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300  Mostar

Red Cross Nordic



Robert Bosch





Li Po Chun





Costa Rica

East Africa

South East Asia


Davis United World College Scholars enriching Luther and the world

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.



Friends from all corners gathered for a weekend of celebration and honors.

Luther Magazine Volume 53, Number 2, Winter 2020 Published by Luther College Editor Kate Frentzel Art Director/Designer Michael Bartels Contributors Sherry (Braun) Alcock ’82 Emma Busch ’20 Sue (Franzen) Drilling ’78 Emma Everitt ’21 Andy Hageman Ismail Hamid ’19 Kirk Johnson ’82 Quang Anh Le ’19 Jon Lund Ellen Modersohn Judy Riha Rachel Schunder ’20 Luther College Photo Bureau


Global learners

The Davis UWC Scholars Program has sponsored more than 300 students at Luther, creating a richer, wiser campus and a better, brighter world.

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


Luther received a STARS gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS—the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System—measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. AASHE ranked Luther in the top ten baccalaureate institutions in the US in its 2019 Sustainable Campus Index report.



The Straight Story revisited

2 Campus News

Twenty years after David Lynch shot his film in Iowa, a student retraces its hero’s journey—and learns something about herself.

26 Alumni

33 45 46 46

Class Notes Marriages Births/Adoptions In Memoriam

48 Luther-Made Calendar (inside back cover)


Dear Luther Community, “Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow” are the words of Christina Rossetti’s familiar poem about the bleak midwinter, and indeed, I am gazing out over a snow-covered Luther campus as I write this. But things are far from bleak! In the following pages, you will read about the myriad ways in which Luther students, alumni, and faculty demonstrate that they continue to learn actively, live purposefully, and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact— both at home and abroad. While I am only in my seventh month as your president, I have already stored up a lifetime of memorable experiences—from my inauguration to hosting students at my home to cheering on the Norse to soaking in Christmas at Luther to engaging student academic work in poster sessions in the Valders Concourse.

I have visited with our dedicated and generous alumni and donors on campus, in Decorah, across the country, and as far away as Berlin. We have filled key positions in the college’s leadership (some of which you will read about in these pages) and have said farewell to faithful servants. Through the comings and goings, I have been moved and motivated by the enduring imprint Luther College leaves on those who study and work here. Thank you for giving your heart to Luther. I look forward to many more opportunities to meet you as 2020 gets under way. Soli Deo Gloria,

Jenifer K. Ward

Luther student athletes gathered with President Ward for a “We Are Norse!” reception celebrating Luther athletics during the Inauguration weekend in November.





The Luther community and well-wishers from near and far gathered in early November to celebrate the inauguration of President Jenifer K. Ward.

With an inaugural theme of “Always Becoming,” the weekend began on Friday, Nov. 1, with Luther Agora, an academic research “marketplace of ideas” in Valders Concourse that showcased four dozen student and faculty research and creative projects.

In celebration of Luther’s new president, Decorah celebrated an Inaugural Night on the Town that included free events and activities at downtown shops and restaurants.

Representatives of the Luther and higher education communities laid a hand on President Ward during a blessing that read, in part, “let her find uncommon delight in ways that will be contagious and reflective of all that it means to declare ‘Soli Deo Gloria.’”

Past Luther presidents in attendance included (clockwise from left): Richard L. Torgerson, David L. Tiede, Richard C. Hemp, David J. Roslein, Paula J. Carlson, and Jenifer K. Ward.

On Nov. 2, the inauguration ceremony included delegates from 40 institutions of higher education, 10 Decorah community representatives, two dozen current and former regents, two former Luther presidents, and three former interim presidents. In her address to those gathered, President Ward stated, “Not having answers and certainty . . . must not mean inaction. At every triumphant moment in Luther College’s history—the successful completion

of a new building, a clean audit, a winning season on the field, a Christmas at Luther with standing ovations, the publication of a faculty member’s new book—it was not the answers that represented triumph. It was the practice of rolling up one’s sleeves, questioning, slogging, revising, imagining, hoping, and yes, trembling—to live in the becoming and to embrace the conversation with the unknown.” The weekend also included a Saturday-

night jazz performance that featured President Ward’s mother, Betty Ward, as a guest pianist; a Sunday-morning All Saints Jazz Liturgy; a Luther athletics “We Are Norse!” reception on the football field; a preconcert lecture and performance of The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, a multimedia choral orchestral work by Jocelyn Hagen; and a concert by Collegiate Chorale and Decorah Chorale, with instrumentalists from the Luther faculty, students, and community.





Stephen K. Sporer

Stephen K. Sporer joins the luther community this January as vice president for development. In this role, he will Luther’s alumni and development efforts, including giving, alumni relations, donor relations, and development operations. Serving as a key member of the president’s cabinet, he will provide strategic direction for all aspects of the college’s fundraising and external engagement efforts. Sporer comes to Luther after serving as director of principal and major gifts at Macalester

College in Saint Paul, Minn. In this and his previous roles at Macalester, he managed the college’s principal gifts portfolio as well as his own impressive portfolio and worked to build an international network of donors. He also assisted in the strategy, planning, and fundraising for the Macalester Moment, a $100 million campaign. Sporer also served in alumni relations at Macalester, as associate director of regional giving at the University of California–Davis, and as director of student activities and associate

director of alumni relations at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. “Engaging and celebrating the alumni and Decorah communities through connections with one another and current Luther students will be at the heart of exceeding a new and ambitious campaign for the college,” Sporer says. “I am thrilled with the opportunity to help shine a light on the strong and relevant ways Luther prepares students as they begin to claim their space in the greater world.”

Global Health and Identity Studies Next fall, Luther will launch two new academic programs—global health and identity studies. The global health major recognizes that advances in global health—an area of growing concern—will require an increase in workers with diverse expertise trained across a wide range of academic fields. Luther’s major will leverage the college’s strong track record in preparing students for careers in different areas of human health, but will also teach students to recognize the challenges facing health systems on a global level, understand ways to measure and address them, and become familiar with the resources needed to tackle the challenges. 4


Through classroom study and immersion experiences made possible by Luther’s robust study-away program, the new major will train students to understand the complex interactions between social, political, environmental, and cultural forces that shape the health status of populations worldwide. Identity studies will be offered as a major and minor that integrates the scholarly endeavors of Africana studies, women and gender studies, Asian studies, and dance. The new intersectional program will unite

existing course content with overarching theories of the construction of systems of power and domination, their embodiment, and the celebration and empowerment of cultures and identities. The program will train students to recognize systems of power and allow them to get hands-on experience making change both in and out of the classroom.


Welcome to the Board Ann Leon ’75 and Corey Schmidt ’98 have joined Luther’s Board of Regents.

Ann Leon ’75

Friends and family gathered in November to bless and celebrate Mike Blair as he embarks on a new calling. Left to right: College Ministries intern Vicar Amalia Vagts ’95, Pastor Mike Blair, Sue Blair, Pastor Anne Edison-Albright, College Ministries administrative assistant Tricia Crary ’12.


After serving at Luther for 28 years, Pastor Mike Blair accepted a call to serve as chaplain at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly, Iowa. Blair served his last day at Luther in December. In a letter to the Luther community, Blair wrote, “After many years of walking with students in their vocational stories and faith questions, it is humbling and surprising to be on the receiving side of a new call to serve with a community of elders. Call stories, whether personal or biblical, are disruptive, renewing, grounding, and confounding all at once. Accepting the call to serve with Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community and leave Luther College holds paradoxical, counterintuitive, and bittersweet energy, yet it remains for me a call. The wisdom, insight, and listening of colleagues and friends, including

Leon graduated from Luther with majors in English and French and went on to work at IBM for 37 years, retiring in 2018. She is active at her church, having served as former president of its church council, and she sits on the board of the Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library in Madison, Wis. “This is a tremendous honor,” she says. “We’re always learning as individuals and as institutions. It’s a process filled with energy and excitement. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it?”

President Ward, has been invaluable to me and [my wife] Sue in this time of discerning.”

Blair noted that he and Sue “will always keep Luther College close in our hearts and prayers, practicing the gratitude voiced in Philippians 1: ‘I thank my God every time I remember you.’” College Ministries continues under the leadership of Pastor Anne Edison-Albright, who started serving at Luther in 2016. She is joined through the 2019– 20 academic year by Vicar Amalia Vagts ’95, a candidate for word and sacrament ministry in the Northeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA. After her internship year, Vagts will return to Wartburg Theological Seminary for a final year of study before beginning the process of ordination and seeking a first call as pastor.

Corey Schmidt ’98 Schmidt graduated from Luther with majors in accounting and management. He worked within Thrivent Financial’s career network until 2018, when he cofounded IntentGen Financial Partners, a Thrivent-affiliated financial planning firm. He is vice chair of advancement and a board member of Loaves and Fishes Community Services, a nonprofit in Naperville, Ill., committed to providing resources to struggling families. “It is an exciting time for the college as Dr. Ward develops her vision for the future,” he says. “I look forward to using my skills that started with Phonathon and Alumni Challenge to help fund that vision for an even brighter future at Luther.”





Luther started this academic year with 11 faculty members who were promoted to full professor at the May 2019 Board of Regents meeting.

Alfredo Alonso Estenoz, Spanish Research interests: Currently, the intersection of ideology and literature in Latin America. My research focuses on the cultural and literary debates of the 1960s and their influence on the conception of literature that has dominated Latin America since then. One of the intended outcomes of this project would be the creation of a digital dictionary of Cuban writers that reflects how their ideological positions affected their literary careers. I teach because . . . it’s my way of contributing to equipping students with the tools to understand the modern world.

Joe Breitenstein, psychology Research interests: Currently, I’m gathering data to support the development of a counseling minor at Luther. In the area of environmental psychology, I am researching the life of Wallace Grange, a pioneering ecologist. Fun fact: My daughter Maggie graduated from Luther in 2019! I teach because . . . of Luther students.

Robert Christman, history Research interests: the Reformation in Germany and throughout Europe, the Black Death and its impact on culture and society, and the history of cities Fun fact: Since I began graduate school, I’ve lived about six years of my life in Germany and six months in Belgium. I teach because . . . I love getting others excited about what interests me.

Victoria Christman, history Research interests: Last year, I coedited and published Topographies of Tolerance and Intolerance: Responses to Religious Pluralism in Reformation Europe. This year, I will publish another coedited volume, Cultural Transfer and Ritual in Reformation Europe: Essays in Honor of Susan C. Karant-Nunn. In my next research project, I will examine communities of religious women in early modern England and the Low Countries.

Fun fact: I am from a huge family in the north of England. My mother is the youngest of 10 kids and my father the youngest of five. I am a first-generation college grad. I teach because . . . I am energized by sharing knowledge and continually learning more.

Nancy Gates Madsen, Spanish Research interests: dictatorship literature, memory studies (including monuments and memorials), the intersections between ecological issues and human rights, and telenovelas. I’m particularly fascinated by how stories inform our understanding of trauma, both the stories that are told and those that remain unsaid. Fun fact: After a 20-plus-year hiatus, I picked back up my clarinet and enjoy playing in the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra. I teach because . . . I love helping students transform their perspective of the world.

Brooke Joyce, music Research interests: As a composer, I am interested in both “functional” music (as in music for liturgical use, or ceremonial music) as well as concert and theater music that exists primarily to bring beauty into the world. Fun fact: When I was in middle school, I called in to Telshop, a short-lived home shopping channel, to give a live testimonial about how much I liked Hummel figurines. These were the days prior to caller ID. I teach because . . . I love learning from my students.

Beth Ray Westlund ’89, music Research interests: Body Mapping for Musicians, a method for improving quality of movement in music-making for enhanced performance and injury prevention; art song by living American composers Fun fact: I share a birthday with Martin Luther. I teach because . . . students inspire (and challenge!) me to model lifelong learning.




Derek Sweet, communication studies Research interests: the intersection of rhetoric, popular culture, and contemporary politics. I’m most excited about my current book-length project that illustrates how recent comic book–inspired texts, particularly those featuring women heroes, resist the three pillars of the alt-right: white supremacy, misogyny, and antisemitism. Fun fact: I ran my fourth marathon in October 2019. I teach because . . . our culture needs passionate critical thinkers speaking in the public square.

Eric Westlund, mathematics Research interests: hyperplane arrangements and discrete dynamical systems Fun fact: Um, Yah, Yah! I teach because . . . non nobis solum nati sumus. [Trans: not for us alone are we born.]

Andrew Whitfield, music Research interests: In my own creative work, I am especially drawn to the music of J.S. Bach; to the art song recital; and to the production, study, and advancement of the art form of opera in the modern world. Fun fact: I love languages, and if I weren’t a music teacher, I would be a language teacher! I teach because . . . I want to pass on what others have so generously shared with me.

Laurie Zaring, linguistics and French Research interests: One line of my research examines how the syntax of Old French (c. 900–1300 CE) changed over time. This helps develop formal theories of how language works and helps us understand how both cognitive and social factors influence the ways languages change. My other line of research is in indigenous language maintenance. I’m working on an easy-to-understand grammar of the Meskwaki language, taking technical linguistic descriptions of the grammar of Meskwaki and “translating” them into language that teachers and students of Meskwaki can understand. Fun fact: I used to be a Scottish Highland dancer. I teach because . . . I’m crazy about learning and learners.

Luther student athletes greet Decorah elementary students on their way into school.

COMMUNITYMINDED The Decorah Community School District issued a public letter on Nov. 3 thanking Luther College athletic teams and staff for their ongoing support of area students. The letter cited examples of Luther athletes and staff “who consistently stand out in their generosity and ongoing support of the youngest learners,” including reading with students during Reading Month, joining recesses where athletes serve as role models, demonstrating good sportsmanship, and volunteering at family and community events. In particular, the letter mentioned the seven school events at which the entire women’s basketball program, under head coach Amanda Bailey, volunteered. It also thanked assistant athletic director Alex Smith ’03 for his outreach, including pairing a Luther student-athlete mentor with a struggling John Cline Elementary School student the very same day the request was made.






Men’s soccer made the Elite Eight and finished the season ranked fifth in the DIII rankings, the highest in school history.

Men’s soccer completed the 2019 campaign by advancing to the NCAA DIII National Tournament Elite Eight for the second year in a row and fourth time in school history. It was the 10th appearance for Norse men’s soccer in the national tournament and the fifth under head coach Chris GarciaPrats, who has led the team to an overall record of 154-71-26 during his 12 years at the helm. The team finished fifth in the United Soccer Coaches’ DIII college rankings, the highest in school history.

Hoff Field named year’s best The National Fastpitch Coaches Association named Luther’s softball stadium the 2019 Turf Athletics/NFCA Division III Field of the Year. The field, comprehensively upgraded in 2016, is named after Betty A. Hoff ’60, who compiled an overall record of 544-343-1 during her 33 years as head coach of Norse softball. She was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 1992.

1st A better swing

In September, Luther celebrated the dedication of the Roger K. Fjelstul Golf Performance Center, an indoor practice space funded by gifts from Fjelstul’s family, friends, and supporters of Luther’s golf programs. Fjelstul ’56 was a twotime Iowa Conference champion and captain of Luther’s golf team for three years. He coordinated Luther’s alumni golf tournament during Homecoming for more than 30 years and, with other founding members, created, launched, and managed the annual Friends of Luther Golf Outing.

Supporters gathered in the new Roger K. Fjelstul Golf Performance Center in the Regents Center to celebrate the dedication of the room on September 27, 2019.



The center that bears his name includes the Cadillac of golf technology: a TrackMan launch monitor. Arguably the best club and ball tracking golf-radar system available today, only a few Division III Midwest colleges have one.


In October, Rabab Mohamed Nafe ’22 petitioned the UN on behalf of Sahrawi people of Western Sahara.

me. That’s how I got to know her better and got to know about Western Sahara.”

Two Luther students take their human rights concerns to the United Nations.

She continued, “My people had faith in the power of the United Nations. We had hope. I was born during the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. We are now at the end of the third decade. Should we still have hope in you? Every year, students like me address the Fourth Committee. We stand here and tell you of our suffering. We remind you of the human rights abuses. And we beg you to listen. How many more Sahrawis will have to stand here?”

In October, two Luther students seeking a solution to a decades-old conflict traveled to New York City to petition the United Nations. Bound by a shared purpose and a strong friendship, sophomores Rabab Mohamed Nafe and Sofia Martinez Cruz challenged the UN to let the people of Western Sahara vote on a referendum that would allow them self-governance in their own independent country.

But it wasn’t just Sahrawi people who petitioned in October on this issue. Cruz, an international studies major from El Salvador, became good friends with Nafe their first year at Luther. They bonded over similarities and a shared language (living in a former Spanish colony, Nafe grew up speaking Spanish, her second language). And when Cruz hit a rough patch her first year at college, she says, “Rabab was there all the time, supporting

“That was the moment that pushed me to start doing some research,” Cruz says. “I even talked to Rabab that day and apologized because I voted for him. I knew I also had responsibility in this issue because he is representing me.”

