rallies around its sports teams and student athletes.

Michael Krull was presented with the Political Science Alumni Achievement Award from Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The award honors alumni who have enhanced their communities, impacted the world, and significantly contributed to their professions. Krull earned the MA degree from ISU in 1990. Award recipients were recognized at a ceremony in Oct. coinciding with Iowa State’s homecoming. Left to right: Dr. Mack Shelley, chair, ISU Department of Political Science; Michael Krull; and Dr. Beate Schmittmann, dean, ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Michael Ackerman was featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune for his work researching genetics and causes of sudden death in Amish populations. He is a pediatric cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Vanessa (Grima Baldacchino) Frazier was named permanent representative of Malta to the United Nations in New York City. Jane (Vaaler) Roets is a parent educator and therapist for the Town of Ellington, Conn. Arndt Schnöring is the general secretary of the Foundation of German Business (Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft) in Berlin, Germany.


Karin Bodensteiner is professor of biology and department chair at the University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point. Kristin Gosselink is associate professor of physiology and pathology at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces, N.M.


Lora (Maiers) Castleman is a registered nurse at Esse Health in St. Louis.

Todd Argall is executive vice president and chief executive officer at Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho in Pocatello.

Michael Kinsel received the 2019 Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. The award is given to a graduate who has excelled in their field and made significant contributions to the profession and/or college. He currently serves on the Morris Animal Foundation Wildlife Scientific Advisory Board and is a contributing author to Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals, a textbook published in 2018.

Jackson Ode is divisional vice president at Sammons Financial Group in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Mark Zobel is director of development at Hennepin Theatre Trust in Minneapolis.

Diane Kirchmann Wood of Minneapolis retired as a print production manager.


Mike Grimm has been the voice of the Minnesota Golden Gophers for the past 14 years. This season has been extra special, as the Gophers were ranked seventh in the country, their highest ranking since 1962, and the team’s 9-0 start was its best start since 1904. Mike was named the 2019 Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. This is the fifth year he has earned this honor; he was also recognized in 2013, 2010, 2009, and 1999.

Rebecca (Scheibe) and David Ross live in Maple Grove, Minn. Rebecca is operations manager at Pottery Barn. David is an attorney at Carson, Clelland, and Schreder.

Michael Johnson earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin and is a tech support and applications scientist at Lucigen Corporation in Verona, Wis.

Kurt Radke is vice president at Essentia Health in Duluth, Minn.

Catrin (Nilsson) Diamantino is CEO at Bell Educational Services in Cambridge, UK.

’94 Wendy (Jaycox) Davidson was listed in CRAIN’S Chicago Business as one of CRAIN’S 2020 Notable Women Executives over 50. Davidson is president of Kellogg Away From Home North America in Elmhurst, Ill. Allison (Fishwild) Erickson is vice president and director of human resources at Adhesive Label Company in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Chanda (Asproth) and Lars Olson live in Minneapolis. Chanda is senior director of human capital at Optum. Lars is a salesforce consultant. Jammie Sabin is president at Aspen Homes of Colorado in Loveland. Melissa (Frick) Tandy is a project manager at the State of Iowa Department of Education and Iowa AEA in Des Moines.

Kristen (Frank) Herbst is an instructional designer at Citibank in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also sings with the South Dakota Symphony Chorus. Meg (Titzler) Krekeler of Apple Valley, Minn., is associate vice president and consultant at Aon. Sarah Pavelka of Cedar Falls, Iowa, earned a PhD degree from Walden University in Minneapolis. She is an academic program director for Walden University. Kimberly (Zirbel) Victora is clinical research coordinator at Gundersen Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wis.


Jenni (Amundson) Berger is a community resource coordinator at Inclusa in Neillsville, Wis. Jennifer (Wendt) and Jay Bjorklund live in Westby, Wis. Jennifer is equity information and reporting specialist at Organic Valley.



ALUMNI NEWS Jay is an imaging clinical manager at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. Erik Columbus is head bus driver at Team WASP in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Christine (Denehy) Enderle is lead studio art teacher at Williams College Children’s Center in Williamstown, Mass. Becki (Grinstead) Ernst of Memphis, Tenn., is quality assurance coordinator for the state of Tennessee. Cynthia Farrell is the owner and principal of 110 West Group, a talent and organizational development consulting firm in Broomfield, Colo. Liz (Bitner) Fitzgerald is program director, grants and services, for the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, N.C.

Kimberly (Hall) and Bruce Kolling ’94 live in Birmingham, Ala. Kimberly earned a master’s degree in education from Morningside College and teaches math at Briarwood Christian High School. Bruce earned an MBA from the University of Iowa and is an IT project manager for John Deere. Jennifer (Johnston) and Kris Kovarik live in Waukon, Iowa. Jennifer is registrar and youth educator at Vesterheim NorwegianAmerican Museum. Kris is a probation officer for the state of Iowa. Kristen Larsen-Schmidt is a chaplain at Hospice of the Red River Valley in Grand Forks, N.D. Lisa (Cerniglia) Lusk is director of programs and operations at 360 Communities in Burnsville, Minn.

Megan (Lind) Fox is a piano instructor at Megan Fox Piano Studio in Omaha, Neb.

Jennifer McKay is a corporate medical information officer at Avera Health in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Joanna Foy of Wetherford, Texas, retired as associate professor of clinical psychology at Argosy University.

Diane (Borneman) and Dan McWilliams ’93 live in Lancaster, Wis. Diane teaches kindergarten in the Lancaster Community Schools. Dan is county director at Crawford County Human Services.

