Luther Magazine Winter 2022

Page 1


Taking wing Six Luther interns develop conservation skills and build knowledge 15


Luther magazine Volume 55, number 2, Winter 2022 © Luther College 2022 Editor Kate Frentzel Art director/designer Michael Bartels Contributors Sherry (Braun) Alcock ’82 Laura Barlament Kelli Billstein ’07 Nick Bjerke Jessica Campos Arzate Erin Dintaman ’23 Ellen Modersohn Kirk Johnson ’82 Katie Schweinefus Julie Strom Hendrickson ’93 Rachel (Schutte) Vsetecka ’09 Luther College Photo Bureau Luther magazine feedback, inquiries, and ideas may be sent to the Editor, Luther Magazine, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 521011045;; phone (563) 387-1483. Class Notes submissions, changes of address, and alumni news may be sent to the Alumni Office, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045;; (800) 225-8664; (800) 2 ALUMNI. Find us online at



Luther interns draw on local resources—including a banding station right on campus—to grow our body of knowledge about migrating birds.

Contents 9


We were grateful to gather in person this year to celebrate Luther and some of the people who make it special.


Departments 2 President’s letter 3 Campus news

Coach Dad

26 Alumni


Calendar inside back cover

Luther coaches care about their studentathletes as though they’re family—and sometimes they are!

32 43 43 44

Class Notes Marriages Births/Adoptions In Memoriam

A magic medium

Alumni at MPR connect listeners to high-quality journalism, custom entertainment, and a feeling of community.

Cover: Brynn Olsen ’23, an environmental studies major, interns with Decorah-based Raptor Resource Project at a banding station right on Luther’s campus. Here, she displays a sharpshinned hawk she trapped, banded, and released in October. Photo by Kate Frentzel.

Live theatre returned to Luther in November with the staging of Heathers: The Musical, seen here in dress rehearsal. Says director Robert Vrtis, associate professor of theatre, “The most essential component of live theatre is not the lights, the costumes, the music, or even the actors. It is the audience.”


Steadying PRACTICE

is a steadying practice for me to

emphasis we place on steward-

observe the rhythms of nature

ship and on being a campus that

proceed outside of the anxieties

is both grounded and global. If

we face as humans.

you’re so inclined, join me on

You will read about the interna-

this season’s “eagle watch” here:

tionally known Raptor Resource

Project in this issue of the maga-


zine, since it also provides a rich opportunity for our students. Our

Our students, alumni, faculty, and staff continue to do remark-

arrangement with RRP estab-

able things on campus and in

President Jenifer K. Ward

lished a migratory-raptor banding

the world. As you read about the

station on campus and offers paid

many-faceted lives the features

Winter is here! After a relatively

internships to six Luther students

in this magazine reflect, know

“balmy” late fall and early winter,

annually. These internships allow

that what unites them across

the temperatures took a nosedive

our students to leverage local

their diversity is a grounding in

as January Term began.

resources and expertise to try out

the mission and values of Luther

field research and develop skills

College. From here in Decorah,

As I have done since I arrived at Luther, I am once again using the

in conservation—and because it’s

where seeing eagles circling

Decorah-based Raptor Resource

on the edge of campus, students

outside my office is a daily privi-

Project eagle cams as my winter

can even pop up between classes

lege, I wish you warmth and light

meditation. At the beginning and

to build this experience. There’s

in this wintry season.

end of each day, I check in on our

an educational component to

resident eagles to see if they are in

the station too, and it often hosts

the nest, their progress on restor-

field trips for local schoolkids or

ing the nest for egg-laying, and—

takes live raptors to local schools,

later—monitoring the develop-

building future conservationists

ment and fledging of the eaglets.

in the process. Luther’s rela-

As the pandemic continues, it

tionship with RRP illustrates the



Soli Deo Gloria,

Jenifer K. Ward


Qualifying Iowa students can now attend Luther tuition-free. Last fall, Luther announced a new

unattainable,” says President

ify, including any price increases

way it’s making a college educa-

Ward. “From travel-away experi-

(the 2021–22 cost is $46,130). State,

tion more accessible. Incoming

ences to graduate-level research

federal, and institutional funds

Iowa students with a GPA of at

projects, there are unlimited

would combine to cover more than

least 3.5 and a family Adjusted

opportunities, and we are thrilled

$185,000 during a four-year under-

Gross Income of $70,000 or less

to be able to offer this to as many

graduate experience, meaning the

will qualify for free tuition for all

Iowa students as possible.”

total cost to attend Luther could

four years of their undergraduate

be less than the state’s three major

experience as long as they live on

universities. Iowa Impact Award

campus and continue to meet the

recipients would have to pay only


for room and board and other

“At Luther, we have a commit-

smaller-scale fees like textbooks.

ment to developing the talents

No special scholarship applica-

and skills of young people who

tion is needed. Students have only

go on to lead lives of impact. The

to apply to Luther and complete

Iowa Impact Award speaks to that

the FAFSA by March 1, 2022.

mission and opens the doors to students who may have thought

Find complete details about The Iowa Impact Award will

the Iowa Impact Award and other

the kind of personalized educa-

cover the cost of tuition for all four

Luther scholarships at

tion experience Luther offers was

years, as long as students qual-


Luther College is partnering with Winneshiek Medical Center (WMC) to provide on-campus student health services. Beginning in February 2022, WMC

orate for the greater good,” Presi-

will assume the sole responsibil-

dent Ward says.

ity for health services at Luther’s

WMC, which has professional

Health Service location in Larsen

and management services agree-

Hall and will provide athletic

ments with Mayo Clinic Health

training services to student

System, will provide routine,

athletes beginning in the 2022–23

preventative, acute, and ongo-

academic year.

ing care to students on campus.

“We are excited to enter into

WMC will also be responsible for

this partnership with Winnesh-

providing COVID-19 testing and

iek Medical Center because of

asymptomatic surveillance and for

the excellent scope of care and

performing contact tracing.

services we know our students will

Thomas Marquardt ’91, chief

Thomas Marquardt ’91, WMC chief medical officer, with President Jenifer K. Ward

areas of specialization: WMC in

enjoy, but also because we recog-

medical officer of WMC, says, “The

providing quality health care;

nize that Decorah benefits when

new model of care will allow both

Luther in providing an exceptional

both of our organizations collab-

organizations to focus on their





NEW DIRECTORS Victoria Christman has been named director of Luther’s Center for Global

Andy Hageman, associate professor of English, has been named director of

Learning (CGL). Christman, professor

Luther’s Center for Ethics and Public

of history, has taught at Luther since

Engagement (CEPE).

2005. Her current research involves forced migration and refugee education. She has led numerous study-abroad trips, including travel to Europe and Honduras. “I am excited to help students find their place in the larger world,” Christman says, adding that she looks

“I am thrilled and honored to be taking the role of director of the CEPE,” Hageman says. “My training, research, and teaching focus on the power of narrative, the ethical opportunities and challenges as new technologies emerge and shape our cultures, and the

forward “to helping the Luther community dream up

role science fiction can play in creatively addressing

new ways of enriching and extending the opportuni-

climate change and racism. I look forward to leading

ties we offer.” Each year, 400–500 Luther students participate

the center with attention to ethics in the stories we create, circulate, and consume about justice, from

in international study, ranking Luther among the top

algorithms and athletics to ancient aquatic arthro-

colleges in the nation for the percentage of students


who study abroad. Christman succeeds Jon Lund as the director of the

Founded in 2006, the CEPE’s mission is to extend conversation beyond the classroom by examining

CGL, a title Lund held for 10 years. “Jon Lund created

assumptions, exchanging ideas, and encouraging

a flagship program in the CGL, and I am both excited

responsible action in our world. By encouraging and

and humbled to step into that work. I couldn’t ask for

supporting deep reflection about ethical matters and

a firmer foundation on which to build,” Christman

responsible citizenship, the center helps students

says. Lund continues to work as Luther’s director of

connect the pursuit of learning with what it means to

international admissions.

live a meaningful life.

INVESTING IN I N T E R N AT I O N A L S T U D I E S A gift from John ’70 and Barbara Melin will be used to establish the Rev. John and

Midwest offering a major in international studies. In recognition of Luther’s mission and the

Barbara Melin Professorship in Interna-

quality of its international studies program,

tional Studies at Luther College.

the Melins have funded the professorship

The Melins, who have served people around the world through their global ministry work, say, “We have been encouraged and inspired by Luther’s long-time commitment to fostering global learning and understanding. Our hope is that by endowing this professor-

with a planned estate gift of $750,000. In addition to underwriting a portion of the professor’s salary, the fund will support student/faculty research projects and professional travel and activities. This isn’t the first investment the Melins have made

ship we will, in perhaps a small way, contribute to this

in the program. In 2016 and 2017, they created two


scholarships for students majoring in international

Luther is one of only a handful of colleges in the



studies to cover expenses while studying abroad.

A “ W I N - W I N - W I N ” S I T U AT I O N The Black Alumni Association’s 2021 holiday treat bag campaign benefits Luther students, the college, and the Decorah community. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, by the light of the magnificent CFL

expressed her gratitude to the group for infusing

Christmas tree, 407 students collected their gift from

$8,000 into the local community.

Luther’s Black Alumni Association. Each year, the BAA raises money to gift to students

“I am thrilled that the BAA has chosen the Chamber Dollars Program as a way to say thank you to the

of color during the holiday season. It started with treat

407 students who are receiving these gift cards. This

bags and has transformed into gifting Decorah Cham-

is a win-win-win scenario between Luther, Luther

ber Dollars to all students of color. Chamber Dollars

students, and Decorah,” Rilling said.

can be used as a form of currency at many Decorah businesses. Leading this charge are Loretta Dooley Wetzel ’80 and Perran G. Wetzel IV ’79, co-presidents of the BAA.

Lynda Szymanski, provost at Luther College, echoed that statement, saying, “It is so powerful what the BAA is doing for our students. You are showing them that there is a group of people who care about them at Luther. You are one reason why our students

“We do it because we want Luther students to realize that their alumni and friends think about them and are pulling for their success. It’s a way to let them know that they are supported, especially during finals,” Loretta says.

come here and stay here.” As for what students planned to do with the money? “Comfort food is on its way,” said biology major Ochain Okey ’22. “I want to save it for an emergency,” Neumbo said. “I remember when I got the first certificate, I was at a supermarket during winter break when the Dining Center was closed and so we had to take care of ourselves. I had more things than I had money for, but I always kept that certificate in my wallet so when

This year, the BAA raised over $11,000 and provided Chamber Dollars to more than 400 students, including Kelao Charmaine Neumbo ’22, who says, “I feel seen, I feel cared for, and it’s from a group of

I needed it, it was there. So I’m going to keep it safe for a rainy day.” Through this campaign, the BAA was also able to donate $3,250 to the Center for Intercultural Engage-

people who I don’t know but at the same time, I feel

ment and Student Success Book Fund, which exists to

like I know them. What’s really meaningful is that

assist any student in financial need to purchase the

they continue to give to us—not only with this certif-

textbooks they need.

icate, but their presence means a lot as a student of color and Black woman.”

—Katie Schweinefus

During an intimate ceremony, Jessica Rilling, executive director of the Decorah Chamber of Commerce,




“This award is an outstanding tribute to our program,” says Andrew Whitfield, professor of music and coordinator of opera. “The judges noted wonderful musicality, the full engagement of the ensemble throughout the piece, the inventive concept, and the cohesive staging. We are very proud of the work of our students. We see their talent and dedication evidenced on campus every day, and it is exciting to see these attributes celebrated at the national level.”

LUTHER OPERA WINS N AT I O N A L A W A R D Luther’s spring 2021 opera production of Dido and Aeneas

instructors and students were met

won first place in Division II of

with challenges like mask-wear-

the National Opera Association’s

ing, limited rehearsal times, and

(NOA) 2020–21 Opera Production

having to act to the student vocal-


ists’ and instrumentalists’ prere-

The competition promotes excellence in opera education and pedagogy through its support

performance. “Winning first place is a great honor,” says Molly Holcomb ’22,

educators and professionals. This

who played the role of Belinda. “It

was the first time Luther entered

really shows the amount of effort

the annual contest.

both the cast and crew put into the opera production, especially

tion we put together,” says Dylan

considering the circumstances.

Schang ’23, who played the role

It was a kind of production that

of Aenas. “Our production of Dido

Luther had never put on before,

and Aeneas spoke to the impor-

sort of like a big experiment.

tance of preserving democracy,

Winning the award means that

particularly in today’s political

the experiment was a success,

climate, set to the tragic story of

and that’s something we should

the two lovers. I think this award

all be proud of. It was truly a team

represents the vision of our direc-


tors, realized by our cast and crew, to offer a sincerely impactful production.”


corded audio for a livestreamed

of a diverse community of opera

“I'm very proud of the produc-


Due to the ongoing pandemic,

O N E T E A M D AY In November, Luther hosted its second annual One Team Giving Day. The campaign raised more than $329,000 from 1,890 donors to support student-athletes, exceeding the college’s $250,000 goal. Renae Hartl, director of intercollegiate athletics, thanks everyone who participated in the day through messages and donations, saying:

“We want our coaches to be able to create competitive schedules and provide cutting-edge training equipment for our student-athletes. The outcome of this day ensures that we can do so.”

$ 150 K F O R P H Y S I C S R E S E A R C H and Belle II, which do their work

well into 2030. During that time, he

at KEK, a high-energy accelerator

hopes that he can continue to help

research organization in Tsukuba,

answer some of the world’s biggest

Japan. These collaborations include


over 1,000 members from 125 insti-

“Ultimately it’s the other side

tutions in 26 countries who all have

of science,” he says. “It’s pure, it’s

individual roles in operating the

understanding how the structure


of the universe has come to be and

Obtaining this type of grant is rare for undergraduate institutions.

is maintained. That is the heart of what I do.

