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Luther C o ll e g e news spring/summer 2009

Science Issue Inside

Gordon Shepherd (astrophysics) Kim Dohms (biology) Joey Podavin & Kelly Schweitzer (medicine) Daryl Hepting (computer science) And more‌


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Save the Date… Dialogue. Debate. Discovery. The 34th annual Luther Lecture “Earth Healing for Justice-Minded Christians” Dr Larry Rasmussen 24 September 2009, 7:30 pm Education Auditorium, University of Regina For further information, visit


From the

editor’s desk

“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.”

Ernest Rutherford (1871 – 1937), New Zealand physicist & winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1908), from JB Birks’ Rutherford at Manchester (1962)

It is nearly impossible to arrive at a concise and wholly satisfactory

01 From the editor’s desk 02 From the pulpit 02 From the principal

definition of “science.” While limited definitions abound, a broader

03 With an eye to the sky

from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge” or “knowing,” science can

10 Kim Dohms – making a small difference in the world

definition of science is, for our purposes here, more useful. Derived

broadly be understood as the effort to increase human understanding of how the world works through research and experimentation.

The scientific pursuit consists of much more than theories and

abstractions. It is instead a practice that is applied both inside laboratories and in the outside world, affecting the day-to-day lives of all of us. While Ernest Rutherford’s understanding of science being either “physics or stamp collecting” is narrow (as well as quite amusing), it points to a

deeper truth, one of which French mathematician and philosopher of

science Henri Poincaré (1854 – 1912) writes in his 1905 work Science and Hypothesis:

12 Teaching and living respect 14 Pushing the boundatires – an interdisciplinary approach to computer science 16 Bits & bites 19 Lost alumni 20 Class notes 23 John Chomay always remembered for LIT 24 Contributors

“Science is built of facts, as a house is built of stones;

but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than

Luther College provides its students with the tools to become

07 Medical field an eye opener for Luther alumni

a heap of stones is a house.”

“scientists” by helping them draw connections between theory, fact,

and the real world and enabling them to apply what they learn in their communities.

Luther’s long-standing scientific tradition is rooted in its

commitment to providing high school and university students with a liberal arts education. Over the years, the College has not only been

blessed with notable science faculty members, but it has also produced alumni who have gone on to contribute to a wide range of scientific disciplines.

This issue of The Luther Story is devoted to Luther College alumni

and friends who have dedicated themselves to building scientific

“houses” by pursuing education, careers and interests in a wide range of “natural” and “applied” sciences. Jennifer Arends

The Luther Story is the magazine of the alumni and friends of Luther College. If you have a question or story idea R Eshare, G I N A please , C A N Acontact DA to us at: The Luther Story c/o Luther College high school 1500 Royal Street Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4T 5A5

On the cover Dr Gordon Shepherd (HS‘47) in front of a vacuum chamber at the York University lab where he and fellow researchers build space instruments. Photo courtesy of Andrew Drown.

Editor: Jennifer Arends (U’02) Assistant editor: Faye Wickenheiser Designer: Bradbury Branding & Design The Luther Story is distributed by Canada Post under publication mail agreement number 40065736. T H E  L U T H ER S T O R Y • s p r i n g   &   s u m m e r • 0 9


From the


ANSWERING THE CALL I was reluctant to return the call. A couple of young women touring the country to promote global issues, the message said – no name for their organisation, nothing to recommend them. I couldn’t adjust the daily chapel schedule to accommodate them; all I could offer them was my two grade twelve Christian Ethics classes. Tracy Clark and Brielle Morgan are travelling the country, challenging young people to dig into the issues and questions that concern them. They call their campaign “the pointsevenchallenge” (see, taking their name from the decades-old commitment of rich countries to give .7% of their gross national product to address extreme poverty in the poorest countries. You might remember Bono, the lead singer for internationally-acclaimed rock band U2, challenging Prime Minister Paul Martin on this a couple of years back. Give .7% of your time or resources, record it on our website, the young presenters said, and we will present the results as a challenge to the Prime Minister, demonstrating the commitment of Canadian youth. Giving .7% of their own lives to their project, these two enterprising young women have found private and corporate sponsors to fund their work, and are working on raising funds for the Millennium Villages project in sub-Sahara Africa. Development within Millennium Villages is led by the community and facilitated by a team of experts from outside of the community. Project personnel work with the villages to create sustainable action plans that are tailored to the villages’ specific needs. Life-saving technologies are introduced such as: fertilizers, high-yield seeds, drinking water wells, building materials, the internet, insecticide-treated bed nets, antiretroviral drugs, and so forth. The Millennium Villages that Tracy and Brielle promote serve as examples of how we might achieve the UN Millennium Development goals. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of global targets for reducing the number of people in extreme poverty and hunger by half, improving healthcare, education and communication systems and ensuring gender equality and environmental sustainability by 2015. Given the science theme of this issue of The Luther Story, we could think of the villages as science serving the cause of humanity. Tracy and Brielle were great role models for our students. I am so glad I returned their call. Pastor Larry Fry


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From the


On 23 September 2008, the strength and courage of the Luther College community was put to the test in a very real and serious fashion. On that day, a former student entered the school during chapel and, wielding a pellet gun, took students and staff hostage. Today, we are profoundly grateful that no one was physically harmed; today, we give thanks that so many bravely did so much to demonstrate that our often unspoken bonds as a community only strengthen in the face of danger and threats; today, we can say that we have persevered and that we have been successful in our quiet resolve to not be defeated or derailed by one young man’s actions; today, we remain committed to our priorities of educating young people, of nurturing our Lutheran traditions of scholarship and faith, and of seeking as a community both healing and forgiveness; today, most importantly, I can tell you with confidence that this sad, dangerous incident has only further galvanised our already tightlyknit Luther family. As Pastor Larry said the very next day in chapel, “this is sacred ground.” It is ground we have reclaimed, ground we now understand and love in newer and deeper ways. On behalf of our board, administration, faculty, staff and students, I would like to express heartfelt and deepest gratitude to the vast number of alumni and those with Luther connections for the many and varied ways–big and small, public and private, those I know of and those I don’t–you responded to our crisis. Your compassion, prayers, messages and expressions of support and concern comforted both the students and employees of Luther College high school. May we all continue to know God’s peace and grace. Respectfully, Mark Anderson, principal Luther College high school

Dr Shepherd at Macchu Picchu, Peru.

With an eye to the


From watching the northern lights from a horse-drawn sleigh as a child, to probing them with rocket experiments, to designing instruments for two of Canada’s most significant satellite research projects, this Luther alum has distinguished himself in the field of space research by increasing our understanding of Earth’s upper atmosphere, what moves it, and the relationship between “down here” and “up there.” Justin Messner (U’02) • Dr Gordon Shepherd (HS‘47) has had a remarkable career in space research and is one of Canada’s foremost historians of our nation’s history in space.

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Dr Shepherd in front of the Petrie Science and Engineering Building at York University in January 2009. The glass structure to the right is named the “Gordon G Shepherd Atmospheric Research Facility.” Photo courtesy of Andrew Drown.

Dr Shepherd came to Luther College high school in 1945, entering grade eleven. It was a big change from his education up to that point. He had attended elementary school, including grades nine and ten by correspondence, at West Plains School near his family’s farm and the now abandoned village of Senate, south of the Cypress Hills. Shepherd, his sister Eleanor (HS’51) and his cousins, including Joan (HS’47), had made the trip from the communal family farm to the one-room prairie schoolhouse by horse and buggy. He said that leaving home for a high school dormitory might have been more difficult, were it not for the staff of Luther. “I was a little bit intimidated leaving home and going to Luther, but I managed alright. It was a just a great place to be. They were used to this, of course, children coming from farm families, isolated, and making it all function as a high school.” Dr Shepherd’s two years at Luther introduced him to renowned science teacher Paul Liefeld, whom he credits with sparking his interest in the sciences. Taking both chemistry and physics classes from Mr Liefeld, Dr Shepherd recalls how the teacher “made everything absolutely clear.” “He had an enormous influence on me.” Another Luther teacher that Dr Shepherd credits with helping him along his path is Dr Alfred Pyke, his grade 12 math teacher,


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“a delightful gentleman” that Dr Shepherd claims helped him to overcome his initial difficulties with mathematics. “For some reason, I’d had a bad time with algebra in grade 11. I don’t know why, it just mystified me. When I met Dr Pyke, he just explained trigonometry and logarithms with absolute clarity. I understood everything he said. That had a strong influence on me as well.” It is his two years at Luther that Dr Shepherd credits with his decision to go into the sciences. Still, physics was not his initial path. “When I was at Luther,” he said, “I think I liked chemistry more than physics.” After a year back on the farm after his high school graduation, he entered the University of Saskatchewan and completed a degree in engineering physics, a decision he credits to seeing engineers of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration working around the family farm, by then a ranch. “They had come to our ranch and used it to build an irrigation project on an experimental basis. I’d met some real engineers and seen what they did, so that more or less settled me on engineering.” His first year of university, 1948, he spent sitting, in seating assigned alphabetically, next to a fellow named Alan Scharf.