Jennifer (Hayen) Giesking is the McNair Scholars Program coordinator for the University of Wisconsin–Stout in Menomonie, Wis. Nichole (Schrupp) Greene is choir director at Massapequa (N.Y.) High School and conducts the Lyric Ensemble for the Long Island Children’s Choir. Lisa (Kuennen) and Scott Hagen live in Oregon, Wis. Lisa is principal, O2C solutions, at Esker. Scott is a technology business partner at Compeer Financial. Scott Hamman is vice president of human resources at Vista Prairie Communities in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Wendy (Weness) Helm is senior business analyst and project manager at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. Ruth (Leet) and Bill Hoekstra ’94 live in Northfield, Minn. Ruth teaches piano and is a substitute teacher. Bill is a clinical psychologist with Allina Health. Heidi (Waxenberg) Huff is senior director, Red Oval Partnerships, at IGA in Chicago. Carla Hughes is vice president of wealth management administration, compliance and trust, at First American Bank in Clive, Iowa. Kurt Jensen earned a doctor of ministry degree from Western Theological Seminary and is lead pastor at Immanuel Lutheran in Story City, Iowa. Jeff Ketchum of St. Paul, Minn., is an operations analyst at Wells Fargo. Shawna Kirby-Eckstein is a clinical claim review nurse at Optum in Downers Grove, Ill.



Elisabeth Motlong is a licensed clinical social worker for Motlong Therapy and parent educator at North Seattle College in Seattle. Angie (Gawron) Nelson is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Wayzata, Minn. Rashmi (Sharma) and Daniel Nenneman ’92 live in Lakeville, Minn. Rashmi is a research analyst at Health Partners. Daniel is an information technology specialist for the state of Minnesota. Andrew Olson is senior manager, procurement, at Kimberly-Clark in Neenah, Wis. Rachael Peterson is the mental health clinician for the Wellness Unit at Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minneapolis. She also serves as a mental health provider for several police and fire departments through her private practice, Peterson Counseling and Consulting.

Kimberly (Anderson) Thole is an elementary literacy coach for the Onalaska (Wis.) School District. Amy Vollendorf is dean of students for the Wayzata (Minn.) Public Schools. Rachel Wangen-Hoch is a financial advisor at Edward Jones in Burlington, Wash. She also volunteers as a financial educator in local schools, congregations, for senior groups, and area nonprofit organizations in the community.


Dee Brown was named NJCAA National Women’s Coach of the Year. His women’s cross country team won its third national title in a row, establishing an NJCAA record of seven team titles. In May, Dee was elected as president of the NJCAA Track and Field Coaches Association. Beth (Olson) and Dan Haddinger live in Rogers, Ark. Beth teaches ESOL for the Rogers Public Schools. Dan is an event specialist at the Roark Group. Erin (Blagsvedt) and Kori Jorgensen live in Taylor Ridge, Ill. Erin is director, publishing/managing editor, for the American Rental Association. Kori is a lieutenant with the Rock Island Fire Department. Luther Koenig is sales and store manager at Bodensteiner Implement Company in Elkader, Iowa.

Amy (Morse) Sears is senior software quality analyst at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Jennifer (Araujo) Sidenstecker is a franchise owner of the Cleaning Authority in Henderson, Nev. Stacey (Sokol) and Garrett Struessel ’93 live in Longmont, Colo. Stacey is principal at St. Vrain Valley Schools. Garrett is senior pastor at First Lutheran Church.

Kirk Severtson is a vocal coach and conductor for the opera program at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance in Ann Arbor.


Julie (Broker) Moenck is senior project manager at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She is an instructor in nursing for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and an assistant professor in nursing at Winona State University. Michael Walters of Maple Grove, Minn., is president and CEO at Payload Group.


Laura (Handrahan) Ramlow is a deacon and synod minister for the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin in Chetek.


Julie Shockey Trytten is co-owner of Your Place in Decorah.


Mary (Wilgenbusch) Yamoah is principal at Carondelet Catholic School in Minneapolis.

Cheryl (Hammes) and Scott Runde ’95 live in Zimmerman, Minn. Cheryl is senior oncology sales specialist at Novartis Oncology. Scott is a podiatric surgeon at Fairview Northland Medical Center. Jenn (Ruud) Strack is owner of Just Juliet in St. Paul, Minn.


Clint Christopher is superintendent at Eastern Carver County School District in Chaska, Minn.

Karla Rasmussen is an occupational therapy assistant at Humboldt County (Iowa) Memorial Hospital. Stephanie (Ao-As) Salisbury is principal clinical research specialist at Medtronic in Minneapolis.

in gifted education. She was cited for founding the I-380 Corridor 2e Parent Network to connect parents with peers and resources in the state to advocate and support the unique needs of students who are gifted and have a learning challenge.

Amanda (Alcock) Freese of Marion, Iowa, received the Parent Award for 2019 from the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association (ITAG) at their annual Parent Day Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 13, 2019. Freese joined ITAG in 2016, is the parent of two boys, and teaches thirdand fourth-grade general music in the Marion Independent Schools. Freese is also a master’s degree student in teaching, leadership, and cultural competency at the University of Iowa while completing her endorsement


Amber (Kobler) Lynch is executive director of Invest DSM, a nonprofit designed to make investments in Des Moines neighborhoods to improve housing conditions and attract businesses. Amber was chosen as one of the Des Moines Register’s People to Watch in 2020 and was recently featured in an article about her work with Invest DSM.


Mandy Henderson and David Rowley ’05 live in Lafayette, Colo. Mandy is a mental health practitioner at the Open Door Autism Project. David is head of experience at Iterate.ai in Boulder. Kate (Miller) Stobbe of Livermore, Calif., is a corporate social responsibility expert for the United Way Worldwide Digital Services team and sales professional for Philanthropy Cloud, a new employee engagement platform.



assistant professor of choral music at the University of Minnesota–Duluth.

Chris Dahl is executive director at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp in Story City, Iowa.

Zachary Dieterman of Zumbrota, Minn., works for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Dustin Ross is director of development at Planned Parenthood North Central States in Des Moines, Iowa. Dane Jensen is a real estate advisor at Engel and Völkers in Minneapolis. Janelle (Ackerman) Novak is terminal bulk supervisor at Ecolab in St. Paul, Minn.