According to Pedlar, Luther is one Luther physics professor Todd

of only three liberal arts colleges

Pedlar received his sixth consecu-

in the US that have active research

tive National Science Foundation

programs in this field.

(NSF) research grant, in the amount

The experience has a profound

of $150,000. The grant, renewed

impact on the lives of Pedlar’s

every three years, represents 18

students. Over the past 15 years,

years of continuous funding and

nine of them have obtained or are

supports the elementary particle

in the process of obtaining PhDs;

physics research Pedlar and his

three others have earned master’s

students conduct to better under-

degrees in physics, mathematics, or

stand the smallest building blocks

engineering; one is pursuing a law

of the universe.

degree; and four have entered the

Pedlar and his students conduct this research as members of the international collaborations Belle


It’s like looking at the night sky. Whether gazing at the stars or peering deeply into the center of the atom, for me it’s all connected to a common human desire to express wonder at the beauty of the world.”

With new funding secured, Pedlar’s research will continue




Commencement CLASS OF 2020

The month of Homecoming 2021 concluded with a special reunion and celebration of our 2020 grads, who, owing to COVID, weren’t able to participate in a traditional Commencement in May 2020. Members of the class of 2020 were allowed to bring two guests to campus to attend the ceremony, while other friends and family were able to watch a livestream from home as graduates walked across the stage in the CFL to receive their diplomas. Afterward, the newish grads navigated the gauntlet of faculty and staff from the CFL to Bentdahl Commons, where they celebrated with many well-wishers.








We felt grateful to be able to celebrate Homecoming 2021 in person with some of you last fall—a deep thanks to everyone who returned to Decorah. COVID precautions meant that it was a monthlong event that included class reunions on staggered weekends. But that didn’t stop us from honoring alumni who’ve made an impact on campus and beyond.


Michael on the foundation board.

Lee Afdahl ’71

president and Michael as school

Both have served the Winona Public Schools, Denise as PTA

Lee’s 50-year

board chair. They are active

music career

members of the Winona Rotary

includes 28

Club and also serve the local

years as

Warming Center for the Homeless,

science scholar at Mayo Clinic’s

director of

the Winona Community Founda-

Kern Center for the Science of

music and

tion, the Family YMCA, and the

Health Care Delivery. Her research,

organist at

Winona County Historical Society.

featured in TIME, has focused on

First Presbyterian Church in

They have played pivotal roles in

disparities in cervical cancer

Rochester, Minn. He retired as

the Ride the Ridges bike tour.

screening and on improving HPV

director of music emeritus in 2019. Lee has traveled internationally as

vaccination rates to reduce Karen (Gulsvig) Johnson ’61

HPV-attributable cancers in

a conductor and clinician and has

Karen has been

women and men. The Minnesota

more than 100 compositions and

an advocate for

Academy of Family Physicians

arrangements in print. He orga-

women since at

named her the recipient of the 2021

nized an extensive free concert

least 1960,

MAFP Innovation and Research

series for 28 years and continues to

when she was


volunteer for the American Guild

the first female

of Organists, Choristers Guild,

guide to lead

Suzanne (Roverud) Mineck ’96

Handbell Musicians of America,

an all-girl trip at Wilderness Canoe

As president

and the Rochester Music Guild.

Base. In the 1970s, she was a dean

and CEO of the

of students at Luther Seminary


Denise (Danielson) ’77 and

when 84 women enrolled with no


Michael Bernatz ’76

promise they would ever be

Foundation in

ordained. As a social worker and

Des Moines,

family therapist, Karen has

and a national

provided extensive connection and

leader among health philanthro-

support to people and has hosted

pists, Suzanne has been driving for

invaluable immersion experiences

systemic change to address the

for hundreds of Luther sociology

social determinants of children’s

students over the years.

health. She has served on Luther’s

Denise and Michael have been

President’s Advisory Council, the

members and leaders of Central

Kathy MacLaughlin ’91

board of the Vesterheim Norwe-

Lutheran Church in Rochester,

Kathy is an associate professor of

gian-American Museum, and on

Minn., for more than 40 years.

family medicine at the Mayo Clinic

the board of trustees for the

Denise has a seat on the Refu-

College of Medicine and Science

Harwood Institute, the Science

gee Resettlement Committee and

and a population health

Center of Iowa, Polk County



Housing Trust Fund, and the Iowa Council of Foundations.


Arlivia (Owens) ’72 and Willard

Weston H. Noble Award

Williamson ’71

Timothy Peter ’86 is professor of music and director of choral activities Arlivia and Will

at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. A former Luther music professor and

helped found

department head, he is heavily involved in the American Choral Directors

Luther’s Black

Association and has conducted around the world.

Student Union and have been making a

Carlo A. Sperati Award

positive impact

Mollie Busta Lange ’01 teaches children of all ages, leads music workshops

through their lives

in schools, and has taught at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. Winner

of service ever since. Arlivia, a teacher

of numerous awards and producer/performer of nearly 30 recordings, she

from 1973 to 2011, helped improve

performs on a national TV show, Mollie B Polka Party, airing for over 10

science education in Chicago’s schools.


During his long career as an engineer, executive, and now independent

Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award

financial analyst and broker, Will

Kaleb Krzyszton ’21, a euphonium player from Waumandee, Wis., grad-

received the Alex Award for community

uated in December as a music education major and continues to prepare

service. Both have served as leaders at

for a career as a band teacher by student teaching this semester. His heavy

Windsor Park Lutheran Church for over

involvement in music at Luther included Concert Band, Nordic Choir, Jazz

40 years and have also supported

Orchestra, and leadership roles in Gospel Choir, Pep Band, and Future

Rotary International, the area food

Music Educators Association.

pantry, Green Communities, and the Luther College Black Alumni Associa-

Richard C. and Joann M. Hemp Family Prize for Orchestral


Performance Gibson Swalley ’21, a violin player from Roseville, Minn., is a music major

Kristin Weeks Duncanson ’81

and member of Symphony Orchestra. He recently appeared on Classical

As an agricultural

MPR’s Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch and plans to pursue a master’s

consultant, Kristin

degree in violin performance.

helps the nation’s farmers and market leaders collaborate on data-driven conservation and sustainability planning and practices. She is an advisor for the Meridian


Seven alumni were inducted into Luther’s Athletics Hall of Fame (left to right): Mark Hillman ’86, football, track and field; Kyle McGivney ’11, football; Christy (Palmer) Rusdal ’96, softball; Jodi (Bofenkamp) Mongan ’96, swimming; Milt Hendrickson ’96, football, baseball; Erik Bies ’06, track and field; and Jake Nimrod ’01, football, track and field.

Institute and the Environment Defense Fund and a trustee with the Nature Conservancy. Kristin serves on the boards of Feeding Our Communities Partners and the Mankato Area Foundation and on the Southeast Minnesota Synod Candidacy Committee. Distinguished Service Award (DSA) nominations may be made at alumni/services/awards.




COACH DAD Most Luther coaches care about their athletes as though they were family—and sometimes they are. Right now, Luther has three dads coaching their own sons on Luther teams. We checked in with these fathers and sons to learn about how coaching makes them better fathers, how parenting makes them better coaches, and to get the scoop on what’s good and bad about Coach Dad. by Kate Frentzel

GOLF Scott Fjelstul ’83 and Jay Fjelstul ’24 Scott has been

a passion and care for everyone on the team, and I hope that most of the guys appreciate what he does. There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes—

coaching men’s

people don’t really

golf at Luther

understand how

for 34 years. His

much he does. And

father, Roger K.

he will do everything

Fjelstul ’56, was also a Luther golf coach

in his power to help us improve. He is just—he’s

and is the namesake of

the man. He’s the man.”

the college’s golf perfor-

Asked whether his coach-

mance center. Playing golf for his dad was a major driver (hehe, driver—get it?) in Jay’s

ing and parenting have influenced each other, Scott says, “As a parent, you want the best for your children

decision to attend Luther. “When I was looking at

and you try to guide them and help them make good

colleges, I knew that I wanted to play golf. This has

decisions. And that’s what a coach does for four years

been in the family for so long, and it was just a perfect

of coaching and mentoring our athletes here at Luther.

fit,” he says. Jay’s mom Ann and his brother John, Scott’s second-in-command when it comes to coaching, are also heavily involved in supporting the team. When asked what his son is like as a player, Scott says, “Jay found a passion in golf and works really hard at it. I think there are qualities of athletes that just put 100 percent into everything. Jay has that desire to improve and to be the best he can be. And he works really hard at it. He handles his emotions well, and I think he’s just a very nice young man. He’s a good representative of our golf team, and a great representative of our family.” And Jay’s impressions of Dad? “He just has such



The guys are 12 more sons of mine, and college students go through ups and downs in life, and we try to help and guide them and lead them and explain about making good decisions.” He continues, “I think the guys see my love for Jay. But I have a love for all my guys on the team and a passion for all my guys. So I don’t think [the way I coach] has changed, but I think it’s added to it.”

engagement and director of residence life.)

BASKETBALL Mark Franzen and Matthew Franzen ’24

Mark and Matthew keep a pretty strict boundary between home life and court life. Mark says, “We’ve got our family line and we’ve got the basketball line. We look at athletics as a separate entity, as something we do. It’s an activity that we can learn a lot from in

Growing up with a dad who’s coached at Luther for

terms of our core principles, but it’s separate from

the past 16 years, Matthew says, was pretty cool: “It


was something I really looked up to, just being around

Anyone who’s played for Mark can name those four

the guys, being able to sit here at practices and soak

core principles, but for the uninitiated, Mark explains:

everything up and learn a lot from them. It’s been a

“We try to make progress in honesty, humility,

really cool experience.”

accountability, and communication. And we use those

While Matthew considered all options when deciding where to go to college, Luther rose to the top.

four principles year-round.” In any situation, Mark says, he asks his athletes “to step back and think: Are we accountable? Have we shown humility? Are we

“I grew up in Decorah, I love the place, I love the community, I love the college, and getting to play for my dad has been a dream,” he says.

honest? And do we communicate? That’s our founda-

(Matthew’s mom and Mark’s wife, Kris Franzen, also works at Luther, as assistant dean for student

these four areas in some of these situations and they

tion as we move forward.” It turns out that Mark’s principles apply to family life too. “In fact, our team just had that conversation today,” he says. “It’s like, you know, if some of you guys end up having a family someday, think about can serve you there as well.”




WRESTLING Dave Mitchell, Isaiah Mitchell ’22, and Elijah Mitchell ’24

trying or when I’m not giving my best effort. And maybe not initially sometimes, but I’ll know afterward if I wasn’t giving my full effort at practice, and he’ll be straight up and tell me.” Elijah has a more pragmatic response:

The Mitchell family breaks the father-son coach-athlete continuum. Dave, who’s been coaching at Luther for 26 years, is also a Luther math professor who’s taught his kids in class AND he has not one but two sons on the wrestling team. On top of this, senior Isaiah and sophomore Elijah compete in the same weight class. Dave is thrilled that both of his sons enjoy wres-

“Maybe the only downside would be, especially in wrestling, he can see what we eat all the time.” The trio laughs. As an assistant professor of math, Dave has taught

tling. “I know the value of what the sport adds to

Isaiah and one of his two daughters, Cecilia ’18

people’s lives,” he says. “I grew up on a farm in Iowa,

and Olivia (Mitchell) Paulsrud ’16. He’s also taught

and you learn a lot of tenacity and hard work, but we

hundreds of his athletes over the decades. Early on,

don’t have the same opportunities with the boys to

Dave says, it’s a bit of a dance: “Maybe the wrestlers

instill some of those values in that same way. And I

in the first few days or the first week of class might be

really view wrestling as a way to do that. When they

trying to get a sense of: What’s this relationship going

decided they wanted to wrestle in college, it was

to be? But it’s quickly transformed into: Hey, this is a


normal classroom setting. And this guy cares about me

The Mitchell excitement extends both ways. Elijah

as a student just like he cares about every other student

says, “He’s been my favorite coach, even though

in the classroom.” One big perk of the setup is that

he’s my dad. He can really get kids to buy into his

Dave is able to give athletes in his class a lot of help, at

program—and for great reason. I mean, he’s had a

the weekly study tables the team holds or on the bus

reputation over decades of how greatness can be

on the way to competitions.

achieved, but also the way he interacts with his

Do Isaiah and Elijah get guff about their dad as

students or his athletes. He sees them as people first—

a teacher? Elijah admits, “The one complaint I have

kind of with us—he sees them as people trying to

heard is his handwriting,” which Dave amiably

grow. And wrestling is a great platform for that. And

concedes is not the neatest.

of course, he wants everyone to be the best that they

With Isaiah set to graduate in the spring, the

can be, and he wants to produce national champi-

pinnacle of the Mitchell family coach-athlete-profes-

ons and All-Americans. But he’s making them better

sor-student trajectory—which has also involved the

people on the way.”

rest of the family, including supportive wife and mom

And the downsides to having Dad as coach? “Dad

Bridgette—will soon be in the rearview. But for now,

knows our full potential all the time,” Isaiah says.

Dave says, “It’s definitely been a family venture from

“I mean, he’s raised me, so he knows when I’m not

the beginning and still is.”




A bird I N T


Luther interns work with local experts to band migrating raptors, growing our body of knowledge about how these birds live and move in a changing world. At left, Brynn Olsen ’23 displays a red-tailed hawk that she’ll band, measure, record, and release.


by Kate Frentzel Photos courtesy of Dave Kester

For a few weeks each fall, a hand-

of six Luther interns employed

ful of Luther interns experience

by the Decorah-based Raptor

personal level, these unique

pure magic.