Far left: Childhood photo taken in the Cypress Hills at the height of the Depression. Middle: Portrait taken while at Luther College high school, in the fall of 1945. Left: Dr Shepherd next to his rocket at Cape Parry, on the Arctic coastline, in 1976.

“Growing up on a farm, you’re living with nature, so science at that kind of level is just right there. You’re living it everyday. I certainly saw the aurora borealis from a horsedrawn sleigh in winter, which is pretty spectacular. So, although at the time I never would have said I’m going to end up studying this phenomenon, it had a big influence.”

Because first-year engineering classes were common to all students, they had a year to decide on what specialty they wanted to pursue when they were through. “He was trying to convince me we should go into physics and I was trying to convince him we should go into electrical engineering. At the end of the year, I went into engineering physics and he went into electrical engineering, so we convinced one another.” After graduating with great distinction, Dr Shepherd continued on at the U of S, leaving engineering and entering the Department of Physics to obtain a Master of Science degree. The U of S Physics Department had an active research program specialising in the upper atmosphere. His research focused on the aurora borealis – the northern lights. It was the beginning of his career in space. Having completed his Master’s, Dr Shepherd went to the University of Toronto, the only other university in Canada doing research that applied to his interest in the upper atmosphere. There, Dr Shepherd completed his doctorate, specialising in molecular spectroscopy, a field fundamental to upper atmosphere research. In 1957, with most of his fellow U of T physics graduates moving to the United States, Dr Shepherd turned down offers that would have taken him to the States or kept him in Ontario. Instead

he accepted an offer from Dr Balfour Currie at his alma mater, the U of S. As Dr Shepherd said, “for someone interested in space research, it made sense.” “In the sixties, the number of space scientists in Canada increased by a factor of 10, and the University of Saskatchewan produced most of them.” With a $5 000 grant from the National Research Council – “which wouldn’t go far these days,” he noted – he began a research program and quickly built a research group of graduate students whom he had started teaching in their undergraduate years. “There had been revolution in optical instruments for studying luminous phenomena during the [Second World] War,” he explained. Adapting those instruments, he turned his sights once more on the upper atmosphere and the aurora borealis. That October, the year he started teaching at the U of S, Soviet scientists launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, into orbit. The most immediate effect of the Sputnik launch on Canadian research efforts was that Canada started a program of launching rockets into the aurora borealis at Fort Churchill, Manitoba. “It wasn’t long before I was building rocket experiments with my students and going up to Fort Churchill. I did that right through the sixties.”

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Why study the aurora borealis? “During the Second World War, just about all the Canadian scientists got involved in the war effort in one way or another. One of the things they had discovered during the War was problems in radio communications at high latitudes. There was a lot of radio traffic between Canada and Great Britain, and also with ships in the Atlantic. When radio propagation was along a path that went into the Arctic, it was often disrupted, completely erratically. This turned out to be associated with the aurora. So studying the aurora became a way to investigate what the problems were with communications at high latitudes.”

“You can tell quite a lot about the aurora from the ground using ground-based instruments, but if you really want to probe the aurora, you want to fly a rocket right through the aurora itself.” Dr Shepherd’s research took him to Toronto’s York University in 1969. The newly formed university had identified space research as a primary focus from its founding in 1959. Shortly thereafter, Canadian space research went in a new direction. In September of 1962, Canada’s first satellite, Alouette I, was launched into orbit. The first satellite built by a country other than the United States or the Soviet Union, it ushered in a new era in Canadian space research. While few university researchers had the opportunity to participate in building the first satellites, Dr Shepherd got his chance with ISIS-II – the second International Satellite for Ionospheric Studies – launched 31 March 1971. (Alouette I and Alouette II were followed by ISIS-I and ISIS-II). He was the principal investigator in charge of developing the Red Line Photometer carried aboard ISIS-II. The instrument was based on research he had started with his ground-based instruments at the U of S. “ISIS-II was a great, great experience. With rockets you get a few minutes of data, where with satellites you get years of data. It’s an enormous difference. You’re also studying the atmosphere globally. Satellites see the whole earth, whereas with rockets, you’re just looking at local effects at one location.” Dr Shepherd’s second satellite launch, what he calls his “last great experiment,” occurred in 1991. Based on instruments he had initially developed at the U of S, this new instrument was called the Wind Imaging Interferometer, or WINDII. Launched aboard NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, the $40 million instrument took seven years to develop. It circled the earth at an altitude of 585 km until 2003, producing more than 23 million images of the winds in the upper atmosphere near 100 km altitude.


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“It produced our first understanding of winds in the high atmosphere.” In 1994, Dr Shepherd took over the directorship of York University’s Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science (CRESS), moving his primary focus to furthering the research of other space scientists. Although he officially retired in 2000, he continues on as director of the Centre. Dr Shepherd’s focus for the last several years has been on completing, with co-author Agnes Kruchio, the recently published history of Canada’s space program, Canada’s Fifty Years in Space: The COSPAR Anniversary. COSPAR, the Committee on Space Research, was formed in London, England in 1958. Its formation marked the beginning of international space science. Its 50th anniversary was marked at its 2008 Scientific Assembly in Montréal, a conference Dr Shepherd helped to organise as chair of the Assembly’s executive committee. The book is the first comprehensive history of Canada’s role in international space research. From ground-based experiments developed on the prairies to national rocket and satellite programs, to some of the brightest researchers and most innovative technologies currently involved in space research, Canada’s Fifty Years in Space explores the prominent role Canada has played in international space research. It is a remarkable history in which Dr Shepherd’s own contributions have played a prominent role. Dr Gordon Shepherd is distinguished research professor emeritus of atmospheric science and director of the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science at York University in Toronto.

“These children,” explains Schweitzer, “were from a local school adjacent to Mulago Hospital. They greeted me each morning and afternoon on my way to and from work, and they screamed with laughter each time they saw themselves on my digital camera.”

Medical field an


for Luther alumni

Robin Markel (U’01) • Joey Podavin and Kelly Schweitzer (U’03) both knew early on they wanted to go to medical school. The two men, friends since high school, have followed similar paths. Podavin, who completed his two years of pre-medicine courses at Luther College and completed his medical degree in June 2008, is now a family physician in northern Saskatchewan. Schweitzer (BSc, Great Distinction) is currently enrolled in the five-year Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (ophthalmology) program at Queen’s University after obtaining his chemistry degree through Luther College and his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in 2007. The long road through medical training has taken both men far from home and through a myriad of what Schweitzer describes as “eye-opening” experiences. While Podavin says that it’s difficult to remember now why he first wanted to go into medicine, he does say that the idea of travelling was appealing. He thought being a doctor would give him opportunities to “experience different cultures, and learn about people,” he says. Schweitzer’s story is more specific. “I was hit in the eye with a golf ball while I was at Luther,” he laughs. The ophthalmologist who treated Schweitzer invited him to spend some time in his clinic, and from there Schweitzer ended up “doing some research and some clinical stuff” with him one summer. Podavin currently works as a locum tenens doctor. “What that means,” he explains, “is that I work in a variety of communities to provide coverage where there either is no physician, or the

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Schweitzer posing in front of wild gorillas near the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda.

physician who is in the community has taken leave.” Working as a locum doctor certainly does offer Podavin opportunities to travel. Since graduating in June 2008 he has worked in La Ronge, La Loche and Regina. Though it was Podavin who mentions travelling as one of his reasons for pursuing medicine, it’s Schweitzer who is more talkative about his time overseas. Schweitzer spent six weeks working in the infectious disease ward in Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda as part of his residency. Although Schweitzer says that Uganda itself is beautiful and Ugandans are “the happiest people in the world,” hospital conditions are bleak at best. In an email to friends and family after arriving in Kampala, Schweitzer describes his shock at the working environment. “There is no soap, period,” he says. “There are cockroaches and moths swarming


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around in the OR [operating room], and the idea of a sterile field is not known.” While Podavin says that in La Loche the x-ray machine hasn’t worked for the last week, which “makes diagnosing broken bones and pneumonias a lot more difficult,” Schweitzer notes that there is no lab at all in Kampala. With these conditions, compounded by lack of staff and other resources in addition to costs for individuals seeking healthcare, many patients in Uganda do not fare well. In another email from Kampala, Schweitzer says he “won’t be complaining about our healthcare system again.” However, Schweitzer admits that it’s difficult to maintain that position now that he’s back in Canada. He says that although it is easy to get caught up in dayto-day issues, we do have a high standard of care here. “We don’t really have much to complain about,” he concedes. By contrast,

Podavin fishing in northern Saskatchewan.