Lee Meirick is quality assurance test lead at Energy Corporation in Kansas City.


Sarah (Warner) Warbuck is owner and chief marketing strategist at Warbuck Consulting in Saint Louis Park, Minn. Johanna (Crock) Warner is a nurse practitioner at Multispecialty Physician Partners in Lakewood, Colo.

Anthony Snitker is marketing coordinator at the Pasadena (Calif.) Playhouse. In August, he finished his second 100-mile race at the Angeles Crest 100-Mile Endurance Race, finishing in the top 10 with a time of 22:46:26. Joy Waughtal is a professional research assistant at the University of Colorado in Denver.


Liz (Jorgenson) Alvarado is director of operations, leadership development, at IDEA Public Schools in Edinburg, Texas.

Sonja Birthisel earned a PhD degree in ecology and environmental sciences from University of Maine in Orono, where she is a postdoctoral research associate and instructor. Ashley Holland completed medical school at Des Moines University, a general psychiatry residency at Maine Medical Center in Portland, and fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, and cognitive neurology at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester. A psychiatrist, she recently joined Mayo Health System’s Behavioral Health Care Program in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Allison (Kirchoff) Gans teaches in the Hibbing (Minn.) Independent School District.

Kristina Golling is an employee relations consultant at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Megan (Hallberg) Bang of Forest City, Iowa, is a software engineer for HashiCorp in San Francisco.


Brad Foresman is a research scientist at Corteva Agriscience in Olivia, Minn.

Megan (Petersen) Gibson is LTC supervisor and an occupational therapist at Big Stone Therapies in Marshall, Minn.


Brad White is founder of Link Public Schools in Minneapolis.

Makara Fairman is a behavioral health proposal consultant at Cigna in Minneapolis.

Katie (Dolan) Gerber is a school psychologist at Eastern Carver County Schools in Chaska, Minn.

Stephanie (Girton) Radke is a medical doctor, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and assistant medical clerkship director for University of Iowa Healthcare and the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa. Alissa (Jacobson) Gambrel is director of operations at Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention– Midwest in Minneapolis.

Ashley Dissmore is business manager at Dahl Automotive in La Crosse, Wis.

Linnea and Christopher Graffunder-Bartels ’11 live in Minneapolis. Linnea is senior community development specialist for the city of Oakdale. Christopher is an ethics analyst at US Bank. Laura Grangaard Johnson is senior research analyst at Stratis Health in Bloomington, Minn. Mesha Hall is a family services specialist for the city of Alexandria (Minn.) Department of Community and Human Services. Mallory (Marlatt) Hanson is director for Fayette County Economic Development and Tourism at Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development in Postville, Iowa. Sara Hanssen is the administrative assistant at Decorah United Church of Christ and also works as a midwife’s assistant.

Krista (Morris) Blessing is a structural engineer at Short Elliott Hendrickson in Rochester, Minn.

Becky Haug is a forestry technician for the US Forest Service in Ontonagon, Mich.

Erin Bostrom is a paralegal at the Medina (Ohio) County Prosecutor’s Office.

Rachel Haug Root and Keith Root ’09 live in Eden Prairie, Minn. Rachel is a flute instructor at Winona State University and director of flute sales at Schmitt Music. Keith is a call coach for Alarm.com.

Levi Bridges is a registered nurse at Waverly (Iowa) Health Center. Meghan (Mathison) Byrnes is a law school student at the University of St. Thomas and works as a law clerk at Anderson and Anderson Law in Minneapolis. Joseph Coffield is a communications technician at Comcast in Salt Lake City. Ryan Deignan earned a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of North Texas and is

Thomas University and teaches fourth grade at Barack and Michelle Obama Elementary School in St. Paul, Minn. Gina Klennert earned a master’s degree in DAPE from Minnesota State University. Gina teaches health, physical education, and DAPE at Albert Lea (Minn.) High School. Becca Lange is a certified medical assistant (AAMA) at Hall-Perrine Cancer Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sara Leahy is a social worker at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. Blair (Hercules) and Derek Leigh live in Chaska, Minn. Blair earned a master’s degree in education from Concordia University and teaches fourth and fifth grades at Eastern Carver County School District. Derek is a collegiate sales rep with Nike, Blue 84, and Legacy. Sarah (Luloff) Lilly teaches elementary music at Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kan. Sarah May is a graduate student in music/instrumental conducting at Butler University and an accompanist for the Indianapolis (Ind.) Children’s Choir. Jaymie McGrath is talent development director for McGrath Family of Dealerships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Gina (Lewis) Njugunah is a licensed independent social worker and inpatient mental health discharge planner at Fairview Health Services in St. Paul, Minn. Jamie Ottman is facilities coordinator at Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation in Madison, Wis. Darren Oxton is a buyer at BevSource in St. Paul, Minn. Lisa (Torgerson) Pertz is a market research analyst at ACPI Sales in Waconia, Minn. Kristin (Porter) and Neal Petersen live in Waterloo, Iowa. Kristin is operations specialist at Ameriprise Financial Services. Neal earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Upper Iowa University and is a therapist at New Directions Counseling Services. Melysa Rogen is senior director of marketing and communications for the Austin (Texas) Opera.

Landon Jacobsen is commercial and marketing lead at Extraction Oil and Gas in Denver.

Anna (Simonson) Saul earned the doctor of physical therapy degree from St. Catherine University and is a physical therapist at Summit Orthopedics in Woodbury, Minn.

Cassandra Jensen is a marketing specialist at Kaplan Professional in St. Paul, Minn.

Michelle Sawyer is a social worker at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Jacob Johnson is a UX/UI designer at Media Services in Los Angeles.

Anna (Quick) and Trey Scheetz live in Eden Prairie, Minn. Anna is vice president of asset management at Wildamere Capital Management. Trey is senior account coordinator at CH Robinson.

