Class of 1964 Spring 2018 Letter

Spring 2018 

Greetings Class of 1964, 

It’s that time of the seasons when the beauty of winter has lost its glamour and there is distinct hungering for new life that spring brings for most of you. Here in Arizona this time of year means Baseball Spring Training and the snowbirds starting to migrate back to whence they came. The Del Webb Community we live in loses two-thirds of its population from June through November. If you’re tired of the cold, ice and snow, six months of desert living is a good alternative. 

Also this time of year means that the Kent Finanger Golf Classic, here in Goodyear, AZ is just around the corner. In its 13th year, this event raises money for the Norse Athletic Association. Last spring, the 12th Annual version of this effort raised $35,000 for LC’s football program. Most of that went to purchase new game day uniforms. Most of you who were able get to a game last season know that the boys looked pretty sharp in those new duds. The players must have liked them too as they had one of their best seasons in years! All the proceeds of this years event will be used to support LC’s women athletes. The Golf Classic is honoring Luther Legend Betty Hoff’s forty-plus years of positive influences on thousands of Luther women. 

Many of you may remember a fellow student by the name of Paul Olsen. Paul was a year behind us graduating in 1965. Like many in men in our class of 1964, Paul was an athlete who also embraced music participation by lending his voice to sing in the Messiah chorus. Paul was a superb track and football athlete who went on to have a very successful fifty-year coaching career that included rival Augustana College’s track and cross country teams. And, oh by the way earned his PhD and taught English as well. 

Paul has an interesting and poignant testimony that reflects well on Liberal Arts institutions like LC. This is a testimony of events that happened in the summer of 1965 while Paul was working on campus. It was resurrected due to the passing of Weston Noble ’43. Here it is in Paul’s own words:        

One day I joined Gene Takle and Sam Iverson who were sitting by Weston. All of us ended up talking about the similarities of ‘spiritual uplift’ present both in sports and music. Weston was so open, yet so unfamiliar with that...even as a possibility. This led to a golf game with Sam, Weston and me the next day. (Weston used the same club for every shot!) We had a ball, and when Weston dropped me off at the dorm, we sat in the car and talked for a couple of hours. 

That led to an all-night car drive later in the summer when Weston had done a clinic in Bemidjii, Minn. on a Monday and had to do another in Green Bay, Wis. the next day. I happened to be at my parents home in

Onamia, Minn., so Weston asked if I would drive him the rest of the way to Green Bay so he could sleep and be ready for another clinic the next day. Well, he didn’t sleep a minute! We talked and talked again about ‘spiritual uplift’ and about the beauty and grace of sports and how similar it was to that ‘spiritual uplift’ in music. We talked about the risks involved in sports and music, about ‘performance’ and ‘measuring’ or ‘evaluating’ performance and how much of the music/sports experience is impossible to measure. 

A couple of times over the years, I’d drive to Luther just to have lunch with Weston, and I always stopped to say hi and talk whenever I took the Augustana track and cross country teams to LC for meets. Also, I was the teaching staff coordinator for a couple of summers at Holden Village, an ecumenical family retreat in the Cascade Mountains and my job was to bring the best educators in the world to do ‘their thing’ for a couple of weeks. Naturally, I asked Weston to join us there as most certainly he was of that caliber! 

Paul goes on ruminate about the commonalities of two very different disciplines that music and sports have when it comes to motivation and going deeper into the development of the skills necessary to perform at higher levels. On this point he and Weston found common ground in the aspect that both agreed was greatly enhanced when ‘spiritual uplift’ accompanied the developing artistic expressions. So we pose the question, does performing at higher levels get a person in touch with the spiritual nature … or … does the spiritual nature drive a person to achieve higher levels of performance? Either way, I believe, as Luther College educated, we’ve all been blessed to have been ‘developed’ in an environment that recognized the futility of a life void of spiritual motivation. Our motto Soli Deo Gloria says it all, “To God Alone the Glory!” 

This year the Class of 1964 Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Maya Upton. Does the name Upton resonant with anyone? It should! We graduated with her grandfather and great uncle Joe and Bill Upton. In fact, Maya is a genuine third-generation LC student! We recently received a thank you note from Maya. She wrote, “I want to tell you how grateful I am for your support! My education has been greatly impacted by your generosity. I am a nursing major and also a member of the SAC service organization, as well as the Luther Student Nurses Association. I enjoy my time greatly here at Luther, love being involved, and can’t wait to make a difference after graduation in 2020 as a nurse. Again thank you so much for believing in me and my education, it means   so much to me and I am very thankful for your support.”   

Yes, Maya, we are thankful for your gratitude and ideals to be one who will make a difference! As I have stated in these letters before, contributing to the Class of 1964 Scholarship is a great way for us old timers to have direct impact on the life of a future LC grad. If you’re not already giving something to this fund you may want to contribute. Just contact the Development Office. 

If you have news to share with your classmates, remembrances or gratitudes or comments you’d like included in future Class Letters, please email us at [email protected] or better yet call us at 608-393-2206. 

Until next time…Soli Deo Gloria! 

Steve & Linda Messer
1964 Class Agents
608-393-2206 (Steve); 608-393-9035 (Linda)
[email protected]; [email protected]