Schweitzer on the Mulago Hospital opthamology inpatient ward. This boy, who “loved the colouring books that were donated from Canada,” had “retinoblastoma,” a type of eye tumor that often results in enucleation or removal of the eye.

he describes the scene in the aptly named “casualty room” (the Ugandan emergency room) in one hospital in which he saw five kids to one bed, chickens wandering around and “people with TB [tuberculosis] in a bed directly beside a patient with AIDS with no sort of isolation or protection for anybody.” HIV/AIDS has also touched Podavin’s patients. Podavin describes the first time a patient on his ward was diagnosed HIV-positive as one of his most memorable experiences since he started working toward his medical degree. Jarringly, Podavin also mentions TB. He says that “there are a lot of challenges facing the people of northern Saskatchewan.” Lack of housing, Podavin explains, “leads to the spread of diseases that you may not otherwise encounter, like tuberculosis for instance.” He also mentions diabetes, which “is a major health issue many aboriginal people face today, as a result of the change from their traditional diet and ways of life.” Change in diet and lifestyle is a health issue in Uganda too, according to Schweitzer, who describes seeing advertisements for methods of rapid weight gain. Wealthy Ugandans, who compliment each other on weight gain, “suffer the same health issues we do or more so,” Schweitzer says, but it’s such a recent change in lifestyle there that he suspects most aren’t aware of the dangers associated with obesity. Patient response to medical help is a subject upon which Schweitzer reflects at length. He emphasises how grateful the Ugandan people are for medical care, in spite of the dire conditions. Ugandans, who often can’t afford to see a doctor, just don’t take medical care for granted like we tend to in Canada, he says. Schweitzer took about 400 bottles of antibiotic eye drops with him to Uganda. At about ten dollars per bottle, the medication was too expensive for many. Schweitzer describes the tearful thanks he received after giving the drops, free of charge, to parents of children who would otherwise go blind. Schweitzer took two

Photo taken by Podavin in the Tibetan Delek Hospital in Dharamsala, India. Podavin explains, “the man in the bed is a Tibetan monk, with his friend by his side. He was being treated for pneumonia and was in hospital for a few weeks while I was there on a medical elective.”

suitcases with him to Uganda: only half of one suitcase was packed with his own belongings. The rest was for donation. Donations included several laptops to donate to a school in Kampala. While the laptops were, of course, a major gift for the school, “even bringing surgical gloves” to the hospital was appreciated, Schweitzer notes. While donating supplies is not as needed in most Canadian areas, Podavin has donated his time, “helping to extend the hours of an existing clinic to better serve the neighborhood” as part of the Student Wellness Initiative Towards Community Health (SWITCH) clinic in Saskatoon. In addition to helping the community, Podavin says, the experience “[gave] students opportunities for exposure in areas of healthcare they may have otherwise overlooked.” Podavin also went to India twice, which was “an intense experience.” It was in India that Podavin met his first patient to be diagnosed with HIV. While Schweitzer has an expected graduation date of 2012, change is on the horizon much sooner for Podavin. “In January 2009, I signed a contract to work as a locum in Nelson, BC,” he says. “This type of practice allows me to experience medicine in many different communities as well as take time off to pursue other interests, something I couldn’t always do during medical school and residency.” Podavin notes that in addition to the excellent academic counselling and career planning, “Luther also had a nice emphasis on recreational activities… which helped instil in me the need for a balance of work and play.” Both men mention registrar Mary Jesse when they describe fond memories of Luther College. Schweitzer says the College prepared him well for the challenge of medicine: “You weren’t just kind of rolling through university,” but rather taking part in the foundations for a life experience.

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making a small

DIFFERENCE in the world

Dohms divides her time between the field (above) and the university, where she can most often be found in the Research and Innovation Centre building (below).

Allan Pulga (U’02) • “It all started with a

bird,” explains Kim Dohms (U’01). Her love of the outdoors, her passion for protecting the environment, her fascination with

living, breathing organisms – essentially the basis of her career as a field biologist

– started with a childhood interest in the

feathered visitors to her yard in Fenwood, Saskatchewan.

Today, Dohms, 29, is an award-winning graduate student

(MSc candidate) at the University of Regina researching grassland songbirds. More specifically, she is investigating the parental care and nesting growth of Sprague’s Pipits between different habitat types in the province. But don’t start calling her a scientist, now.

You see, Dohms has reservations about the word scientist. “It

makes me think of somebody in a lab coat,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve worn a lab coat in years!”

No offence to those who don the crisp white cloaks and spend

their time among test tubes, centrifuges and Bunsen burners, but this young woman would rather be outside. “I think of myself as more of a biologist, a field biologist, a conservation biologist.”


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Fittingly, her Master’s research allows her to spend plenty of time in the sun – she has been comparing the propagation of Sprague’s Pipits living in native grasslands to those living in tame grasslands (which have been planted with foreign species such as alfalfa, brome and crested wheat) in an area north of Last Mountain Lake. “I’ve always liked being outdoors – I think I’d go crazy being stuck in a lab,” she says. “I like working with birds, and to make a career of it is amazing.” Dohms goes on to describe a recent morning epiphany. “I was in a pasture at about 4:30 am. The sun was coming up, there was dew on the grass, the birds were singing. It was all I could hear. I wasn’t bothered by the sound of traffic or anything like that. It was beautiful. “I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this. I would volunteer to do this’!” Not much is known about Sprague’s Pipits, but they are a declining species threatened by the destruction of their habitat: native grasslands. Less than 20 percent of Saskatchewan grasslands consist of native grasslands. Dohms says learning more about these small, ground-dwelling songbirds – which measure between 10 and

“I often wish policymakers would realise that without a healthy environment, there is no place for their preoccupations with the economy and fluctuating currency values.”

15 centimetres in length, with light brown feathers – can ultimately help us identify ways to stop or reverse their decline as well as the decline of other species that depend on native grassland habitats. “Since 1966, the number of Sprague’s Pipits has decreased by more than four percent annually and, not knowing a lot about them, that’s kinda scary.” A commitment to sustainability In a greater sense, Dohms is motivated not simply by a desire to help the Sprague’s Pipit survive, but also to aid in the preservation of the natural world as a whole. She currently sits on the volunteer boards of Nature Saskatchewan and Friends of Wascana Marsh. “To me, sustainability is being able to live in harmony with one’s environment. Harmony can mean economically, spiritually and physically. I think people lose touch with the fact that they can still make a living while leaving a small footprint.” Some would argue that the damage done to the planet is already irreparable, that the planet cannot be saved. She is unconvinced. “If people were willing to change the way they do things, then it wouldn’t be too late.” Dohms insists people can make small changes to reduce their negative impact on the environment. “Take the bus once in a while,” she says. “You don’t need to drive a Hummer. Try walking to the convenience store next time.” But before people can make those changes, she argues, they need to shift their priorities. We need to shift away from money and material things and toward concerns about the planet and our families’ future. “When gas prices went up, I was happy,” she says. “It was forcing people to consider alternatives to driving all the time. That’s a good thing.” How can people develop a greater appreciation of the environment? “Get outside. Go outside once a day. Bring your kids. Go for a walk. Stop and listen to the birds for five minutes. Go biking instead of going to the mall.” Dohms talks about the growing disconnect between children and the environment. “We get so caught up with having a big TV and all the newest video games that we forget that we should go outside.” As a kid, Dohms was always playing outside. Born and raised in Fenwood – population 40, located 15 minutes northwest of Melville – she and her sister Angela (now 26) inherited their parents’ love of the outdoors. Eventually, her mother, Elaine, became interested in the birds that visited their property. She began watching them, feeding them and learning about them. “I somehow picked it up and took it to the next level,” Dohms says with a shrug.

The Luther connection When it came time to enrol in university, Dohms planned to attend the University of Regina. She was encouraged by a Luther College recruitment presentation at her high school. “I discussed the idea of enrolling through Luther with my mom and dad, and we liked that the classes were smaller,” she recalls. “But it was the initial counselling session at Luther, a couple weeks before registering, that sold me on the idea.” She remembers the staff at Luther being kind and incredibly helpful. “I loved how every semester, I just had to drop off my registration form at the office and everybody there would remember my name. My friends, who weren’t registered at Luther, were so jealous of me because they had to wait in line for hours to sign up for classes. Going to Luther made things so much easier and stressfree.” Initially, Dohms entered university with intentions of becoming an architect. It was only after taking a second-year ecology course with Dr Mark Brigham (who is now the head of the University of Regina biology department and one of Dohms’ two MSc supervisors) that she realised she wanted to pursue a degree in biology. By 2001, after amassing a number of awards and scholarships, she graduated from Luther with a BSc (Honours) in biology. The most meaningful award yet Despite having won several scholarships and grants worth thousands of dollars, Dohms feels the most important of her awards bears no monetary value. Last May, in recognition of her research and volunteer work, she received a YWCA of Regina Women of Distinction Award in the Science, Technology & Research category. Dohms felt the competition in her category was stiff, that she didn’t stand a chance. When they called her name, she was stunned. Always self-effacing, she didn’t even have an acceptance speech prepared. She was deeply moved and began to cry. “They called my name and I just went up there trying not to be a complete waterworks,” she says affably. “It really meant a lot to know that the panel thought so highly of me.” Perhaps even more meaningful was being able to “do right” by her mother. “My mom always told me, ‘I want you to get an education. I want you to do things for yourself and do them well. Be an independent woman who makes even a small difference in the world.’ “I think I’ve made her proud.”

