Dear 1955 Classmates:
It has been an unusual past few months – summer heat and drought on the one hand and an overheated political process on the other. The summer heat has now passed, and hopefully the political heat will, too. Civility seems a long forgotten virtue. If you want to reflect on both civility and integrity, read Stephen Carter, the African-American Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale University.
Meanwhile, the good feelings of homecoming at Luther emerged as usual. Mary and I did not make it down this year. I assume a few classmates did. By all accounts, it was a nice weekend with the usual class reunions, meeting of friends and former professors, campus tours, arts performances, and Sunday church services. The only blemish on the weekend was that Luther lost to the University of Dubuque in football. Funny how in many schools this sport seems to be central to homecoming.
The college seems to get larger year by year. This fall there are 681 new students. This is not too much smaller than the entire student body in our day. The placement rate for graduates is now 96 percent; many schools are pleased with much lower results. It is a tribute to the educational quality that Luther continues to provide. In energy efficiency, Luther now has one of the largest solar fields in Iowa, and Bakers Commons, on part of the site of the former college farm, will experience net-zero energy emissions. As to the Sesquicentennial Fund which ends this December, the original goal of $50 million has now been surpassed even though some projects have not been fully funded as yet. The thing about campaigns is that schools project specific initiatives needing funding, but donors often have other ideas about what they wish to support. But, it is all good for the school. On the construction front, work on the new Aquatic Center is underway; completion is planned for this summer. And all residential halls have been fully renovated during the last decade. Remember in our day, Brandt was the newest hall (we used to call them dorms) for women who also stayed in other places along the same street, and some freshmen women stayed in the east wing of Larsen. Freshmen men stayed in the rest of Larsen and some barracks; most other men stayed in houses around town. But we all got by. Anyway, these and many other recent accomplishments are a tribute to the leadership of President Rick and Judy Torgerson, as they conclude their time at Luther this May and move to Edina, Minn. We all hope that the next president will be as good a fit for Luther as Rick and Judy have been.
There are a few class notes to report. Fortunately, no classmate has passed away since the last letter, at least as far as either the college or I know at this writing. I am sorry to note that my computer was hacked last spring and all files were deleted. So, some news notes from Carol Hasvold (for Paul), Arvid Harklau, and Jean Brown Eittreim were among them, and I have not been able to retrieve these. I still hope to. The one from Carol about student high jinks in the 1920s, when some of our fathers were students at Luther, is worth passing on. I did send out a general request for information from classmates, but received not one response. So there may still be trouble with my email. If you wish to communicate in the future, please put it into a new message, not a reply. The email address is below.
Other than that, last spring Al Berg from Vancouver, Wash., was honored with Life Membership in the President’s Council for his support of Luther. We congratulate him. He stands as one example of the generosity within our class. Recently, I had a phone conversation with Richard Landborg. He and his wife, Gloria (Smalley), have now retired in Sioux Falls, S.D., after two decades in real estate. Dick said he was going to send along some details of their life of many years in that city, and I will get it into the next letter. We are looking forward to it, Richard and Gloria. Ted Tweed sent an email around to a number of people announcing that “Team Tweed” was once again participating in the Madison, Wis., Walk to Cure Diabetes. He and his wife, Janet (Campbell), their children, and grandchildren became supporters of this organization and participants in this event when two grandchildren were diagnosed with diabetes. One advantage of retirement is that there is time to support worthy organizations that serve others. I think that many of our classmates do a great deal of volunteering as well. It would be interesting to put these involvements in the next class letter. As to Mary and me, we finally retired on May 31 after almost eight years as special assistants to the president at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. Mary led in the renovation and refurnishing of the University Guest House; located, catalogued, and electronically filed 1000 pieces in the University Art Collection; served on the first planning committee to determine programs to be included in the new University Art Center, now under construction at $30 million; and assisted with mentoring a young development staff to improve fund raising. I chaired the planning committee for the University Art Center and also assisted in fund-raising mentoring. Prior to that I chaired two strategic planning efforts, developed a plan for evaluating senior staff, directed the Wendt Center for Character Education, and did just about anything else the president requested. More than 40 years in education for each of us seemed to be enough. We now spend our time managing some property, volunteering at our church, and living a few winter months in Green Valley, Ariz. Life is good.
In terms of class giving, I do not have any data to report at the moment, but I fully expect our class to continue in 2012 to be among the leaders in the percent of classmates making a gift to the college. I thank you for your continued commitment and generosity to Luther. Every gift is valued, whatever its size. I do know that many alumni contribute as a result of class letters, while others respond to other initiatives from Luther. Whatever works. It is all helpful.
Finally, as fall moves along, may all of your festive days and holidays be joyful, may your Christmas be especially blessed, and may 2013 present you with abundant opportunities for living well. And please keep in touch and send along your stories.
Your classmate and friend:
1955 Class Agent
Don’t forget your Annual Fund giving!
Each year nearly 9,500 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $50,000. Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure additional funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us to reach our goal of 27% alumni giving to the Annual Fund. Here’s how your class is doing so far this year:
CLASS OF 1955 TOTAL GIVING: $10,008.00 FROM 24% OF THE CLASS*
Have you made your 2012 gift to Luther? Only 3 more gifts are needed to reach 27% for your class. Please visit www.givenow.luther.edu to make a difference for Luther students. Thank you!
Please note: Your Spring 2013 class agent letter will include a listing of your classmates who gave to Luther during 2012. Be sure to make your gift before December 31 to be included.
*as of October 18, 2012