Kristen Johnson earned a master’s degree in education from St.



ALUMNI NEWS David Schmitt teaches K–6 music for the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Schools in Waterville, Minn. Kirsten (Jensson) and Taylor Scholz work at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Kirsten is a medical administrative assistant. Taylor is an athletic trainer. Nora Shaffer of Chicago is a freelance clarinetist and private instructor and a member of the chamber ensemble Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet, which released its debut album, Nielsen, Grainger, and Strauss, in Oct. 2019. Diana Springer-Doescher is a certified optician at Gundersen Health System in Onalaska, Wis.

“You’re Why: Patients Matter Most at Duke Health.” Zach Jipp is a chiropractor at Colorado Occupational Medical Partners in Denver. Annie (Klepper) Neubauer earned the doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Iowa and is a pharmacist at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah.


Claire (Philpott) Utecht is associate producer at Minnesota Public Radio in Minneapolis.


Heidi (Darrington) and Bryce Muenchow ’15 live in Horicon, Wis. Heidi is youth and family leader at First Evangelical Lutheran Church. Bryce teaches grades 6–12 music for the Dodgeland School District. Erin Mykleby earned a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Iowa. She is assistant athletics director for development at New Mexico State University in Carlsbad.

Eric Schoer is a physical therapist at San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa, Colo.

Windom Shields is senior energy specialist at Kinect Energy Group in Plymouth, Minn. Josue Silva is a Catalyze program advisor at College Possible in St. Paul, Minn. Peter Swanson earned a master’s degree in music from the University of Maryland and is a doctoral student and graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

Caitlin Stensrud is a licensed professional counselor at Advanced Therapy Associates and owner/ therapist at Stensrud Counseling in Norman, Okla. Rose Weselmann of Northfield, Minn., had work on display Feb.– March in the 2020 Emerging Artist Exhibition at Lanesboro Arts.


Becca (Dugdale) and Jim Cochrane live in Chicago. Becca is a consultant at SALO. Jim is a student at McCormick Seminary. Jayne Cole earned a master’s degree in art history from the University of St. Thomas and is a doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Alex Kalal is a payment operations analyst at DailyPay in Minneapolis. Clara Lind is manager of donor experience at Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative in St. Paul, Minn.


Karly Karst earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing and is a registered nurse at Southside Community Health Services in Minneapolis. Kat Marlow is a supervisor at Estep and Company in Columbus, Ind. Alli (Kephart) and Andrew Tjossem ’13 live in Fort Collins, Colo. Alli teaches K–5 music for the Poudre School District. Andrew is a software engineer at Keysight Technologies.


Megan Hatfield is a clinical nurse III at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. She was featured in Duke University’s promotional video



Nicole Lussier is event manager at Auction Harmony in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Lauren Mordini is summer camp coordinator for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, Wis.

Kristopher Ulrich earned a master’s degree in business administration. He serves as the president of the Neenah (Wis.) Rotary Club.

Zara Zanussi earned a master’s degree in comparative international development education and a minor in program evaluation from the University of Minnesota. She is founder and executive director for ComMUSICation in St. Paul, Minn.

Peter Lillibridge is an account analyst at Kinect Energy Group in Plymouth, Minn.

Danny Robb is patient appointment service specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Aaron Stenhaug is assistant corporate controller at Digi International in Hopkins, Minn.

Tessa Winterton and Tom Blattner live in Misawa, Japan, while Tessa completes her commitment to the United States Air Force as an OBGYN. Tom is working as a substitute teacher at the high school on base while working toward a master’s degree.

Spencer Hackler is a school psychologist intern at South Central Educational Cooperative in Tyndall, S.D.


Sarah Ea is a medical support assistant for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in St. Paul, Minn.

Laura Turco graduated in 2019 from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a postgraduate diploma in the conservation of easel paintings. She is the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in painting conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in New York City.


Makeda Barkley is assistant director at Moab Arts and Recreation Center in Moab, Utah.

Linnea Peterson is marketing coordinator at 1517 Media in Minneapolis. Evan Scheck teaches social studies at Spencer (Iowa) High School. Peter Scott teaches science at Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque, Iowa.


Ananda Easley of Dubuque, Iowa, is a parent educator at Stein Counseling and Consulting Services and a part-time personal trainer at Anytime Fitness. Jonah Gehrt is a licensed realtor at RE/MAX Results in Rochester, Minn. Michaela Gyure teaches elementary music for the Waukee (Iowa) Community School District. Erin Halverson is the events and social media coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University in Ames. Claire Hess is a staff accountant at Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin, Minn. Janet Irankunda is an area coordinator at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Ty Kloft is a personal assistant III at Hills and Dales in Dubuque, Iowa. Jana Mueller is a fast track specialist and independent living advocate at RAMP in Rockford, Ill.

Sean Dempsey is a press secretary for the US House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Grant Holsinger is an administrative assistant for Stillman Valley (Ill.) High School. Jorge Loyo Lopez is a certified clinical research coordinator at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Paige Mangan is program director at Outlaw Ranch in Custer, S.D. Rachel Reimann earned a master’s degree in athletic training from A.T. Still University and is an athletic training resident at University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City. Nicholas Thorp is an account executive at Zubie in Minneapolis.

Ally Peters is a Minnesota Greencorps member focusing on air pollutant reduction with the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools. She is also a freelance photographer and photo editor. Anna Phearman is front-end manager at Mobility4All in Hopkins, Minn.


Grant Sparstad is a cognitive skills trainer at Learning Rx and a Promise Fellow for the Minnesota Alliance with Youth in Lino Lakes, Minn.

Mariahna Jorgenson-Rathke teaches grades 6–8 orchestra at the Eastern Carver County School District in Chaska, Minn.

Elizabeth Wiebke is a staff assistant for the office of congresswoman Betty McCollum at the US House of Representatives in St. Paul, Minn.