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Teaching and living


“Mr Brooks has been one of the most influential individuals in my academic and professional life… I don’t believe that I would be the person that I am today without his encouragement during my time at Luther. His faith in his students instilled in me the self-confidence to pursue many opportunities I would not have otherwise, most notably, my own involvement in the Canadian Forces.” Clare Anstead (HS’04) is currently pursuing a Master of Science in parastitology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Echo Fettes (HS’03) • Randy Brooks is the kind of individual who inspires those around him. Whether as an educator, soldier, or environmentally concerned citizen, Brooks is quietly committed to making his world a better place. After thirty-two years of influencing lives teaching biology and the International Baccalaureate Programme, coaching cross-country running, and organising outdoor education and biology fieldtrips, the Prime Minister’s Award for Science Teaching nominee retired from Luther College high school in the summer of 2008. While described by former students and colleagues as “patient,” “passionate,” “kind,” and “encouraging,” Brooks’ most remarkable quality is his desire to divert the recognition away from himself and toward others. For example, while serving in Afghanistan in 2005, the “semiretired” Colonel – entering his fortieth year with National Defense and the Canadian Forces – had the opportunity to meet with the elderly principal of a school of fourteen hundred students. Brooks describes Mr Samsur, a teacher for over 60 years, as “passionate, but tired,” explaining that Mr Samsur taught three shifts of students daily – morning, afternoon, and evening classes for adults “who would risk their lives to learn to read” in the war-torn country. As a result of the encounter, Brooks contacted Pastor Larry Fry, chaplain at Luther College high school, and together they initiated a partnership with their staff and students to raise funds for Mr Samsur’s school. Brooks’ goal of $500 – “one dollar per person” – was greatly surpassed, resulting in school supplies for the Koshal Khan boys’ school and the building of a security wall at a nearby


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girls’ school to protect students and teachers from terrorist attacks, such as acid splashing. Despite Brooks’ significant involvement, he credits the Luther community for allowing him to serve his country while remaining on staff. When asked to reflect upon his time at Luther, Brooks enthuses, “the collegial nature of the school is extraordinary. There is no other school in Saskatchewan – very few, I think, in Canada – like it, where you can start your teaching career and end your teaching career in the same school… I come from a big family – I’m the oldest of seven kids, so this whole idea of being in a big Luther family is really comfortable for me… my colleagues are like my brothers and sisters, students are like my kids, and so it’s sort of like a family… of five hundred people.” As a father, teacher, and environmentalist, Brooks recognises the importance of the environment by focusing his three personal themes in teaching on environmental sustainability. His first goal is to emphasise our need to care for the earth by instilling a sense of ownership in others. Says Brooks, “I try to teach my [biology] kids, and my [biological] kids, too… that the success that we have in the future will be based on an awareness that we are not apart from the environment, we are part of the environment… we are not isolated from the world we live in, we are integrated inextricably into this community. As long as folks think, ‘well, the environment’s something out there’, it’s not theirs.” Brooks’ second wish is to learn from the environment and integrate its natural processes into our world. “Now that we’re starting to realise that we’re a part of the environment, we have a lot to learn from it. If we look to nature, we are going to see all kinds of things that will allow us, once we integrate that

“Mr Brooks was my favorite and most inspirational teacher at Luther. He was the first person that ignited my interest in biology, and he fuelled this passion throughout my high school years… Without Mr Brooks’ teaching enthusiasm and love for the natural sciences, I’m not sure I would have continued in this area of study. I am studying what I love, and I have Mr Brooks to thank for that.” Inga Van Vliet (HS’03) is currently working on a degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Regina. She is employed by the Canadian Forces as a lineman with 734 Communications Squadron.

knowledge… to develop a real harmony between human society and the natural world.” Conservation is Brooks’ final principle. “‘Do more with less’ [is] a stepping stone to an ultimate way of thinking that less is better, that less is more, that less is beautiful. It’s sort of almost like a Buddhist philosophy – a minimalist way of looking at the world. We need to go from our acquisition society which says, ‘more is better’ to an interim step which says, ‘do more with less’. So we’re going from consumerism to conservationism, but we have to go to the next step.” While Brooks proposes that this final step be named by our current generation, he settles on a spontaneous suggestion. “It’s a contentment,” reasons Brooks. “It’s a state of contentment that I’m happy with what I have… rather than succumbing to the pressures of society that turn your wants into needs.” When asked what he misses most about teaching biology, Brooks says, “it’s those moments where you connect with the kids and… all of the sudden, you can see the lights go on above their heads… those epiphanies that occur in the classroom, I miss those.” However, Brooks hopes to stay connected with the Luther community. In fact, with the approval of both principal and

president, he is planning a biology fieldtrip to Costa Rica for Easter 2010… with a twist. “It’s for alumni,” says Brooks. Open to graduates of both the high school and university campuses, the trip “is an amazing ecotourism opportunity for those interested in things scientific and biological. Costa Rica is such an amazing ecologically minded country,” says Brooks admiringly. When asked to bring his passion for teaching, the environment and the military together, Brooks explains, “as we grow up as people, we understand little stove pipes of ideas, and then, another person over there has another kind of a stove pipe of an idea, and so we all have these narrow tubes through which we see the world. I think fieldtrips… broaden the scope of that, so that you’re not looking through a drinking straw at the rest of the world. You’re looking through these really wide-field binoculars that look at the rest of the world much more holistically.” Adds Brooks, “a lot of what we do is founded in important ecological concepts… whether you’re a biologist or not.” For more information on the alumni biology fieldtrip to Costa Rica, please see the notice in bits & bites or contact Randy Brooks directly at

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Pushing the


An interdisciplinary approach to computer science

Dr Hepting poses outside the RICE Lab at the University of Regina.

Justin Messner (U’02) • Dr Daryl Hepting (HS’83, U’88) is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and an associate member of the Department of Media Production and Studies at University of Regina. If this dual role sounds atypical for a computer scientist, that’s probably because it is. It’s something Dr Hepting wants to change.


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“There is much more to computer science than writing code.” Dr Hepting is the computer scientist in residence at the Regina Integrative Cognitive Experimentation Lab at the U of R – the RICE Lab. With principal researcher Dr Chris Oriet from the U of R’s Department of Psychology and Dr Katherine Arbuthnot, professor of psychology at Campion College, Dr Hepting created

the lab – which he admits was named partly for the convenient acronym – as a project to bring computer scientists and psychologists together. Cognitive science, he says, is a field that benefits from the approach. “It’s something both computer scientists and psychologists are interested in, and there are many insights to be gained from both perspectives.” “One of my main areas of interest is in human-computer interaction. Many other people in the field have backgrounds in psychology, so it’s a natural fit.” The interdisciplinary nature of the RICE lab is fundamental to the research that is conducted there. Much of the cognitive experimentation that is conducted at the lab, Dr Hepting explains, studies the way that people perform tasks. “Psychologists look at it from the perspective of perceptual phenomena – how people work as they perform different tasks.” Computer science provides the means to study these phenomena. Using eye-tracking equipment, the researchers can analyse where people look when they perform a job, such as using a computer program or studying an image they will later be required to remember. Applied to a specific task, the research can provide insight into whether the task, or the way that people are typically required to perform the task, is suited to the way that people work. “If you look at how people interact with software, you can determine whether the software is usable.” The goal is not to teach people how to better perform the task, but rather how to adapt the task to better suit the way people work. “One of the things I tell my students is how important it is to know and involve users of software in the development process. Generally, our research is about learning from people how information technology can support them in the things they need to do.” Dr Hepting’s interest in the human aspect of technology has seen him become involved in a number of projects related to the environment and the freedom of knowledge, topics Dr Hepting sees as related. In 2004, he helped organise a talk by representatives of the National Farmers’ Union about their seed saver campaign. Hearing farmers speaking out against the apparent trend toward proprietary crops, a trend threatening to erase thousands of years of farmerdriven innovation in favour of corporate advancement, drove home the seriousness of the issue of food sovereignty. “Pretty soon farmers won’t be able to save their own seeds. They’ll be forced to buy seeds that can’t reproduce on their own. If the only way to access the seeds we need to grow our food is to buy them

from multinational corporations, we’re losing sovereignty over the sources of our food.” Driven by a desire to contribute what he could, in 2005, he spearheaded an event at the U of R called “Free Knowledge: Creating a Knowledge Commons in Saskatchewan,” which explored the question of the privatisation of public knowledge and featured a keynote address by Brewster Kneen, the founder and director of the Forum on Privatisation and the Public Domain. Inspired by the event, he commenced work on a book about the dangers of privatising public goods, which when done will also be available online, under a creative commons licence. Another of Dr Hepting’s current interests is the application of technology in the aid of people making environmental purchasing choices, an area called enviromatics. “Enviromatics is informatics applied to environmental issues. I want to look at how to provide people with decision support for environmentally preferable purchasing.” An example of this is an online map he developed to help people locate local food sources in Saskatchewan – restaurants, organic grocery stores, and family farms. Posted in May 2008, it received over 500 hits in its first day and has been viewed over 18 thousand times since. Dr Hepting’s interest in social and environmental issues is not a new one. In grades 11 and 12 at Luther College high school, he was assistant editor, and later editor, of The Tatler, the school newspaper. “That opened my eyes to things going on around me. I remember at this newspaper editors workshop we heard the head of the Canadian section of Amnesty International speak. That was interesting.” Dr Hepting’s memories of his time at Luther College high school include singing in the choir. “I really enjoyed that, even though we only went on tour to Calgary, not to Cuba. We even did a recording. I have an LP at home of the Luther College choir.” Dr Hepting’s recollections of his high school days are fond ones. “It was a nice place to be – a supportive place to be.” Dr Hepting’s mother, Gertie Hepting (née Schmidt), also attended Luther College high school, graduating in 1949. In addition to his other activities, Dr Hepting has been involved with Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Saskatchewan, participating in the environmentally sustainable development (ESD) project. He coordinates the Farming and Local Food Production, Consumption, and Waste Minimisation theme area working group. RCE Saskatchewan is codirected by Dr Roger Petry (U’90), professor of philosophy at Luther College. For more information on the RCE, visit T H E  L U T H ER S T O R Y • s p r i n g   &   s u m m e r • 0 9