Resource Project (RRP) to help

internships allow Luther students

“The awe never really goes

That’s the big picture. On a

trap and band raptors as they

to leverage local resources and

away,” says Mary McTeague ’22.

migrate south each year. Under

expertise to try out field research,

“Whenever I handle a hawk, I’m

the guidance of local experts—and

build skills in conservation, and

struck by both their beauty and

from the convenience of a band-

explore possible futures.

their strength.”

ing station located on Luther’s

mental studies major, agrees.

to a larger body of knowledge that

A partnership focused on education

“You’re holding a wild raptor—it

tracks bird populations, disper-

Luther has partnered with RRP,

never gets old.”

sal, migration, health, life history,

founded in 1989 by raptor advo-

and survival rates.

cate and educator Bob Anderson,

Brynn Olsen ’23, an environ-

campus—their work contributes

McTeague and Olsen are two

The hawk had caught me. It was never the other way around.”

—Helen Macdonald, H Is for Hawk




since 2017, when former Luther staffer Emily Neal and RRP’s Dave Kester collaborated to bring a raptor banding station to campus. The Hawk Hill station, funded through RRP and a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is situated in the northwest corner of campus on a hilltop prairie peppered with stands of cedar and aspen. The vision for the station was for it to focus on education— Kester says that’s why it was built so large, to accommodate entire classes. In its five years of operation, interns at the station have banded hundreds of birds and shared the splendor of live raptors with just as many area students. Luther classes and homeschooled children regularly visit the blind, and Kester will often take a live hawk from the station down to campus to show Luther bio students, or to Decorah schools like John Cline Elementary. In this way, the Hawk Hill station acts as an incubator for future bird conservationists, whose early encounters with these wild animals will hopefully breed a lifelong interest. This mission resonates with first-year intern Mara Anderson-Skelly ’25, who would love a career in environmental outreach. “Science can only get you so far with connecting with nature,” she says. “It’s essential to experience it firsthand.”

Bird banding with local experts In the Western Hemisphere, researchers from Canada to South America work together to understand bird populations, and one way they do this is through band-



ing—carefully trapping wild birds,

The setup at the Hawk Hill

acres of private land in the bluffs

recording information about

station typically includes three

above the village of Wyalusing,

them, then attaching a metal

nets—a bow net, a dho gazza net,

Wisconsin, just south of where the

band with a unique serial number

and a mist net—and multiple lures

Wisconsin River joins the Missis-

around their legs. In the US, these

to attract raptors. Kester trains

sippi. Since the Mississippi River

bands are issued by the United

interns on how to work the traps,

is the fourth-largest flyway in the

States Geological Survey (USGS).

collect hawks from the nets, and

country, this banding station is

When a banded bird is recap-

take a variety of measurements

an exceptionally productive spot.

tured or found dead or injured,

from weight to wing cord to tail

Students at the Wyalusing station

the USGS and the researchers who

length, all in a way that is safe for

work under master bander Stra-

applied the band are informed.

both bird and handler. The interns


At the Hawk Hill station, the

choose a band from a variety of

bands are part of the inventory

sizes designed to fit everything

banders in the US, Luther

assigned to Kester, master bander

from a petite sharp-shinned hawk

students are lucky to have access

permit holder, member of RRP’s

to a 15-pound eagle (eagles aren’t

to local experts like Kester and

board of directors, and mentor

trapped intentionally, but they’re

Stravers and the mentorship they

to Luther RRP interns. Kester has

banded when they’re caught inad-

offer. Olsen, who hopes to work in

been handling wild raptors since 1997, having

vertently) and fit it around

With only about 2,000 master

raptor research longer-term, says,

the raptor’s leg. Under

“It’s nice to have people behind

learned the art

that band’s unique

me who know areas that I might

from renowned

serial number,

be able to go into. I’ve been very

researcher Jon

interns record

fortunate to work with Dave and


the data they

Jon—they’ve taught me a lot.”

“I just love to handle hawks,” Kester says. “They’re everywhere around us, they’re common, but

measured and release the bird. While the Hawk Hill station is a stellar education outpost, RRP has

“This partnership between Luther and RRP is truly a win-win,” says Jon Jensen, professor of philosophy and environmental science and director of Luther’s Center for Sustainable

most people don’t know anything

a second banding station where

Communities. “RRP gets a prime

about them. I just fell in love with

Luther interns really hit the

location for their banding station


research jackpot. It’s on 500

and Luther benefits from having




Readers might recognize RRP as the organization behind the famous Decorah Eagle Cams. Funnily enough, in 2018 the Hawk Hill station inadvertently caught one of the Decorah hatchling eagles, which banders realized when they saw that it already had not a band but a transmitter on its leg.

the station on campus and having

station and also takes his wild-

easy access to wildlife experts.

life management classes there

Our location in the Driftless area and our 800-acre campus in the river valley are such assets for Luther, and it’s a

personal (and for some, getting the chance to band and release it) really helps them gain a better

leverage them in this way.”

appreciation for these amazing

Up close and personal with wild raptors Handling a wild raptor for the first time is a standout

birds and hopefully supports their conservation. RRP, and in particular Dave Kester, have worked really hard to impact as many young people as possible through classroom visits and station field

moment for most interns.

trips. I really wish this banding

Anderson-Skelly remembers

station had been active when I

being instructed to sit down while Kester brought her a catch.

was a Luther student!” Just as exciting as experi-

“It was like the first time some-

encing raptors firsthand is the

one let me hold their baby,” she

joy of sharing that experience


with others. Biology major Emily Martinson ’22 is a de facto raptor

excited to catch my first bird,

ambassador. “I’ve been able to

but there were also some nerves

bring a lot of housemates up,” she

involved when I realized that I


was about to handle a very powerful wild animal.” “Handling the birds is the high-

After visiting Hawk Hill, one of those housemates, Olsen, became an RRP intern herself. She says,

light of this job,” says first-year

“Sharing the experience and

intern Owen Matzek ’25. “Study-

catching birds with other people—

ing their features up close and

especially new people—is always

distinguishing species is really

a lot of fun. They’re always just so

something you have to experience

excited about it—and I am too. It’s

to understand.”

a once-in-a-lifetime experience for

Luther’s six RRP interns aren’t the only ones who experience

a lot of people.”

this. Luther environmental stud-

Learning in community

ies classes regularly take field

Having a field research outpost

trips to the station. “When I take

right on campus is a huge boon for

students to the banding station,”

Luther students. Interns can pop

Jensen says, “I can see the spark

up to the station between classes

in their eyes as they are up close

and scan the sky for a couple of

with these powerful birds and

hours, gaining valuable research

feel the excitement of applied

experience in the course of an


ordinary day. On top of that, the

Paul Skrade ’04, assistant


seeing a raptor up close and

bonus when we’re able to

McTeague says, “I was so


for field trips. He says, “A student

RRP internship is flexible, allow-

professor of biology at Upper

ing them to set their own hours

Iowa University, has two students

and put in as much or as little

interning at the Hawk Hill

time as they’re able.

“This type of student experience is what sets a Luther education apart from other places,” Jensen says. “Hands-on, experiential, innovative, all without leaving our own campus!” “This internship was a break

classes and homework, and it’s

When they aren’t inventing

for me from my busy schedule,”

so great to break up your day by

nicknames for each other or draw-

Matzek says. “Being able to hop

hiking up to the blind and spend-

ing red-tails in bikinis, the group

on a bike and be in the middle of

ing a few hours watching and

might have a friendly debate

the woods in under five minutes

banding hawks.”

about what music attracts hawks

was a great way for me to get

It doesn’t hurt that the atmo-

(Fleetwood Mac, Kester declares,

outside the classroom and invest

sphere in the blind is welcom-

and bluegrass). Or they might

myself in what I was learning.” He

ing and convivial. A space heater

lovingly enumerate the ways that

adds, “This internship is depen-

stands at the ready for cold days.

Upper Iowa intern Jake Frederick

dent on your personal commit-

There are often snacks within

has tripped, stumbled, stepped

ment to it. The more time you put

arm’s reach. Friendly graffiti

on, or otherwise fallen off equip-

into it, the more benefits you’ll get

adorns the interior walls. (Ander-


out of it.”

s0n-Skelly’s favorite quote? One

But what unites them is more

“It is honestly such a great

hawk in the net is better than two in

than snacks, music, and humor.

change of pace,” McTeague says.

the sky.) But best of all, the interns

“It’s good to know that we share

“It’s easy to get stuck in the monotony of

agree, are the people.

common interests,” Olsen says. “It’s just so nice to have a community of people that all care about these birds.” “You don’t really need background knowledge about

RRP’s Dave Kester, here displaying a juvenile red-tailed hawk, mentors Luther students as they learn critical conservation skills. Photo by Sophia Landis.

anything to do with birds to have a good experience up there,” Anderson-Skelly says. “They teach you everything you need to know. It’s very centered around: here’s what we’re doing now, here’s why. We all learn a lot and have a great time up there.”




Building future conservationists

a classroom setting is definitely a

we’re influencing them and how

good indicator that I’m studying

their behaviors are shifting.”

While the camaraderie of the bird

the right thing.”

blind and respite from a busy

All of the interns feel proud

In her memoir H Is for Hawk, falconer Helen Macdonald writes:

schedule are two of the draws for

that they’re contributing to a

“I think of what wild animals are

RRP interns, at the heart of their

larger body of knowledge about

in our imaginations. And how

work is a concern for wildlife.

raptors. The information they’re

they are disappearing—not just

Some of the interns even hope

collecting is valuable in and of

from the wild, but from people’s

to make animal conservation a

itself, but it becomes even more

everyday lives, replaced by images


valuable as climate change and

of themselves in print and on

the Anthropocene era continue to

screen. The rarer they get, the

pursue veterinarian school, says

Martinson, who’s planning to

impact how birds and other wild

fewer meanings animals can have.

that this internship has made her

animals live and die and move in

Eventually rarity is all they are

think seriously about focusing on

this changing world.

made of.”

wildlife rehab. Olsen, who’d love a position at

This strikes a chord with soph-

The research that Luther’s RRP

omore intern Margaret Mullin ’24.

interns do works against this. By

Hawk Watch International, says,

“These birds are really important

collecting data, encountering

“Working with raptors was always

to the ecosystems around here,”

wildlife one-on-one, and sharing

something I thought of as Oh, that

she says. “And since humans

this experience with young learn-

would be cool, but I’ll never be able

influence how they migrate and

ers, they make raptors—common

to do it because nobody does that.

where they’re going and also just

but unknown, as Kester says—

Well, lo and behold, people do

their lives in general, it’s import-

meaningful to people.

do it. It’s pretty neat to be able to

ant for us to have a responsibility

do something that you’ve always

to them. Part of the research is

wished you could experience.”

helping us get a better

McTeague, an environmental studies major who’d love to

understanding of how

conduct more bird research in the future, says, “It’s a really great affirmation that I chose a good field to pursue. The fact that I love the hands-on experiences as much as I love learning in



Interested in learning more about the Raptor Resource Project or visiting the Hawk Hill station during the October/November banding season? Visit



Luther alumni who work at Minnesota Public Radio connect listeners to high-quality journalism, custom entertainment, and a feeling of community. by Kelli Billstein ’07 Radio is one of the last golden

Public Radio (MPR) Classical

MPR turned out to be “that

mediums that allows access

99.5, has been spending even

place” for many Luther alumni

to a shared experience. Linked

more time lately listening to radio

over the years. Comprising three

through airwaves, listeners can

and feeling that warm rapport

unique stations—91.1 MPR News,

tune into an on-air host in real

with on-air hosts.

89.3 The Current, and 99.5 Clas-

time, and that kind of intentional

“That’s the magic of this

sical MPR—it’s drawn alumni who

connection is rare in an era where

medium,” he says, referring to the

value hand-picked music, reliable

algorithms rule the media land-

feeling of personal connection

journalism, enriching entertain-


hosts create for listeners. “I’m still

ment, and warm on-air personali-

enthralled by people who can do

ties. Here are five of their stories.

Brian Newhouse ’80, former managing director of Minnesota

that well. And MPR is that place.”

Brian Newhouse ’80 A wonderful constant

Brian Newhouse remembers the first time he tuned into 99.5 Classical MPR. It was 1978, his sophomore year at Luther, and he was in his room in Olson Hall. Fiddling with the radio dial, he stumbled upon a new signal from St. Paul. The sound of mellifluous piano filled the air. “Turns out it was a piano quartet, it was by Dvorak, and it was Minnesota Public Radio,” he says. “For the rest of my time at Luther, my FM dial was pretty much locked on that station.” Newhouse double majored in vocal music and English, which set him up perfectly for a career in




radio—along with the experience he gained at KWLC, Luther’s college radio station. His involvement there

thought I’d landed in Oz.” Newhouse worked at MPR from 1983 to 1993, then

was serendipitous. He got a call one Sunday morn-

as a radio journalist in Germany for two years, then

ing out of the blue from the student manager, asking

returned stateside and eventually to MPR classical

if he could come down to the station to fill in for the


afternoon classical music shift. Newhouse says, “They

“This was a live broadcast from Orchestra Hall,

knew I could pronounce the names of the composers

and I fell head over heels in love with doing that

because vocal music majors need to study French and

again,” Newhouse says. He recalls the thrill of

German and sing in Latin. That was the start of my

leaving the safety of the studio and covering a live

career right there.”

musical event, trying to convey to listeners what it

The summer of his sophomore year, with only three months of experience under his belt, Newhouse landed the role of director of the station. He did that as

was like to actually be there. “I remember thinking, This is it. This is my thing.” Newhouse stayed at MPR’s Classical 99.5 another 20

well as two weekly classical shifts, a job that spanned

years, holding roles as announcer, producer, manager

his time at Luther.

of a production team, and finally managing director of

After graduation, he got a job at a public radio classical music station, WNIU, near where he grew up in

Classical MPR, overseeing the entire operation. Newhouse left MPR in 2020 to take on a new chal-

northern Illinois. “I was there for two years as the head

lenge at the Minnesota Orchestra. But MPR is still very

announcer, and I really cut my teeth on what being a

much a part of his life. He listens in the morning as an

young professional in radio is all about,” he says.

accompaniment to breakfast, in the car, and late at

One day Newhouse got another call out of the blue. This time it was from an announcer at MPR, who asked

night as he’s winding down. Music, Newhouse says, is “not a substitute for

if Newhouse would like to apply for a role that just

religion and faith, but it has that resonance and that


power of religious conviction and how the spirit

Newhouse was instantly transported to that

moves. Just as in a wonderful religious service, it can

moment in Olson Hall—the Dvorak piano quartet

be the very same kind of feeling in a concert. Either

playing on the radio in his dorm room. “So here I am

as a performer or an audience member. And that has

post-Luther and MPR is calling me, asking would I like

never changed. That’s a wonderful constant.”

to come there? I jumped at it and was very fortunate. I

Lorna Benson ’90 Building trust in media

When Lorna Benson was around the age of eight or nine, her parents bought her a cassette recorder. She would buzz from her mom to her dad to her sister peppering them with questions, conducting interviews. This natural curiosity and fascination with journalism foreshadowed her future career. At Luther, Benson pursued a double major in political science and communications. During her junior year, she took a deep dive into reporting during a January Term internship at KLSE, a radio station in Rochester, Minn. Benson was hooked. Continuing to report news for the station, she covered the



There’s a lot we can learn from people who are different than we are, and that’s the big conversation that’s happening in journalism now. Do you really know your audience, or are you making assumptions?” —Lorna Benson ’90 band Bruce Hornsby and the Range when they visited

91.1. In this time, she’s given a lot of thought to the

Luther, and that story was aired.

value of radio news and reliable journalism writ large.