Petitioning the UN

In 1975, Western Sahara sought independence from its colonizer, Spain. Spain relinquished administrative control of the country to Mauritania and Morocco, and war broke out between those countries and a Sahrawi nationalist movement. The Sahrawi Polisario Front fended off Mauritania, but Morocco kept a stranglehold on the country, eventually building the world’s second-longest wall to divide the north of Western Sahara from the south. The situation has resulted in hundreds of thousands of displaced people, rampant human rights abuses, and decades-old refugee camps. The UN promised in

1991 to broker a referendum allowing people of Western Sahara to vote on independence, but the referendum has stalled for the past 28 years. Nafe grew up in a refugee camp in Algeria alongside 165,000 fellow Sahrawis. She lived with rationed food and water, she says, in “a sea of fabric tents. . . . Being a refugee means never having a normal life. It means that the universal declaration of human rights doesn’t apply to you.” In her address to the UN, Nafe talked about taking a geopolitical course: “We learned the history of colonization. We visited the International Court of Justice. And we discussed human rights. It was a parallel universe” to her childhood. She didn’t mince words when she admonished the committee, saying, “My home is under colonial rule. My people have no justice. Put simply, no Sahrawi children are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and everyone here in this room today know this.”

Last summer, when Cruz returned home to El Salvador, her personal stake in the situation grew when she heard her new president, Nayib Bukele, announce their country’s decision to no longer recognize Western Sahara as a nation. The following day, newspapers reported that this decision coincided with El Salvador receiving lots of Moroccan economic investment.

In petitioning the UN, Cruz wanted not only to support her dear friend but also, she says, to confront her president and raise awareness. She’s hopeful that she’s had some impact here. After posting the video of her speech on social media, she noticed that it got some traction, with people tagging her president, himself an active user of social media. “A lot of people from El Salvador listened to my speech and did research on Western Sahara,” she says. “Now there are more people who know about it and the human rights violations, and they can make their conclusions.” —Kate Frentzel

Sofia Martinez Cruz ’22 prepares to petition the UN.




MUSIC ENSEMBLE TOURS 2020 Performances marked with an asterisk will be followed by a reception. Find more details about all performances at luther.edu/music/tours.

NORDIC CHOIR WINTER TOUR January 25, 7:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church Sioux City, Iowa January 26, 4:00 p.m. First United Methodist Church Fort Dodge, Iowa

*February 9, 4:00 p.m. Plymouth Congregational Church Des Moines, Iowa

March 25, 7:00 p.m. McKinney High School McKinney, Texas

February 11, 7:30 p.m. CFL Main Hall Luther College

March 26, 7:00 p.m. Cooper High School Abilene, Texas


January 30, 7:30 p.m. Indian Trail High School Kenosha, Wis.

March 13, 7:30 p.m. Fairmont Opera House Fairmont, Minn.

January 31, 7:00 p.m. Manchester United Methodist Church Manchester, Mo.

*March 14, 7:30 p.m. Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Burnsville, Minn.

February 1, 7:00 p.m. First United Methodist Church Conway, Ark. February 3, 7:00 p.m. First Presbyterian Church Fort Worth, Texas February 4, 7:00 p.m. St. Andrew United Methodist Church Plano, Texas February 5, 7:00 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Church The Woodlands, Texas February 6, 7:30 p.m. St. Albert the Great Catholic Church Austin, Texas February 7, 7:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church Oklahoma City, Okla. February 8, 7:00 p.m. Liberty United Methodist Church Liberty, Mo.



March 15, 3:00 p.m. Owatonna High School Owatonna, Minn.

March 27, 7:30 p.m. Fellowship Lutheran Church Tulsa, Okla. March 28, 7:30 p.m. Blue Valley Northwest High School Overland Park, Kan. March 31, 7:30 p.m. CFL Main Hall Luther College

March 19, 7:30 p.m. CFL Main Hall Luther College


*April 18, 3:00 p.m. Nazareth Lutheran Church Cedar Falls, Iowa

April 23, 7:00 p.m. St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church Mahtomedi, Minn.


April 24, 7:00 p.m. Ascension Lutheran Church Waukesha, Wis.

March 21, 7:00 p.m. First Lutheran Church Topeka, Kan.

April 25, 7:00 p.m. First Lutheran Church Rockford, Ill.

*March 22, 7:00 p.m. Trietsch United Methodist Church Flower Mound, Texas

April 26, 4:00 p.m. Zion Lutheran Church Clinton, Iowa

March 23, 7:30 p.m. St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Austin, Texas

April 28, 7:30 p.m. CFL Main Hall Luther College

CATHEDRAL CHOIR MINNESOTA TOUR April 24, 7:30 p.m. First Lutheran Church Duluth, Minn. April 25, 3:00 p.m. Lord of Life Lutheran Church Baxter, Minn. April 26, 4:00 p.m. CFL Main Hall Luther College

JAZZ ORCHESTRA BRAZIL TOUR April 4, 7:00 p.m. *St. Barnabas Lutheran Church Plymouth, Minn. April 7, 7:30 p.m. CFL Main Hall Luther College May 26–June 12 International tour to Brazil


Alumni children who enrolled in fall 2019 COLORADO Denver: Milan Bartelt, parents Raju and David Bartelt ’92 Larkspur: Ella Smith, parents Lisa (Johnson) ’90 and Paul Smith

IDAHO Boise: Jalen DenHartog, parents Rachel and David DenHartog ’89

ILLINOIS Algonquin: Joshua Naumowicz, parents Heidi (Leicht) ’93 and Mark Naumowicz Batavia: Nathan Knautz, parents Ellen (Krahn) ’92 and Keith Knautz ’92 Forreston: Delaney Buisker, parents Jannelle (Johnson) ’92 and Erich Buisker Freeport: Payton Shockey, parents Sara (Crisman) ’94 and Chris Shockey ’94 Mount Prospect: Annalise Meyer, parents Sonja (Smith) ’85 and Raymond Meyer Naperville: Grace Johnson, parents Gigi (Haug) ’91 and Patrick Johnson

INDIANA Carmel: Elijah Rotto, son of Pamela (Carrington) ’84 and Knute Rotto ’84

IOWA Alburnett: Elise Smith, parents

Melissa (Kleppe) ’96 and Rick Smith • Nicole Smith, parents Melissa (Kleppe) ’96 and Rick Smith

Austin: Signe Fadness, parents Sandy (Triska) ’89 and Kris Fadness ’87

Decorah: Sara Gehling, parents Jean Ryan ’89 and Teresa and David Gehling ’91 • Simon Hadley, parents Nori (Greenlee) ’97 and Ross Hadley ’95 • Hallie Johnson, parents Bonnie and Chris Johnson ’87 • Lars Marquardt, parents Jill (Johnson) ’91 and Tom Marquardt ’91 • Elise Robison, parents Jennaya (Rogers) ’96 and Brett Robison ’96 • Emma Rooney, parents Annette (Bigler) ’88 and Dave Rooney ’88

Bloomington: Emma Elbert, parents Cindy (Schatzberg) ’89 and Kyle Elbert • Ellie Murnan, parents Joan Meldahl Murnan ’90 and Blake Murnan

Elgin: Carson Ward, parents Krista (Bement) ’93 and Steven Ward

Houston: Lillian Carlson, parents Mimi (Matthiesen) ’97 and Bob Carlson ’94

Appleton: Alexis Johnson, parents Rhonda (Schwade) Johnson ’94 and Robbie Johnson, Menasha, WI

Grinnell: Dane Edwards, parents Karen (Klopp) ’89 and Jon Edwards ’88

North Oaks: Elizabeth Kauls, parents Ruth (Berschet) ’88 and Scott Kauls ’87

Eau Claire: Sadie Pichelmann, parents Ellie (Peterson) ’96 and Mark Pichelmann ’96

Oronoco: Jacob Hansen, parents Mary (Iverson) ’83 and Ray Hansen ’83

Lancaster: Madalyn McWilliams, parents Diane (Borneman) ’95 and Dan McWilliams ’93

Lansing: Kathleen Brennan, parents Kerry (Quillin) ’94 and Mike Brennan Marion: Hayden Cronin, parents Danette and Tim Cronin ’90 Mason City: Nathan Elsbernd, parents Becky (Severson) ’97 and Randy Elsbernd Oskaloosa: Joshua Hartl, parents Karen (Argo) ’90 and Wilhelm Hartl Urbandale: Joshua Muller, parents Kim (Latzke) ’93 and Eric Muller ’91

MINNESOTA Andover: Carrington Childs, parents Karen (Brusven) ’90 and Jim Childs • Stephanie Lewis, parents Janet (Wagamon) ’91 and Jess Lewis ’90

Edina: Charles Heinecke, parents Liz (Lee) ’89 and Ken Heinecke ’89 Fairmont: Eric Head, parents Amy (Renander) ’90 and Jim Head Fergus Falls: Berit Skogen, parents Laura and Brad Skogen ’91

Ostego: Alana Walters, parents Trixie (Evenson) Dalbey ’99 and Michael Walters ’99, Maple Grove, MN Plymouth: Connor Fuzzey, parents Jennifer (Vogen) ’95 and Todd Fuzzey ’95 Rochester: Sela Rist, parents Anjanette and Warren Bandel and Daniel Kronemann and Karl Rist ’95 Saint Paul: Nathan Anderson, parents Kathy (Eckblad) ’92 and Eric Anderson ’92 • Nicholas Greseth, parents Teresa and Scott Greseth ’91 • Osa Ulland, parents Kristin Lee Ulland ’91 and Hans Ulland ’91

Sartell: Rachel Schatz, parents Joan (Schneider) ’88 and Kevin Schatz ’88 Waconia: Jacob Larson, parents Monique (Nelson) ’93 and Thomas Larson Waseca: Brynja Riehm, parents Missy (Olds) ’90 and Dave Dunn and Andy Riehm Waterville: Brianna Highum, parents Sonja (Heeler) ’93 and Andy Highum ’93


Mount Horeb: Noah Strube, parents Becky (Church) ’94 and Peter Strube ’94 Seymour: Mercede Heinke, parents Melody and Jon Heinke ’86 Verona: Anna Thomley, parents Melissa (Bonikowske) ’93 and Chad Thomley ’92 Whitehall: Riley Frank, parents Melissa (Haas) ’94 and Joseph Frank

NAMIBIA Windhoek: Tala Nengola, parents Namupa ’98 and Matty Nengola ’99





Homecoming 2019

In early October, Luther friends and family reconnected for a weekend of celebration. In addition to class reunions, lectures, awards, the Ralley in the Valley, the Homecoming Parade, and the football game, this year people participated in an open house marking the 50th anniversary of Preus Library. Classmates reunited everywhere—from the Hotel Winneshiek to Luna Valley Farm, owned by Maren (Stumme) Beard ’08 and Tom Beard—for a night of fun and reminsicence. Over the weekend, the class of 1969 celebrated their 50-year reunion (above). Nearly 200 graduates and guests attended, and the class raised more than $1.6 million for their 50-year giving campaign!




Karen (Wardell) Austad ’64 Austad, of Ontario, Wis., is a retired teacher and library media specialist who has served children throughout her career through innovative teaching and library methods. Crestwood Elementary School, where she worked from 1964 to 2000, was named a School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education in 1993. She continues to volunteer and implement programs at her local library and elementary school. She created an endowment at the NorwalkOntario-Wilton Elementary School to permanently provide funds to help feed kids in need.

Stecker, of Colorado Springs, Colo., serves as the senior technical advisor for HIV and interim program director for the Faith-Based Organization Capacity Strengthening for Universal HIV Services (FOCUS), Global Health and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Stecker researches HIV screening for children in Zambia and Uganda and previously worked to educate people in Cameroon to improve health care. During Homecoming, he gave the Ironside Distinguished Alumni Lecture in Nursing, titled “Oh the Places You'll Go! The Mission and Life of a Global Migrant.”

Richard Staff ’69 Staff, of Pigeon Falls, Wis., is a retired client services coordinator and registered nurse/ social worker. He works as a music department teaching assistant for Whitehall Memorial High School. He has been a great support to students at his school and has provided scholarships for students from his area to attend Dorian Summer Music Camps at Luther. Staff won the Wisconsin Music Education Conference Community Service Award in 1981 and the Humanitarian Award from Ashley for the Arts in 2018.

Steven Berry ’74

Carol Tomer ’79 Tomer serves as the lead pastor for Pilgrim Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minn. She co-created and has led evening contemplative services (Celtic and Nordic) at Pilgrim Lutheran Church since 2002 to help reach out to those who have felt exiled from the Christian community. She has served in leadership in the wider church and community through campus ministry, care of creation, building an inclusive church, and worship innovation.

Berry, of Des Moines, Iowa, owned a private practice for chest and infectious diseases for 35 years until his retirement in 2018. From 1993 to 2005, he served on the Luther College Board of Regents. He was also a contributing author for the book Outside In: African American History in Iowa, 1838–2000, published in 2001.

Jennifer (Clark) Nelson ’94 Nelson, of Woodinville, Wash., is the director and senior investigator of biostatistics at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Her research on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and drugs

HALL OF FAME Inductees into Luther's Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming 2019 were (left to right): Jeff Wettach '79, head coach of track and field and cross country, assistant football coach, and athlete; Zac Bartlett '09, wrestling; Dale Jensen '69, baseball; Alycia Ashburn '99, track and field; Jami Severson '99, swimming; Jane (Greene) Hildebrand '74, head women's basketball coach and athlete; Susan (Satre) Michael '94, volleyball; and Steve Corson '79, cross country and track.

MUSIC AWARDS earned her the 2009 VSD Margarette Kolczak Award for outstanding biostatistical contributions in the field of vaccine safety. In 2013, Nelson wrote a paper that was selected among the Articles of the Year by the American Journal of Epidemiology and the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

Kojo Amoo-Gottfried ’98 Amoo-Gottfried, of Shorewood, Minn., is vice president and commercial leader of Cargill's North American agriculture supply chain. As a Borlaug Dialogue Speaker at the 2017 World Food Prize conference, he spoke of the ongoing need for many partners, including government institutions and universities and colleges, to engage in the vital work of access to and maintenance of the global food chain. He was recently appointed to the board of directors of Partners in Food Solution, a nonprofit committed to improving nutrition and expanding economic development across Africa. Amoo-Gottfried received the DSA in spring 2019

Michael Anderson ’99 Anderson, of North Liberty, Iowa, is the clinical coordinator and clinical assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. He has worked to raise awareness and funds for research and treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. In 2015, he won Man of the Year from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Eastern Iowa by raising just under $140,000 in 10 weeks for the society. In 2018, he was recognized by the University of Iowa College of Nursing for the second time as the recipient of the Daisy Faculty Award and the 100 Great Iowa Nurses designation. Criteria considered for Distinguished Service Award (DSA) candidates include meritorious service to society in areas such as education, government, the arts, business, church, labor, industry, agriculture, research, medicine, and community affairs; loyalty and service to Luther; fidelity to the ideals of Luther; and timeliness of the award. Though individuals nominated for DSAs typically have a strong Luther connection, they do not have to be alumni. Nominations may be made at luther.edu/alumni/services/awards.

Weston H. Noble Award John M. Broman ’69 serves as director of choral activities at the University of North Georgia (UNG), where he teaches classes in conducting, choral methods, music appreciation, music history, diction, and applied voice. Prior to his appointment there in 1992, he taught at Dakota Wesleyan University and Loras College He has received two Presidential Awards for Service, two service awards from the UNG’s Student Government Association, and other recognitions. Carlo A. Sperati Award Timothy Arnold ’04 teaches at Orono High School in Orono, Minn., where he is director of the wind ensemble, concert band, jazz ensemble, chamber winds, music listening team, and band leadership team, and codirector of the marching and pep bands. Under his direction, the Orono Wind Ensemble performed at the Chicago Symphony Center and the Minnesota Music Educators state conference, and debuted at Carnegie Hall in April 2019. Richard C. and Joann M. Hemp Family Prize for Orchestral Performance Luke Berkley ’20, of Owatonna, Minn., is a music major and management minor who plans to pursue a master of music degree to further his music performance career. He has been a member of the Chamber Orchestra, Norskkor (Norsemen), Transcendent Brass Quintet, QTC Horn Quartet, Concert Band, and Symphony Orchestra. He has been a section leader in Concert Band for three years and principal horn in Symphony Orchestra for three years. Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award Jackson Churchill ’20, of Duluth, Minn., is a music major and music education minor who plans to pursue a master’s degree in trombone performance. A member of the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society, he has been a music theory tutor, Music Department student representative, and Dorian Summer Music Camp counselor. He has served as principal trombonist and section leader in the Concert Band, Jazz Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, and Trombone Choir. He was also a Luther College Concerto Competition winner.