Bits & bites Edited by Faye Wickenheiser

University news Former University of Regina women’s wrestler Ali Bernard qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China in the 72 kg class, and she tied for 5th place at the competition. Bernard was a resident of Luther College during the Fall 2007 and Winter 2008 semesters. On 31 July 2008, Luther College faculty member and alumnus Roger Petry (U’90) successfully fulfilled all of the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Canadian Plains Studies. Dr Petry’s research centred on the role of free knowledge at universities and its potential impact on the sustainability of the prairie region. Specifically, Dr Petry examined whether the trend towards commercialisation of knowledge by universities is appropriate for achieving sustainable development. The University of Regina was a perfect institution to study as it is supported by significant levels of funding for sustainable development research. Dr Petry’s

thesis focused on the decisionmaking of university faculty in light of the academic control in many university settings over intellectual property decisions related to their research, specifically commercialisation and free / open source licensing options. Brenda Anderson (U’88), women’s

and gender studies professor at Luther College, was drawn into the missing women’s issue after the disappearance of Amber Redman, a 19-year-old woman from Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. Her response to the tragedy was to develop a class in feminist theory which led to an interdisciplinary course on missing Indigenous women from a global perspective. The international conference, entitled “Missing Women: Decolonization, Third Wave Feminisms and Indigenous People of Canada and Mexico” (14 – 17 August 2008), raised awareness of violence against Indigenous women and allowed many organisations to forge links. The broad range of topics presented at the conference helped contextualise women’s oppression

to help prevent sensationalising the issue. Participants came from all walks of life, representing a diverse crosssection of the population. The

conference began at First Nations

University of Canada (FNUC) and included presentations by Maria

Campbell (Order of Canada recipient and pioneering Métis author),

Shauneen Pete (former FNUC VicePresident), Adrian Stimson (curator of Saskatoon’s Mendel Art Gallery), Lourdes Portillo (world-renowned filmmaker), and Isabel Arvides (journalist), amongst others.

The conference would not have been possible without the support

of Luther College students, alumni,

faculty and staff, including co-chair Anderson, co-chair and Bread of

Life Lutheran pastor Carla Blakley (U’90), FNUC, the University of

Regina, and the Native Women’s

Association of Canada, to name a few. The spiritual guidance provided by

Luther College chaplain Rev Cheryl

Toth, Elder Norma Jean Byrd, Elder Betty McKenna, Pastor Arthur

Anderson, Elder Isadore Pelletier,

and Elder Ken Goodwill meant that the conference became a place of

healing for all who attended. Because of the diverse participation from

many communities, the conference was cutting-edge in combining the academic and the spiritual. The

result was that prayer, sacred spaces, and ceremonies could be integrated, respected and valued.

Submitted by Chelsea Millman

Missing Indigenous Women Conference co-chairs Carla Blakley (left) and Brenda Anderson. 16

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“Art for Lunch,” an interdisciplinary symposium, was held at Luther College at the University of Regina on 16 September 2008 with presentations from Luther

College professors Barbara Reul and Catherine Tite. Visiting international scholar Dr Anastasia Bakogianni, who teaches at the University of London and Reading University, participated in the symposium. Taking the eighteenth century as its starting point and incorporating interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, the symposium examined the assimilation and reception of mythology and its usefulness in refining gender identities and articulating contemporary feminist discourse and representation. Symposium organisers would like to thank cosponsors Luther College and the Humanities Research Institute. On 25 September 2008, the 33rd Luther Lecture and Luther Lecture Seminar were given by Dr Don Franklin. In his talk, Dr Franklin, a scholar, performer, distinguished professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh and one of the world’s leading authorities on Bach and theology, examined the topic “Music and Theology: Bach’s St Matthew Passion.” Dr Franklin approached Bach’s St Matthew Passion, one of the masterpieces of western art music, as a powerful theological statement that informs and moves its listeners. Drawing on the commentaries found in Bach’s theological library, Dr Franklin illustrated the many ways in which the libretto of Bach’s St Matthew passion reflects contemporary Lutheran theology, as well as Leipzig’s liturgical practices. Moreover, he turned to rare eighteenth-century primary source material and several musical examples from the score of the St Matthew Passion to demonstrate the ways in which Bach’s musical

language expresses and elaborates the theological themes of the text. The Luther Lecture Seminar featured Dr Franklin, the conductor. In the seminar, Dr Franklin addressed the topic “‘Bach to the Future’: what can we learn from the past when performing Bach’s music today.” His answers were illustrated by excerpts from the first part of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. It was wonderful to hear these passages performed live by members of the University of Regina Chamber Singers and music faculty, among them director Prof Aaron Mitchell, singing in the tenor section, and Luther College music history professor Dr Barbara Reul, playing the organ. Dr (hc) Elisabeth Raum enchanted everyone with her oboe playing, but it was the audience who amazed Dr Franklin the most by singing Bach’s music in flawless German. Submitted by Dr Barbara Reul Professor Gerrald Hill’s book of poetry My Human Comedy was nominated for a 2008 Saskatchewan Book Award in the Regina Book Award category. Hill’s newest book of poetry, 14 Tractors (NeWest Press), was released on 1 March 2009. At the 2008 University of Regina Fall Convocation, Luther College student Natalie Fuller (U’08) received the prestigious University of Regina President’s Medal. A Bachelor of Music (Performance) recipient, Fuller stands out as a model student of exemplary character. The President’s Medal is awarded at each convocation to a student with a minimum 80% cumulative grade point average who has shown significant leadership in and

commitment to extra-curricular activities while a student at the University of Regina. Fuller is currently a Master of Music Trumpet Performance student at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. On 16 October, Luther College at the U of R hosted a World Food Day Forum featuring a soup

Dr Vianne Timmons (left), president of the University of Regina, and Dr Bryan Hillis (U’78), Luther professor of religious studies, speak at the World Food Day Forum at Luther College at the University of Regina.

and cornbread lunch, which was accompanied by short talks from several guest speakers. Lunch was available for a donation, which was directed to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The World Food Day Forum was part of the University of Regina’s “Greater Together with the Community” Week. On 20 November 2008, Regional Centre for Expertise (RCE) Saskatchewan held its first Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Recognition event in Craik, Saskatchewan. Dr Roger Petry (U’90), professor of philosophy at Luther College, is one of the coordinators of RCE Saskatchewan, and helped organise the event and acted as the event emcee, presenting the recognition certificates at the Craik Eco-centre. There were a total of 28 ESD projects receiving recognition. The RCE Saskatchewan Recognition Program recognises innovative research, projects, and activities promoting sustainable development education in the prairie region. The intent of the program is to celebrate the efforts of organisations and individuals who are building capacity for ESD in Saskatchewan. Projects are recognised and project leads receive an opportunity to

Luther College high school alumni participated in chapel at Homecoming 2008.

From 23 to 26 October 2008, Luther College high school presented its 36th annual Broadway musical, Annie. More than 120 talented students participated as cast and crew members. Luther College high school has a longstanding tradition of presenting a popular Broadway musical every year.

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network with RCE Saskatchewan members. Further details on RCE Saskatchewan are available at On 15 December 2008, university campus cafeteria staff member Rosa Kim and her family were sworn in as Canadian citizens at the Royal Regina Museum Auditorium. Welcome and congratulations to Rosa, her husband and their two daughters. Rosaleah Armistead (below), a Luther fine arts undergraduate majoring in print media, designed Luther’s 2008 Christmas card. Armistead works primarily in collograph using recycled and reclaimed materials. The image for the card was created using pine needles and recycled cardboard.

Photo courtesy of AV Services, University of Regina.

Malin Hansen and Laura Ambrose, sessional lecturers in biology at Luther, have contributed to a new book entitled Natural Urban Landscapes: A Guide to Growing Native Plants. The book was put together to increase the public’s awareness of native plants in Saskatchewan and to inspire people to grow these in their yards. The writers hope that the book will facilitate the use of native species in the landscaping of parks and schoolyards. To obtain copies of the book, contact


HIGH SCHOOL NEWS High school students Billy Hamilton and Elizabeth Kopriva have been selected as winners in a poetry contest sponsored by the Celebrate Canada Committee for Saskatchewan. As part of their activities in Luther’s Creative Writing Club, they wrote poems on the theme “Canada is…” They were honoured at the 2008 Canada Day festivities at the Saskatchewan Legislature.