She started working at KWLC, excited to be amid

“Trust in media has been eroding for a long time.

the energy of a radio station. She organized the

That’s nothing new. But it continues, and that is a

records and hung out with other radio lovers. By the

concern,” Benson says. “I’ve been in this business

end of her senior year, she sent out a flurry of job

long enough to see this trend, and I think many of us

applications to radio and TV stations in the Midwest.

now recognize that it’s more important than ever to

She specifically did not apply to MPR—not because

really connect with your audiences, meeting people

she didn’t want to but because she knew she needed

where they are. I think we used to think of ourselves in

more experience first.

journalism as the gatekeepers of the news, but we’ve

A one-year grant-funded reporting job in St. Peter

been humbled in recent years. There’s a lot we can

turned out to be the opportunity she needed to estab-

learn from people who are different than we are, and

lish herself as a reporter. For four years, Benson lived

that’s the big conversation that’s happening in jour-

and worked as a local journalist and reporter in St.

nalism now. Do you really know your audience, or are

Peter, rising at dawn to do early-morning newscasting

you making assumptions? Are you taking the time to

for central Minnesota. She then moved from the small

learn about them? How can you build trust and have

St. Peter bureau to the larger MPR hub in St. Paul. She

that enhance your reporting? I want to be able to tell

took a job as a reporter for MPR News and was a host

more complete stories about communities. Not to just

for the All Things Considered program.

dive in when something news-y happens, but to have

In the years since hosting All Things Considered, Benson’s career has woven in and out of MPR, but

relationships. That’s where we are now, and while it’s hard work, it’s really important.”

today she is a deputy managing editor for MPR News,

Lindsay Kimball ’05 The soundtrack to every day

Ask Lindsay Kimball about highlights from her job working at MPR’s 89.3 The Current, and she’ll reel off an enviable list that includes arranging an in-studio performance for Adele before she was a megastar, meeting Billy Idol, and collaborating with Schell’s Brewing to create a special beer to promote The Current. She has one of those “cool jobs,” but it didn’t come without a whole lot of hard work and perseverance—starting with her time at Luther. To say that Kimball stayed busy at Luther would be an understatement. She pursued a double major in psychology and communications; she was in varsity




band; she wrote concert and CD reviews for Chips; she

tor. In the last two years, she’s pivoted to a differ-

was active in SAC Spotlight and SAC Concerts; and she

ent role at MPR to try something new—membership

was involved at KWLC as a radio host and music direc-

services. She is now director of regional membership,

tor. Oh, and she completed five internships.

working to ensure the stations she loves get the finan-

“I was doing as much as I could and just soaking it up,” she says. During her senior year at Luther, Kimball heard

cial support of listeners across the region. “That’s the cool thing about MPR; you can move around the organization, growing and shifting in your

about a new radio station in the Twin Cities—The

career as you try different things,” she says. “I’ve been

Current, whose mission was to play music of all genres

able to keep my radio show on The Current on Friday

with special attention to local artists. She was thrilled

nights, so I can still dabble in the on-air stuff.”

to be hired there as a summer intern. Kimball approached her internship with genu-

Embedded as she is in MPR, Kimball has a lot of thoughts about the role radio plays in communities.

ine enthusiasm to learn and the energy to take on

She says, “You can access media on any device

anything that was thrown her way. She made herself

anywhere, but one thing that’s really special about

indispensable. So much so that two weeks after her

radio is that it’s a shared experience. And it can

12-week internship had officially ended, she was still

be very local. I think for a lot of folks, they turn to

hard at work, coming in daily. Her boss decided to hire

radio so they have a connection. To the host, yes,

Kimball on full-time.

but also to each other.”

“I just embedded myself, and I kept that philoso-

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Kimball noticed

phy going forward, where I took on whatever opportu-

that the role MPR’s stations served was more import-

nity I could to grow in my role,” she says.

ant than ever. People tuned into 91.1 MPR News every

This included managing the music library, schedul-

day to hear from the Minnesota Department of Health

ing music for different shifts, learning different tech-

on vital information about COVID-19. Others tuned

nologies, supporting marketing, meeting with concert

into 99.5 Classical MPR to hear classical music to

promoters and venues, learning to produce in-studio

help them relax. And still others listened to 89.3 The

performances and broadcasts, and being an on-air

Current to hear music they could sing along to.

host for overnight shifts (midnight to 6 a.m.). Kimball’s role at The Current continued to evolve,

“It might sound cliché, but for me, it’s the soundtrack of every day,” she says.

and she eventually became assistant program direc-

Emily Kittleson ’11

Making the case to support radio Emily Kittleson got her job offer to join MPR on Election Day in 2016, a politically charged and contentious time. Her role, national fundraising manager, meant that she was thinking about fundraising and supporting the stations and programs that listeners loved. At this time, post-election, MPR saw a bump in donations, which Kittleson attributes to listeners wanting to voice their value in having a trusted news source. “Public radio is really one of the most trustworthy, unbiased sources of news and information,” Kittleson says. “When people discover it, they keep coming back.” Kittleson leaned on her background working in



fundraising for Twin Cities–based organizations, such as Grand Avenue Business Association and Friends of

them to open their wallets and support something.” As a regular radio listener and podcast lover, Kittle-

the Hennepin County Library, to land her current job

son is happy to use her skill set to lead fundraising

at MPR. But her time at Luther also helps her thrive

at MPR. Her role is vital to the continued existence of

there. As a Chips features editor, she learned about

programs like Marketplace, which is part of the portfo-

journalistic writing and was challenged to consider

lio that she supports.

angles for compelling storytelling. The rhetoric course

One of the things Kittleson loves most about her

she took as an English major taught her the art of

work is that she’s able to see results in real time as

persuasion, which she draws on all the time at MPR.

a member drive or fundraising campaign unfolds.

“Persuasive writing is really relevant to fund-

“We’ll see people respond by actually reaching

raising because you’re persuading people to either

into their wallets and giving,” she says. “That is

follow their heart or follow their logic,” Kittleson

so powerful. I’m proud that I have the skills to

says. “I’m writing in different styles to make the case

put into words what the mission is and do it in a

for supporting MPR or a specific program. People

way that inspires people to become a part of it by

are motivated by different things—some by emotion,


others by logic. I’m writing to all of them, trying to get

testimonials. Blocker says, “They would tell me how they started listening to MPR, the impact it has in their daily lives, and how much they want to keep public radio going. That was a big connection for me. I’m just someone in my childhood bedroom doing an internship, but this has an impact on a lot of people.” There was one anecdote from a listener of The Current that stuck with her. “A father and his two young daughters who are in lower elementary school would get to school early and sit in the parking lot listening to music trivia,” she says. “It was their fun tradition. All those small connections can foster community that MPR is known for, and it’s been really fun to work on.” As Blocker’s internship ended, a full-time position in membership services was posted. Her supervi-

Andrea Blocker ’21 A shared sense of mission

sor encouraged her to apply, and she landed the job as regional fundraising specialist. Blocker says that during her internship, something clicked, and she’s happy to have her first job out of college be at MPR, an

As a communications and music double major, Andrea

organization where she feels so much potential and

Blocker knew that she’d dive into the job search look-

opportunity to grow.

ing for a way to marry the two fields—and an MPR

“I’m pretty young in my career, but I love

internship seemed ideal for it. She was recruited by

MPR and it’s definitely a place I want to stay for

Lindsay Kimball ’05 and completed a summer intern-

a while,” Blocker says. “I think a lot of that has

ship in the membership services department, an expe-

to do with the work we’re doing as well as great

rience that helped her appreciate the community that

coworkers. Everyone has the same shared sense of

MPR listeners create.


One of her responsibilities as an intern was to reach out to MPR donors, capturing their stories and





Activist Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto ’20 works toward environmental justice and indigenous rights. Last November, Tony Pérez Soto ’20

of 500—outnumbered delegates

was sent as a Costa Rican delegate to

from any nation. Boris Johnson, the

the United Nations Climate Change

UK’s prime minister, left the confer-

Conference of the Parties (COP26) in

ence in a private jet. Leaders from

Glasgow, Scotland.

some of the most impacted areas,

But Pérez Soto doesn’t want to talk

like the Pacific Islands, were severely

about what happened in the meeting

underrepresented, in part because

rooms there. He’s more interested in

COVID restrictions made attendance

what happened in the streets.

difficult or impossible for them.

As world leaders struggled to draft

And critically, most of the negoti-

an effective plan to curb climate

ations excluded indigenous voices,

change—in particular, to limit

which was one of Pérez Soto’s main

temperature rise beyond 1.5 degrees


Celsius—thousands of protestors,

Descended from the Chorotega and

“The invasion of indigenous lands and indigenous territories is a constant threat to people’s safety.” He means this on a local level but also, in some ways, on a global one, since many indigenous cultures prior-

including Pérez Soto, took to the

Huetar indigenous groups in Costa

itize an environmentally positive rela-

streets to demand drastic action.

Rica, Pérez Soto considers himself

tionship with the Earth in a way that

a lifelong activist. “Coming from an

governments and corporations often

people—and I mean thousands of

“It was really great to see so many

indigenous background, most of the

don’t. At the conference, he says, “I

people—in the streets, in different

time we are already born as activists,”

saw people from the Amazon and

panels, in different venues pressur-

he says. “When you are marginalized,

Africa and the Pacific Islands saying,

ing global leaders to act on climate

when you are minoritized, when you

For centuries we have protected the

change and understand that we don’t

are oppressed, there’s always this

forest, the oceans, the water, the air.

have the luxury of time. We don’t have

part of you that wants to come out of

The solutions to combat climate

the luxury of meeting in fancy rooms,

it, that wants to tackle it, combat it,

change have been available already

because many of us are already expe-

and fight back.”

for centuries, and Indigenous People

riencing climate change,” he says.

UPLIF TING INDIGENOUS VOICES It’s easy to feel cynical about COP26, where fossil fuel lobbyists—in excess



In his home country, Pérez Soto

have been calling on those solutions

is involved in the Recuperación de

to become national and international

Tierras movement, or the Land Back

agreements and policies, but ulti-

movement, which seeks to protect

mately people are governed by prof-

and restore indigenous land rights.

its. Something like ending fossil fuels

He explains,

is not really to be negotiated. It’s not something that can be postponed—

Left: On the streets outside COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Pérez Soto delivered a presentation on loss and damage. Photo credit: Extinction Rebellion UK. Below: Earth Guardians (including Pérez Soto, second from the left) and Bribrí Senior Council in the community of Cabagra, where Earth Guardians funded a community kitchen.

A WAY FORWARD THROUGH EMPATHY Pérez Soto is currently pursuing his master’s degree in applied diplomacy with a concentration in migration at DePaul University in Chicago. While he was in high school in Germany, during the heart of the European refugee crisis in which Germany received about 1.2 million refugees, Pérez Soto volunteered to help and saw firsthand how much this is an emergency, this is urgent,

outside the Luther community.

need there was—and he also saw the

and we must do it.”

And sometimes, sure, that was to

value in working outside official chan-

be celebrated, but often that also

nels to mediate, negotiate, bring people

remind the world that Indigenous

Pérez Soto attended COP26 to

meant that some people were less

together, and uplift unheard voices.

People need to be at the center of


Now, he says, “I don’t think only

conversations about climate change.

Pérez Soto channeled this

“These voices must be amplified and

uneven experience into leader-

or consulate or at the UN or at interna-

uplifted,” he says. “That’s part of how

ship roles in Latines Unides and

tional intergovernmental organizations,

I see the way forward.”

the International Students and

but rather I think about, how do we

Allies Association. He was also

reconcile different perspectives? How

part of a call to action to decolo-

do we allow each other to understand

nize the curriculum and make it

what we’re saying? How do we allow for

Pérez Soto’s innate sense of environ-

more diverse. “That is definitely

the voices that we’re talking about to be

mental justice was honed through the

part of my journey,” he says, “help-

brought to the table?”

sustainability-focused curriculum at

ing spread awareness that we are

United World College Robert Bosch

all different, which is to be cele-

or migration or both, Pérez Soto thinks

in Germany, where he went to high

brated—but there are also so many

that radical positive change starts with

school. “There I became very involved

things that unite us, and right now

empathy. “Sometimes being drastic and

with the environmental movement

climate change is one of those

being radical means exactly that—it

and very aware specifically of climate


means prioritizing people’s well-being


change consequences,” he says. “And

At Luther, Pérez Soto got

about how I want to work in an embassy

Whether the subject is climate change

and safety above private extensive accu-

then I could understand why, back

involved with Earth Guardians,

mulation of individual and corporate

home, our rains became more or

which trains young people to be

and government wealth. There’s value

less prominent, why our water was

effective leaders in environmental,

to how we humanize other people and

polluted, why our air was polluted,

climate, and social justice move-

how we all become more humane when

essentially why the weather was

ments worldwide. After graduating,

we understand that people’s struggles

changing and why we were also chang-

he was hired as an Earth Guard-

are real and people’s livelihoods are in

ing with it, because our practices were

ians regional program codirector,

danger—and not only their livelihoods,


helping design, assist, and guide

but also their history, culture, and

projects focused on reforestation,

connection to their Ancestral Land.”