I like to wonder. And given the nature of my job, I also love to wander. In the space between wonder and wander, I frequently find myself lost in thoughts. I’m wonderstruck a lot. It doesn’t take much prompting for me to begin my wonder. It happened this past summer by a simple data request from the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars Program Office. Since Luther was accepted into the program in 2004, I have had the pleasure of serving as the college’s Davis UWC Scholars contact and, in the process, have been involved in the lives of over 300 Luther Davis United World College Scholars. These students, and this program, have enriched my life—but more than that, they’ve enriched the life of this college. The Davis United World College Scholars program, begun in 2000, has grown into the largest international undergraduate scholarship program in the world, with over 10,000 alumni. Luther became a partner college in 2004 and enrolled our first two scholars—from Malaysia and Bolivia—in 2005. Since that time, 192 Luther Davis UWC Scholars have graduated from Luther. And with the current group of 113 scholars on campus, our 15th year of the program marks over 300 scholars. The program is the brainchild of philanthropist Shelby Davis and educationalist Philip Geier. Their act of wonder was one in which bright high school students from across the globe would be provided with the educational tools, pathways, and funding to make possible



a college education and, in the process, help shape a better world. They created a marvelous bridge between students attending one of the 18 United World Colleges in the world (rigorous, globally focused, preparatory high schools located in 18 different countries) and selected colleges and universities in the US. Luther is one of their current 99 college and university partners. Their wise program vision is now enacted every day through the lives of thousands of college students—over 3,400 currently enrolled—whose very education makes possible the promise of a better world. In addition to the sheer number of Luther Davis UWC Scholar alumni, Luther has received a cumulative total of over $16.8 million in Davis UWC Scholarship support. Luther students have also received almost $200,000 more in peace project support through the Davis Projects for Peace. This scholarship support through the Davis UWC Scholars Program has—literally—changed the educational and career trajectories of hundreds of students at Luther. And it has changed Luther, too. What a marvelous gift. At Luther, the Davis UWC Scholars are but one part of a larger group of equally talented international students from educational institutions around the world. Although this article lifts up the stories of a segment of our international students, I’m incredibly proud of and moved by the accomplishments of all of our

For 15 years, the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars Program at Luther and the 300+ students it’s sponsored have enriched the lives of our scholars, our campus, and the world.

international students. It takes great courage to throw yourself into college-level study in a new culture, country, and context. And so the story of our Davis UWC Scholars is but one part of the larger Luther international student story. In summer 2019, the Center for Global Learning reached out to Luther’s Davis UWC Scholar alumni through an online survey. We wanted to know a bit more about what our Luther Davis UWC Scholars did while here . . . and gain glimpses into their lives once they had moved on. What follows is, in part, their story—told through charts, tables, and graphs. It’s also animated by interviews with a few of the alumni, narrated through the skilled voice of Ismail Hamid ’19, himself a Luther Davis UWC Scholar who now serves as the recent graduate intern in the Luther Center for Global Learning. He, too, likes to wonder. ____ Jon Lund serves as the executive director of the Center for Global Learning and International Admissions. As the Luther administrator who both oversees all of the college’s off-campus programs and manages the college’s admissions and scholarship processes for international students, he gets around. He feels badly about his carbon footprint but also knows Luther is a stronger institution because of our global connections. He tracks his annual flight miles to account for his carbon emissions and calculates that since 2007, he’s traveled the equivalent of two trips to the moon and back (239,000 miles each way) or almost 38 times around the world (25,000 miles per lap). Nobody should doubt Luther’s commitment to being globally connected!



Arme nia 3 Ban glad esh 2 Bel aru s4 Bo livia Bo 2 sn iaBu H e run rze di Ca go 3 vin m a2 b Ca od ia m er 3 oo n 3


Afghanistan 6

19 abwe Zimb







or L












e Vi



ra ha Sa


m Za

rn te es W









m olo



ta os








pt 2



nd 2


or 4


El Sa

Luther Davis UWC Scholars by Citizenship




Sudan 3 South Sudan 2

Countries with one Davis UWC scholar

South Africa 5

Serbia 2 a3 Rwand ia 2 Russ nes







Argentina Australia Bahamas Belgium Botswana Chile Cote D'Ivoire Czech Republic France Guatemala



Hong Kong SAR Hungary Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kosovo Lebanon Libya Marshall Islands Mongolia New Zealand Panama


sta aki

2 ay rw a 2 o i N r ge Ni

eSwatini 21

Paraguay Peru Poland Somalia Spain Sri Lanka Syria Tajikistan Trinidad & Tobago United Kingdom













a 10


Alumni/Attendees 190


Indonesia 3

Iraq 2

Laos 2



49 +51z

Current Students 113

Kenya 4

es 4 ays ia 2 Mal aw Libe i 2 ria 2 Lesoth o4

















37 +63z

Scholars by Current Student or Alumni/Attendees

Scholars by Gender


Women 147


Men 156



Wandering into a Larger World Last year at this time, as I was counting my days until graduation from Luther, I knew I was ready to graduate but was not yet quite ready to leave. I felt both comfortable and welcome here—at Luther and in Decorah—and was not yet fully eager to step out into the larger world. So when the opportunity presented itself to work at Luther as the intern in the Center for Global Learning, I happily accepted the new role. I didn’t realize at the time—but certainly recognize now—that working at the Center for Global Learning would allow me daily to continue to wander out into the larger world. As part of my job, I advise students who want to study away on domestic and international programs. Every day I get to introduce students to different study-away options in Nottingham, Malta, Münster, and Rochester; to J-Term programs spanning virtually all continents; to nearly 2,000 programs through our partner providers around the world. Every day, I get to see students’ eyes light up with wonder as we figure out together where in the world they might want to wander. The second part of my job allows me to assist in different aspects of the international admissions process. As an international student and a Davis UWC Scholar, I feel that this part of the job is deeply personal, as I fundamentally

believe that the presence of international students enriches the Luther community and brings diverse and valuable perspectives that would otherwise be absent from important discussions on campus. I also know that the work we do at Luther changes lives. It provides international students with the opportunity to get a top-notch education in an environment that fosters personal growth and equips students with the tools they need to make a difference in their communities and around the world. When I started reading the stories of Davis UWC Scholars collected this summer, I was struck by the impact these alumni are having all over the world. From Amalia Awala ’18, who is researching epilepsy at the University of Cape Town, to Braulio Dumba ’11, who upon completion of his PhD in computer science accepted a position at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., to Prometheu Tyagi ’15, who returned to India to offer his marketing and branding skills to a social enterprise focused on empowering rural and non-formally educated women. The impacts that Davis Scholars have on the world are just as diverse as the places they come from. I was also struck by the fact that gratitude was a common theme. They were thankful for the friends they made here. They were thankful

for the memories, both good and bad, that made them stronger. They were not always thankful for the winter . . . and that is okay. They were thankful to the people who made it all possible—Luther College, the Davis UWC Scholars Program, the numerous offices on campus, and the larger Decorah community. They were thankful for the opportunity to learn at Luther, and for the doors it opened up for them. As I reflect now on my next journey, I’m still not quite yet ready to leave. But I know I need to go. The stories from our Davis UWC Scholars remind me that there’s a much larger world to encounter. And their stories motivate me to wander more boldly into it. _____ Ismail Hamid ’19 works as the Luther Center for Global Learning intern. In May 2019 he graduated from Luther with majors in political science and international studies. His journey to Luther began in the Maldives, continued at the UWC Atlantic College in Wales, and eventually brought him to Decorah. The son of a taxi driver in the Maldives, he shares his father’s passion for journeys. After his one-year position at Luther, he plans to continue his education as he pursues a master’s degree in international education. And his dream job? To return to Luther College, where he can continue to assist students as they move into a larger world.

7+1+945271415319 Li Po Chun (Hong Kong) 20 7%

Pearson College (Canada) 4 1%

Kamhlaba (eSwatini) 60 20%

Adriatic (Italy) 26 9%

USA 10 3% Thailand 4 1% South East Asia (Singapore) 14 5%

Scholars by UWC Attended

Robert Bosch College (Germany) 12 4%

Atlantic College (Wales) 12 4% Changshu (China) 4 1% Costa Rica 16 5% Dilijan (Armenia) 6 2% Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 5 2%

ISAK (Japan) 2 1%

Red Cross Nordic (Norway) 45 15%

Maastricht (Netherlands) 21 7%

Mahindra College (India) 42 14%



212+ 15714+ 112732+ 232621+ 252933+ 24

Scholars by Major(s) at Graduation Major1
































Communication Studies





Computer Science





Data Science














Environmental Studies






















Individualized Interdisciplinary




International Studies










Management Information Systems

































Political Science










Social Work















Women & Gender Studies
























Scholars by Graduation Year/Anticipated Graduation Year

Alison Blake Seeing truth from somebody else’s eyes Few students at Luther have had such a strong impact on fellow students’ lives in such a short period of time as Alison Blake ’11. Alison assumed the position of manager of student accounts in April 2018, a position in which she works closely with students on everything from tuition and fee payments to scholarship tax implications to budgeting. Although soft-spoken and kind, no one doubts Alison’s determination to boldly do well by students. She loves the challenge of looking at financial issues through a fresh set of eyes and is willing to help institute change as needed. She is driven by a strong sense of purpose and sees it as her mission “to make it possible for students from all backgrounds to stay and be successful at Luther.” Alison’s journey to Luther started in Montezuma, New Mexico, at the UWC-USA. Coming from the small Iowa town of Dorchester, Alison was hungry to see the world through a fresh set of lenses. She describes waking up the first morning in New Mexico only to hear her Israeli roommate speaking Hebrew with her family, and she vividly remembers the first meal she shared with other students from all over the world. The opportunity to interact with a global student body left a profound impression on Alison. Reflecting on it now she says, “UWC allowed us to see our truth from somebody else’s eyes.” After a college search encompassing a number of Davis United World College Scholars Program campuses across the country, Alison’s global wandering led her to Luther, only 25 miles from where she began. With majors in art history and French, Alison used Luther’s strong study-abroad culture to further broaden her horizons by completing a yearlong program in Nantes, France. Not only did she get to hone her French-language skills, but she also fueled her artistic passions. In France, she was able to study famous paintings in class and then actually view the works of art later that day. Upon graduation, she worked in a variety of jobs related to business and management, which ultimately led her to pursue a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. For Alison, the decision to return to Luther for employment felt like, and indeed is, a matter of coming home. In many ways, the work she does at Luther is a natural extension of the vision embodied by Shelby Davis and Philip Geier with the establishment of the Davis UWC Scholars Program. Both program founders—and Alison—recognize the power of education to shape a more equitable, just, globally connected, and sustainable future. Alison touches lives by living purposefully—and in the process, she assists Luther’s Davis UWC Scholars as they fulfill their dreams. LUTHER MAGA ZINE


Bernarda Kaculete That I could change the world Bernarda Kaculete ’17 always knew she wanted to make an impact in her home country of Angola. The middle child of five siblings, Bernarda was raised by parents who instilled a strong sense of purpose and placed great value on her education. She recognized early on that one of the best ways for her to make a lasting impact was through education. She was often the top student in her classes and, from a young age, was motivated to learn actively. It was not by accident that her school in Angola identified her as a worthy applicant for the United World College program. Bernarda says she was born on the coldest day of the year in Angola. Perhaps this explains her affinity for cold weather? Whatever the reason, she was thrilled to be accepted to the UWC Red Cross Nordic in Flekke, situated in the beautiful fjord region of western Norway. After completing the International Baccalaure-

ate degree, Luther was her natural next step. She wanted to be in a place where she could continue to enjoy the warmth of the Norwegian culture she had come to love—and she wanted to be somewhere cold. Luther fit the bill. Her first memory of the college? The view from Highway 52 as it descends into the valley, opening up the iconic vista of campus and Decorah. She knew immediately she could make a home here. At Luther, she quickly made a home and, more importantly, started to make an impact. She was a member of Student Senate and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. In spring 2015, she participated in Semester at Sea, also made possible by Shelby Davis, and shed a tear upon meeting him aboard ship. “Mr. Davis, without knowing me, believed I could do a lot—that I could change the world,” she says. She returned to Luther and in 2017 became the president of Beta Theta Omega, an organization that seeks to empower the next generation of female leaders on campus. In reflecting

on her journey, Bernarda says, “UWC provided me with the passion to make change; Luther provided me with the tools necessary to make those changes.” After graduating from Luther with a major in international studies and a minor in management, Bernarda decided to return home. She accepted a position teaching business management at a high school in the capital of Luanda. She uses her position as an opportunity to teach students about ethics, especially as applied to business—a component that’s often missing in the Angolan curriculum. She credits her experiences at both the UWC Red Cross Nordic and at Luther for helping her appreciate ethics as an important component of educating the next generation of leaders. To be sure, Luanda may be a few degrees warmer than either Flekke or Decorah. Nonetheless, Bernarda is grateful to return home, where she hopes to make a difference.

Graduate 175


Scholars by Graduation Rate

8+92z TOTAL 190


Attended, Did Not Graduate 15

Projects for Peace

13 years of enhancing prospects for peace around the world

Begun in 2007 through the generosity of Kathryn W. Davis, a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist, Projects for Peace is an initiative for all undergraduate students enrolled at one of the Davis United World College Scholars Program partner schools. Luther students have participated in the program since its inception; 31 students have undertaken 18 different projects in 18 different countries. Each project receives $10,000 for participants to make a difference in the world each summer—through conflict resolution, building understanding, encouraging reconciliation, and breaking down barriers—enabling undergraduate students to develop the building blocks for sustainable peace. The ultimate goal? To spark in students the desire to change the world.

Luther Davis UWC Scholar Alumni by Current Occupation

Administrative/Clerical 1 Agricultural/Natural Resources 3 Arts/Entertainment 3 Banking/Financial Services 12 Business/Professional 31 Communications/Media 1 Education and Training 16 Entrepreneurship 1 Environmental/Sustainable 1 Government/Public Service 3 Graduate Study/Internships 20 Health Care/Medicine 6 Hospitality/Service 2 Information Technology 16 Sales/Marketing 2 Social & Protective Services 2 STEM 13 Unknown/Unemployed 42 TOTAL 175



Luther Davis UWC Scholars by Current Country of Residence

Imsouchivy (G.V.) Sous Big parking lots . . . and even bigger dreams Imsouchivy Sous ’15, who goes by G.V., has a very big name to live up to. Derived from Sanskrit and Pali, Souchivy means life is perseverance. True to his name, G.V. has exemplified what it means to live life fully and persevere through challenge. Perhaps his biggest challenges lie ahead in his role as a young, promising trade diplomat with the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, where G.V. is involved in the negotiation of various free-trade agreements within the ASEAN countries. When signed, agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will create the biggest trade bloc in the world. Prior to his arrival at Li Po Chun United World College in Hong Kong—an experience that literally changed the trajectory of his life—G.V. had minimal experiences outside Cambodia. Although he was a top student in Cambodia, his English language abilities were limited. At the UWC, he was thrust into the rigorous International Baccalaureate program, which was mostly taught in English. This was truly a sink-or-swim experience—and he rose to the challenge and persevered. For many international students, the

thought of attending a small liberal arts college in the Upper Midwest is not necessarily top of mind. But G.V. felt drawn to Luther because of the quality of education, strength of community, and the generous financial support offered through Luther and the Davis United World College Scholars Program. He still remembers his first drive to campus and waking up early the next morning to take it all in. “It was beautiful—and I had never seen parking lots that big in my life,” he says. G.V. thrived at the college, becoming the first Cambodian to complete his studies here. It’s impossible to write of G.V.’s involvement and impact at Luther without a sense of list-making. While at Luther, he majored in management and economics, served as a resident assistant in Ylvisaker, and then became the assistant hall director in Farwell. He was selected as a Peace Scholar and did a summer-long intensive peace studies program at the Nansen Center in Lillehammer and the University of Oslo, Norway. Additionally, he

worked at Luther’s Photo Bureau, where he put his observant eyes to good use and displayed his street and travel photography widely across campus. He also co-led a few student organizations, hosted a weekly KWLC radio show, and managed to squeeze in a semester study-away experience on Luther’s Malta Program. G.V. firmly believes in the mantra Learn, earn, and return, which he first learned from Mr. Shelby Davis. Armed with the knowledge and experiences from the UWC and Luther, he is engaged in the world. He has now visited 61 countries and regularly mentors young leaders while representing Cambodia at major global leadership summits. He has also worked as a global youth consultant for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250, as well as on promoting sustainable development goals in Cambodia. G.V.’s experiences already demonstrate a life focused on leading courageously. He has truly made his name a big one to live up to.



Film (and selfâ&#x20AC;&#x2026;) studies Through a student-faculty research project, senior Emma Busch revisits a Hollywood film shot 20 years ago in Iowa . . . and learns something valuable about herself in the process.



As her faculty collaborator, I’m pleased to provide a brief introduction to Emma Busch’s summer research project on the 1999 David Lynch film The Straight Story. Emma’s experience captures a particular Luther College flavor because she created a way to explore her own kind of squirrely fascinations so that, in the process, she’d develop a set of core competencies and produce socially relevant cultural insights to publish. In our first meetings, Emma and I decided this would be a worthy project because 2019 is an anniversary year for the film, David Lynch is currently being recognized at the highest tier of filmmaking honors, and The Straight Story is one among very few films set and filmed in Iowa. We didn’t know which directions, digressions, and detours the project might take, yet that openness seemed to inspire and energize Emma. Something that impressed me immediately was Emma’s dedication to discerning whom to contact in the town of Laurens, Iowa, where the actual Alvin Straight lived at the time of his ridinglawn-mower journey, followed by her resolve to connect with them through cold calls. At a time when I observe a lot of college-age students strongly preferring text over talk with their phones, Emma reached out and made immediate connections with folks in the local library and elsewhere to set up in-person interviews. Then she skillfully interviewed her new acquaintances in Laurens, flexing with some personal challenges connected to aging and mortality that arose and seizing opportunities as she glimpsed them while on location. By summer’s end, Emma had published one very fine work of social journalism, and she’s continuing to produce more print and audio-visual works with the materials she captured. Reflecting on Emma’s work, I see how this experience transformed Emma personally and professionally. I also see how she’ll be able to translate the core competencies of research, interpersonal connection, analysis, and communication to navigating the journey after her Luther studies are complete—a story that’s likely to be anything but straight, except perhaps in retrospect, when the dots of opportunities and accomplishments like this start to appear connected, akin to what Alvin sees in the film when gazing up at the clear Iowa nighttime sky. —Andy Hageman, professor of English



Approximately one in four adults, or 61 million people, in the United States are living with what the CDC classifies as one of six categories of disability: mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, independent living, and self-care.

As part of her summer research project, Emma Busch '20 made connections with townspeople in Laurens, Iowa, where David Lynch filmed The Straight Story.