On 7 August 2008, long-time biology teacher Randy Brooks (above) retired. Randy gave thirty-two years of service to Luther College high school and its students. A wind-up party celebrating his distinguished career at the College was held on 27 August. Luther wishes Randy well in his future adventures! Breanna White won a Silver Medal at the SHSAA Provincial High School Golf Championship. White shot the lowest score for girls at the regional playoffs in Regina high school golf on 8 September at the Murray Golf Course. The win secured her a place at the Provincial High School Championship on 19 and 20 September 2008 at the Willows Golf Club in Saskatoon.

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The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) announced that high school student John Lehmann has been selected for membership. The Society recognises top scholars and invites only those students who have achieved superior academic excellence. On 19 and 20 September, 2008 Luther College hosted the 11th Annual Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament. This year’s event was exciting for local volleyball fans as Luther’s senior girls returned to the tournament as defending champs. The team once again captured the championship title. The tournament was started eleven years ago by former high school teacher and volleyball coach Anne Johnson (HS’92). She taught and coached at Luther College high school for seven years while developing the senior girls volleyball program. Four years ago, Johnson suffered a personal tragedy which resulted in her withdrawal from teaching and coaching at the high school. Her best friend Kathy Glasser, in salute to Johnson, has taken over coaching the senior girls team. This year, Luther College high school hosted seven teams: Balfour, Mount Royal, Arcola, Kipling, Clavet, Melville, and Luther Collegiate Bible Institute (Outlook). Angela Tillier, the high school’s athletic director, attributed the success of the 2008 team to the gifted athletes that honed their volleyball skills during the season. Submitted by Andy Davalos

Three Luther College high school alumni have been awarded prestigious scholarships from the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of Regina, including Kalen Emsley (HS’07) (2009), Derrick Emsley (HS’08) (2010), and Whitney Moeller (HS’08) (2010). The scholarships are funded by a gift from the Hill Companies

and Harvard Developments, and these allow U of R students to participate in an elite partnership program with one of Canada’s leading business schools. Twelve students in total each received $40 000 to study at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, leading to an Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree. In November 2008, the Luther choirs participated in the University of Saskatchewan choral festival, Unifest. The girls choir was the first Luther choir to perform, and they were extremely successful. The senior choir attended workshops, concerts, and had the opportunity to work with Dr Gerald Langer, choral professor and director of the University of Saskatchewan’s Greystone Singers. The Luther senior choir’s performance drew high praise from the adjudicators. The choirs also performed at the Regina Rotary Carol Festival and at Luther’s own Christmas Candlelight Services on 7 December. The Candlelight Services featured choral and handbell music and selected scripture readings. The event marks one of the highlights of Luther’s school year.

Lost alumni On 8 and 9 December 2008, the high school hosted the dean of music and three other music professors from the University of Manitoba. The professors were here looking for talented Saskatchewan musicians and came to Luther to begin their search. The musicians worked with our string ensemble, several of our piano students, and a number of talented youth from other schools in the city.

Regina jewellery designer Rachel Mielke (HS’98), owner of the Regina-based company Hillberg & Berk, recently appeared on the hit CBC television show Dragons’ Den to pitch her jewellery line. Mielke was successful securing support from one of the “dragons,” which has helped to expand her business. The type of jewellery Mielke designs and sells is what she refers to as “higher-end fashion jewellery.” It is all hand-made using sterling sliver, gold, semi-precious gem stones, and freshwater pearls, among other materials. To learn more about Mielke and her jewellery design company, read the feature article on Hillberg & Berk in the last issue of The Luther Story online at

ALL-COLLEGE NEWS A ten-day alumni biology fieldtrip to Costa Rica is being planned for Easter 2010. It is open to Luther alumni from both the high school and university campuses. The estimated cost is under $3 000 for students and under $3 500 for adults, with student accommodation in quads and adult accommodation in double rooms. There is a limit of 36 participants, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact Randy Brooks at or go online at and enter tour number 716303.

The Luther College high school Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Pfeifer memorial chair of music Melissa Morgan (U’01), provided music at Founders Day, held in November 2008 at the university campus.

We need your help in finding some of our Luther College alumni. If you have any information on the following people, please contact our alumni office at 306.757.7399 or email For a complete list of lost alumni, visit our website at If you forward a lost alum’s information to us, we’ll enter your name into a draw for a piece of Lutherwear. Michael Best – (friend of the College) Troy Bigalky (U’01) Kathy Bird (HS’68) Chad Bradbrooke (U’95) Jennifer A Bromm (U’88) Beverlyann Doucette (HS’70) Stuart Esson (U’86) Betty Hardy (HS’48) Travis D Joyce (U’95) Stephen Kemp (U’73) Miranda Makar (U’88) Maxy Mariasegaram (U’96) Palma Schick (née Currie) (HS’60) Todd Shafer (U’97) Susanna Trebuss (HS’68) Grace Walker (HS’41) Drew Ward (HS’76) Don Watt (HS’53) Olive Kin Chee Wu (HS’82) The winners of the spring 08 Lutherwear draw are Myron and Valerie Becker. Congratulations!

The 1954 Luther graduating class is planning a 55th-year reunion from 18 to 22 October 2009 in Las Vegas! A block of rooms has been reserved at the Tuscany Hotel at very favourable rate. It is a new hotel a few blocks from “the strip”. If you require more information, please contact: Don Olafson 403.247.0655 / 702.233.9313 (in Las Vegas) Ernie Everingham 480.654.9429 T H E  L U T H ER S T O R Y • s p r i n g   &   s u m m e r • 0 9


Class notes Edited by Lecina Hicke

Celebrations Charlene (Klingbeil) Anderson (HS’74) and her husband Peter

recently adopted siblings Koyla (11) and Olena (10) from an

orphanage in Ukraine. Peter

miraculously survived advanced

and extensive flesh eating disease in July, a recovery the family attributes to the prayers of

thousands all over the world. Melanie (Dittmann) Fife (HS’94) and her husband Derek

welcomed their son, Austin Peter

Fife, to the world on 18 September 2008.

Cory Mateiyshen (U’01) married Melanie Lefebvre of Hanmer, Ontario in 2008. Melanie has her BSc in biopharmaceutical sciences from the University of Ottawa and currently works as a contracts coordinator at Fisher Scientific’s Ottawa office. Cory is on a leave of absence from the Transportation Division at Statistics Canada as he has returned to full-time studies at the University of Ottawa. Cory is studying history and expects to have his BA completed by 2010. David Oh (HS’05) is studying

music education at the University of Saskatchewan. David’s wife Angelena has also enrolled at

the University of Saskatchewan,

studying physiology, with hopes of getting into medicine. David and Angelena were married in Korea in the spring of 2008.

Erin Stepenoff (HS’90) married Dion Tchorzewski in the winter of 2008. The two are expecting their first child in March of 2009. The couple reside in Regina, where Erin is employed by Evraz as the manager of the Turvey Centre and Park.


Kyla Wendell (HS’95) married

Currently she is the Assistive

September 2008. The monologue

2007. Jason and Kyla are pleased

University, helping people with


Jason McIntyre in the summer of to announce the birth of their

son, Finn Aidan McIntyre, born

13 June 2008. Although currently

on maternity leave, Kyla works as an English as a Second Language teacher at the high school level in Regina and is pursuing her Master’s degree in education curriculum and instruction.

UPDATES Charles Anderson (U’03) of

Southey, Saskatchewan has been named a winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Short Story

Competition. Charles holds the distinct honour of being the

first Saskatchewan resident to ever receive this award. The

competition is directed by the

Technologist for Athabasca

disabilities to use technology as a tool to overcome barriers in education.

Jill Arnott (HS ‘94, U’02) is the new executive director of the

Women’s Centre at the U of R. The Women’s Centre hosted a “Stir-Fry Night” at The

Mongolie Grill as a fundraiser

to commemorate 25 November, which is the International

Day Against Violence Against

Women, and the first day of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. Funds from the event went to

help women survivors of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through a donation to

Women for Women International.

Commonwealth Broadcasting

Shayne Barrie (HS’01) currently

short stories from various

in the Western Hockey League.

Association and honours 25

countries and records them for

radio broadcast. The stories are also published on CDs that are

available for purchase from the

CBA website at Carrie Anton (HS’87, U’92) is a

gold medallist from the Sydney

plays for the Everett Silvertips

Shayne is a goalie for the team,

and in November of 2008, played against and defeated the Regina Pats on their home ice. With the

support of his friends and family in the stands, Shayne stopped 23 of 24 shots on goal.

2000 Paralympic Games. In

Sabrina Catldo (U’99) has taken

Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame

her Master of Arts program to

2002 she was inducted into the

for her outstanding achievements in sport and exemplary work in

the community. Carrie created a

goalball league in Edmonton and is a key contact for professionals who wish to adapt sport for the

blind. For two years she coached the Alberta Women’s Goalball

team. Since retiring from amateur sport in 2004, she enjoys playing recreational ice hockey with a visually impaired team, rock

climbing, hiking, and parasailing.