Megan Broadbent teaches English for the Monticello (Iowa) Community School District.

Luke Lumbar is service coordinator and a certified support planner at Partners in Community Supports in St. Paul, Minn. Abby Mark is a research fellow at Boston University.


’01 Stephanie (Dicks) of

Abigail, Nov. 2018, child and Jeff

Diener ’00

’02 Angela (Oldenburg) of Kueny

Anton Vicor, Feb. 2020, child and Mike



Wren Marie, Nov. 2019, child of Sarah and Jonathan Allen Catriona Jane, June 2019, child of Erica (Olson) and Philip George Caroline Ainsley, June 2019, child of Rachel (Appelt) and Derek Hansell

Charlie and Louis, Feb. 2019, twins of Abby and Ryan Deignan Dawson, June 2019, child of Jennifer and Zach Dieterman Caleb Thomas, Dec. 2019, child of Kristen (Haug) and Eric Ebeling Lottie Marie, Nov. 2019, child of Cassie (Tysland) and Jacob

Fouts ’12

Elsa Maria Isabella, Oct. 2019, child of Lindsay (Buck) and Christoph Ledl

Cameron, Jan. 2020, child of Kayla (Denner) and Tim Freeman

’05 Jenika (Beers)

Howard, Aug. 2018, child of and John Bohman

Dan Bolles

Henry Wallace, Aug. 2019, child of Keli (Offerman) and Tyler Brown

Stella, Jan. 2019, child of Laura (Mohs) and Justin Hesse


Vivian, April 2019, child of Bethany (Schiefelbein) and Matt Burns

Olin Svien, Dec. 2019, child of Erica (Svien) and Mike Swenson ’06

Graham, Oct. 2019, child of Jenny and

Arianna, Aug. 2019, child of Suyun and Scott Channon

Delta Joyce, Oct. 2019, child of Johanna (Crock) and Tyler Warner

Oliver James, Aug. 2018, child of Nicole (Warnke) and Kevin Fultz

’08 Ashley (Holland)

Helena, Oct. 2019, child of Alex (Larson) and Joel Groten

Violet Darlene, March 2019, child of Laura and Brandon Grimm Landon, March 2018, child of Allison (Haugen) and Adam Hart Ethan, July 2018, child of Gina (Lewis) and Tommex Njugunah Louis Karl, July 2019, child of Kathy and Karl Hoeschen

Loren Paul, Nov. 2019, child of Marie (Palmquist) and Paul Scholtz


’09Kate (Westby)

Noah Stephen, Oct. 2019, child of and Abe

Campos ’10

Elizabeth, Oct. 2018, child of Annie (Hendrickson) and Brett Hoffman

Margaret, June 2018, child of Meg (Berven) and Culynn Curtis ’10

Lavin Louis, Nov. 2019, child of Lindsay (Kimball) and Mark Fangmeier

Marceline, June 2019, child of Bethany and Lee Meirick

Berit Beth and Joseph Xavier, Nov. 2019, twins of Kirsten (Russell) and Parker Koester Kennedy Alice, Oct. 2019, child of Mackenzie and Jed Stutzman

Sullivan Abraham, April 2019, child of Joy (Waughtal) and Joshua Wise

’10 Liz (Jorgenson)

Clara Elena, Sep. 2019, child of and Cesar Alvarado

Lincoln, July 2019, child of Brie (Nixon) and Matthew Wright

Dorothy, Oct. 2018, child of Megan (Hallberg) and Dakota Bang


James, Jan. 2018, child of Tessa (Winterton) and Thomas

Bruin, Nov. 2019, child of Katie (Ostrem) and Eric Holten

Raymond Duke, July 2019, child of Krista (Morris) and Josh

Mari Ruth, Nov. 2019, child of Michelle (Monson) and Michael Klisanich

Nicholas William, June 2019, child of Sara (Kessler) and Greg

Edith Louise, Nov. 2019, child of Emily and Ian Cawley


Blessing ’09

Croghan ’09

Parker Jerome, Sep. 2019, and

Greg Siems

Parker, Jan. 2019, child of Jaymie (McGrath) and Anthony Hobson

June and Julius, Oct. 2019, twins of and Andrew Murray

child of

Margo Marie, Sep. 2019, child of Lauren (Henrikson) and Nate


Samuel, Dec. 2018, child of Carol and

’12 Mandie (Mickelson)

Landon Jacobsen

’13 Annie (Klepper)

Tyson, May 2019, child and Evan


’15Heather (Marking)

Eleanor Josephine, Jan. 2018, child of and Josh Moechnig Clara Catherine, Aug. 2019, child of Elizabeth (Reed) and Nathan Wiese

Piper Alison, Feb. 2019, child of Blair (Hercules) and Derek Leigh Ethan, July 2018, child of Gina (Lewis) and Tommex Njugunah Eira, Sep. 2019, child of Kari (Taylor) and Matt Olson Miles, June 2019, child of Ryan and

Darren Oxton

Jonah, July 2019, child of Lisa (Torgerson) and Samuel Pertz Tyson, Nov. 2018, child of Liz (Lubben) and Trevor Theobald Charlotte May, Aug. 2018, child of Bridget and Kristopher Ulrich

’17 Bekah (Sandgren) child of

Theodore John, Jan. 2020, and

Willy Leafblad ’13

’11 Bekky (Willis) ’10

Oak, Sep. 2019, child of and Ben Harkins

Ezekiel, April 2019, child of Bethany (Wichman) and Andrew Lehman Hendrick, Nov. 2019, child of Melanie (Massnick) and Jacob