I spent the summer of 2019 neck-deep in digital newspaper archives, slapping sticky notes in every book about David Lynch in Preus Library, and compiling a massive Google document of material about his 1999 film The Straight Story in the service of my collaborative student/faculty research project with associate professor of English Andy Hageman. While Andy’s guidance was incredibly helpful and I appreciated his willingness to humor my fixation on David Lynch memes, this project was ultimately my own. It was my responsibility to find information about this odd little outlier in Lynch’s filmography and make something out of it. On the one hand, I loved this because I hate being told what to do. On the other, it was also very daunting. Since The Straight Story features the journey of 73-year-old Alvin Straight, who drove a riding lawn mower 240 miles to see his ailing brother, I wasn’t worried about its worthiness of study. It’s an inherently interesting story, and there wasn’t a single person I spoke to in the months leading up to my project who didn’t want to know more. However, the lack of critical interest in the film’s portrayal of disability became a particular point of concern early in my research. According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, approximately one in four adults, or 61 million people, in the United States are living with what the CDC classifies as one of six categories of disability: mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, independent living, and self-care. This significant portion of the population has been marginalized throughout history because of the stigma surrounding disability. As the summer progressed, I realized that I am one of these 61 million people. I kept this realization to myself until the end of the project, when I returned home, scheduled a doctor’s appointment, and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. In another recent appointment, my doctor said, “I can’t officially diagnose you because I’m not a therapist, but you exhibit many tendencies of obsessive-compulsive disorder,” which is obvious to anyone who has ever witnessed me stress-clean. Neither of these official or unofficial diagnoses were

shocking; I’d long suspected that something about me was a little different from other people. Functioning with these unacknowledged disorders forced me to develop coping mechanisms that were actually beneficial to me in the course of my research, especially once I visited Laurens, Iowa, the city where Alvin Straight lived during the last few years of his life and home to his famous lawn mower. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dealt with my anxiety and compulsions by walking or biking aimlessly around my hometown. Whenever I got overwhelmed this summer, I did the same in Decorah, revisiting the Decorah Community Prairie and Trout Run Trail over and over (even though the geese that hang out by the Upper Iowa River are evil incarnate). These solitary walks around town became part of my daily routine: wake up, research, walk, and write. Sometimes these walks helped me surmount writing hurdles. Other days, it was nice to recharge after I interviewing someone over the phone—one of my absolute least favorite things to do on this planet. An arguably less healthy coping mechanism I’d developed from a young age was the ability to compartmentalize my feelings to the point where I can mask my panic attacks well enough that they just look like sudden agitation or reservation to those around me. Healthy or not, these approaches to dealing with my mental illnesses allowed me to drag myself through the day, especially after I encountered a major curveball in Laurens. My roommate Amber was gracious enough to help me film the visual component of my summer research project. Our plan was to stay with Amber’s grandparents, who live just 10 minutes outside Laurens, so we wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel. After spending a day or two in Laurens, we would drive the actual route Alvin took on his 1994 journey to see his brother. I wish everything had been that simple. The Laurens visit itself went fairly well: we saw Alvin’s riding lawn mower in surprisingly good condition in a tiny house-like shed on the site of his former home, which was likely destroyed by an arsonist shortly after The Straight Story was released. The Laurens Public Library

Emma Busch ’20 conducted and filmed interviews during the course of her summer research project. From the material, she has published one article, plans to publish a second, and is editing the footage she captured.

staff were very generous with their time, and I appreciated their willingness to call friends and neighbors for impromptu interviews in addition to those I had already scheduled. However, toward the end of our interview sessions in the library, Amber became withdrawn. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong and became increasingly agitated as she remained glued to her phone instead of watching the camera. After completing our interviews, I battled with the library’s massive scrapbooks on The Straight Story and their finicky document scanner while she took a lunch break outside. Overwhelmed with anxiety and anger, I went outside to ask Amber, with as much composure as I could muster, if everything was okay. She looked up at me from her phone and said, “My grandma has less than a week to live.” I had no idea how to respond. I feel like a monster for this now, but my anxiety got the better of me and I asked if she might still be able to continue the project. Amber said she wasn’t sure, but I knew in my gut that the rest of the trip wasn’t going to work out, which plunged me into a quiet state of anxiety it took hours to dig myself out of. Sadly, Amber lost her grandmother the next morning. After a lot of hugging and crying, we arranged to hand her off to her dad at a nearby gas station. I’m lucky to have supportive parents, and they offered to help me finish the project. My dad would be my passenger as I traced Alvin’s route. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I’m proud of myself for managing to adapt my plans during an anxiety attack, and I believe that the flexibility I developed through embracing unscheduled, impromptu interviews in Laurens was partly responsible for my ability to roll with the punches when this larger obstacle arose. As my dad and I drove those Iowa back roads, I thought about Alvin. He used two canes as mobility aids because of the severity of his arthritis and was legally blind, both of which are realities most film critics and scholars rarely mention in their writing on The Straight Story. Perhaps it’s easier to engage with Alvin as a quirky old man who drove a riding lawn

mower hundreds of miles on narrow county roads for fun, but that’s not an accurate assessment. Alvin didn’t have a driver’s license because of his vision impairment, so driving a car was out of the question. I don’t have a concrete answer as to why he didn’t accept a ride. Maybe it was a gesture for his brother, or maybe Alvin was just that stubborn. It’s also possible that nobody in town ever offered to give him a ride. Regardless of the reason, Alvin made do with the resources available to him in the same way I have since childhood. While our disabilities manifest in different ways, I feel a sense of kinship with Alvin. Adapting to a world that wasn’t built with any consideration for disability is exhausting, and people with disabilities shouldn’t have to do this. It’s not characterbuilding or a testament to our supposed superhuman inner strength—it’s just exhausting. At the same time, I’m proud of Alvin for reaching his brother’s house in the most creative way possible, and I’m proud of myself for reaching out for and accepting help when I needed it over the course of this project. I’m fundamentally the same person I’ve always been, but now I feel strong enough to relate to a quote Alvin gave about his trip to an Associated Press reporter in 1994: “What would I be scared of? . . . I’ve got two good canes.” Since completing my research, I published an article on the website 25 Years Later about actor Richard Farnsworth’s portrayal of Alvin Straight. I’m in the process of finishing one on Sissy Spacek’s portrayal of his daughter and editing the footage Amber and I captured in Laurens. Some days are still difficult, but I’m managing my symptoms a lot better now. My future plans still feel very much up in the air, but The Straight Story and depictions of disability in popular culture remain at the forefront of my mind. I’m considering attending graduate school to further my engagement in disability studies. Maybe I’ll take a cross-country lawn mower trip? We’ll see. —Emma Busch ’20

Adapting to a world that wasn’t built with any consideration for disability is exhausting, and people with disabilities shouldn’t have to do this. It’s not characterbuilding or a testament to our supposed superhuman inner strength—it’s just exhausting.




Perry Brown ’57, a veteran of the Korean War, took a Freedom Honor Flight in June 2018. He’s pictured at left with Denise Becker, his volunteer guardian during the trip.

Remembering veterans

Brown’s “remembrances” are poems and prose pieces that he’s distributed—framed or laminated— to hundreds of veterans to let them know they haven’t been forgotten. Perry Brown ’57, a retired high school teacher in La Crescent, Minn., has made it a mission in life to acknowledge the service of war veterans. A veteran himself, Brown grew up in Spring Grove, Minn. As a college student, he took a leave of absence from Luther in order to serve in the US military during the Korean War. Several of his coaches and teammates on the Norse football team also served. Among them, Brown lists coach Edsel Schweizer, assistant coaches John Knipsel and Don Marquard ’56, Denny Mair ’56, LeRoy Schoenfeld ’56, Dick Knutson ’57, Dave Leikvold ’57, Jim Malone ’57, Don Nesheim ’57, and Roger Rima ’59.    The return home following the war, Brown says, was jarring:



“Friends both at Luther and in Spring Grove would say, ‘Hey, Perry, where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you for a while.’ This was a forgotten war.”    As a high school teacher in La Crescent in the 1960s and ’70s, Brown saw history repeat itself during the Vietnam War when his former students returned from a devastating experience to a very mixed homecoming. “When the high school boys came back,” he says, “quite a few came back wounded, with Purple Hearts. The way the war went, I was prompted into writing these remembrances.” Brown’s “remembrances” are poems and prose pieces about the wars that he’s distributed—framed or laminated—to hundreds of veterans to let

them know they haven’t been forgotten. In addition to honoring fellow members of the armed forces, one of Brown’s poems was read during the dedication of a monument to service dogs in California. In June of 2018, Brown took a Freedom Honor Flight through the Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit that flies veterans free of charge to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C. “It was 100 degrees in Washington that day,” Brown recalls. “Some of the veterans were 90 years old. Every time the bus doors opened, there was a container of ice water. They just insisted you take one.” The visit went off almost without a hitch. When the group left D.C. to return

home, the 75 wheelchairs in the bottom of the plane came loose, and they had to make an emergency landing to tie the chairs back down. But that snafu aside, the trip was a success. And the veterans’ homecoming this time was a very different experience. “Because of the problem with the wheelchairs,” Brown says, “we got back to La Crosse, Wisc., at 1:00 a.m. At the airport they opened up the doors to the hangar, and it was full of people, including the high school band from Sparta, playing to welcome us home.” —Kate Frentzel


Sharran Srivatsaa ’01 cofounded a software company with fellow participants after a contest as a Luther student. He’s been on an upward trajectory ever since.

From Luther to CEO

Sharran Srivatsaa ’01, now a mentor himself, credits his Luther mentors Sharran Srivatsaa ’01 leads an inspirational conference call for thousands of business leaders every day at 5 a.m. Now the CEO of the real estate software company Kingston Lane, Srivatsaa began his career by cofounding a software company, later growing a real estate company to ten times its size in just five years. In his 5 a.m. Club, he passes along the wisdom he has gathered through managing a wildly successful entrepreneurial career and from working with his own mentors, starting with advisers at Luther College. Srivatsaa came to Luther at age 16 from Chennai, India. He joined organizations such as the Student Activities Council (SAC), played on the tennis team, had a campus job, and began experimenting with his own business ideas. “Because of the intimate access to staff, faculty, and administration,” he says, “I had many individuals who served as mentors to me.”

Trish Neubauer, director of student activities and Dahl Centennial Union, taught Srivatsaa about the value of creating great experiences, he says. “She would always tell me that our memories of Luther would be based on our relationships and experiences, which is why SAC played a pivotal role in bringing great experiences to campus. Even today as I think about building companies and cultures, I think about the experiences that our clients and employees have every day.” From Rich Leake, former Luther tennis coach, he learned the power of being consistent. “Come rain or shine or snow, tough matches or long travel meets, Rich always showed up consistently every single day.” That’s part of the basis on which Srivatsaa built his 5 a.m. Club conference call, which is successful and gaining in participation precisely because he does it every single day.

Srivatsaa credits Luther music professor Juan Tony Guzmán ’90 for taking him under his wing. “He treated me like family and even hosted my parents when they visited,” Srivatsaa says. “When someone just steps in and takes care of you unconditionally, it’s a pretty amazing thing. It taught me a lot about life, love, and personal responsibility.” He also found mentors on the custodial staff during his work-study assignment. They helped him understand American colloquialism and pronunciations, which he says helped him assimilate a lot faster into a new culture and country. Srivatsaa, a computer science and math major, also began developing his business skills at Luther, partnering with other students to add magazine and coffee deliveries to his newspaper route.

Computer science professor Kent Lee ’87 took Srivatsaa to various programming contests. It was an event at UC–Berkeley that launched Srivatsaa’s career and introduced him to a key business mentor. On the advice of contest judge Peter Loewy, Srivatsaa formed a software company with other contestants. Several years later they sold it for a profit, and Srivatsaa took some time to enjoy his tennis skills, teaching at luxury resorts in the Caribbean, on Maui, in Dubai, and in Singapore. He recruited Luther teammates Chris Jasper ’02, Rob Gerdts ’02, and Randy Mack ’03 to join him. Next up was earning a business degree from Vanderbilt University and a stint on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. Then one day his business mentor, Loewy, called to ask advice about a Southern California real estate company, Teles Properties. The two ended up taking over the company, increasing it by ten times its size in just five years and selling it to the huge real estate firm Douglas Elliman. Srivatsaa lives in Laguna Beach, Calif., with his wife, Neeti, and their children Neal, 8, and Lara, 3. He still partners with Loewy and continues to reach out to other business leaders to ask advice. But it was at Luther, Srivatsaa says, that he first learned the importance of having mentors in his life and of becoming one himself. —Ellen Modersohn




Lilah Aas ’67 (left) and Kristin Skaar ’09 met through their involvement with the Habitat 500 Bike Ride. About the photo, Skaar says, “We were unloading bags from the truck on our last day and were feeling really powerful, so we decided to flex a bit!”

Alumnae decades apart share a cause Kristin Skaar ’09 organizes the Habitat 500 Bike Ride, for which Lilah (Estrem) Aas ’67 has raised an astonishing $200,000 over 23 years. “I really got going with Habitat for Humanity at Luther,” Kristin Skaar ’09 says. For three years in college, she went on Habitat trips to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to work on repair projects after Hurricane Katrina, and she was president of Luther’s Habitat Campus Chapter her senior year. “Lots of my lasting friendships at Luther came from people I spent time with on those trips,” she says. As a Luther student, Skaar also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat in her hometown of Marshalltown, Iowa.  28


A management and Spanish major at Luther, Skaar was drawn to working with nonprofits. She says, “I started out as a management major because it felt applicable to a lot of things. But in any project that I had, I would try to do things related to nonprofits. I remember taking a social entrepreneurship class that was really great. I was trying to find that sort of thing as much as I could. When I got involved in Habitat on campus and in my hometown, I realized I could really make something out of this. Days when I was doing hard, and

sometimes physically challenging things, I was still excited about it, because it was part of this great mission. Something clicked as I was looking for the direction I wanted to take.” After graduating, she was accepted into the Lutheran Volunteer Corps to work with Twin Cities Habitat as a marketing and events assistant. Later, after a few years working at The ALS Association, she returned to her Habitat roots, this time in a development and communications role at Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota. “This office

is unique,” she says. “We’re called a state support organization because we exist to help all 28 Habitat organizations across the state. We help make mortgages more affordable and help affiliates finance so they can build at faster rates.” An aspect of her role that Skaar really enjoys is her involvement with Habitat 500, a 500-mile bike ride that raises money and awareness for the organization. “It really is a unique event. It’s a week long in July, and we travel to different parts of the state each year. We set up camps at high

schools or middle schools or community centers along the way. I’ve probably slept in more than 20 high school gymnasiums in Minnesota by now,” Skaar laughs. “It’s basically a moving camp that goes from town to town.” Skaar describes the energy during a Habitat 500 ride as “a mix of a family reunion and summer camp. You know that excitement when you get back and see all your friends and family? Over the years, people have seen their Habitat 500 friends have kids or lose spouses, and they’ve spent a lot of time out on the road together, having conversations and becoming close. I really like getting to lead all those people. I was never a camp counselor, but I feel like I missed my calling a little bit,” she jokes. “We’re getting up early and eating meals together, and we have a common goal. A lot of people on the ride weren’t really cyclists before, but they loved Habitat and were looking for a way to dig deeper.” Lilah (Estrem) Aas ’67 is one of those people. This summer, she participated in her 23rd Habitat 500 ride. Over her years of biking, she has raised nearly $200,000 for the organization. But when she decided more than 23 years ago to participate, she didn’t even own a bicycle. “One summer my late husband and I were at a grocery store in Vergas, Minnesota, a few miles from our cabin, and people were going through on a bike ride,” Aas recalls. “We overhead one woman say that she was doing it to celebrate her 40th birthday. I was not a bike rider, I did not own a bike, and this was before the term ‘bucket list’ existed, but I still thought, I should try to do this before I’m 50.” 

Years passed, and Aas, then director of National Honor Society at Albert Lea High School, was helping students make plans for their service projects. Providentially, she received a mailer about the ride during this time, and she and several students agreed to do it. Come May, all six students had dropped out, but Aas went through with it. She sent in her $100 registration, and the following week she bought a bike. “It was ridiculous,” she says. “I had no idea what I’d gotten into.” Tragically, Aas’s nephew died in a climbing accident in Colorado shortly before her first ride. His funeral was on a Friday, and the ride kicked off on Sunday. “I started the ride with an incredibly heavy heart. I was so exhausted, but I did the whole week. And actually, it was so therapeutic to be riding while grieving my dear nephew. I rode every mile of every day and made so many friends who helped me learn how—I had never ridden a bike with gears before. By the end of the week, someone said, ‘So, Lilah, are you going to be back next year?’ And I said, ‘God willing!’”  Not only did Aas return, but she quickly became one of the ride’s strongest fundraisers. Skaar says, “Sometimes if she hasn’t gotten her fundraising letter out, she’ll hear from friends at church who start to bug her. It’s an expectation that she always does it.” Ironically, fundraising didn’t come naturally to Aas. “That first year, we had to raise $1,000 minimum, and that was more intimidating to me than learning to ride a bike!” she says. “When you’re raised in a Scandinavian household, you just don’t talk about money, let alone go out and ask people for it. That first



Aas did not even own a bicycle when she signed up for her first Habitat 500 ride, but she was in fine form during the ride in 2015.

year, I had 46 donors and something like $1,300.” She’s gone up from there. Some years she’s had more than 200 donors, and she’s hit or exceeded the $10,000 mark every year since her fifth or sixth ride. Some years, family members John Estrem ’59 and LeAllan Estrem ’81 fundraised and rode with her, notably to build a house to honor her late nephew (John’s son and LeAllan’s brother). By this point, Aas is a deft fundraiser, but she approaches the task with gratitude. Skaar says, “Lilah was one of the people I remember from my first year coordinating the ride. She would be sitting up with a couple other longtime riders writing thank you notes. She brings a big stack, so in the evening she’s always sitting in the cafeteria writing thank you notes to all her donors.”