At Luther, Pérez Soto began to better understand the intersections of

climate education, youth training

sustainability and racial and socioeco-

and empowerment, ecotourism,

nomic identity. “It was very palpa-

permaculture, beach cleanups, and

ble,” he says. “It was something that

more. It was as an Earth Guardians

you could experience both within and

activist that he attended COP26.

—Kate Frentzel




Adding Colors T O T H E C R AY O N B O X O F L I F E Angela Kade Goepferd ’99 eases the process of understanding gender identity. Angela Kade Goepferd ’99, chief

charge of education, and I felt like

so much more than my career

education officer at Children’s

I needed to show up as my best

‘pre-bowtie,’ and I don’t think

Minnesota and medical director

self every day. I started to wear

that’s a coincidence. When you

of the hospital’s Gender Health

bowties because it felt like I was

give yourself permission to be

Program, usually wears a bowtie

dressing up a little bit more that

who you really are, it allows you

to work these days.

way. I immediately felt like I was

to live up to your full potential

finally myself. And when I started

and exist in the world in all the

nary and uses she and they

being more myself on the outside,

ways you were meant to.”

pronouns, with a preference for

I found my authentic power on the

they. “For many years, I dressed


Goepferd identifies as nonbi-

more feminine at work than I do

Goepferd chuckles a bit when

What really lights Goepferd up is the chance to make gender identity and gender health easier

now,” they explain. “I felt like I

ruminating on the difference that

to understand and support. They

had to, to be respected or treated

the bowtie made. But they are also

do this by educating both fellow

well in the medical profession.

clear on its significance.

pediatricians and the general

“But I got this job being in



“My career ‘post-bowtie’ is

public about gender health.

Goepferd also assists children who have struggles around gender

room when they needed surgery. Hildebrand remembers Goep-

award from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. In 2019, the

identity and their families by

ferd as a fighter who never quit in

American Academy of Pediatrics

practicing medicine in a multispe-

the face of a challenge, the ulti-

recognized Goepferd’s work in

cialty program focused on gender

mate team player who supported

advancing the care of LGBT youth.


the team no matter what, and the

“I’m doing exactly what I love,” Goepferd says. “I wouldn’t

In an October 2020 TEDx talk,

consummate student devoted to

“The Revolutionary Truth about

excelling in the classroom.

Kids and Gender Identity,” Goep-

want to be anything but a pedia-

Hildebrand also remembers

ferd uses a striking analogy to

trician. I’m so passionate about

Goepferd as someone who helped

explain what’s at stake when


her learn more about different

we limit kids’ gender identity

ways of being in the world. Goep-


Goepferd’s other main interest—besides raising their three

ferd came out to Hildebrand and

young children—is sports. Want-

their teammates as gay during

ing to play competitive basket-

their senior year. “Maybe I’ve

ball but also prepare for medical

taught them a few things, but

school is what put Luther on their

they’ve taught us a few things,

college search map.

too,” Hildebrand says.

Former head basketball coach

Recent awards by local and

Jane (Greene) Hildebrand ’74

national organizations validate

sealed the deal. As a high school

that Goepferd has found their

senior in Iowa City, Iowa, Goep-

mission in life as an educator and

ferd tore their ACL playing basket-

pediatrician. A member of the

ball, ending their senior season.

LGBT Standards of Care Advisory

Other college coaches stopped

Board, Goepferd helped develop

talking to them, but Hildebrand

the first healthcare standards for

went out of her way to express

LGBT people in the state of Minne-

support and concern, even send-

sota. In 2018, Goepferd received

ing flowers to Goepferd’s hospital

the inaugural Business of Pride

It’s like asking a small child to draw a picture of themselves, but allowing them to use only one color of crayon: blue or pink. “Imagine all the pictures we would never see,” Goepferd says. “We all deserve a bigger box of crayons.”

—Laura Barlament

Dr. Goepferd’s Tips for Helping Kids with Gender Questions • Be curious and listen to kids. • Ask them thoughtful questions like, “What does that mean to you? I really want to understand that” or “Is that something you think, or did you hear someone say that?” • Recognize that kids need some time and space to figure themselves out. They learn as they go and they share as they go. • The biggest message that parents need to give kids is “I love you always, no matter what. We may do different things and believe different things, but I will always love you unconditionally.” Kids can tolerate a lot of disappointment and be very resilient as long as there’s an attachment to a loving adult.




A church


the country. “We had really deep conversa-

of worship and theology from

try and where our lives were

outside your own culture,” he

enrolled at Luther and when it a college, he recalls, “Ben said,

experience to congregations. “In

‘Felix, you gotta go to Luther.’”

worship, we create our communal

Malpica’s studies at Luther literature, and he also realized he wanted a career in the church. The many pastors in his life encouraged him to embrace the liberal arts spectrum; his semihim plenty of religion classes.

right. It became a place for me to

“I heard this message over and

grow and thrive and learn about

over again: take advantage of the

who I was as a leader, as a musi-

full breadth of what liberal arts


means. And that really gave me some freedom,” he says. Malpica did take some reli-

Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran

gion classes, but also courses in

Church in America. At age 34, he

theatre, pottery, archery, dance,

became the youngest and first

ancient Greek, psychology, social

person of color to hold that post.

work, and even astrophysics. A

Malpica was born in Puerto Rico

broad education has helped him

and moved to the Chicago area

more thoughtfully respond to

when his father was called to

questions and situations.

Office. Malpica found Luther through the late Ben Larson ’06, with whom he attended synod assem-

“I can access different aspects of questions just by virtue of the way I’ve been shaped by that education,” he says. Malpica thinks about worship

blies and summer missionary

similarly, believing it needs to

conferences. In high school they

incorporate aspects of life around

became musicians, performing

the world. “It’s important to

for worship and assemblies across

remember that worship needs



image of who God is,” he says.

focused on music and Spanish

he first came to Luther, “It just felt

serve at the ELCA Churchwide

His passion for global music helps him bring a multicultural

nary years after Luther would give

bishop of the La Crosse Area


came time for Malpica to choose

Felix Malpica ’09 says that when

Last year, Malpica was elected

to open yourself to expressions

tions about life and minisheaded,” Malpica says. Larson

Bishop and new Luther regent Felix Malpica ’09 wants us to expand our communal image of God.

to be cross-cultural. You need

“So if you can experience worship a little bit differently, you might expand your image of who God is, as opposed to the old

white guy you see if you only ever hear German music. If you hear something from Latin America or Africa or Asia, you might think, Oh, maybe God dances a little. Maybe God is wispy. Maybe God is full of drum and bass.” Expanding their vision of the church is important for congregations, especially now, Malpica says. “The church is at a pivotal point. The pandemic has been difficult. I think it has provided an opportunity because it has disrupted what has been normal in such a way that we can dream about how we might faithfully be the church for tomorrow. That, to me, is exciting.” —Ellen Modersohn


JUNE 12–18, 2022


JUNE 19–25, 2022


SUMMER MUSIC CAMPS 2022 Luther College Dorian Summer Music Camp lcdsmc

Andrew Last, Camp Director Camp Coordinator (563) 387-1389




Empowering IOWA YOUTH

Three Luther alumnae change young lives together. When Luther grads work together,

middle or high school, will better

heard on a consistent basis was,

powerful things happen. Take

prepare them to make decisions

‘That’s great, but you can’t do that

the case of Community Youth

about their future when they

with my kids—my population is

Concepts in Des Moines, Iowa,


different, they’re special, they’re

where Amy (Ostrander) Croll

Other programs, like Got

more difficult,’” she says. “People

’97, Jane Jeffries ’97, and Alicia

Bounce, help young people

just didn’t have a model to look

Vermeer ’12 have been leading

build leadership and teamwork

at to understand how to do it

the charge to connect young

skills through service projects or

successfully. So we started CYC to

people with their communities in

through working to resolve prob-

say, ‘You know what? You can do

life-changing ways.

lems in their schools or commu-

it with these students.’”

Founded in 2008, CYC part-

nities. CYC also offers Stowe

In the decade-plus that

ners with school districts in the

Heights, a challenge course open

CYC has been operating, Croll,

metro area to provide program-

to groups of all ages and abili-

Vermeer, and Jeffries have seen

ming that helps students develop

ties to help them work on prob-

the positive impact it’s made on

essential life skills.

lem-solving, communication,

young lives. Croll shares memo-

trust, accountability, and more.

ries of students who’ve been

To do this, CYC offers various programs based mostly in volun-

CYC was Croll’s brainchild. A

empowered to pursue college.

teer service. One program, uVoice,

psychology major at Luther, she’s

Vermeer talks about a CYC alumna

is a youth philanthropy board

spent her career in youth-devel-

who went on to launch a robust

that lets students identify public

opment programming. In 2008,

philanthropy program at her

health issues in their community,

while working for the state of

college sorority.

then develop a grant application

Iowa providing technical train-

and allocate money to organi-

ing for youth programs, she kept

the pandemic last year, the Got

zations that best address that

meeting resistance. “What we

Bounce students really focused

She also shares that during

challenge. Another CYC program

on mental health, partnering with

matches students with adult

the National Alliance on Mental

mentors working in a career

Illness–Iowa to do an activ-

field of interest to the

ity and presentation about

student, giving them a

reducing the stigma of

behind-the-scenes look. “Hopefully,” Vermeer

mental illness and how to reach out for help if you need it. One of the

says, “getting

Got Bounce students

that exposure

was so inspired that

and infor-

he’s been working

mation now,

with his own school’s

while they’re in

student council and



Left to right: Jane Jeffries ’97, Alicia Vermeer ’12, and Amy (Ostrander) Croll ’97 lead Community Youth Concepts.

Class Notes by Erin Dintaman ’23

’61 Anita (Thurin) Wilderadministrators to plan a mental health–based event for his entire school. Croll, Vermeer, and Jeffries overflow with stories like this— they’re at the heart of what they do. Now that the CYC engine is chugging along, Croll made the decision to step down as executive director this past August. “I’ve always believed that systems work best when they have new ideas and new approaches,” she says. “I really thrive when I’m in a challenging environment that requires figuring out processes and systems, and once those are really developed, it’s probably time for someone else to come in.” That “someone else,” in this case, is Vermeer, director of operations, and Jeffries, director of Stowe Heights—two Luther grads Croll had a hand in hiring. “I’m excited to see where these two take things,” she says. —Kate Frentzel

muth of Clinton, Wis., was an art teacher for 37 years, much of that time as the supervisor of elementary art for the Beloit (Wis.) School District. In September, in the Main Gallery at the Beloit Art Center, she had a solo art exhibit of many of the pieces she’s created over her long career. The exhibit featured a variety of mediums, including paintings, photography, jewelry, and fiber art.

’66 John Bodensteiner of

Scottsdale, Ariz., is retired from active practice at Mayo Clinic. He serves as secretary on the board of directors of the American Society of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is also on the executive committee of the Southern Pediatric Neurology Society, is founding editor of Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, and is editor of Case Studies Issues of the SPNS. Bruce Omundson retired as professor of philosophy and humanities from Lansing (Mich.) Community College. He is a volunteer for the Steam Railroading Institute as a librarian, tour guide, and car host on their annual North Pole Express run by their big steam locomotive, Pere Marquette 1225.

’68 Michael Ruzek of Austin,

Minn., was one of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni honored by the Austin High School Alumni and Friends Association. Retired owner of an insurance agency, Mike was cited for his community service, including the creation of three nonprofit organizations. Spruce Up Austin beautifies public property with an emphasis on planting trees. Since 1990, Mike has helped create projects with nearly 2,800 trees planted. Austin High School Alumni and Friends Association, founded in 1994, makes connections with alumni, students, and the community. Through the association, Mike led many projects such as the Floor on the Wall, a unique

recognition wall that has raised over $125,000 for the school foundation. Mike’s leadership since 2003 with the Austin Area Foundation helped the foundation to build $3 million of assets while distributing more than $250,000 to nonprofit organizations that serve Austin. Mike still serves on the Veterans Memorial committee, Spruce Up Austin, and the Austin Area Foundation.

’71 Dale Blyth of Shoreview,

Minn., is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Minnesota. He serves on several boards and advisory groups locally and nationally, including as senior advisor and consultant to the Collaborative for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning; the Forum for Youth Investment; and the American Institutes for Research. He received the Alec Dickson Servant Leadership Award from the National Youth Leadership Conference in 2020.

’77 Steven Amundson of

Northfield, Minn., is professor emeritus of music at St. Olaf College. He is retiring after 40 years of teaching and conducting the St. Olaf Orchestra. Amundson will conduct the orchestra throughout the 2021–22 academic year, including a tour to Washington, Oregon, and Montana in February 2022 and a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on April 10, 2022. On June 4, 2022, St. Olaf will host an alumni orchestra reunion to celebrate Amundson’s retirement. Steven Johnson of University Place, Wash., is director of business operations and HR at Peace Community Center.

’78 Bob Paulson Jr. is the president and CEO of Sonex Health in Eagan, Minn., and serves on the Luther College Board of Regents.