Reitz ’10

Easton, Nov. 2018, child of Jackie and

Alex Rustad

Harper, Nov. 2018, child of Heather (Malecha) and Darin Schneider


Isla, June 2018, child of Melissa (Larson) and Ben Schori ’10





’69 Rolf Wulfsberg and Virginia Pethel,

’12 Emily Berkeland and Logan Van

’43 Borghild “Borgie” (Teigland) Nassen

’80 Scott Nagel and Susan Redman,

’44 Roselle K. “Sally” (Olson) Naeseth

Feb. 21, 2020

May 4, 2019 Beth Vriesman and John Hill, Nov. 17, 2018

’85 Karen Wilken and Kevin Kelley, Dec. 28, 2019

’87 Staci Hemmen and Bill Perpich ’88, Dec. 27, 2019

’93 Annette Laitinen and Chris

Frantsvog ’84, Jan. 17, 2020

’96 Beth Olson and Dan Haddinger, Dec. 23, 2019 Heidi Torgerson and Jason Anderson, Sept. 21, 2019

’04 Lauren Christel and Peter Than,

Oct. 26, 2018 Jenny Reagan and Juan Mena, July 30, 2019

’05 Scott Channon and Suyun Ma,

Oct. 2, 2019 Danelle Larson and Bob McNutt, Feb. 23, 2019 Lourene Sansonetti and Earl Meyer, Feb. 3, 2019

’06 Ian Cawley and Emily Johnson, Sept. 14, 2018

Scoyk, Nov. 23, 2019 Katrina Houmes and Sean Atwell, Oct. 12, 2019 Melanie Kirk and Matthew Gibbs, Sept. 14, 2019 Abby Kriener and Alex Abreu, July 28, 2018

Marie Genevieve (Fjelstad) Posz of Golden


Carson Lilly and Zachery Meier,

Nov. 2, 2019 Maggie Pierson and Anders Bowman, Dec. 31, 2018

’15 Kate Bjerke and Micah Ballew ’13,

Sept. 14, 2019 Bailey Mulholland and Michael Martof, June 8, 2019 Kristen Syverud and Zac Pearson ’14, Sept. 29, 2018 Emma Zittergruen and Zach Kockler, Nov. 11, 2018

’18 Bridget Becker and Derek Miner,

June 28, 2019 Nick Nolan and Madeline Gage, July 26, 2019

’10 Maria Carr and Juan Moreno,


June 12, 2019 Carson Christen and Jaime Kelleher, Sept. 14, 2019 Alisyn Christensen and John Harrison, June 10, 2018 Kayla Denner and Tim Freeman, Nov. 2, 2018 Sara Leahy and TJ Phillips, May 11, 2019 Anna Simonson and David Saul, Aug. 31, 2019



Decorah died March 2, 2020, age 96.

’16 Alex Hein and Jeff Theismann,

’09 Stacy Duren and Santiago Nogueira,

’45 Pearl C. (Flaskerud) Gilbertson ’47 Marilyn Francis Eittreim

Aug. 4, 2018 Anna Dicecco and Micah Kust, Oct. 26, 2019 Zach Jipp and Katie Ingleby, Sept. 7, 2019 Evin Lantz and Kiley Boutelle, July 13, 2019 Denise Richter and Brian Rathke, Sept. 1, 2019 Jessica Ulrich and Dan Chouinard, June 15, 2019 Jessie Zenchak and Eric Petersen, July 13, 2019

Feb. 8, 2020

Oct. 26, 2019 Amanda Gielau and Ethan Thonn ’17, July 17, 2019 Abby Suhr and Aaron Schweitzer, Dec. 28, 2019

’19 Shelby Heim and Coltin Wellmann ’17, Oct. 12, 2019


Decorah died Jan. 7, 2020, age 96.

’13 Charles Banta and Chip Terrell,

’08 Nina Catterall and Marty Schultz, Jan. 11, 2020 Aaron Zutz and Natalie Smith, Sept. 1, 2019

of Dallas died Nov. 16, 2019, age 96.

of Decorah

died March 2, 2020, age 95.

Valley, Minn., died Feb. 22, 2020, age 94.

’48 Paul H. Christianson

of Forest City, Iowa, died March 15, 2020, age 90.

Ray A. Fuller of Canadian Lakes, Mich., died Dec. 18, 2019, age 94.

Marilyn (Evanson) Veglahn of St. James, Minn., died Jan. 14, 2020, age 93.

’50 John L. Spencer

of Oak Park Heights, Minn., died Feb. 1, 2020, age 92.

Herbert Von Arx of New Glarus, Wis., died March 18, 2020, age 94.

’51 Alice Louise (Hamre) Arneson

of Wayzata and Bemidji, Minn., died Nov. 15, 2019, age 90.

Ruth A. (Jensen) Bunge of Decorah died Feb. 23, 2020, age 91.

Ralph James Rogness of Owatonna, Minn., died Dec. 9, 2019, age 92.

Julian O. Sandsness of Bloomington, Minn., formerly of Richfield, Minn., died Sept. 28, 2019, age 91.

Joanne Ellen (Dieseth) Smith of Fergus Falls, Minn., died Aug. 22, 2019, age 89.

’53 Nina Mae (Nehring) Merrill Carlson of Rock Island, Ill., died Dec. 3, 2019, age 88.

Kathryn “Kae” (Kraabel) Knudson of Burnsville, Minn., died March 1, 2020, age 89.

Carl Pernell Losen of Richmond, Va., died Jan. 28, 2020, age 88.

Lucille (Rustad) Schroder of St. Paul, Minn., died Jan. 28, 2020, age 88.

’55 Mary Ann (Robertson) Peters


Wittenburg, Wis., died Feb. 19, 2020, age 86.

’56 Gordon “Gordy” Grimm

of North Branch, Minn., died Jan. 5, 2020, age 86.

Bernard A. “Bernie” Lee of Avoca, Iowa, died Dec. 9, 2019, age 90.

Roger E. Olson of Glenville, Minn., died Dec. 17, 2019, age 86.

ALUMNI NEWS IN MEMORIAM Notices as of April 1, 2020. Obituaries are posted at luther.edu/in-memoriam.