Habitat 500 riders can choose where to funnel the money they raise, and she always funnels hers back into the Albert Lea region. As a teacher, she saw the tough circumstances in some of her students’ lives. “There’s so much need,” she says. “If I’m going to put this butt on a bike, it’s going to be for a cause.” Last summer, during her 23rd Habitat 500 ride, Aas took on a slightly different role, biking half the time and volunteering as ride support the other half—for example, as a route marker, spray-painting arrows ahead of the riders so they knew where to go. Skaar points out what seems undeniably true when she says, “There’s probably a metaphor somewhere in there.” —Kate Frentzel

Aas embraces Habitat’s mission. “I thought I would do that ride once, check it off the list,” she says. “But the Habitat philosophy meshes so much with mine. I like the idea that we’re not giving homes away; we’re helping people buy them. And that it’s Christianbased.” Aas also likes that




Building on the cornerstone of a great friendship Alumnae open family medical clinic together 30



Lifelong friends and class of 2002 grads Tara Federly (above left) and Amy Peterson Burrell (above right) combined their love of medicine and love of each other to open Cornerstone Pediatrics and Family Allergy in West Des Moines, Iowa. The murals in their exam rooms, like the one at left, include Des Moines–area scenes and landmarks.

Tara (Taylor) Federly ’02 and Amy Petersen Burrell ’02 have wanted to practice medicine almost as long as they’ve been best friends. “Tara and I met in kindergarten and were inseparable from then on,” Petersen says. As kids, they not only played doctor but also recorded videos of themselves dispensing advice on exercise and nutrition. Their childhood play turns out to have foreshadowed their future careers: in September, they opened their own practice together, Cornerstone Pediatrics and Family Allergy in West Des Moines, Iowa. As a kid, Petersen looked up to her pediatrician, who influenced her choice to enter the pediatrics field. Federly, an allergist for children and adults, has photos of herself with play stethoscopes as a child, but her plans solidified when she shadowed an orthopedic surgeon in high school. The two friends made the decision to study at Luther independently, but they were drawn by the

same aspects of the college. They both wanted a smaller school with a strong biology program, and each appreciated the ability to continue to play sports (Petersen played varsity basketball, and Federly played JV basketball and participated in track and field). Of her visit to campus during her college search, Federly says, “I remember people smiling and interacting and taking time to talk to me, and I liked the idea of really getting to know other students and professors.”   Petersen and Federly cite their experience with Luther’s cadaver lab during an anatomy course with Wendy (Tessman) Stevens ’69, assistant professor emerita of biology, as particularly profound. “That was an eye-opener for both of us that we do really enjoy learning about the body,” Petersen says. “It was a big influence, and we felt very privileged to be able to experience that.” The two friends parted ways when they started medical

school—Federly at the University of Minnesota and Petersen at Des Moines University— but their paths reconverged last year, when they made the bold decision to start a practice together. “It was always in the back of our minds, but we never felt like the timing was right,” Petersen says. “But we finally decided: why not do this? We’re at a good point in our careers where we can provide something of real value to our community.”   Of course, the duo had to draw on a lot of skills outside their areas of expertise in order to launch Cornerstone. “Most of starting a clinic doesn’t neatly overlap with the skills of being a physician,” Petersen wryly observes. “Designing a clinic, construction, credentialing, malpractice insurance—we learned so much over the past six months,” Federly says, noting that their Luther experience came in handy here. “Our learning at Luther was broad—

it wasn’t all about biology. We got a well-rounded education, and that was helpful in these different aspects of starting a business.” Is the pair nervous about mixing friendship with business? “Not at all,” Petersen says, not missing a beat. “We’ve been best friends for 35 years and have supported each other through lots of great things and lots of difficult things. We have a really good foundation—thus the name Cornerstone for our clinic. We can approach each other honestly and openly, and we have the same goals.” “We have this really strong foundation of trust and respect that we want to bring to our business,” agrees Federly. “Plus,” she adds, “if you can live with someone your freshman year of college, together you can get through anything.” —Kate Frentzel

“Our learning at Luther was broad—it wasn’t all about biology. We got a well-rounded education, and that was helpful in these different aspects of starting a business.”




Twin Cities faith leaders and OutFront staff (including Jesus H. Lucero ’16, front row, third from left) attended a rally at the Minnesota Capitol in favor of banning conversion therapy statewide at OutFront’s Queering Ash Wednesday event.

Finding his true self through leadership Jesus H. Lucero ’16 moves communities toward equity in Minnesota After growing up as a firstgeneration Latino in the Denver metro area, Jesus H. Lucero ’16 spent his first year at Luther really learning about himself. “I leaned into my different identities and tried to find community in those spaces,” he says. He joined PRIDE, and it was a powerful experience because of the leaders he saw, like Charles Banta ’13, who was president of PRIDE and of Student Senate. Seeing this, Lucero says, was inspirational. “I realized I could be my full authentic self and represent people.”  Taking this inspiration to heart, Lucero amped up his involvement at Luther. By the time he graduated, he’d held the PRIDE presidency for two years and the Student Senate presidency his senior year. He’d been an RA for two years and assistant hall director for a year and was the 2016 winner of the Jenson Medal. “My time at Luther was a great opportunity to develop my own sense of self and leadership,” he says.



At Luther, Lucero developed a special interest in coops, and he graduated with a job offer already in hand as director of membership and engagement for the USA Cooperative Youth Council (USACYC). “I wanted to continue on that path of trying to create a better and more just world. So the co-op realm is where I funneled a lot of my energy and time,” he says. He published articles, gave presentations and workshops, developed curriculum, hosted a USDA webinar on youth in the co-op movement, and was recognized as a leading youth in the American co-op movement. “As an immigrant Latinx queer person,” he says, “there aren’t a lot of representations of people who look like me in the world. I want to continue to demonstrate that people can look like me, be different, and still be powerful leaders” After wrapping up his time with USACYC, Lucero worked in a life-skills training program for adults with autism. The

job taught him a lot about the medical system in Minnesota and the bureaucracy families have to wade through to get support. “It also opened my eyes to the experiences that people face when you can’t choose to hide your differences,” he says. “It made me want to do more. And that’s how I stepped into my role at OutFront Minnesota.” OutFront works toward equal opportunities, protections, and rights for LGBTQ individuals in the state of Minnesota. In his role as policy and organizing coordinator, Lucero focuses on local organizations and faith communities by holding workshops, presentations, and roundtables on everything from basic terminology to implementing inclusion. “For me,” he says, “what’s really invigorating is creating a space where people can come together and connect with each other. We need more and more of these spaces. Especially because not every faith is going to be LGBTQ+

inclusive. Not every rural community is going to have the resources to make things just.” He also meets with legislators and lobbies senators to make sure they’re keeping the interests of all people in mind. “I’ve turned into such a policy nerd—it’s a passion of mine. I love studying law and looking at how we can effect massive change from a grassroots level,” he says. “At the end of the day, my goal is to work myself out of a job.” While it’s an ambitious aim, Lucero continues to work toward equity for all citizens with gratitude for every step along the way. “It’s been a fantastic journey,” he reflects, “starting at Luther, being dropped into a beautiful campus and figuring out who I was there, then taking that into the larger world.” —Kate Frentzel


CLASS NOTES By Emma Everitt ’21 and Rachel Schunder ’20 rate for all students in Beltrami County, the only county in the US with such a goal. John was a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay, taught in Iran, and served as a professor at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of 21 books and is a volunteer for the Red Lake Nation.


Don Bendickson has an art studio in his Cerenity Senior Care apartment in White Bear Lake, Minn. He previously painted with watercolors and acrylics and now makes marker art for other residents for birthdays and bingo prizes. Each piece takes him about three to four hours to complete, and he makes two to three each week.

Judith (Ransom) and Jules Nicolet are both retired and living in Madison, Wis.

Dennis Melin is president of Public Partnership in Tucson, Ariz.


Howard Omdahl of Algona, Iowa, was inducted into the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame.



David Leirmo and his family from Ferryville, Wis., received the 2019 Farm Family of the Year Award at the Crawford County Conservation Awards. David’s father, Jens Leirmo, immigrated to the area from Norway in 1912 and bought the home farm in Freeman in 1920. David took over management of the farm in 1956. David’s brothers John and Olaf joined the operation in the late 1970s, and John’s two sons joined in the last decade. The Leirmo family was selected by the Crawford County Land Conservation Committee for the successful, conservation-minded operation they run within the county.

Bob Sathe of Cincinnati was elected to serve on the Council of Trustees of the Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky.



Tim Becker of Menifee, Calif., is a K–12 substitute teacher.


John Eggers of Bemidji, Minn., retired after teaching for 55 years. He now serves as founder and director of Project Graduate, which has a goal of 100 percent graduation

Jeff Gustafson is a software developer at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Eagan, Minn.


Ron Behrens is a quality engineer for Dee Zee in Des Moines, Iowa. Jefferson Brown is operating manager at A&M Tours in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. Nancy (Hawbaker) Harms is aquatics facility director and women’s swim and dive coach for the Sun Prairie (Wis.) Area School District.

Bob Paulson Jr. is president, chief executive officer, and a member of the board of directors at VentureMed Group in Toledo, Ohio.

’66 Elliott Christen retired after 50 years as the Decorah High School Viking Stadium public address announcer. On Oct. 18, 2019, he took his place in the press box for the last time to announce the final home football game for the Decorah Vikings.


Donna Novey of Shoreview, Minn., retired after 27 years as band director at Cretin Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minn. At the end of the school year, she received a 2019 Values Award.

Harold Bendicsen of Addison, Ill., published a new book, Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience, and Adolescent Development: Non-Linear Perspectives on the Regulation of the Self.


Rosie (Almo) Spangenberg of Council Bluffs, Iowa, retired as an instructional strategist at Lewis Central School District.

Beth (Erickson) Getman retired from teaching general music at the Milwaukee public schools. She is now a violin teacher at the Greendale Conservatory of Music and an active performer for the Whitewater String Quartet.

Steven Grove is a counselor at Northstar Behavioral Health in St. Paul, Minn.

Ken Belanger of Frederic, Wis., retired after 52 years as a head high school football coach. He served as the head football coach and math teacher at Zumbrota/ZumbrotaMazeppa High Schools for 35 years. He was inducted into the Minnesota High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001. Ken then moved to Frederic and served as the head football coach at Frederic High School for 17 years. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2019. He finished his career with 288 victories. Ken still serves as a track official in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Sue (Berger) Oltrogge is manager of administrative services for Deloitte in Minneapolis and also manages the Davenport, Des Moines, and Omaha offices. She is a national facilitator for the Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation program at Deloitte.


Lorraine (Carter) Borowski of Decorah was inducted into the Northeast Iowa Community College Hall of Fame in November.



Nevin Linthacum of Paso Robles, Calif., retired after a 33-year career in pharmaceutical sales with Schering-Plough and the last nine years as an account executive in the home health and hospice industry.


David Senjem of Rochester, Minn., was honored by the National Alliance of Mental Illness as their Legislator of the Year at a luncheon in St. Paul. The award recognized the Minnesota state senator’s legislation around the creation of statewide crisis centers, related supportive housing, the furtherance of mobile crisis teams, and the development of a program of competency restoration for institutionalized mentally ill individuals charged with a crime.

Robert Hill of Independence, Iowa, are retired.

Holley Drakeford is president at Drakeford Realty Group in New York City. Greg Munson is the “Nature Nut” columnist for the Rochester (Minn.) Post Bulletin newspaper.


Nancy Gates-Lee of Green Cove Springs, Fla., works for NORSTAR Networks.


Audrey (Happel) and


Keith Ellingson of Indianola, Iowa, was inducted into the Simpson College Coaches Hall of




All-Luther Wrestling Reunion

June 12–13, 2020 Let’s bring together all Norse wrestlers past and present for a weekend celebration to kick off the 70th season of Luther College Wrestling in 2020–21! Learn more and register at luther.edu/alumni/ events/all-luther.

Fame for his successes as the head coach of the Storm cross country and track and field programs from 1986 to 2001. He continues to serve as an assistant coach for both teams. Linda Jorn is associate vice provost for learning technologies and director of Division of Information Technology academic technology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She recently received the EDUCAUSE Leadership Award for her visionary contributions to academic technology, collaborative skills, scholarship, and commitment to mentoring. Robyn Sand Anderson of Redwood Falls, Minn., received a 2018 Individual Artist Grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council and the McKnight Foundation to travel to Bergen, Norway, to immerse herself in the home, music, and environment of 19th-century composer Edvard Grieg. Using inspiration and photographs from her travels, and immersing herself in Grieg’s music, Sand Anderson created interpretations of color, texture, and movement that capture the incredible beauty of Norway. Her exhibit, “That’s Grieg,” was on display in the Center for Faith and Life at Luther in November.


Barb (Hodge) Miller is executive assistant to the executive vice president and provost at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.



Pamela Moe of Kerens, W.Va., retired from teaching.


Jim Whitesell was named head men’s basketball coach at State University of New York at Buffalo.


Cindy (Walker) Austin retired from elementary music education after 32 years. She is now a certified teacher ambassador for QuaverMusic.com in Nashville, Tenn.

Lori Erickson of Iowa City, Iowa, is author of a new book, Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper. She spoke about the book and signed copies at Dragonfly Books in Decorah last September. Erickson is one of America’s top travel writers specializing in spiritual journeys.


Dave Aspenson of Colorado Springs, Colo., retired as partner at Kiesling Associates.

Karla (Leuder) Organist earned a master of science degree in community development from Iowa State University. She is program manager at the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Kay (Rathjen) Tulppo is a reading specialist and literacy coach for the Sheboygan (Wis.) Area School District.


Mike Noll is head football coach for Richmond-Burton (Ill.) High School. His team won the 2019 Illinois Class 4A title in just his second year as head coach. Mike was also honored by the NFL’s Chicago Bears as their High School Coach of the Year. The Richmond-Burton Rockets will receive a $2,000 grant for their program, and Mike earned a trip to the Pro Bowl game in Orlando, Fla.

and has performed and directed at venues across the US. This spring she is teaching two classes for musical theatre minors at Luther. David Shook is associate dean of academic affairs for Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.


Alicia (Cornelious) Dennis is implementation manager at CVS Health in Northbrook, Ill.

Mary Sparks Thompson is chief executive officer of the Clive Behavioral Health facility at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Ragna Urberg is corporate counsel at Benchmark Human Services in Fort Wayne, Ind. Lynne Rothrock of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, performed The Divine Ms. R— Lynne Rothrock—Sings the Music of Bette Midler on Aug. 2 at the Lingonberry in Decorah. She serves as an arts educator and clinician


Sara Gillespie is pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mayville, Wis.


58 years of connecting through letters Alumnae from the class of 1961 have kept up a friendship and a special correspondence for nearly six decades. Ann (Knutson) Rotto says, “Campus House hosted senior girls in 1960–61. Three bathrooms and about 20 girls—ouch! We loved our surroundings and became very connected. Ten of us were discussing how to keep connected as we left for the big world.” They agreed to a round-robin letter, in which each woman would take a turn writing down the highlights of her life before sending it to the next person in line. The letter has now celebrated its 58th year. Rotto says, “We have lost husbands and children (and have been there for each other), but all 10 of us are alive, able to travel, and clear-minded . . . and we all turn 80 this year!” The group reunited in Minneapolis last June for a wonderful celebration of life and friendship.

Back row (left to right): Darlene (Johnson) Wheeler, Judy (Hestenes) Knutson, Carol Borson, Karen (Kiland) Erlander. Front row: Carol (Rasmussen) James, Audrey (Bielenberg) Costello, Barbara (Kumm) Nelson, Karen (Gulsvig) Johnson, Ann (Knutson) Rotto.

Luther College Book Shop lutherbookshop.com 563-387-1036

Your source for Norse apparel

Hannah Evans ’23, Hannah Alberts ’22





Adele (Barlow) Buffington is director of creative arts at Peñasquitos Lutheran Church in San Diego. Katie (Carr) Ditch is clinical director at Riverview Child and Family Therapy in St. Charles, Ill.

’91 Kristine (Deason) Stache is interim president at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.


Brian DeVries is area director at Search Ministries in Minneapolis.

Lisa (Rosby) Aldrich teaches first grade for the Lakeville Area (Minn.) Public Schools.

Maria (Spieker) Mickelson teaches second grade at Neveln Elementary School in Austin, Minn. She was named 2020 Austin Teacher of the Year. Paul Reimann of Mount Vernon, Iowa, is an instructor for Kirkwood Community College in the Education Department at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.


Kari Antin is senior finance manager at Target in Minneapolis. Laura (Schut) Betts is a teaching associate at Nisse Preschool in Decorah. Rachael Peterson is owner and therapist at Peterson Counseling and Consulting in Victoria, Minn. She is a dual-licensed therapist specializing in the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders.

Amy (MacLaughlin) Blackstone is the author of Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence. She is also a sociology professor at the University of Maine and has created a blog with her husband, Lance, called we’re {not} having a baby. She has conducted research on the subject of childfree choice since 2008. Kim Erickson is a scrum master for the Hennepin County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Minneapolis.