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is archived on the show’s website audio.html.

David Code (HS’83) has written a book entitled To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First,

which will be out in September. David’s work has been featured

in The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, and will also be featured in Parents Magazine this spring.

David’s wife Karen teaches law at

Pennsylvania State School of Law, and she was recently promoted to recruit foreign students for both

the law school and the School of International Affairs. David and

Karen, along with their children Josh (9) and Rachel (7) recently

went on a recruiting trip to India. Kevin Dewalt (HS’76) of

Mind’s Eye Entertainment was

nominated for 12 Gemini awards for hit television mini-series

The Englishman’s Boy. Dewalt,

producer of the series, took home six Geminis, including:

• Best Dramatic Mini-Series

• Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Dramatic Program/Mini-Series

a one-year leave of absence from

• Best Direction in a Dramatic

recover from major jaw surgery.

• Best Costume Design

As a part of her recovery, she started a blog at to

Program or Mini-Series

• Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role,

chronicle her experiences and

surgery. She also submitted a

The series also captured a

help others going through similar non-fiction monologue about

German orthodontic fetishists

finding her blog to CBC Radio, which was purchased for

broadcast and aired on the

program SoundXChange on 4

Dramatic Program/Mini-Series

• Best Achievement in Casting Best Team Achievement in

the Television Movie/Miniseries category award from

the Directors Guild of Canada

Awards. In September 2008, the series won a prestigious

Best of Show award from The Accolade Competition in Los Angeles. In total, the production received 8 awards from the juried competition. Marion Fudge (HS’95) currently works in fashion retail at the Tenth & Proper boutique in Vancouver, British Columbia. Simon Fudge (HS’93) has been

working in the marketing and communications department of the Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Club since April 2007. He currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Amy Hillis (HS’08) is the Governor General’s Academic Bronze

Medal recipient for 2008. His

Honour Lieutenant Governor Dr Gordon Barnhart presented the

medal at high school Chapel on

17 December 2008. The Governor General’s Academic Bronze

Medal is awarded annually to the student who achieves the highest average in all grade 11 and 12

courses upon graduation from

a secondary school. Amy Hillis’

qualifying average was 95 percent. Amy is currently studying at

McGill University in Montreal. Sara Johnson (HS’99) recently

returned from Alberta, and in

March of 2008, she opened Stella & Sway Boutique at 1845 Scarth

Street in Regina. The shop aims to provide young professional

women with unique and, at the same time, reasonably priced fashions.

Stephen King (U’94) began a new position on 17 November 2008 as

senior researcher to the president

at the University of Regina. In this position, he will conduct research on post-secondary issues

on behalf of the University, and will manage President Vianne Timmons’ academic research program. Nichole Mitchelson (HS’00) received her BSc with a major in biology from the University of Saskatchewan, and more recently, her Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Calgary College of Traditional Chinese

Medicine and Acupuncture. Dr Mitchelson is currently practising in Regina. Dwight Newman (U’96) was recognised with a University of Regina Alumni Crowning Achievement Award in November 2008. While earning his BA in economics and philosophy, Dr Newman was considered one of Canada’s brightest academic stars, receiving a number of academic awards at the U of R, including a President’s Medal. Newman went on to obtain a law degree at the U of S with the highest academic average of any graduate in the history of the U of S College of Law. He earned another law degree while attending Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, followed by his master’s and doctoral degrees in legal philosophy. He is now dean of the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. Despite his many academic accomplishments, Newman is most noted for his commitment to the humanitarian side of the law. His focus on the protection of the rights of society’s vulnerable citizens, particularly Indigenous Canadians, has earned him undeniable respect in the halls of justice.

William K Schwarz (HS’60) is currently practicing law at his firm in Cambridge, Ontario. In 1997, William rekindled his love for art by taking a number of courses at the Cambridge Galleries. Since then, he has continued to hone his skills as an artist, and has been repeatedly recognised for his artistic contributions. William specialises in representations of industrial infrastructure using pen, ink and watercolour. Gavin Semple (HS’63), president and general manager of Brandt

to the company’s many honours

including Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Platinum Member

end of the class notes for further information.

Eva Davis (HS’75, U’83) passed

away at her Regina home on 28

September 2008 at the age of 51. She is survived by sons Austin and Tanner, husband Darrell,

parents Mike and Hilda Kontz, and brother Reg. The family

ago, right after her second bout

with chemotherapy, Eva walked 60 km during a two-day cancer

Kelvin (Kelly) Kaytor (U’04) was

as well as being inducted into

the Saskatchewan Business Hall

of Fame. Gavin Semple was also

named to the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2008. He is a member of the Luther College Board of

born in Regina on 13 August 1961. He attended St Peter’s Elementary School and O’Neill High School.

Following graduation in 1980, he was employed at Merit Printing, where he became a journeyman


printer. In September of 1997, he

enrolled at Luther College at the


University of Regina and began

John Chomay, retired professor

his quest for a science degree. In

of Physical Education at McGill

spring 2004, Kelly graduated with

University, passed away on 14

a Bachelor of Science (distinction),

December 2008 in Rosemère,

majoring in computer science.

Québec at the age of 79. He was

His commitment, determination

the devoted husband of Helen

and achievements were admired

(née Klein), beloved father of

Linnea (Victor Cabral) and Perian (Colin Crankshaw), and adored

by friends, family, and colleagues alike. Kelly passed away in the

loving arms of his family on 10

Kristen Theodore, Stefan Perrier

physical education teacher

from the Regina Leader-Post at the

fundraiser in Calgary.

for seven uninterrupted years,

serving as the high school’s

created by John. See the excerpt

first cancer diagnosis. Two years

This award comes in addition

part of the Luther community,

basketball teams in the West, was

during the 14 years since Eva’s

Hall of Fame in March of 2009.

Crankshaw. John was an active

hosts some of the best senior boys

who has been caring for them

the Canadian Manufacturing

and Samantha and Nicholas

Invitational Tournament, which

would like to thank everyone

Industries, was inducted into

grandfather of Alexander and

from 1951 to 1957. The Luther

January 2009 at the age of 47.

Murray J McNabb (HS’44, HSU’47) passed away peacefully at Parkside Extendicare, Regina, on 4 July 2008. Murray participated and excelled in many sports, such

T H E  L U T H ER S T O R Y • s p r i n g   &   s u m m e r • 0 9


Class notes as track and field, professional hockey (both as a player and referee), and professional softball, and he was a boys basketball coach at Scott Collegiate. He was past president and member of Royal Regina Golf Club, member of the Tartan Curling Club, past Grand Master of Masonic Friendship Lodge in Grenfell and Regina, and a long-time member of Wesley United Church. Murray was born in Regina and lived his early years in Lajord, Saskatchewan. He attended Luther College, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees. Murray was a principal in the Grenfell School District and a long-serving teacher for the Regina School Board, teaching social studies at Sheldon, Scott, Balfour and Robert Usher collegiates. John Otterdal (HS’58) passed away on 4 May 2008 at the age of 66. Dunstan Pasterfield (friend of the College). On 13 July 2008, the Reverend Dunstan Patrick Pasterfield died at the age of 90. Dunstan is survived by his wife Veronica. He was born in Bethune and grew up in Craik, Watrous, Kamsack and Outlook. During World War Two, he joined the Indian Army, reaching the rank of major. He trained Sikh, Muslim and Hindu recruits for the 15th Punjab Regiment. He was ordained a priest in 1951 in England and moved back to Canada, where he answered calls to the parishes of Shaunavon, Estevan, St Mary’s Regina, Team Ministry of St Michael’s and All Angels, and the Church


of the Good Shepherd and Transfiguration of our Lord in Calgary. Upon retirement, he and Veronica moved back to Saskatchewan, where Dunstan continued his study of the prairies and astronomy, with a special interest in deep sky observing. Allen Robins (HS’67) was born and raised in Regina, where he

attended Benson School and Luther College. While at Luther, Al met one of his best friends, Bill Barlow (HS’65), whom he saw and was in contact with regularly. After Luther, Al commenced working for the City of Regina and remained there for 34 years. When Al retired, he was Supervisor of Solid Waste Collection for the city. He passed away on 11 October 2008. Donald Schiefner (HS’56) of Kaslo, British Columbia passed away on Tuesday 16 September 2008 at the age of 71 years. Don is survived by his loving wife Sonia (née Salamanchuk) (HS’57) and his children Mark, Kevin, Brenda and Lee. Don is also survived by his twin brother Doug (HS’56) and younger brother Dick (HS’60). Don was born in Milestone, Saskatchewan and attended school there until grade ten. He then moved to Regina and attended Luther College, where he excelled in track and field. Luther is also where he met Sonia, and the couple was married on 26 September 1959. They moved to Calgary, Alberta, where Don worked for Geophoto as a photogrammatrist until 1975. He then worked for the Energy Resources Conservation Board until his retirement in 1994. Don and Sonia built their

T H E  L U T H ER S T O R Y • s p r i n g   &   s u m m e r • 0 9

dream home in Schroeder Creek just outside of Kaslo and moved there permanently in 1996. Don loved flying airplanes, fishing, repairing small engines, and having his family and friends come to visit. He especially liked spending time with his grandkids and would take them fishing on Kootenay Lake and show them all his card tricks.

daughters with whom she shared her love of farm and cottage life, gardening, books and travel. In her quiet way, she shared generously with numerous charities. She passed away on 2 July 2008.