’57 Constance Rae “Connie” (Blunt)

Nelson of Bloomington, Minn., died June 7, 2019, age 83. Janet Marie (Schmidt) Rosett of Coon Rapids, Minn., died Oct. 24, 2019, age 84.

’58 Marit (Running) Pudas

of Sioux Falls,

S.D., died Dec. 4, 2019, age 84.

Niina Rebassoo of Seattle died Jan. 11, 2020, age 97.

’59 Jan Ness Flickinger

of Macomb, Ill.,

died Dec. 27, 2019, age 84.

’73 Dana “Dan” Hustvedt

Jennie Ullestad of Mankato, Minn., formerly of Thompson, Minn., died Jan. 16, 2020, age 96.

’66 William “Bill” Charles Beyer

’75 Lori Elizabeth (Hurd) Patterson

of St.

Paul, Minn., died Feb. 4, 2020, age 75.

Roger Allen Hjelle of Onalaska, Wis., died March 30, 2020, age 75.

Arlene B. (Larson) Thompson of Decorah died Dec. 30, 2019, age 96.

’67 Mark Peter Reinsmoen

of Wyoming,

Minn., died Nov. 7, 2019, age 73.

Thomas Orville Severson of Winona, Minn.,

’61 Ronald “Ron” Henry Hartzell

Harlan Gene Thorvilson of Houston died Feb.

Nov. 29, 2019, age 90.

Richard “Dick” “Cannonball” Nelson of Dilworth, Minn., died March 3, 2020, age 81.

Richard Ervin Nelson of Boca Raton, Fla., died

20, 2020, age 75.

’68 Phyllis (Holm) Leslie

of San Francisco

died Sept. 16, 2019, age 97.

’69 Cynthia “Cindy” Jane (Hinz) Blauer


Wanamingo, Minn., died Jan. 25, 2020, age 72.

Oct. 1, 2019, age 80.

Beverly Crumb-Gesme of Decorah died March

’62 Charlie R. “Tuna” Peterson

of Plymouth, Minn., died Feb. 18, 2020, age 80.

Charles Edward Edison of Chicago died Nov.

Helen M. (Knutson) Porter of New Berlin, Wis.,

Donald L. Feuerhak of Cedar Falls, Iowa, died

8, 2020, age 73. 25, 2019, age 73.

died Jan. 20, 2020, age 79.

Feb. 13, 2020, age 72.

Dorothy “Lynn” (Proudfoot) Zemke of Clare,

’70 George A. Indestad

Mich., died May 6, 2019, age 78.

’63 Sylvia Ann (Kaasa) Jerdee

of Red

of Mountain Home, Idaho, died Feb. 29, 2020, age 62. died Dec. 14, 2019, age 62.

’83 Beverly Holmes-Archer

of Abaco, Bahamas, died Dec. 19, 2019, age 58.

’85 Scott Vernon Bouslog

of Boerne, Texas,

died Jan. 30, 2020, age 58.

’86 Lynn Marie Tangen

of Hiawatha, Iowa,

died Jan. 19, 2020, age 55.

’88 Lynn (Pedersen) Schroeder

of Plymouth, Minn., died Feb. 29, 2020, age 53.

’96 Mary A. Herman

of Decorah died Jan. 9,

of Spring Hill, Tenn.,

Kathryn (Hanson) Mills of Northwood, Iowa,

died June 6, 2019, age 75.

died Oct. 17, 2019, age 46.

Lin (Mathieu) Schmidt of Anoka, Minn., died

’97 Brian Edward Tucker

Dec. 28, 2019, age 71.

Joan “Joey” Ellen (Runnestrand) Mulholland of Marshfield, Wis., died Feb. 1, 2020,

Richard Ziegfeld of Beltsville, Md., died Feb. 23,

age 78.

’71 Donna (Perry) Broadbent

of Kansas

’79 Julie Ann Hawbaker Goodwill

2020, age 51.

Wing, Minn., died Jan. 21, 2020, age 78.

’64 Marilyn Kay (Utke) DeWitt

of Plymouth,

Minn., died Feb. 3, 2020, age 64.

Robert John Wiemerslage of Shueyville, Iowa,

died Feb. 23, 2020, age 75.

Howard W. Jacobson of North Liberty, Iowa, died

’77 Vicki L. (Weber) Kennedy

of Scottsdale, Ariz., died Dec. 9, 2019, age 63.

Minn., died March 7, 2020, age 82.

of Birchwood, Wis., died Aug. 21, 2019, age 81.

of St.

Ansgar, Iowa, died Dec. 1, 2019, age 66.

’78 Steven LeRoy Haagenson

of Burnsville,

Ron Ruen of Decorah died Feb. 14, 2020, age 74.

’60 William Dale Harold Barth

of Annandale, Va.,

died Dec. 8, 2020, age 71.

2020, age 71. of Decorah

of Iola, Wis., died

Jan. 5, 2020, age 45.

’99 Michael David “Mike” Shelledy


Norwalk, Iowa, died Feb. 10, 2020, age 43.

died Dec. 3, 2019, age 91.

City, Mo., died Jan. 19, 2020, age 77.

Ruth I. (Onkka) Hinderaker of Zumbrota, Minn.,

Thomas Gary Lawrence of Laporte, Minn., died

died Dec. 20, 2019, age 70.

March 10, 2020, age 78.

Steven Holland of Kensington, Calif., died Jan. 19,

David Mikkelson of York, Pa., died Jan. 31, 2020,

2020, age 70.

age 77.

James Ronald Schroeder of Richmond, Va.,

Regent emerita Susan (Maclay) Blackman ’64 of Arlington, Va., died Feb. 18, 2020, age 77.

died Jan. 11, 2020, age 70.