Steven McArthur retired from the United States Secret Service after 24 years. His final assignment before retirement was to the Office of Training, James J. Rowley Training Center, as head of the Uniformed Division Training Branch. During his career, he also had assignments with the Presidential Protective Division, Vice Presidential Protective Division, Special Operations Division, and at the Secret Service headquarters building. As part of his retirement ceremony, he and his wife, Kristy, were invited to the Oval Office on July 3, 3019, for a departure photo with President Donald Trump.


Greg Dietel of Jordan, Minn., was awarded the MRC 2018–19 Coach of the Year Award by the Minnesota River Conference coaches. Rick Geier is the Warren and Lillian Anderson Chair in Chemistry, the Department of Chemistry chair, and a professor of chemistry at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.

Joelle Pretty is assistant provost for student academic engagement at Seattle University.



Karin Bodensteiner is associate professor of physiology and pathology at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces, N.M.

Ronnie Hildahl is spiritual care coordinator at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, N.D.

Hans Sieber is a mental health therapist at Arvada Therapy in Arvada, Colo.

Jay Wilson is principal at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Indianapolis.

Eric Bryhn is a logistics brand planner for the Meals Division of the Old El Paso brand of General Mills in Golden Valley, Minn.

Kristin (Boyce) Junkas is a veterinarian and chief of staff at the Wright Animal Hospital in Des Plaines, Ill.

Barbara Guenther is pastoral associate for liturgy and music at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Albuquerque, N.M. She was declared the 2019 Archdiocese of Santa Fe Pastoral Musician of the Year. She also serves as chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, presents liturgy and music workshops throughout the Archdiocese and the Southwest region of the United States, and serves on the board of directors of the Southwest Liturgical Conference.


Ceallaigh (Melville) Estepp is director of human resources at the Phoenix Residence in West St. Paul, Minn.

Christine (Haas) Ruth is a pastor and marriage and family therapist at Niwot Family Counseling in Niwot, Colo.


Meredith (Sherman) Borchardt is a librarian at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Josh Byrnes of Osage, Iowa, is the general manager of Osage Municipal Utilities and is region 3 DEED director for the American Public Power Association. He was also appointed by Iowa governor Kim Reynolds to serve on the board of the Iowa State Department of Education. Julie (Torkelson) Chamberlain is pastor of worship and connections at Decorah Covenant Church.

Carrie (Hamby) Faust is sales director at Zeta Global in St. Paul.

Heather (Bassett) Dahl is a policy analyst for the Albuquerque (N.M.) Public Schools.

Angie Grecian-Bransky is realtor associate at American Realty and Management in Mason City, Iowa.

Matt Davis is EVP of MLA programs and special projects for Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis in Dallas.

Nicole Holt is CEO at Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth in Austin.

Sarah (Romine) Ernst is senior manager, process development, at Hibu in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Cynthia (Mitchell) Lace is middle school and high school principal for the Southwestern Wisconsin Community School District in Hazel Green, Wis.


Jennifer (Wendt) Bjorklund is equity information and reporting specialist at Organic Valley in La Farge, Wis. Kristen (Schoeb) Cheney teaches pre-K for the Nampa (Idaho) Christian Schools. Sarah (Wilt) Cichon is a licensed social worker and assistant manager for preadmission screening at the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging in North St. Paul, Minn. Reed Fisher is project manager at Hills (Iowa) Bank and Trust Company in Hills, Iowa. Steven Gauerke is product owner at ITA Group in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Erin (Etscheidt) Humpal is senior manager of business systems analysis at Transamerica in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Jaymi Wilson is a project manager for the city of Rochester, Minn.


Becky (Bixby) Anderson is chief clinical officer at Focused Post Acute Care Partners in Fort Worth, Texas. Kara (Brandau) Califf is North America biotech compliance lead at Corteva in Johnston, Iowa.

ALUMNI NEWS Jeremy Owen is paramedic at Fitch-Rona EMS in Verona, Wis. His prehospital care team received the 2019 Pediatric Champion Award from UW Hospital for their care of a patient with a severe traumatic facial injury. He is also a Wisconsin certified firefighter II, fire inspector, and wildland firefighter.

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

Jenny Kuderer of Winona, Minn., published her third book of poetry, The Pulse of Days: Poetic Effusions. Heather (Miland) Peterson is corporate manager, revenue growth management, at Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn.


Himena (Viner) Harris is a nurse practitioner in otolaryngology for University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City. Sarah (Kipling) Lightner is assistant principal for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.

Brandon Sampson is founder of Limb Lab in Rochester, Minn. In October, he spoke about “Radical Attentiveness as a Path to Innovation in Orthotic and Prosthetic Clinical Care” at the Manova Global Summit on the Future of Health in Minneapolis. Brandon’s business just opened a Minneapolis location, which fills a 5,500-square-foot space, almost double the size of the original Rochester office, where the company is still headquartered. Limb Lab also has locations in Mankato, Minn., and La Crosse, Wis., and plans to open a fifth location in Lincoln, Neb., this year. Jen (Roling) Stanley is data lead and volunteer for Moms Demand Action at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boulder, Colo. Stephanie (Bey) Steines was one of four Iowa educators named a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She teaches math at Decorah High School.


Emily (Petig) Bartels earned a master’s degree in communications sciences and disorders from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and completed the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence. She is a speech language pathologist for the St. Michael–Albertville (Minn.) Schools. Sara (Boehmke) Brunk is a piano teacher and accompanist in Stillwater, Minn.


Jon Ehtessabian grows, processes, and roasts coffee in Costa Rica as part of an environmental movement he started with the Surfrider Foundation in San Diego. The mission is to connect consumers and farms directly in order to protect the planet and promote social equality and sustainability. Their Café Corazón coffee, dedicated to healthy watersheds and conserving wildlife, is sourced directly from the sustainable hillsides in Zona de Los Santos, Tarrazú, Costa Rica. Chelli (Tigerman) Esser is principal group underwriter at Voya Financial in Minneapolis. Emily Penk-Smith is an occupational therapist at Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wellness in Prior Lake, Minn. Brian Wales teaches math and serves as the National Honor Society advisor and junior-level chair at Southland College Preparatory Charter High School in Richton Park, Ill.


Mollie Busta Lange has a radio show called Mollie B Polka Party on Rural Radio channel 147 on Sirius XM, Sundays from 10 to noon CST. Jacob Coleman is a physician with Tryon Medical Partners in Charlotte, N.C. Matthew Herrick earned an EdS degree from the University of Iowa. He is principal at St. Francis Catholic School in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Joshua Cinnamo of Lakeville, Minn., set a world record in the shot put with a throw of 16.49 meters while competing for the USA Paralympic Team at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. Cinnamo now holds records for the four longest throws in the world in his classification.

Ariana (Anderson) and Jason Wright live in Kasson, Minn. Ariana is principal at Kasson/Mantorville Elementary School. Jason teaches choir for the Rochester Public Schools at Friedell Middle School and is also a composer and arranger. He recently recorded and released solo piano albums entitled Journey to the Manger, Journey to the Cross, and Journey Home.


Trina (Uvass) Crowe earned the MS and EdS degrees in school psychology from the University of Nebraska–Omaha. She is a school psychologist for the Whitefish (Mont.) School District. John Dague is senior systems engineering manager for advanced datalinks with Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He also owns a hobby exotics business called JD Constriction, which breeds rare genetic combinations of ball python color and pattern mutations.

Tim Fink is policy director at American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food in Washington, D.C. Mindy Stephens is a clinical education specialist/nurse educator at University of Minnesota Health in Minneapolis. Michael Stuart is supplier business development manager at Quality Bicycle Products in Bloomington, Minn.

Rebecca (Brennan) Haymaker is vice president of revenue cycle services at the Wilshire Group in Madison, Wis., and a member of the Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin Board of Directors. Missy (Knott) Huff is assistant to the director of elementary and secondary education at Pleasant Valley Community School District in Bettendorf, Iowa. James Russell teaches fourth grade at the Middleton-Cross Plains (Wis.) School District. Kelly Shinn is associate director at Groundwork Denver.

Natalie (Van Vuren) Jackson earned a licensed baccalaureate social worker designation and is a case manager at Neuro Restorative in Garland, Texas.


Laura Koenig is assistant professor of psychology at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

Sue (Gilbertson) Boxrud, of Lakeville, Minn., is owner/agent for Out of the Box Booking, a talent agency targeting top-quality entertainment for college and corporate events.

Katie (Haseman) and Ian Asplund live in Clive, Iowa. Katie is a stay-at-home mom. Ian is chief strategy officer at EMC Insurance.

Melissa Stull and her business partner, George Soule, were named Attorneys of the Year by the Twin Cities legal publication Minnesota Lawyer. Minnesota Lawyer honors lawyers or case teams based on noteworthy legal work. The appellate lawyer they worked with on a Colorado case submitted their nomination. They were selected based on the following criteria: leadership in the profession, involvement in major cases, excellence in corporate or transactional services, and public service. They will be profiled in the magazine and honored at an event in the new year. Josh Visser is a recovery specialist at Meridian Behavioral Health in Stillwater, Minn.





Kim Christensen is a licensed acupuncturist, health and wellness coach, and co-owner of Constellation Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Minneapolis. She is also enrolled in a doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine program through the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. In addition to providing care to patients in her own clinic, Kim also provides clinical supervision for Chinese medicine students and frequently lectures on small business ownership at Northwestern Health Sciences University. David Fleener is pastor at Shalom Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Minn. Lisa Franek is associate principal at Korn Ferry in Madrid, Spain. Kjerstee (Saarloos) Miller is accounts and events coordinator at Type A Events in Minnetonka, Minn.

professionals apply evidencebased psychotherapies during brief interactions with patients.

Cindy (Tudor) Verdick is training and benefits coordinator at Hiawatha Homes in Rochester, Minn.


Lindsay (Niswander) Bernhagen of Junction City, Wis., is editor of the journal To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development.

Kat Beane Hanson earned a master of music degree in voice from the University of Northern Iowa. She is an adjunct faculty member in music at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Scott Meyer is the Ozbun executive director of entrepreneurship for the Nice Center at North Dakota State University in Fargo. He is charged with developing NDSU’s entrepreneurship program and creating campus and community connections to encourage entrepreneurship among students and faculty.

Julie (Kruse) Summer reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last February. This photo shows her on top of the Barranco Wall, a large rock wall that took most of the morning to conquer. Mikhal (Hagstrom) Szabo is manager of international accounting at HOPE International in Lancaster, Pa. David Zelinskas is a family physician with Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group at Indian River Family Practice in Chesapeake, Va.

Will Chiles released his first choral EP, “Sapling Dream,” onto streaming services last August. All three tracks on the EP are sung by the Springfield Chamber Chorus, a Missouri-based choral ensemble.

Rebecca Westphal of Verona, Wis., is senior business analyst at SSM Health. Nathan Wicks earned an MDiv degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.


Elizabeth (Koenig) Appel is training manager at Propel Nonprofits in Minneapolis. Brad Ernst is Audi brand specialist in vehicle sales at Lithia Motors in Johnston, Iowa. Ethan Grev is senior analyst at Allianz Life Financial Services in Minneapolis. Candice Grimes is a paralegal and hearing officer for the Housing Authority of Cook County in Chicago. Tyler Hendrickson of Iowa City, Iowa, teaches piano at Preucil School of Music in Iowa City and viola and violin at Schultz Strings in Cedar Rapids. In October, he performed on campus in a Luther guest artist recital, “Best of the Rest: Forgotten Gems from the 1919 Berkshire Festival Competition.” Emily (Workman) and J.P. McGinnis ’10 live in Houston. Emily is an adjunct professor at San Jacinto Community College. J.P. is a resident physician in the Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Anna Kabe is tax director at Vista Outdoor in Anoka, Minn.


Haylee (Easton) Latta is a staff nurse in the Pediatric Infusion Suite at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

Kate Vernor is senior agile coach at Apex Systems in St. Louis.

Helissa (Stevens) Bell teaches elementary music for the Chippewa Falls (Wis.) School District.


Alex Ford is a site reliability engineer at TDS in Madison, Wis.

Amy (Gminski) Schultz is foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State in Arlington, Va.

Andrew Allen earned an associate degree in wind energy and turbine technology from Iowa Lakes Community College. He is a service technician for Vestas Americas on a wind farm near Montezuma, Iowa.

Anna McDowell and Scott Simpson published their first textbook, The Clinical Interview: Skills for More Effective Patient Encounters. The text aims to help healthcare

Dara (Stull) Clifford is associate pastor at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Combined Locks, Wis.

Matt Pyle is a doctor of osteopathic medicine at Salina (Kan.) Regional Health Center.


Kirstin (Choma) Lauritsen is assistant professor of psychology at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Kaycee (Green) Rogers is an ESL faculty associate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Scott Rheinschmidt is vice president of finance at GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Carissa Thomas completed a fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology and microvascular reconstruction at the University of Toronto. She is assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology– Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

on the living room floor as a child to becoming a beef farmer who uses sustainable grazing practices. Kevin owns Highland Spring Farm near Fitchburg, Wis. He’s pictured here with sons Liam, 3 (left), and Odin, 2.

Kevin Oppermann was featured on the front page of the Wisconsin Agri-View newspaper in an article titled “‘Carpet Farmer’ Matures to Beef Producer.” The story discusses Kevin’s journey from playing with farm toys

Niki Mosier is technical SEO manager at Seer Interactive in Philadelphia. Janelle (Ackerman) Novak is terminal bulk supervisor at Ecolab in St. Paul, Minn.


Hannah Armstrong earned a doctor of musical arts degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Minnesota. She is vocal music and choir director at Southwest High School in Minneapolis and also performs with The Singers choral ensemble. Johanna Bergan of Decorah was awarded the 2019 Certified Elected Municipal Official designation from the Iowa League of Cities for her commitment to continuing her professional development while in elected office. She serves on the Decorah City Council. Tiffany Choi teaches French at East High School in Denver. She was elected president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. Tiffany was cited in the Denver Post as “a progressive young teacher who played a high-profile role in February’s teacher strike”. Sam Darnall-Werlinger earned a doctor of medicine degree from Ross University School of Medicine. She is a resident physician with the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Family Medicine Residency. Holli (McClure) and Christopher Huus live in Oakdale, Minn. Holli is a teacher at Oakdale Elementary School. Christopher earned a juris doctor degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is a public defender for Washington County. Beth (Cochrane) and Joe Koenig ’07 are both certified registered nurse anesthetists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Andrea (Johnson) Mierau is faculty and clinical education coordinator for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Rasmussen College in Eagan, Minn. Alex Stoppel is senior iOS engineer for Target in Minneapolis. Kristin Swedlund is senior manager, annual giving and fundraising operations, at Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, Wis. Jen (Meuwissen) VanDeVoorde is pharmacy manager at Walmart Pharmacy in Galesburg, Ill.



performance at Wilmington (Ohio) College.

Mahlet Amanuel is ERAP coordinator at Housing Counseling Services in Washington, D.C. Sky Macklay is an oboist, installation artist, and assistant professor of music at Valparaiso (Ind.) University. She was the featured composer at the 2019 New Music Festival at the University of Louisville School of Music. Tyler Powell is Northern Door executive director at Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Jacob Reitz is security contracts manager at Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Minnetonka, Minn. Vanessa (Oelrich) Wiest is contracts and assignment specialist for University of Iowa Housing and Dining in Iowa City.


Taylor Bergen is interim director of Legion Arts at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mitchell Demers is executive director at Hope Farm School in Stockholm, Wis.

John Stender earned the MM degree in organ and sacred music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He is director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester, Minn.


Eric Eitrheim of Oklahoma City is an assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Mathematics and Science at the University of Central Oklahoma. He was named a Virtual, Inorganic, Pedagogical, Electronic Resource Fellow in an innovative national study. The study will use classroom observations, analysis of student work, student surveys, and faculty interviews to study how changes in the classroom affect student learning, interest, and motivation. Jeff Emerson is research associate II at Kemin Industries in Des Moines, Iowa.

Amy Dorman is the Eileen R. De Dea Fellow for the Study of Gender and Women’s Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis. Sabrina Hawkinson of Minneapolis earned an MEd degree in mathematics from the University of Minnesota. She teaches second grade and is makerspace coordinator for ISD 196.

Chris Nevala-Plagemann is an internal medicine resident at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Alex Olson works for Amazon in Seattle. Kelly (Bandman) Scocchera is site supervisor at Habitat for Humanity Chicago. Shaun Vegter is production supervisor at Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn.

Jessica Streeter earned a doctor of nursing practice degree from the University of Iowa and completed a postgraduate family nurse practitioner program at the University of Cincinnati. She is practicing at the Pella (Iowa) Regional Health Center’s Diabetes Management Clinic. Jake Wittman is a PhD student in entomology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


Jessica Cline teaches seventh- and eighth-grade mathematics at St. Francis of Assisi School in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Shelby Klein is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor at Zumbro Valley Health Center in Rochester, Minn. Augie Lindmark earned a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed an Oryema Fellowship in social medicine. He also received a Nicholas Skala Health Activist Award for work related to health reform and Medicare for All advocacy. He is a resident physician in primary care and HIV medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn. Samantha McAllister earned an MS degree in genetic counseling from Augustana University and is a licensed genetic counselor at Integrated Genetics in Los Angeles. Daniel Ridenour earned an MS degree in exercise science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is senior performance specialist at Ignition Athletic Performance Group and director of athletic

Kirsten Hash earned a juris doctor degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. She is an associate attorney at Ploen Law Firm in St. Paul, Minn. Holly (Godar) Neuman is an oasis therapist at Canopy Center in Madison, Wis. Katherine Perschbacher earned a PhD in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Iowa’s Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. She is a research scientist III at Integrated DNA Technologies in Coralville, Iowa. Jena Schwake is director of training at Northwestern Mutual in Minneapolis. Niki Tryggestad is workspace experience specialist at Marvin in Eagan, Minn. Cody Tucker is managing agent at American Income Life in Aurora, Colo.