Astrid Christina (Janonn) Usick (HS’47) was born in Crestwynd, Saskatchewan on Christmas Eve, 1929. She was predeceased by her mother Charlotte and her brother Cyril, who was in the Air Force before she turned 15. Astrid attended Luther College and then returned home to work in the post office in her father’s service station. The Greyhound buses would stop there and the passengers would want some of Astrid’s great apple pie. She met her husband Ed at a dance at Temple Gardens in Moose Jaw. They were married in St Andrew’s Church in 1953 and moved to Ontario, where all of their children were born. In 1960 they moved to Regina and resided in the Lakeview area. Astrid lived for her children and grandchildren. She valued individuality, and she was soft spoken, big hearted and artistic. In high school she won prizes at the fair for her artwork and continued to oil paint, draw and do crafts. She loved music and dancing, and she played the violin and piano.

Columbia on 6 August 2008. Reg

Bessie (Bullis) Wareing (HS

anyone feel welcome were his

alumna) was born in 1919 in Regina, and educated at Davin School and Luther College high school. In 1941 she married “Lude” Wareing and raised four

Reginald Whitehouse was

born in Montréal, Québec on 8

October 1932. Reg passed away at home in Chilliwack, British was predeceased by his wife

Joanne (née Baird) (HS’53) on 22

October 2007. In 1952, Reg joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders

Football club. His 15-year Rider career culminated with a Grey Cup victory in 1966. Reg was

team captain for 12 years, led

team scoring as a placekicker for

several years, and held numerous team placekicking records. An

honourary lifetime Roughrider, Reg was inducted into the

Saskatchewan Roughriders Plaza of Honour in 1992. In 1954, Reg

met Regina’s Joanne Baird, Miss Grey Cup 1953; the two were

married and shared more than 53 years together. The family

made Regina their home until

1970. After a brief return to Reg’s hometown of Montréal in 1970,

the family moved BC in 1971. An avid outdoorsman, Reg loved

camping, fishing, hunting and all sports. He promoted youth

participation in sport, organising and speaking at many sports

fundraisers from the sixties to the

eighties. Reg’s huge spirit, his love of people, and his ability to make

hallmarks. He loved nothing more than to sit down with friends, old or new, swap stories, share a joke or two, and just generally enjoy all life had to offer.

John Chomay always remembered for LIT John Chomay 6 June 1926 – 14 December 2008 Luther College: 1951-1957 “He was a consummate gentleman,” said Gerry Harris (HS’69), a former co-ordinator of Luther College high school’s student-run senior boys basketball tournament. “He was the kind of person who always made you smile because he was always so upbeat and positive. I was lucky to meet him a number of times. Some people use ‘I’ a lot, but he didn’t. He always asked how you were doing and was genuinely concerned about other people.” John Chomay joined the Luther faculty as head of the physical-education department in 1951 after graduating from McGill University in Montreal. Early in his tenure at Luther, he approached Dr Rex Schneider – the school’s president at the time – and inquired about the possibility of launching a senior boys basketball tournament. Dr Schneider was quick to provide his blessing. The inaugural tournament, won by the Luther Lions, was a 16-team, one-day event. “Can you imagine that?” John told the LeaderPost in 2002, when he attended the 50th annual LIT and watched the championship game at the Agridome (now Brandt Centre). “Teams played four games. We played cross-court until the finals.” The tournament quickly expanded in stature while the number of teams was reduced. LIT is now an eight-team, three-day event, with five of the entries being from out of town. The 57th annual LIT was held 12-14 February 2009. “Initially, I tried to do everything – everything but sell tickets at the door,” John said in 2002. “Gradually, more people got involved and it kept getting bigger. I commend the people at Luther College on what they’ve done with LIT. The atmosphere is the thing that creates it. The fans are so close to the players and the fans are so jammed in the gymnasium. The atmosphere lends itself to the joy of the tournament.”

John remained at Luther until 1957, when he moved back to Montreal. He was LIT’s special guest in 1959, when the John Chomay Team Sportsmanship Award was established. He visited the LIT five times after 1957, coaching Montreal-based teams in the 1961 and 1967 tournaments. “He was really passionate about the tournament,” said former Luther senior boys basketball coach Dick Stark, who played for

Moose Jaw Central in the first-ever LIT “He was very pleased that people like Gerry Harris kept the tournament going and that the ideals were maintained regarding sportsmanship and fan behaviour.” Harris was a faculty member at Luther for 31 years before retiring in 2006. He doubled as the tournament’s co-ordinator and, in that capacity, kept in touch with John. “He always made sure to send a note before LIT,” Harris recalled after learning of John Chomay’s passing. ”He would wish us the best with the tournament and sent along his best to the team and the student organizers. That’s the kind of person he was.” John’s influence on Luther is also remembered through the establishment of The Chomay Scholarships given in his name by Merlis Belsher (HS’53), who was a member of the team that won the first LIT (see team picture). John came into Merlis’ life at a point after he tragically lost both his parents in a winter accident, in 1951. Merlis credits John – as well as many others at Luther College – for helping him through his loss, and the two remained close throughout the years. After leaving Luther, John returned to the Montreal area first to teach at Beaconsfield high school (1958) and then to serve as an administrator at Lindsay Place and Rosemere high schools, respectively. In the late 1960s he returned to his alma mater and became a professor of physical education at McGill University. There, he taught for 22 years, where he gained the reputation of having an immaculate memory and knowing all his students by name. After his retirement in

1990, the John Chomay Award was established at McGill, for annual presentation to an undergraduate student in physical education. John Chomay is survived by his wife (Helen), two daughters (Linnea and Perian) and five grandchildren. While John Chomay’s life and career followed new directions after leaving Luther College he never forgot his roots. He will always be most remembered for his inspiration to establish the LIT, but he should also be remembered for his other kindnesses to Luther, including 124 separate gifts over the 51 years since his departure from Regina. May light perpetual shine upon his soul! Adapted from an article written by Rob Vanstone, Regina Leader-Post

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Contributors Mark Anderson, over his 22-year career at Luther College high school, has taught (English, ethics and IB), coached (football, softball and badminton) and served in administration (as vice principal and currently as principal). He currently is completing a PhD in educational administration. Jennifer Arends (U’02) is editor of The Luther Story and Luther College’s manager of marketing and communications. She graduated from Luther College’s university campus with a Bachelor of Arts (English and religious studies), and in 2007 she completed a Master of Arts in English at the University of Regina. Jennifer’s loves of reading and writing are surpassed only by her passion for the outdoors. Jill Cameron works as the recruitment & high school liaison officer at Luther College’s university campus, and she is the volunteer photographer for The Luther Story. Jill has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology & health studies from the University of Regina. In her “spare time,” she is an artist who specialises in photography and ceramics, and her photographs and pottery regularly appear at Traditions Handcraft Gallery in Regina Echo Fettes (HS’03) has been a Luther student for nearly a decade. Currently completing her final semester of a fine arts degree in violin performance at Luther College’s university campus, Echo is pleased to have had the opportunity to re-connect in this issue of The Luther Story with a friend and former teacher who, interestingly enough, is also a former fiddle student. Echo thanks Clare Anstead, Shayna Bobowski, Gail Fry, Jeannette Kuiper, Alex Meeres, Brittney Stricker, Inga Van Vliet, and Michael Yule for their thoughtful contributions to this issue. Pastor Larry Fry is the chaplain at Luther College high school and regular contributor to The Luther Story’s “from the pulpit” column. An ordained minister in the ELCIC, Larry has served a variety of posts at Luther, including that of boys soccer coach for 22 consecutive seasons.


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Robin Markel (U’01) completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Luther College and received her Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Regina in 2007. Robin is enjoying working from home during her first year as a parent. Justin Messner (U’02) has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Luther College, and a Master’s in English from the U of R. He works as a policy analyst for the Government of Saskatchewan. Given the option of listening to the Luther College choir on CD or on vinyl, he’d pick the vinyl. It sounds better. Hands down. Allan Pulga (U’02) completed a Bachelor of Science in biology through the university campus, after which he earned a Bachelor of Journalism in 2004 at the University of Regina. Allan has written for news and communications agencies across Canada and overseas, and he is currently the Communications Officer at the U of R’s Institut français. Allan enjoys travelling, sports, meeting interesting people and eating. In that order. Faye Wickenheiser is a third-year Luther College Arts student with a major in English and a minor in religious studies. Faye is volunteer assistant editor of The Luther Story and is currently working at the Department of Canadian Heritage as a co-op student. Lecina Hicke is currently employed as the alumni office manager at Luther College high school, and she is also studying to complete her Bachelor of Arts in English at the university campus. This year, she is responsible for the organisation of both the annual Luther College Golf Classic and Homecoming 2009 events.

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Luther Story spring - summer 2009  

The Luther Story is the alumni and friends magazine of Luther College, Regina.