’79 Allene (Leathers) Byroad

retired as a student support coordinator for the Frisco (Texas) Schools after 41 years in education. She is a self-employed licensed professional counselor at Bridges Counseling in Prosper, Texas.

Scott Lee retired after 33 years of teaching at Trempealeau (Wis.) Elementary School. He also published a book in 2021 titled Spiders and Snakes and Rats—Oh My!, a humorous account of 40-plus years of nature education.

Thomas Mayfield of Maple Grove, Minn., is district sales manager at IC Systems.

’72 Todd Smith is the nation-

Hansen of Rochester, Minn., was appointed chair of the Minnesota Credit Union Network Board of Directors.

al sales director at Assist America in West Des Moines, Iowa.

’73 Debra (Hopson) and

Rufus Glasper ’74 live in Gilbert, Ariz. Debra is an emeritus counseling faculty member at Scottsdale Community College. Rufus is the CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges.

’74 Craig Cornelius of Menlo

Park, Calif., received the Samuel Worcester Award, which is given to non-Cherokees who have made substantial contributions to preserving Cherokee heritage, culture, community, and sovereignty for supporting Cherokee language online through his work on the international engineering team at Google.

Tim Olsen is a clinical trial investigator at NetSpatial in Madison, Wis.

’80 Mary (Christianson) ’81 Tom Whitesell is the

EVP, group head real estate, at Pacific Western Bank in Westlake Village, Calif. Erick Wiger is studio manager in the Visual Arts Department at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, Minn.

’82 David Crowe is professor

of English, Dorothy J. Parkander Professor in Literature, and chair of the English Department at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. He is the author of Hemingway and Ho Chi Minh in Paris: The Art of Resistance.




Scott Gomer is a public affairs officer at the Tomah (Wis.) VA Medical Center. Lehlohonolo Tlou is the executive director of the Center for Regional Integration in Africa in Accra, Ghana.

’83 Janee (Eckheart) Anderson of Washington, Iowa, is the senior executive sales representative at Eli Lilly.

Amy Berkvam Pfefferle of Northfield, Minn., is owner of the Table Leaf, a plant-based nutrition education website, thetableleaf. com. Lori Erickson of Iowa City, Iowa, is a self-employed author who has released her newest book, The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestors, Stories and the Spirits We Inherit. Cindy Fredrick of Charlottesville, Va., is the senior associate vice president for university advancement at the University of Virginia. Gregory Hager is the Mandell Bellmore Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He researches collaborative and vision-based robotics, time-series analysis of image data, and medical applications of image analysis and robotics. He has published more than 300 articles and books on these topics. He is founding director of the Johns Hopkins Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, an interdisciplinary research center aimed at developing innovative healthcare technology and systems. Sonja (Green) Link is senior accountant at Dungarvin in Mendota Heights, Minn.

’84 John Barth of Lakeville,

Minn., retired from Wells Fargo after 25 years of service. He has a portrait-painting business, and his works can be found at Steve Birchard of Chicago is a partner at Deloitte Consulting and was appointed to the National Board of Trustees of City Year. He also serves as the president of the University of Iowa Health Management Program Alumni Board. Leon Lillie of St. Paul, Minn., is a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. WINTER 2022


’85 Wendi Storhoff is an

ESL specialist with the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.

’86 Chris Gade is vice pres-

ident of marketing and engagement at Rush University System for Health in Chicago and serves on the Luther College Board of Regents. Barbara (Cornwell) Solsaa of Menomonie, Wis., is a professional certified life coach and the owner and CEO of Clergy Life Coaching.

’87 Dawn D’Ostilio and Arne

Anderson ’87 live in Simpsonville, S.C. Dawn is a retired safety professional and asset manager. Arne is a retired college instructor and corporate trainer. Greg Eide of Decorah retired from the Luther College Admissions Office after more than 32 years of service.

’88 Michael Ackerman of

Rochester, Minn., earned the master instructor designation at the American Taekwondo Association fall nationals in Little Rock, Ark. Michael Flittie is chief financial officer at rareESSENCE Aromatherapy in Eden Prairie, Minn. Michelle LeGault of Decatur, Ga., is an attorney at Vernis and Bowling of Atlanta. David McDonald is the manager of contracts/military systems at BAE Systems in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He also serves on the Linn County Extension Council, is owner of a Clydesdale and paint horse farm, and his family raises and shows several of the top Cardigan Welsh corgis and treeing walker coonhounds in the country. Kris (Ritland) Pressler retired after 33 years of teaching at the Eau Claire (Wis.) Community School District. She helped start School Sense, a banking program in schools to teach financial literacy in 28 schools in the Midwest. She also coached in 25 high school state tennis tournaments over her career.

’89 Nancy (McGivern) Buss

of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded the professional designation of board-certified clinical

specialist in geriatric physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She is a physical therapist at Advanced Therapy Specialists.

’90 Margie Sinex of Zumbro

Falls, Minn., is senior clinical trial monitor at Bristol Myers Squibb. She is also a breeder, owner, and handler of Charizma Airedales; vice president of the Twin Cities Airedale Terrier Club; and board member of the Airedale Terrier Club of America.

’91 Dean Southern is vice

president for academic affairs and dean of the conservatory at the Cleveland (Ohio) Institute of Music. He was named a master teacher for the 2020 National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program, which was held in May 2021 at Georgia Southern University, where he mentored early-career voice teachers.

’92 Amie Barsch Odahl

is the lead pastor at Salem Lutheran Church and School in Glendale, Calif. Richard Higdon of Baileys Harbor, Wis., is the facilities manager at Northern Sky Theater. Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire of St. Paul, Minn., is a musicologist and president of the International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies.

’93 Thor Davidson of

Wheaton, Ill., was selected by the Rotary International District 6440 Nominating Committee to be district governor for the 2024–25 Rotary year. Jon Harney is associate professor of music at Montana State University and conductor of the Bozeman Symphonic Choir. David Peak is superintendent of the Cheyenne Mountain School District in Colorado Springs, Colo.

’94 Jeremy Anderson is

senior director of architecture at Optum Technology in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

’95 David Heaton is a social studies teacher in the Danville (Iowa) Community School District.

Kimberly (Anderson) Thole is district literacy specialist for the Onalaska (Wis.) School District. Amalia Vagts is a pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Tucson, Ariz.

’96 Mary Ellen (Werner)

Roubik earned an MSN degree from Walden University and is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Kristen (Greenlee) and Benjamin Stout ’95 live in Prior Lake, Minn. Kristen is a teacher at the Prior Lake–Savage Area Schools. Ben is an optometrist at AEG Vision.

’97 Todd Bartelt of Shawnee, Kan., is a software engineer at Veterans United Home Loans.

Karen (Olson) Brennan of Cary, N.C., is director of analytical development at Perfuse Therapeutics. Chris Mitchell received the 2021 Energy Educator Award from the Wisconsin K–12 Energy Education Program and Alliant Energy. He is a science teacher at Oregon (Wis.) Middle School. Kimberly Swenson is pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church in Green Bay, Wis.

’98 Chris Bracke is a partner designer at Shutterfly in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Stephanie (Spear) Filigno is a pediatric psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). She codirects the behavioral health program at its Cystic Fibrosis Center and is a study investigator and consultant on a number of research grants. She recently received CCHMC’s Hidden Gem Award, which recognizes extraordinary faculty, and was also promoted to full professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Nicole Winke Gentes of Lansing, Iowa, was crowned Mrs. Iowa American and competed in the Mrs. American National Pageant in Las Vegas in November 2021. She is an attorney with offices in Waukon and Lansing, and she also teaches personal fitness.

’99 J.D. Burton is the chief government relations officer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Rachel (Knutson) Dahl earned a JD degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is an estate planning attorney and partner at Maslon LLP in Minneapolis. Matthew Perkins is an emergency department trauma nurse at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz.

’00 Darcy Hendriks is the

vocal music director at the East Marshall Schools in Marshalltown, Iowa. Heidi Nelson of Stillwater, Minn., is a cloud security architect at Securian Financial. Elisabeth (Marvin) Sandersfeld is chief financial officer of Continental Western Group–Berkley Companies in Urbandale, Iowa. Sara Usgaard-Stohr of Rosemount, Minn., is senior project manager at Jones Lang LaSalle.

’01 Mollie Busta Lange of

Tomah, Wis., will be inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in April 2022. Erin Flater is a technical solutions engineer at Epic Systems Corporation in Verona, Wis. Heather (Proper) Fortuine is assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis. Natalie Mindrum of Evanston, Ill., is director of supply chain and customer operations at Impossible Foods, maker of plant-based meat. Jason Trott works in sales at La Galera Produce in Chicago. Amy Wrightsman retired last June after 20 years of working at Luther, most recently as director of risk management and internal controls. She also taught accounting for 15 years in the economics and business department and spent 10 years as advisor for the Luther women’s basketball team.

’02 Tana Field is professor of voice in the Department of Music at Murray (Ky.) State University.

Paul Kartman of Lino Lakes, Minn., was selected Outstanding Firefighter of the Year by American Legion Post 566.

William Mabuce was elected president of the American Society of Civil Engineers–Iowa Section. He is the engineering project manager for West Des Moines (Iowa) Water Works. Aimee Sandy of Lakeville, Minn., is controller for the Minnesota Orchestra.

’03 Andrea (Oliver) Cam-

milleri of Middleton, Wis., is the strategic initiatives advisor for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Rusty Jones is senior executive vice president and chief financial officer at Grinnell (Iowa) State Bank. Karianne Moucka of Charlottesville, Va., is the founder and president of Lofti. Amy Potter is assistant director of admissions at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. Joshua Shank of Cambridge, Mass., was the 2021 winner of the American Prize in Choral Composition for his work “He Was Singing.” The subject of the piece is the life and death of Lutheran missionary Benjamin Splichal Larson ’06, who died in the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.

’04 Carrie (Christiansen)

Binnie earned the graduate certificate in nonprofit administration from Dakota Wesleyan University. She is lead pastor at Minnetonka (Minn.) United Methodist Church. Emeka Elendu is sales manager at Cummins West Africa LTD in Lagos, Nigeria. Heidi (Johnson) Felz of Des Moines, Iowa, is digital marketing director at Brokers International. Ryan Goessl of Seoul, South Korea, was appointed to Interkultur’s World Choir Council. Meredith Jones is a systems engineer at Maxar Robotics in Pasadena, Calif. Andrew P.J. Olson received the Herbert S. Waxman Award for Outstanding Medical Student Educator by the American College of Physicians. He is associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School in

Minneapolis, where he practices hospital medicine and pediatrics. He’s the head of hospital medicine and director of medical education research and innovation at the Medical Education Outcomes Center. His academic and teaching focus is on diagnostics.

’05 Hassan Asghar of

Minneapolis is chief information security officer at Hinge Health in San Francisco. Lindy Buck is an obstetrician and gynecologist at Coastal Women’s Health in Scarborough, Maine. Jenn Collins is associate to the bishop and director for communications and community at East Central Synod of Wisconsin– ELCA in Appleton. Shannon (Johnson) Gravelle is director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin– Oshkosh. Edwin Holmvig-Johnson teaches middle school special education at Seven Hills Preparatory Academy in Richfield, Minn. T.C. Mack is a licensed psychologist at Rein Center for Emotional Health and Well-Being in Iowa City, Iowa. Jake Torgerson is regional real estate director for the Target Corporation in Minneapolis. Nick Torgerson graduated from a Loyola University hematology and oncology fellowship and is an attending physician at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

’06 Elisabeth (Zant) Daniels

is pastor at First Lutheran Church in Gladstone, Mich. Tania (Connolly) Hultengren earned a master’s degree in special education with an autism spectrum disorders license from Concordia University, St. Paul, and is a special education teacher for the Bloomington (Minn.) Public Schools. Michelle (Monson) Klisanich is a certified financial planner with Birch Cove Group in Minneapolis. Nikki (Gaemez) Kuhn is a career development specialist at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. Laura (Schuurman) Rasmussen is a Montessori guide at the

Rochester (Minn.) Montessori School. Krystal (Broich) Stanford is a school nurse for the Ankeny (Iowa) Community Schools. Darcie (Hoenig) Woodruff is director of grant development and compliance at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa.

’07 Erin (Smock) del Cid is an EL resource teacher at the Cary (Ill.) School District.

Amanda (Pohlman) Janke is an occupational therapist at Black River Memorial Hospital in Black River Falls, Wis. Nathan Moser is the IT director at Audubon (Iowa) County Memorial Hospital and Clinics. Renee (Skow) Person earned an EdM degree from Graceland University and an advanced studies certificate in educational leadership from the University of Northern Iowa. She is principal at Kirkwood Elementary School in the Iowa City (Iowa) Community School District. Jeremy Stewart is manager of channel development at John Wiley and Sons in Golden Valley, Minn.

’08 Christopher Arp earned the bachelor of music degree in organ performance from the University of Iowa and teaches Spanish at Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) High School. Jackson Felde is the St. Paul (Minn.) plant manager of operations at Minnesota Pure and Clear Artisan Ice. Amy (Larson) Freeman is a family nurse practitioner at Piper Family Medicine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Valerie (Hoops) Meyer is business manager at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Aaron Nyquist is an associate attorney of mergers and acquisitions at Fredrikson and Byron in Minneapolis. Cory Wagner is senior systems administrator at Red Wing Shoes in Red Wing, Minn. Elise (Hoehn) and Clayton Ward live on a hobby farm in Le Claire, Iowa, and are in their third year as a state-licensed foster family. LUTHER



Kiara Hohn ’21 worked as an administrative assistant/intern last summer for Lanesboro (Minn.) Arts, which began updating an unused area known as Parkway Place to make it more usable and inviting. The organization installed tents for shade and added flowerpots, and local Boy Scouts painted picnic tables. The final touch was the colorful mural that Kiara painted!