Kristi (Holmberg) Grieder graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary and is pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Iowa. Erik Hageness is home sales counselor at Plus Relocation Services in Minneapolis.

Aaron Knodle earned a DMA degree in choral conducting with a cognate in vocal pedagogy from the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music. He was named assistant professor of choral music education and director of choral activities at the Louisiana Tech University School of Music.

Blake Funke earned a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Iowa. She is a third-year resident physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Michael Crowe received a regional Emmy Award for Breaking News at the Midsouth Regional Emmys while working at WBIR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville, Tenn., in January 2018. In 2019, Michael received four Northwest Regional Emmy Awards for stories he reported for KING 5, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. The awards were for Spot News, General Assignment Report within 24 Hours, Video Journalist within 24 Hours, and Crime Story/Series within 24 Hours. He also received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award in 2019. His story “Perks of Being Chief” was awarded a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Sound. He is pictured here with his wife, Melissa (Erickson) Crowe ’12.

Stephanie Wick is a resident physician in psychiatry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


Hannah Axt is youth services librarian at the Arlington County (Va.) Public Library. Talia Barber is data insights analyst–finance operations at C.H. Robinson in Eden Prairie, Minn. Jaimie (Rasmussen) and Aaron Burk ’12 live in Minneapolis. Jaimie is account supervisor at Epsilon Agency. Aaron is principal technologist at Object Partners. Alex Dallman is RedCard engagement consultant at Target in Minneapolis. Molly Eversoll earned an MDiv degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She is associate pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette, Mich.









These 1969 graduates have met every year for 50 years! Left to right: Susan (Truckenbrod) Sanderson, Kay (Rasmussen) Throckmorton, Barbara (Lange) Kamin, Judy (Hendrickson) Matherne, and Jonette (Rotto) Martinson.


Luther alumni who are educators in School District 196—Rosemount, Apple Valley, and Eagan, Minn.— gathered for a Luther photo at the annual Back to School Picnic. Back row (left to right): Eric Bartosh ’98, Jocelyn (Winter) McDonnell ’10, Jim Cox ’00, Greg Douma ’98. Third row: Alyssa (Lundell) Bartosh ’99, Shaun Lindquist ’00, Anne (Lee) Hagen ’92, Megan (Mattingly) Cox ’01. Second row: Andrea (Huls) Loger ’02, Katie Moon ’19, Kari (Nordli) Douma ’99, Laura (Upham) Sandham ’91. Front row: Ross Albertson ’97, Michael Skaar ’91, Mary (Burbridge) Kreger ’79, Lauren (Schletty) Thurmer ’05, Kate Schletty ’12.






Professors emeriti Richard Ylvisaker ’50 and Phil Reitan celebrated their 90th birthdays together on campus at Shirley Baker Commons on July 13, 2019. The two retired Luther College colleagues have done this every decade since their 50th birthdays. Photo by Kirk Johnson ’82.


Eric Cutler ’99 and Teresa Procter ’12 are pictured post-opera in Houston. Cutler was in Houston to perform in the Houston Grand Opera’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, singing the role of Erik. Procter has been a chorister in a number of HGO productions and is a frequent participant in HGOco presentations in Texas-area schools. Both Cutler and Procter are former students of Ed Andereck and Jessica Paul of the Luther Music Department.


Jane Vaaler Roets ’90 and Erica (Heath) Kennedy ’88 unexpectedly met at Camp Calumet, a New England Synod of the ELCA camp, in Freedom, N.H., where Jane was the music leader and Erica was the chaplain for a Women’s Weekend.


A group of Luther alumni got together at Top Golf in Thornton, Colo., on Labor Day 2019. Back row (left to right): Dan Inbody ’82, Kathy (Erickson) Loux ’82, Jim Loux ’79, Russ Norman ’80, Cheryl “Charlie” Busch ’82, Rich Delk ’80. Front row: Cooper Nelson ’17, Melissa Norman ’17.







While cruising Alaska, Jane (Hurd) Helgeson ’61 and her husband, Rodney, spent a day in the charming Scandinavian fishing village of Petersburg, where they met three Luther alumni. Left to right: Walt Chossek ’68, Aleta (Reckling) Chossek ’69, Grant Trask ’67, who was their town guide, and Jane (Hurd) Helgeson ’61.


Lauren Fladland ’11 (left) and Allison Schnier ’12 (right) are both working toward OAKE-endorsed Kodaly certificates from Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc, Wis. Allison is also a music education graduate student with a Kodaly emphasis. Rachel Ware Carlton ’06 (center) is dean of the school of liberal arts and director of graduate music at the college.



Linnea West Benson ’95, Bill Richardson ’98, and Michael Jung ’98 competed on the same mixed doubles team for a USTA league in the Twin Cities. They won the Northern Section League and were invited to compete in the national tournament at the USTA headquarters in Orlando, Fla. Way to go, tennis alumni!


In September a group of alumni from the class of 2000 gathered for a women’s wellness weekend in western Wisconsin. The weekend included yoga, book discussion, healthy eating tips, and hiking on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Left to right: Jen (Mann) Leiberg, Joy (Halverson) Peterson, Ann (Knutson) James, Angie (Spartz) O’Keefe, Courtney (Kluss) Luken, Sarah (Norquist) Irwin, and Katie (Brunner) Ellingson.


Sigma Chi Theta alumni from the classes of 1967 to 1973 met for the fourth time in the past 15 years in Decorah last July with a Friday evening at Mabe’s Pizza, a Saturday picnic at Phelps Park, and a dinner at the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery on Saturday night. Front row (left to right): Scott Lee ’71, Gary Knutson ’71, Jim Anderson ’70, George Mann ’71, Len Skoglund ’69, Stuart Vold ’71, Wilbur Robinson ’68, Bob Brown ’69, Ray Nordstrom ’69. Back row: Dean Nelson ’69, Luther Rotto’ 71, Jim Herman ’70, Brad Jacobson ’70, Steve Jacobsen ’69, Paul Mann ’73, Gary Kelm ’73 (obscured), Cliff Schmidt ’68, John Benson ’67, John Mikkelson ’69, Pete Mitchell ’67, Rob Severson ’69. Also participating but missing from the picture: Ed McFarland ’67, Karl Kjeldsen ’67, Tom Severson ’67, John Weedman ’68, Ed Kramer ’68, Steve Sheppard ’71, and Steve Loven ’71.









Four Luther alumni performed together in November 2019 as part of “CR Sings: The Beatles” at the Opus Concert Café in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Left to right: Keel Clemmens ’85, Cathy (Begalske) Koebrick ’90, Lynne Rothrock ’85, and Marita May ’14.



Alumnae from the class of 1986 reconnected over the Labor Day weekend in Aitkin, Minn. Front row (left to right): Kari Solomonson, Julie (Johnson) Pena. Second row: Lauren (Riley) Schroeder, Gina Sauer, Pam Nelson, Andrea (Knutson) Stratton, Lori Hoffner. Back row: Patty Nelson, Joan (Anderson) Powell.


In August, Luther alumni from the class of 1964 gathered in Cedarburg, Wis., to visit fellow classmate Dale Mundahl and his wife, Helen. Dale is a resident at Hamilton House; Helen died in October. Frederic Giere ’47 and his wife, Hazel (Teien) Giere ’55, are also residents. Frederic taught biology at Luther from 1947 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1962. Front row (left to right): Dale Mundahl, Hazel (Teien) Giere ’55, Frederic Giere ’47. Second row: Dan Thurmer ’66, Marilyn (Forseth) Nervig, Bonnie (Curtis) Behnken, Sue (Savre) Ashland ’66, Donna (Wangsness) Weigle, Emily (Homstad) Bodensteiner, and Jim Weigle. Back row: Luther Nervig, Dick Ashland, Barry Behnken, and Joe Bodensteiner.

Paul Halverson ’92 has been working with Luther professor of biology and Rochester semester director Jodi Enos-Berlage for the launch of Luther’s inaugural Rochester Semester in 2020. As an IBM employee, Halverson hopes to help future Luther interns participate in IBM’s program. Halverson gathered as many IBM Luther alumni as he could for a photo op to inform his colleagues about the Rochester Semester and to show their support for the joint venture. Left to right: Mark Anderson ’74, Tricia (Hanel) Torrens-Burton ’88, Shawn Johnston ’95, Alexander Davis ’19, Ian Christopherson ’18, David Ranum ’83, Steve Will ’83, Kyle Mahlkuch ’17, Ian Fitzgerald ’12, Kyle McNeese ’17, Andy Henderson ’97, Grant Barnes ’16, Paul Halverson ’92, Ray Harney ’80, Aaron Herman ’18, Kristi Peterson ’01, Michelle (Meyer) Schlicht ’01, Karina Hoff ’20, Angie Rolli ’95, and Aaron Albertson ’97.



ALUMNI NEWS Daniel Gallagher earned a DMA degree from Ohio State University in Columbus. Allison Gieswein teaches fourthgrade dual language at West Liberty (Iowa) Elementary School.

Maria (Ellingson) Thom is the digital marketing coordinator in Jackson, Minn., for C&C Operations, a John Deere dealer with 37 locations in Iowa, Idaho, Minn., Mont., S.D., and Wyo.

Terra Kruger iearned a PhD in pharmaceutics from the University of Iowa and is a scientist in clinical pharmacology for Johnson & Johnson in Raritan, N.J.

Joel Martin is a research analyst at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minn. Courtney Meyer is a financial reporter for Black Creek Group in Denver. Brittney (Leemon) Mitchell is the regional membership program manager at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul. Nathan Nicolaisen earned an MBA degree from Marquette University. He is commodity manager at Clarios in Milwaukee. Joe Novak earned a medical doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is a family medicine resident at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Megan (Wichmann) and Logan Ramer live in Rochester, Minn. Megan teaches special education at the Kasson-Mantorville Schools. Logan is an advisor/general agent at Ramer Retirement Resources.

Naomi Sandgren earned an MEd degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn. She is reading intervention teacher at the Wayzata (Minn.) Public Schools.


Kalla (Galyon) and Jordan Boekhoff live in Owatonna, Minn. Kalla is a representative at State Farm Insurance. Jordan teaches social studies at Byron High School.

Marissa (Satern) Hoelscher of Ankeny, Iowa, earned an MS degree in genetic counseling from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Carson Lilly is a lab assistant for the Department of Chemistry at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Victoria Peters is an adjunct music history professor and academic administrative assistant for the College of Fine Arts at North Central University in Minneapolis.


Timothy Bumpus received the Gordon Hammes Scholar Award, which honors young scientists responsible for the very best papers published in Biochemistry and seeks to recognize those at the bench— postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates—for the outstanding work they do. The award is sponsored jointly by Biochemistry and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry. Timothy was selected as this year’s winner from a large applicant pool based on his first-author paper “Ex Uno Plura: Differential Labeling of Phospholipid Biosynthetic Pathways with a Single Bioorthogonal Alcohol,” published earlier this year as part of the Future of Biochemistry special issue. Timothy received his award and presented a talk during the 256th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Boston. He is currently a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Kaley Herma is data manager for Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Duluth, Minn.

Nils Johnson is an associate attorney in the litigation division of the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa. Sarah King is a strategic planner at EXOS in Phoenix, Ariz.

Kelsey Smith earned an MM degree in cello performance from the University of North Texas. She is a doctoral student in cello performance at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Emily (Betts) and Christian Moore ’17 live in Cottage Grove, Minn. Emily is senior manager of operations at Self Esteem Brands. Christian is program manager at Basecamp Fitness.

Rachel Stenhaug is audit manager at Deloitte in Minneapolis.

Hannah Parker is milieu treatment coordinator at Orchard Place in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ellen Badger Hanson is project manager and research assistant for the USDA—Agricultural Research Service/Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association in Fort Collins, Colo.

Riley Samuelson earned an MA degree in library and information science from the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science. He is an education and outreach librarian at the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences in Iowa City, Iowa.


Shelby (Gebhardt) Ballard earned an ASCP board certification for Medical Laboratory Science and is a medical laboratory scientist at UnityPoint St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kierra Blackstad is a youth and family ministry director at Trinity Lutheran Church in San Pedro, Calif. Mikayla Brockmeyer earned an MS degree in biomedical sciences from Des Moines (Iowa) University. Mikayla is a hospitalist scribe for ScribeAmerica. Betsy Fawcett is an assistant ESL teacher for Lutheran Volunteer Corps at Briya Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Olivia Brooks earned a juris doctor degree from Drake University Law School. She is an associate attorney at Ahlers & Cooney in Des Moines, Iowa. Makayla (Marinack) Dahleen is a graduate student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Samantha Ea is coordinator for global service with the ELCA’s Global Mission Unit in Chicago. Claudia Elvidge is loan documentation specialist at Coulee Bank in La Crosse, Wis.

Bryn Hedlund earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. She is an associate attorney in the litigation division of Whitfield & Eddy in Des Moines, Iowa. Elizabeth Hovden is physician assistant with Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minn. Amanda Jenkins of Decorah earned an MA degree in library and information science from the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science. She is a user experience librarian at Luther.

Kylie Hanschman is practice assistant–outpatient clinical practice at Nordic Consulting Partners in Sun Prairie, Wis. Madolyn Martini is a healthcare program training manager at Project for Pride in Living, a nonprofit in Minneapolis. Cassie Peterson is a research technologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Anna (Beamsley) and Zachary Rogers live in Waterloo, Iowa. Anna is a graduate assistant at the University of Northern Iowa. Zachary is choir director at Holmes Junior High School.

Hunter Yrigoyen was named sports information director at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


Kaitlin Bratland teaches elementary special education for the Mabel-Canton (Minn.) Public Schools. Elizabeth Budahn is choral director at Milaca (Minn.) High School.




How does this Texas landscape impact our students?

“Everything that I accomplished I can trace directly back to Luther, and especially to the professors who helped me.” —Jim Field ’54


hile it may not look like a scholarship, the land in this photo funded a charitable remainder unitrust, which will pay income for life, produce a charitable deduction, bypass capital gain, and provide scholarship support through the Jim Field Scholarship, established in 1997. Jim Field ’54, from El Paso, Texas, knows how meaningful scholarships are. While at Luther College, where he majored in mathematics and physics, Jim benefited from scholarship support. After Luther, he went on to receive a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. Jim spent the majority of his career working at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where he later managed the scientific computer center. Like Jim, if you own a highly appreciated asset such as real estate, you can make a difference for our students at Luther. Learn more about the benefits of transferring your asset to a unitrust. Contact Kelly Sorenson, assistant director of legacy and gift planning, at 800.225.8664, kelly.sorenson@luther.edu, or visit legacygiving.luther.edu.



ALUMNI NEWS Christen Foster teaches eighthgrade science for the Estherville (Iowa) Community School District.

Hannah Sutcliffe is produce programs assistant at the Food Group in Minneapolis.

Fallon Cassidy is a police officer for the Waukon (Iowa) Police Department.

Ethan Harris tis lead facilitator at Team Quest in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Bailey Victoria is director of athletic performance at Florida State University Schools in Tallahassee.

Tyler Puettmann is the 7–12 vocal music director for the Cherokee (Iowa) Community Schools.

Daniel Melaas-Swanson teaches music at Hillside Elementary School in New Richmond, Wis.

Erik Duethman is health unit coordinator at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wis. In September, he won the gold medal for the 8K race with a time of 25:33.8 at the 42nd annual Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk on the Marquette University campus.

Adam Morgan is a mental health counselor at Touchstone Mental Health in Minneapolis. Christopher O’Connell is grades 5–12 band director for the Ogilvie (Minn.) Public Schools. Mariah Olson Trewin is a registered nurse with Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis.

Steffenee Voigt teaches art for the Oelwein (Iowa) Community School District.


Alex Sekora is a customer service advocate at UnitedHealthcare in Green Bay, Wis.

Victoria Bleckeberg is retirement plan services account manager at Associated Financial Group in Minnetonka, Minn. Samantha Bratland is a selfemployed artist who also works at Identity Works in West Salem, Wis.