President’s Council


hen we began the 2019–20 academic year last fall, no one could have imagined how much things on the Luther campus and in our world would change by the second semester. This spring, in a matter of weeks, we have experienced the highest highs of launching the new Rochester Semester and celebrating a record-setting Giving Day to the lowest lows of implementing pandemic response measures on our campus and moving to distance learning to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff amid the spread of COVID-19. One of the many things that keeps me buoyed in these uncertain times is knowing Luther’s community of supporters and volunteers is vibrant and dedicated. Our President’s Council members are among our most generous stakeholders, and it’s been the tradition of the college to recognize the charitable giving of this group each spring. Together these alumni, parents, regents, faculty/staff, friends, and foundations have shared their commitment to Luther’s mission through their philanthropic support. In 2020, we are delighted to welcome an impressive list of new Life Members, donors who have contributed cumulative outright gifts of $100,000 or more. In addition, a dozen of our existing Life Members have moved to a higher level of giving within the President’s Circle during the past year. These donors are truly an inspiration, and we are humbly grateful they have chosen to invest in the people, programs, and priorities at Luther College! Please join me in extending a hearty and heartfelt thanks to all members of the President’s Council. Together these donors are making a Luther education possible for current students and future generations, and we celebrate their extraordinary generosity. Soli Deo Gloria!

Jenifer K. Ward President



2020 New Life Members (based on calendar year giving in 2019)

Anonymous Warren ’60 and Maryellen (Amundson) Boe ’61 Renee (Anderson) ’72 and Charles Brown Ann (Furman) ’71 and †Doug Esse ’71 Larry and Diane Grimstad Rhys ’56 and †Kathleen Hanson Connie Plaehn ’75 Lance ’79 and Shari Vander Linden Estate of Rhody Marquard ’57 †deceased

A full listing of the 2020 membership, based on 2019 calendar year giving, is available on Luther’s website at luther.edu/magazine.



give to Luther out of gratitude for the treasures I received there—preparation for an amazing, exciting, and fulfilling career and appreciation for lifelong learning and lifelong friendships. When I became a member of Luther’s Investment Committee and the Board of Regents, my reasons for giving back acquired greater focus. The Regents’ Promise Scholarship Challenge is a good example of how I can help the college navigate the challenges of declining enrollment and growing need for financial assistance. I hope others will join me in supporting this institutional priority.

—Connie Plaehn ’75


e decided to give to Luther because our first priority is addressing climate change and how it will affect all of the grandchildren in our world. Luther has a goal to become carbon neutral, and that is our goal too. We are proud of Luther College and the wonderful education it provides, as well as all that Luther does for our community.

—Larry and Diane Grimstad




Luther students taking courses in visual communication, one of Luther's newest academic programs, are creating work with real impact, like this poster series that encourages organ donation.

There is a severe lack of advertisement that demonstrates the positive potential of post-mortem organ donation. While the subject of the viewer’s death is difficult to portray in a positive light, current campaigns tend to focus on the grotesque and visceral imagery of the organs themselves. “LIVES� campaign focuses on the positive contributions of donation by showing the worlds that organ donation can create. From memories to adventures, children to parents, we are here to show you how the ability to save lives and give a lifetime of happiness is in your hands.

Oh, the places you’ll still go.

Every day, thousands of kids in the United States are in need of partial and total organ transplants. Becoming a donor is an easy and free process.


Students in visual communication—one of the newest program on Luther’s campus—are already turning out really strong work. The program was added to the curriculum at the beginning of the 2019–20 academic year to prepare students to enter fields like graphic design, web design, advertising, media production, and advertising. In their Introduction to Visual Communication course, health major Keenan Feldpausch ’20, visual communication major Lorelayn Coto ’21,



and computer science majors Gavin Lochtefeld ’20 and Anna Peterson ’20 worked together to produce a series of posters highlighting the value of organ donation in an engaging, feel-good way. Professor of art Richard Merritt, who taught the course, believes that this poster series is stronger than most professionally produced design campaigns on the issue. Nice work, VisCom students!


During this time of physical distancing, Chris Hale, Luther’s music marketing program coordinator, and Andrew Last ’97, director of choral activities and associate professor of music, recruited 216 alumni and students to sing “To Luther,” our alma mater song. Nick Bjerke, visual media manager, combined the hundreds of voices into a stunning 360-degree video with campus as a backdrop.

Luther College Lunch Connection With speaker Mike Grimm ’93, sportscaster for the Minnesota Golden Gophers Friday, September 11 Roseville Luther Church Roseville, Minnesota

Family Weekend Friday, September 25– Sunday, September 27, 2020 Luther College

Fall Community Day Saturday, September 26, 2020 Luther College

Homecoming 2020 Friday, October 9– Sunday, October 11, 202 Luther College

Homecoming in Chicago 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 Meg’s Cafe Glencoe, Illinois

1970 Stagg Bowl and 1955 Corn Bowl Football Teams Reunion

Alumni and Friends Tour to Vietnam and Bhutan

Christmas at Luther performances

Saturday, October 31– Wednesday, November 18, 2020 Hosted by Ann Highum, vice president emerita of student life, and Jerry Freund

Thursday, December 3– Sunday, December 6, 2020 Luther College

Celebrating 50 Years: Symphony Orchestra Reunion

Friday, July 30– Monday, August 9, 2021 Hosted by Maren Johnson, associate professor of Nordic studies, and Elliott Johnson, instructor in education

Saturday, November 14– Sunday, November 15, 2020 Luther College

Alumni and Friends Hiking Tour to Norway

Friday, October 23– Saturday, October 24, 2020 Luther College

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 emailed 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!


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

Congratulations, seniors! You worked hard. You did it. You graduated. You're joining the amazing Luther alumni community. Welcome. You'll like it here. We look forward to celebrating in-person Commencement in the future, but join us for Virtual Commencement on May 24. luther.edu/commencement

Profile for Luther College

Luther Magazine Spring 2020  

Luther Magazine Spring 2020

Luther Magazine Spring 2020  

Luther Magazine Spring 2020