Six people were inducted into Burlington (Iowa) High School’s Bracewell Wall of Honor ahead of Burlington’s football season opener last fall. Among them were alumnus Bill Bailey ’61 and former Luther football coach, the late Edsel Schweizer. Three of Edsel’s four children were able to accept the honor in person for their father. Left to right: Tim Schweizer ’80, David Schweizer ’77, and Chris (Schweizer) Johnson ’87.

In 2021, Luther’s Athletic Hall of Fame committee decided to recognize some of Luther’s great athletic teams from history in the Athletic Hall of Fame. Two of Luther’s greatest football teams were the 1955 Corn Bowl and the 1970 Stagg Bowl teams coached by Edsel Schweizer. Members of those teams gathered on campus over the weekend of Oct. 16–17 for a reunion brunch and induction—on Legacy Field during halftime of the Luther vs. Wartburg football game— into Luther’s new team Athletic Hall of Fame.



In September, J.D. Burton ’99 (left), Dave Senjem ’64 (center), and Leon Lillie ’84 (right) toured the newly renovated Pillsbury Hall on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus. Senjem is a Minnesota state senator from Rochester, Lillie is a Minnesota House of Representatives member from North St. Paul, and Burton is the chief government relations officer at the University of Minnesota.

Norse blue T-shirts connected Nathanial Youngquist ’08 and Wendi Storhoff ’85 at their workplace, Bridge View School, a public K–12 special education school in St. Paul, Minn., that serves the learning needs of students with severe and profound low-incident developmental disabilities. Nathanial and Wendi enjoy collaborating in the classroom. Nathanial is a special education classroom teacher, and Wendi is an English as a second language specialist.

In the fall of 1985, seven top Norse harriers soundly defeated their nearest competitors by a 52-point spread at the 21-team NCAA Division III national championship cross country meet at Emory University in Atlanta. In honor of this achievement, on Sept. 11, 2021, the entire group of 38 men were the first team inducted into Luther’s Athletic Hall of Fame as a complete squad. The award ceremony took place at Luther’s 48th annual All-American Invitational.

Luther’s 2021–22 Center Stage Series welcomed a surprise performer in November when the highly acclaimed men’s vocal ensemble Cantus invited Luther staff member Eric Ellingsen ’99 onstage to perform “Wanting Memories” by Ysaye Barnwell. It was the song Eric always soloed on during tours when he was a member of the group from 2008 to 2011, his full-time job before moving back to Decorah. He’s pictured here with current Cantus members (left to right): Paul Scholtz ’10, Eric Ellingsen ’99, and Jacob Christopher ’06.

Left to right: Kristin Petersen ’10, Jonathan Kuehner ’20, and Casey Tecklenburg ’16 were involved in a production of Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town at the Waterloo (Iowa) Community Playhouse.

Allison Schnier ’12 (left) and Sherry (Atienza) Joseph ’91 (right) performed as members of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in their Holiday Pops Concert at the Bradley Symphony Center.




Elise is a visual arts instructor for grades PreK–6 for the North Scott School District and has self-published two children’s books. Clayton is a regional director for Dial Senior Living and a Disney travel agent. Nathanial Youngquist is a special education classroom teacher for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.

’09 Ashley Beek is customer operations manager at Motorola Solutions and consulting director at the Porter House Museum in Decorah.

Nathan Blinn is band director at Chippewa Middle School in North Oaks, Minn. Siri (Dove) Mytty is the owner and services manager at the Snowmass Club Residences in Snowmass Village, Colo. Aaron Peterson is associate professor of instruction at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Daniel Summerfield completed his anatomical and clinical pathology residency and transfusion medicine fellowship at Mayo Clinic and is a pediatric pathology fellow at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

’10 Mike Byrd of Orlando, Fla., is co-founder and attorney at Skylight Law in New York City.

Jeanine Link earned an MM degree in music education with a choral conducting concentration from the University of St. Thomas. She is the vocal music director for grades 7–12 for the Durant (Iowa) Community Schools. Lauren (Wettach) Mansfield is a physical therapist at Olympic Sports and Spine in Tacoma, Wash. Aaron Stenhaug is corporate controller at MHC Software in Burnsville, Minn.

’11 James Feinstein of Austin,

Texas, is a senior policy manager at Arcadia Power. Alynia (Shilts) Froelich of Chippewa Falls, Wis., is the deputy clerk of courts for Eau Claire County. Tyler Hansen earned a PhD degree in economics from the WINTER 2022


University of Massachusetts– Amherst and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University of Denmark. Kelsey (Olson) Holmberg of Chanhassen, Minn., is a business analyst at United Healthcare. Jordan Lang is sales analytics manager at Deere and Company in Olathe, Kan. Rachel Loeffler-Kemp of Duluth, Minn., is regional outreach director for US senator Amy Klobuchar. Carl Lottman of New Hope, Minn., is a self-employed financial planner. Aaidha Majdhy of Hulhumale, Maldives, is sales manager at Le Méridien Maldives Resort and Spa. Liz (Sauter) McLain of Solon, Iowa, is operations manager at King’s Material. Alexis Meade Burney and Muhammad Yasir Burney ’05 live in Morton Grove, Ill. Alexis is a licensed marriage and family therapist with Hauser Family Therapy. Muhammad is a computer software engineer with JP Morgan Chase. William Montoya is a human resource professional at CITY Laundering Company in Oelwein, Iowa. Amanda Olson is the owner of Geek Haven Coffee in Hastings, Minn. Katelyn (Ronneberg) and Tim Sauerbry live in Savage, Minn. Katelyn is a fourth-grade teacher at Farmington Area Public Schools. Tim is an account manager at C.H. Robinson.

’12 Sydney Bean earned a

BSN degree from Allen College and is an oncology infusion registered nurse at the Physician’s Clinic of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. Hannah (Swanson) Booth of Oceanside, Calif., is a hand specialist at Professional Physical Therapy. Anna (Looft) and Ryan Fett live in Hamilton, N.Y. Anna earned a PhD degree from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and is visiting assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Colgate University.

Ryan is a senior tax manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Anna (Murray) Garner of Evergreen, Colo., is a client success manager at Mursion. Daniel Grainger earned an MDiv degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary and is pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Quincy, Ill. Elias Johnson of Maple Grove, Minn., teaches English for the Anoka-Hennepin School District. David Kort is a shipping and receiving technician at LaForce in Green Bay, Wis. Amy (Sandager) Lobas is legal finance clerk at Rodenburg Law Firm in Fargo, N.D. Amy Wilson of Virginia Beach, Va., is a neonatal critical care nurse at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Cassie (Molski) Wolfgram of Bordentown, N.J., is a self-employed independent consultant and educational representative with Usborne Books and More.

’13 Caley Danielson is mar-

keting coordinator at GainShare Performance Marketing in Chicago. Kelsey (Reger) and Michael Johnson live in Moorhead, Minn. Kelsey earned an MA degree in counseling and psychological services from Saint Mary’s University and is a licensed professional counselor. Michael earned a DMA degree in choral conducting from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is director of choral activities and vocal music education at Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Hannah Myott of Vienna, Austria, earned a master’s degree in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Vienna. She was selected for the sowi:docs Fellowship to start her doctorate in social sciences there. Her research will focus on Islamophobia, nationalism, and anti-refugee/migrant attitudes in Minnesota and Austria. She is also the publications project manager at KAICIID Interreligious Dialogue Center. Mackenzie Pierson of Mason City, Iowa, is a smart behaviors researcher at Piaggio Fast Forward.

Hannah Shatzer earned a PhD degree in psychology from Ohio State University and is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Seth Streeter is a family practice physician at the Pella Regional Medical Clinic in Prairie City, Iowa. Austin Swenson of Des Moines, Iowa, is an IT support specialist at Workiva. Jenna (Berndt) Tassi earned a DO degree from Midwestern University and is a pediatric resident at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. Kevin Wenger is a research project associate at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. Ashley Wright Shannon is ticketing services manager at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo.

’14 John Andreone earned a

PhD degree in astronomy and is a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton (N.J.) University. Isaac Dontje Lindell is a software engineer at Better Life Partners in Madison, Wis. Stephanie (Lake) Eliason is serving as the appointed pastor at Alexandria (S.D.) United Methodist Church and is the children’s coordinator at Fusion United Methodist Church in Mitchell, S.D. Alexandra (Dallman) and Dylan Essing live in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Alexandra is a senior data analyst at Target. Dylan is a lead engineer at Target. Willy Leafblad is the band director for grades 7–9 at Lincoln High School in Lake City, Minn. Holly (Fusco) Mackinnon is K–5 music teacher for the Southeast Polk Community School District in Altoona, Iowa. David Mendez is an employment specialist at CHOICE Employment Services in Decorah. Brita Moore-Kutz is communications and outreach specialist at the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization in Farmington, Minn.

Tessa Romanski of Monona, Wis., earned a master’s degree of food and agriculture law and policy from Vermont Law School.

’15 Jessica Dorsey is an en-

gagement and stewardship consultant at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa. Marlon Henriquez earned a master’s degree in second-language special education from Roosevelt University. He is an English-language program teacher and multi-classroom leader for Pilsen Community Academy in Chicago.

Ryan Goos is an international student advisor at the University of Colorado–Boulder. Maya Hansen is a teacher at Morris Bye Elementary School in Coon Rapids, Minn. Kassondra Johnson earned an AAS degree in graphic design from Des Moines Area Community College and is an HR assistant and office manager at Manko Window Systems in Des Moines, Iowa. Allura Lothary is an experience design researcher at Truist Financial in Raleigh, N.C.

Karly Karst of Hopkins, Minn., is a registered nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Maryanne McNutt is a social studies teacher for the Owensboro (Ky.) Public Schools.

Kayla (Herman) Nassiri is an HR business partner at National Flood Services in Chicago.

Blaise Schaeffer of Durham, N.C., is senior software engineer at OneTrust.

Owen Neubauer is the committee administrator for the Minnesota State Senate in St. Paul.

Lexi Scharmer of Minneapolis earned a PhD degree in social psychology from the University of Minnesota and is a UX researcher for Facebook.

James Odegaard is a software support specialist at Collective Data in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nick Scheffert of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is the head coach and retention manager at RoxFire Fitness. He is also the founder and owner of ScheffStrong Fitness. Imsouchivy Suos received Cambodia’s Gold Medal of Labor in 2020. He earned a master of science degree in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and is deputy director of the Department of Notifications and Legal Compliance (World Trade Organization Affairs) for the Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Charles Weathers is the partnerships marketing manager affiliate at Zip Co. in Chicago. Katherine (Mathis) Woodhouse is a K–4 art teacher at the Decorah Community School District.

’16 Grant Barnes is senior

analyst and programmer at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Taryn Bolea is a teacher at Mahtomedi (Minn.) Middle School. Sarah Bowman of Park Rapids, Minn., is a music teacher at Eagle View Elementary.

Emma Tebben is choir, orchestra, and general music teacher at Almaty International School in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Andrew Welch is the manager of guest services for the San Francisco 49ers. Annē Wermedal completed the Master Class for Women in Leadership Program and is senior team lead of consulting services at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, Mo.

’17 Brooke Benson of Fort

Collins, Colo., is the senior chemist at CordenPharma. Dante DeGrazia of Winona, Minn., is a professional composer and musician. Connor Fitzpatrick of Solon, Iowa, is a software engineer III for onX Maps. Mileah (Gumpert) and Paul Fritzell ’18 live in Hudsonville, Mich. Mileah is a resident physician at the University of Michigan Health–West. Paul is an audit senior at Ernst and Young. Jennifer Martin is technical services manager of the music library at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Elizabeth (Tabaka) Stay is digital communications coordinator for the city of Rochester, Minn.

’18 Michelle Brown earned

an MS degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and is a speech-language pathologist in Wauwatosa, Wis. Micah Cabbage is a Spanish teacher and head ninth-grade volleyball coach for the Owatonna (Minn.) Public Schools. Aaron Herman is a senior software engineer–cybersecurity for the Target Corporation in Minneapolis. Claire Little is communication and development coordinator at Yinghua Academy in Minneapolis. Katie Patyk is office manager at WodBottom in Verona, Wis. Abby (Suhr) Schweitzer of Coralville, Iowa, is an animal caretaker at the University of Iowa. Nicole Weber is IRB administrator at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

’19 Chase Gilson is corpo-

rate quality control engineer at Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin, Minn. Andrew Kane is the children and household ministry innovator at Christ Lutheran Church in Blaine, Minn. Claire Marburger is online learning coordinator for grades 6–12 and head girls’ basketball coach for the Perry (Iowa) Community School District. Elizabeth Morton Badger is a law clerk at the Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, Minn. Marri Saunders is a sixth-grade ELA/social studies teacher for the McFarland (Wis.) School District. Nicole Stier is a cardiac progressive care unit staff nurse for Lee Health in Fort Myers, Fla.

’20 Andrew Avila is a sci-

ence teacher for grades 4–5 for the Chicago Public Schools. Jorge Chavez earned an MS degree in microbiology and immunology from Colorado State University and is a CDC and APHL antimicrobial resistance research fellow at the Utah Public Health Laboratory in Taylorsville.

Hannah Gross is a mental health support specialist at People Incorporated Mental Health Services in Eagan, Minn. Ilsa Knivsland is a registered nurse at UW Health in Madison, Wis. Jena Lisowski is a first-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law and a proposal specialist for the Fastenal Company in Winona, Minn. John Lof is an admissions counselor at Grinnell (Iowa) College. Abbie Jo Madson of Minneapolis is a marketing operations assistant for the Institute for Functional Medicine in Federal Way, Wash. Connor McBride is an auditor with Deloitte in Minneapolis. Cassandra Michel is a thirdgrade teacher at Aurora (Colo.) Academy Charter School. Katelin Parkinson is a music teacher for the Beloit (Wis.) Turner School District. Shianne Reschke of Westby, Wis., is youth director at Westby Coon Prairie and Vang Lutheran Churches. Rachel Schunder is marketing coordinator for the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine in Rochester, Minn.