’56 Harris Hostager ’70 Steven Grove ’77 Shelley King James Ostgard ’75, ’85 Lisa Heydenburg

and Diane Frohling, Sept. 21, 2019


Sept. 7, 2019

’89 Kendria Hutzell

Angie Wise and Tyler Johnston, Sept. 29, 2018

’94 Angie Grecian Todd Bransky ’88 ’96 Ami Shoup ’06 Laura Fristad ’08 Janelle Ackerman and

, June 15, 2019

and Pavan Patra, Feb. 24, 2019

and Nick Saetre, Aug. 3, 2019 and Andrew Novak, April 14, 2018

Elizabeth Koenig and Phil Appel, Sept. 21, 2019

’09 Sara Bourassa

and Roy Dorsett, June 25, 2018

Beth Cochrane and Joe Koenig ’07, Aug. 31, 2019 Sam Darnall and Tyler Werlinger, June 16, 2018 Jen Meuwissen and Robert VanDeVoorde, Nov. 9, 2019

’10 Emily Wittig Ehler Orngard ’09 ’11 Kelly Bandman and

, Sept. 21, 2019

and Brian Scocchera, Aug. 11, 2018

Lara Graves and Daniel Zimmerli, June 23, 2018 Claire Philpott and Brad Utecht, Oct. 5, 2019 Laura Williams and Tim Sprick, Dec. 29, 2018

and Michael Crowe ’13, Oct. 26, 2019 Katie Moan and T.J. Dexter, Aug. 3, 2019 Kayla Norman and Chris Nevala-Plagemann ’11, Aug. 24,

’12 Melissa Erickson 2019

and Kevin Opdahl, March 31, 2018

Amy Sandager and Mark Lobas, July 5, 2019 Drew Wojciehowski and Rebecca Rabideaux, Oct. 5, 2019

Eric Schoer and Brittany Mohler, Sept. 1, 2018

’14 Alex Dallman

and Michael Feldmann, Dec. 6, 2018

Lisa Johnshoy and Bill Prinzing, Feb. 15, 2019

Holly Godar and Tim Neuman, Sept. 28, 2019

and Randall Duvall, Oct. 19, 2019


and Dylan Essing, Sept. 21, 2019 Becca Dugdale and Jim Cochrane, Aug. 10, 2019 Maria Ellingson and Dustin Thom, Aug. 17, 2019 Jordan Jensen and Ben Jarvis ’13, Oct. 5, 2018 Marissa Satern and Stephen Hoelscher, April 28, 2018 Anna Showers and Eric Hagen, Oct. 19, 2019

’15 Taylor Baloga

and Spencer Loufek, Aug. 3, 2019 Sarah Floden and Patrick Kolker, June 1, 2019 Carrie Kilen and JW Slauson, Dec. 14, 2019 Andrea Malek and Jamison Ash ’13, Aug. 10, 2019 Kate Manning and Jordan Moberg, July 13, 2019 Shleby Pofahl and Derek Beilke, Aug. 25, 2018

’16 Kalla Galyon

and Jordan Boekhoff, June 30, 2018 Zach Hendrikson and Jenna Marier, Aug. 17, 2019 Sarah McKay and Jon Cochrane, Aug. 17, 2019 Olivia Mitchell and Brian Paulsrud, Aug. 11, 2018 Sarah Rickertsen and Colin Eral ’17, Nov. 25, 2019 Chelsie Wohlers and Adam Yotter, Aug. 11, 2018 Olivia Zant and Eric Montou, May 26, 2018

’17 Lara Bacon

and Tyler Brewer ’13, Oct. 7, 2018 Berit Breed and Jacob Rhody, Sept. 21, 2019 Kileigh Dudek and Reid Danielson, Aug. 31, 2019 Stephanie Duregger and Reid Olson, Sept. 21, 2019 Aubrey Pedersen and Markus Newton, Nov. 2, 2019 Emma Stivers and Evan Gardner ’15, Aug. 10, 2019

’18 Meggie Acker

and Ryan Albert, Sept. 27, 2019

Elle Ross and Jared Barnes, June 15, 2019

’19 Elizabeth Johnson

and Andrew Houdek, Sept. 14, 2019






Alissa and Matt Herrick, a daughter, Katerzyna Eilis, June 2019

Allison and John Sill, a daughter, Hazel Elizabeth, August 2019


Tiffany and John Dague, a daughter, Finley Ember, August 2019


’07 Dara (Stull)

and Adam Clifford, a daughter, Miriam Diane, February 2019

and Joe Krekeler, a son, Joseph Soren, July 2019

Sarah (Gustafson) and Jeremy Peterson, a daughter, Sophie Christine, April 2018

Elizabeth and Bradley Carlton, a daughter, Abigail

Addie (Bean) and Philip Sadler ’08, a daughter, Azalea, August 2018

Elizabeth, August 2018

Christa (Anderson) and Adam

’10 Emily (Hoerman)

Danielson, a daughter, Vivian, March 2019

and Brian Grantham, a daughter, Hadley, May 2019

Amber Dolphin and Steve Moechnig, a daughter, Ivy Simone, June 2019 Sarah and David Fleener, a daughter, Abigail, May 2019

’09 Liz Erickson

Kari (Lunde) and Sam Kramer, a son, Wesley Steven, September 2018

Anna (Amundson) and Tor Oksnevad, a daughter, Elling Lynn, August 2019

’11 Katie (Wilson)

and Peter Ferrell, a daughter, Grace Elizabeth, July 2019

Laura (Williams) and Tim Sprick, a son, Owen Lee, October 2019

’12 Kate (Doty)

John C. Bale of Decorah died Sept. 2, 2019, age 94. Bale taught English at Luther 1953–90 (and part-time through most of the 1990s), serving as department chair 1962–77. He was a founder of Luther’s Paideia program and an enthusiastic and influential professor, known especially well for his Shakespeare course and for his January theatre course in England. Upon his retirement, his colleagues and former students presented him with a Festschrift honoring his work. Bale was still receiving thanks in 2019 from former students and colleagues for the advice and mentoring he provided during his career at Luther. He was also heavily involved in the Decorah community and in Norwegian American culture.

and Jarrod Batchelder, a son, Ben Erik, October 2019

Ashlie (Patten) and Cory Lee ’09, a daughter Taygan, July 2019 Kalee and Allan Sweet, a son, Oliver Dean, May 2018

Tiffany (Jones) and Matt Wogsland ’97, a son, Samuel,

Rebecca and Drew Wojciehowski, twin sons, Andrew Toon and Martin Lee, August 2019

August 2019

Anna (Winter) and Adam Tlougan ’06, a daughter, Harper Grace, June 2019

’08 Chandra (Skinner)

and Scott Jennings, a son, Roman Jack, June 2019

’13 Sophia (Brown)

and Ryan Engelman, a daughter, Bergen Ann, July 2019

’14 Marissa (Satern)

and Stephen Hoelscher, a son, David, February 2019

Carol (Reece) and Mike Ludeking ’07, a son, Samuel,

’06 Helissa (Stevens)

August 2019

and Tim Bell, a daughter, Hazel Grace, January 2019

’15 Stephanie (Lake)

and Nicholas Eliason, a son, Aaron William, June 2019



Martin Mohr of Decorah died Sept. 18, 2019, age 91. Mohr’s teaching career at Luther spanned four decades. While always an English professor, he also served in other roles that shaped and reshaped the content and concept of liberal arts at Luther. He was a two-time chair of the English department, an early advocate of using computers to teach writing, and coauthor of significant grants to the college. But he felt most at home in the classroom, where his writing courses and lively discussions made him a student favorite. He wrote, “With a small group of students, when I can hit exactly the right tone, I feel really fulfilled.” After retirement, he remained active on campus and with his group of Decorah friends, including his Tuesday morning men’s coffee group.

ALUMNI NEWS IN MEMORIAM Notices as of Dec. 4, 2019. Obituaries are posted at luther.edu/in-memoriam.

’43 Lloyd Otto “Skip”

Herwig of Knoxville, Tenn., formerly of Arlington, Va., died Oct. 5, 2019, age 97.

’45 Marjorie Ann (Grimes)

Broward of Jacksonville, Fla., died Sept. 11, 2019, age 95.

’46 Ruth (Bjornson) Keenan

of St. Paul, Minn., died Sept. 21, 2019, age 92.

’47 Naomi (Sorlien) Jasmer of Sartell, Minn., formerly of Willmar, Minn., died Sept. 29, 2019, age 95.

’48 Alice (Michelson)

Collings of Eden Prairie, Minn., died Sept. 13, 2019, age 93.

Lois Ann (Sorensen) Hobson of Cherokee, Iowa, died Oct. 22, 2019, age 90.

Jean (Rusley) Hofbauer of

’52 Aanon Rolf Jore

’61 Glenn Edwin Mair

’80 Catherine Lageson

Phyllis A. (Rossing) Trytten of

Charles J. “Chuck” Nelson of

Boise, Idaho, formerly of Decorah, died Oct. 6, 2019, age 89.

McCandless, Pa., died July 28, 2019, age 80.

’81 Steven McGregor

’53 Ester Vegan Hustvedt

’62 Harland Bjugan

of Caledonia, Minn., died July 4, 2019, age 88.

of Northfield, Minn., died Oct. 12, 2019, age 96.

’54 Paul Estrem Ofstedal

of St. Paul, Minn., died Oct. 13, 2019, age 87.

’55 Alice “Sally” (Peterson) Head of Grand Prairie, Texas, died Oct. 8, 2019, age 84.

Dale Martinson of Radcliffe, Iowa, died Oct. 16, 2018, age 84.

’57 Lloyd Walter Asbe

of Lewiston, Idaho, died Aug. 27, 2019, age 84.

Andover, Iowa, died Aug. 7, 2019, age 90.

Rhody Marquard of Freeport, Ill.,

’49 Barbara (Orwoll)

Carl Edward Skrade of Columbus,

Nordschow of Decorah died Aug. 30, 2019, age 93.

’50 Ramona “Raye” (Olsen) Hukari of Bend, Ore., formerly of

Hood River, Ore., died Sept. 26, 2019, age 90.

Carstien Otman Reseland of Minneapolis died June 18, 2019, age 94.

Jean Ann (Strand) Slindee of

died March 8, 2019. Ohio, died Sept. 5, 2019, age 84.

’59 Charles Edward

“Chuck” Aase of St. Paul, Minn., died Sept. 11, 2019, age 82.

Walter N. Hanson of Council Bluffs, Iowa, died Sept. 8, 2019, age 89.

Larry Dee Sorenson of Eau Claire, Wis., died Sept. 6, 2019, age 83.

Blackduck, Minn., died Sept. 23, 2019, age 89.

Stephanie Thorpe (Ofstedal) Tesch of Richland, Wash., died Oct.

’51 Philip Keith Blumer

17, 2018, age 81.

of Tucson, Ariz., formerly of Sierra Vista, Ariz., died Oct. 24, 2019, age 93.

’60 Fred Robert Arnold

of Austin, Minn., died Oct. 9, 2019, age 80.

of Jasper, Minn., died Nov. 4, 2019, age 79.

Joseph Kent Dougherty of Rochester, Minn., died Sept. 30, 2019, age 81.

Davis “Dave” Carlyle Gilbertson of Albert Lea, Minn., died Oct. 30, 2019, age 79.

’63 Gary Loren Skundberg

of Kenyon, Minn., died Sept. 19, 2019, age 78.

’64 David Edward Gustav

Miller of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died Nov. 25, 2019, age 76.

’65 Donald “Don” A. Sannes of Onalaska, Wis., died Oct. 11, 2019, age 74.

’66 Kenneth J. Knutson

of Union, Mo., died Aug. 28, 2018, age 74.

Sept. 22, 2019, age 60.

’82 Joyce Ann (Lauffer)

Womeldorf of Lanesboro, Minn., died Oct. 23, 2019, age 61.

’84 Lucia Olson

of Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Decorah, died July 27, 2019, age 57.

’90 Julie (Lyng) Jass

of Burnsville, Minn., died Aug. 9, 2019, age 51.

Elayne Joyce (Stoen) Werges of Meroa, Iowa, died Sept. 17, 2019, age 60.

’04 Lance Gustav Johnson of Burlington, Iowa, died Nov. 24, 2019, age 37.

’06 Kathryn Marie (Kerswill) Dragseth of Centennial, Colo., died Nov. 3, 2019, age 35.

Paul Andrew Goddard of Los Angeles, formerly of Montevideo, Minn., died Aug. 31, 2018, age 35.

1, 2018, age 72.

Regent emeritus

Petersen of Elkhorn, Wis., died Dec.

’72 Rebecca “Becky” Ann (Arneson) Spaete of Nevada,

Duane Kenneth Bruening of Decorah died Nov. 3, 2019, age 90.

Iowa, died Sept. 7, 2019, age 68.

’74 Anthony Alan “Tony”

Buechler Pewaukee, Wis., died Oct. 4, 2019, age 67.

Linda Louise (Gisvold) Schwitzer of Minnetonka, Minn.,

Minn., died March 30, 2019, age 90.

Gary D. Baldwin of Evergreen,

Charles “Chuck” Weist of

Colo., died Aug. 7, 2019, age 81.

Cumming, Ga., died Dec. 19, 2018, age 89.

’75 Clarinda “Cleo”

Lee Mentink of Le Mars, Iowa, died Nov. 3, 2019, age 86.

Demorest of Evanston, Ill., died

’68 Gerald “Pastor Pete” L.

of Spring Grove, Minn., died Nov. 21, 2019, age 81.

Donald “Pat” Hjelle of Edina,

of Wauwatosa, Wis., died Sept. 26, 2018, age 60.

died Sept. 26, 2019, age 67.

Valentine of Chicago died Oct. 8, 2019, age 65.

Marlyn Ellsworth Sundheim of Fergus Falls, Minn., died Oct. 3, 2019, age 80.





Using skills she developed as a Luther design fellow, Sam Lahey '18 designed the beautiful backdrop for Christmas at Luther 2019.


Luther is spoiled for choice when it comes to talented students, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to keep our graduates for an extra year. Luther employs one-year fellows in a number of areas, from sustainability to global learning to digital communications. These fellowships allow new graduates to spend a year doing meaningful work while honing marketable skills. And they allow Luther to benefit from the fresh perspectives and raw talents of people who already love the college. As a design fellow for Luther’s visual media team, Sam Lahey ’18 learned advanced skills in Adobe Suite programs like InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop— skills she draws on heavily in her current role as a production artist at Colorado-based Sticker Mule. Adobe programs, Lahey says, “are an essential part of being a graphic designer, and they can be daunt-

ing to learn. Luther allowed me to learn on the job through online tutorials and knowledge from my coworkers. That mix of learning and working has been essential for taking on a new job with all new processes.” During her fellowship, Lahey proved herself so capable that she was trusted with designing the backdrop for the renowned Christmas at Luther program— and the result was remarkable. About the collaborative process, which she spearheaded from start to finish, Lahey says, “That’s what is so amazing about art—if you allow the design to go through several revisions and get honest and helpful feedback, you can end up with something much better than your original thought. All of its changes and revisions are what made the backdrop as beautiful as it was.”

The recording of Christmas at Luther 2019: Whom Angels Greet with Anthems Sweet is available on CD from the Luther College Book Shop, along with select recordings from previous concerts.




Denver Area Celebration Thursday, February 20, 2020 Ellie Calkins Opera House Denver, Colorado

Twin Cities Lunch Connection Friday, February 21, 2020 Roseville Lutheran Church Roseville, Minnesota

Norse Tennis Alumni Connection Saturday, February 22, 2020 Life Time Fitness Lakeville, Minnesota

La Crosse Area Celebration Tuesday, February 25, 2020 The Waterfront Restaurant La Crosse, Wisconsin

Giving Day

15th Annual Kent Finanger ’54 Golf Classic Saturday, March 21, 2020 Tuscany Falls Golf Club at Pebble Creek Goodyear, Arizona

Symphony Orchestra Concert and Reception Sunday, March 22, 2020

Trietsch United Methodist Church

Flower Mound, Texas

Vietnam and Bhutan Alumni and Friends Tour Saturday, March 28– Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Hosted by Ann Highum and Jerry Freund

Jazz Orchestra Concert and Reception

Thursday, March 5, 2020 Luther College

Saturday, April 4, 2020 St. Barnabas Lutheran Church Plymouth, Minnesota

Concert Band Concert and Reception

Twin Cities Lunch Connection

Saturday, March 14, 2020 Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Burnsville, Minnesota

Friday, April 17, 2020 Roseville Lutheran Church Roseville, Minnesota

Phoenix Area Celebration

Black Alumni Association Washington, D.C., Tour

Thursday, March 19, 2020 Home of Rich ’72 and Jane Theiler Paradise Valley, Arizona

Twin Cities Lunch Connection Friday, March 20, 2020 Roseville Lutheran Church Roseville, Minnesota

Vespers Service and Dinner Friday, March 20, 2020 Tuscany Falls Golf Club at Pebble Creek Goodyear, Arizona

Tuesday, April 21– Sunday, April 26, 2020 Washington, D.C.

Chris ’14 and Emily Norton: 7 Yards Documentary Screening and Reception

In October, 24 alumni and friends toured Ireland and Northern Ireland with hosts Paul Gardner, emeritus professor of political science, and Rebecca Wiese. This photo was taken in front of Stormont, the parliamentary building of the Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast.

Commencement Sunday, May 24, 2020 Luther College

All-Luther Wrestling Reunion Friday, June 12– Saturday, June 13, 2020 Luther College

Dorian Choral Retreat for Alumni, Parents, and Friends Friday, July 10– Sunday, July 12, 2020 Luther College

Norse Athletic Association Des Moines Area Golf Outing

Friends of Luther Wrestling Golf Tournament Friday, August 7, 2020 Jackson Heights Golf and Country Club Waucoma, Iowa

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

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

Homecoming in Chicago 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Tournament Club of Iowa Polk City, Iowa

Sunday, October 18, 2020 Meg’s Cafe Glencoe, Illinois

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 Aracada Theatre St. Charles, Illinois

Luther Comes to the Heartland Picnic

Symphony Orchestra Reunion

Senior Send-Off

Sunday, July 19, 2020 Park Rapids, Minnesota

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

Thursday, May 21, 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


MARCH 5 #LUTHERGIVES20 luther.edu/giving-day

Profile for Luther College

Luther Magazine winter 2020  

Luther Magazine winter 2020 Inauguration of President Jenifer K. Ward Homecoming 2019: Friends from all corners gathered for a weekend of ce...

Luther Magazine winter 2020  

Luther Magazine winter 2020 Inauguration of President Jenifer K. Ward Homecoming 2019: Friends from all corners gathered for a weekend of ce...