’21 Will Allen is a software developer at SAS Institute in Cary, N.C.

Jacob Barsness is a vocal music teacher for grades 6–12 for the Milaca (Minn.) School District. Zach Mayer is orchestra teacher for the La Crosse (Wis.) School District. Huong Giang Nguyen is an associate data scientist at Chainalysis in New York City. Grace Olson is office administrator and ministry assistant at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Strum, Wis. Brent Schaeffer of Durham, N.C., is a front-end web developer at OneTrust. Mackenzie Zenk is a legal research associate at Thomson Reuters Court Express in Eagan, Minn.




Create Legacy and save on taxes YOUR


Almost any appreciated asset can be used to make a gift to Luther College. When your giving is not limited to cash, you may discover power and ability you did not know you have. By giving appreciated assets to Luther: • You pay no capital gains tax. • The asset is no longer part of your estate, possibly lowering estate taxes. • You receive an income tax deduction (up to 30% of adjusted gross income). • You receive income for life, if you fund a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder unitrust with appreciated assets. • You receive the satisfaction and joy of knowing your appreciated asset will help support our mission.


Fund a gift annuity with Luther College and receive an income tax deduction this year and fixed payments for life.

Charitable Remainder Unitrust

Fund a unitrust and receive an income tax deduction. Enjoy income for you and a loved one.

Gift of Stock

If you have appreciated assets, such as stock, you can reduce capital gains taxes by funding one of the vehicles above, or by directly transferring the asset to Luther to support our mission.

IRA Charitable Rollover

If you don’t want to pay taxes on your required minimum distribution (RMD), consider transferring money from your IRA (up to $100,000) and satisfy your RMD without paying income tax on the transfer.


to create your legacy at Luther College? For more information, please contact Kelly Sorenson, assistant director of legacy and gift planning, (800) 225-8664, or visit






F R I D A Y, S E P T E M B E R 1 6 , 2 0 2 2 FIELD OF DREAMS DYERSVILLE, IOWA Keep an eye out for exciting opportunities and events for students, alumni, parents, and friends before and after the game. For more information, visit




Ida, age 4

Luther College Book Shop 563-387-1036

Your source for Norse apparel and gifts (big or small)



Births & Adoptions Sally Ann, Sept. 2021, child of Lindsey Heim

’07 Trey Richard, June 2021,

2021, child of Tonya (Wegner) and BJ Adams

2021, child of Tiffany Choi and George Owusu

Henry Robert, Sept. 2021, child of Claire (Philpott) and Brad Utecht

’10 Madelyn Rose, May

’12 Karsten Lee, Oct. 2021,

Aksel Grey, May 2021, child of Lauren and Craig Myrum

2021, child of Laura Grangaard Johnson and Wesley Grangaard Johnson

’08 Charles Joseph, June

Ivy Ann, June 2021, child of Erin and Aaron Stenhaug

Ellinor Grace, Oct. 2021, child of Melissa (Erickson) and Michael Crowe ’13

Theodore William, July 2021, child of Rachel (Durst) and Andrew Riesgraf

2021, twins of Griselda and Jordan Lang

child of Christina (Gaard) and Jamie Baumgart

’00 Madeline Jean, June

’09 Jones Kenneth, July

2021, child of Elizabeth (Koenig) and Phil Appel

Ruby, Aug. 2021, child of Nina (Catterall) and Marty Schultz

’11 Emilia and Maverick, June Tilila, July 2021, child of Joelle Taknint and Peter Magnuson Kennedy Elizabeth, Oct. 2021, child of Liz (Cox) and Jeff Rose

child of Hannah (Swanson) and Matthew Booth

Arthur Glen, July 2021, child of Ashley (Matthys) and Ean Gibson ’09 Jay Carl, Oct. 2021, child of Emilie (Hanus) and Carl Lottman ’11 Elijah, Oct. 2021, child of Jessica (Mallams) and Seth Streeter ’13 Dorothy, May 2021, child of Jaci Wilkinson ’12 and Ian Carstens ’14

’13 Sylvie Mae, Sept. 2021, child of Allie (Johnson) and Daniel Grainger ’12

’15 Leo, Nov. 2021, child

’02 Maxwell Thomas, Sept.

2021, child of Kiersten (Hanson) and Christer Persson

’04 Anders Edward,

Oct. 2021, child of Meredith (Eilertson) and Nabeel Azeem

Alexander Mateo, adopted July 2020, child of Elise (Hoehn) and Clayton Ward

William Hayes, March 2021, child of Katelyn (Ronneberg) and Timothy Sauerby

of Kayla (Herman) and Siena Nassiri

Marriages ’83 Kate Nelson and Paul Scott, Aug. 21, 2021

’97 Karen Olson and

Michael Brennan, Aug. 20, 2021

’98 Abby Ostby and Paul Erdmann, Oct. 2, 2021

’08 Valerie Hoops and Nate

Noroski, Aug. 13, 2021 Austin Swenson and Cara Lutes, July 24, 2021

’14 Katie Stremel and Javier Gonzalez, Nov. 20, 2021

Becca Rudquist and Sam Simataa ’13, Nov. 27, 2021

Meyer, April 10, 2021

’15 Caitlin Almer and Ryan

Eric Meyer and Kathryn Isham, Sept. 10, 2021

Emily Cauter and Vaughn Rohrdanz, Aug. 7, 2021

’11 Rachel Loeffler-Kemp and Brent Malvick, Sept. 8, 2021

’13 Alicia Findley and Chris

Barrett, July 16, 2021

Leah Dahlquist and Chandler Roberson, Sept. 18, 2021 Nathan Lee and Jessica Bjick, Aug. 7, 2021

Katie Mathis and Josh Woodhouse, July 31, 2021

Katelin Klyn and Eric Boots, Sept. 25, 2021

Caitlin Olson and Kyle Petersen, June 26, 2021

’18 Emma Brashear and

Arturo Rico and Laura Penalver, July 30, 2021

’16 Lindsey Uphoff and Kyle Hove, June 5, 2021

’17 Brooke Benson and John Manganaro, Nov. 23, 2021

Molly Hilgart and Cory Wirth, May 29, 2021 Haley Kirkpatrick and Christopher Wolff, Sept. 25, 2021

Andrew Tiede ’19, Sept. 18, 2021

’19 Libby Morton and Karl Badger ’18, Aug. 28, 2021

’20 Rachel Trautmann and Matt Sullivan, June 26, 2021

’21 Hanna Dodd and Ryan Ferguson ’20, July 16, 2021 Kyli Kurtenbach and Luke Berkley ’20, July 31, 2021 Jonah Zaimes and Abby Haverkamp, Sept. 19, 2021 LUTHER



In Memoriam

Notices as of December 1, 2021. Obituaries at

FACULTY EMERITUS John S. Goodin of Decorah died Oct. 7, 2021, age 70.

’37 Ruth (Krumm) Price

of Waverly, Iowa, died Aug. 27, 2021, age 105.

’55 Lois May (Eddingsaas)

Chappell of Portage, Wis., died Aug. 1, 2021, age 87. David Lee Fadness of Austin, Minn., died Nov. 4, 2021, age 91.

’64 Brian L. Rainer of Cham-

Mary Jo (Iverson) Wilke of Monona, Iowa, died Nov. 24, 2021, age 88.

’65 Eunice L. (Rekward)

’46 Walter G. Johnson of

’56 James Gordon Hanson

’48 Margaret Elaine (Nel-

Rhys Evan Hanson of Lacey, Wash., died Nov. 5, 2021, age 87.

’49 Orvis P. Rake of Albert

Helen Adella Knutson of Austin, Minn., died Sept. 7, 2021, age 97.

Shakopee, Minn., died Nov. 21, 2021, age 98. son) Fure of Faribault, Minn., died July 31, 2021, age 95.

Lea, Minn., died Aug. 30, 2021, age 95.

’50 Ruth Lillian (Aas) An-

derson of La Crosse, Wis., died Aug. 9, 2021, age 98.

’51 Marshall D. Moen of

Duluth, Minn., died Oct. 3, 2021, age 94.

’52 Marie (Mundfrom) Bany of Ostrander, Minn., died Dec. 21, 2020, age 93.

Jeanne Elizabeth Mossman Wiger of West St. Paul, Minn., died Nov. 3, 2021, age 91.

’53 Phyllis B. (Aas) Stillwell of Minnetonka, Minn., died Nov. 29, 2020, age 91.

’54 Richard “Dick” Allen

Hoff of Sacred Heart, Minn., died July 30, 2021, age 88. Donna J. (Kopp) Lund of Faribault, Minn., died Oct. 30, 2021, age 89. Donald Wayne Thompson of Willmar, Minn., died Aug. 31, 2021, age 89.

of Waseca, Minn., died Sept. 20, 2021, age 86.

James W. Limburg of Rochester, Minn., died Nov. 29, 2021, age 86.

’57 Peter Ching-Yao Tan of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, died May 3, 2021, age 98.


paign, Ill., died Nov. 12, 2021, age 79.

’76 Dennis J. Drazkowski of

Hutchinson, Minn., died Aug. 24, 2021, age 67.

’78 Eugene James Swella Jr. of Yucca Valley, Calif., died Nov. 30, 2021, age 65.

Hager of Mechanicsburg, Pa., died Aug. 8, 2021, age 78.

Gregory “Blaine” Vos of Oskaloosa, Iowa, died Nov. 4, 2021, age 65.

Jay Warren Mennenga of Urbandale, Iowa, and Emigrant, Mont., died Oct. 12, 2021, age 78.

Barnes of Bloomington, Minn., died May 5, 2021, age 64.

’79 Sarah Lynn (Thompson)

Michael Paul Nesset of North St. Paul, Minn., died July 31, 2021, age 78.

’81 Marjorie Ann (Loupee)

David E. Hanson Ramsett of The Villages, Fla., died Jan. 6, 2021, age 78.

’84 Amy A. (Leland) Us-

Thomas A. Stenson of St. Peter, Minn., died Aug. 9, 2021, age 78. Kathleen Joy (Larson) Throdahl of Clearwater, Fla., died Sept. 23, 2021, age 78.

Branderhorst of Newton, Iowa, died Dec. 1, 2021, age 63. gaard of Decorah died Aug. 2, 2021, age 59.

’86 John West Carrington of Arlington, Va., died Oct. 11, 2021, age 56.

’58 Duane A. Youngdahl of

’66 John Laraway of Fort

Timothy J. Miller of Owatonna, Minn., died June 2, 2019, age 55.

’59 Donald L. Johnson of

Donald Craig Williams of Anchorage, Alaska, died May 28, 2021, age 77.

Thompson of West Des Moines, Iowa, died Sept. 28, 2021, age 57.

Greensboro, N.C., died April 25, 2021, age 85. Evanston, Ill., died Nov. 1, 2021, age 84. Lois Idell Leffler of Philadelphia died Aug. 6, 2021, age 91.

’61 Sandra Jean (Nelson)

Adams of Minneapolis died July 30, 2021, age 82. Solveig A. (Wicks) Heintz of North Charleston, S.C., died Sept. 16, 2021, age 82. Richard Hoth of Fountain Hills, Ariz., died March 3, 2021. Janet (Geerdes) Will of Mesa, Ariz., died May 14, 2021, age 81.

’62 David W. Svenson of Decorah died Sept. 18, 2021, age 83.


Duane K. “Swede” Syverson of Plano, Texas, died June 1, 2021, age 81.

Lauderdale, Fla., died Jan. 2, 2021, age 80.

’70 Elizabeth Ann “Liz”

(Tenold) Tokheim of Centennial, Colo., died Aug. 9, 2021, age 73.

’71 Thomas M. Peck of Pierson, Mich., died Aug. 19, 2021, age 72.

’74 Thomas Boston Jr. of

Viroqua, Wis., died Aug. 4, 2021, age 69. Gwen Lynn Heffner of Irvine, Ky., died July 14, 2021, age 68.

’75 Carl Hunt of Moscow,

Idaho, died Sept. 6, 2021, age 68. Denise (Kremin) Rust of Brooklyn Park, Minn., died Nov. 3, 2021, age 68.

’87 Barbara Lynn (Witt)

’96 Elizabeth A. (Mom-

msen) Broich of Eden Prairie, Minn., died Sept. 9, 2021, age 47. Kathleen “Kate” Glenney Watts of Keller, Texas, died April 19, 2019, age 45.

’19 Brunno Colon of São Paulo, Brazil, died Sept. 23, 2021, age 26.

Christmas at Luther 2022, Awake! And Greet the New Morn, featured a fresh and stunning backdrop designed by Julie Strom Hendrickson ’93. This year, the celebration was performed live and also via livestream. Luther’s director of music marketing, Susan (Stockseth) Potvin ’02, who organized the event, reports that 1,300 people streamed this year’s performance. Learn more, including how to purchase recordings, at

Thursday, March 10, 2022



Friday, September 23–

Luther College

Friday, July 8–

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Luther College

ALUMNI COUNCIL MEETING Saturday, April 9, 2022 Luther College


Hosted by coach Amanda Bailey and former coach Jane (Greene) Hildebrand ’74




Friday, September 30–

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Hosted by Ann Highum,

Luther College

Luther College

vice president emeritus of student

In honor of professor emeritus of

life, and Jerry Freund

C L A S S E S O F 1970 A N D 1980 R E U N I O N S

music Fred Nyline

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


Saturday, June 4, 2022

C L A S S O F 2015 R E U N I O N

Friday, October 7–

Luther College

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Luther College

Luther College

Friday, June 10–


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Saturday, July 30–


Luther College

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


Hosted by Luther professors Mark Potvin ’01 and Maren Johnson

Friday, September 16, 2022 Field of Dreams Dyersville, Iowa


March 10 Thursday 2022