Blame Hurricane Sandy, the holidays coming, and my usual tendency to procrastinate for why I am so behind in writing our alumni letter, but there is so much I wanted to tell you about homecoming that it has taken me awhile to get my thoughts together.
I am not usually one who resorts to hyperbole, but when it comes to this year’s homecoming, all I can say is Wow! If you didn’t make it this year, we missed you, and you missed a wonderful event. See some photos here.
Some of the highlights of our weekend:
Kevin Sand received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award. Kevin is a family medicine physician who is the former medical director of the Decorah Clinic Physicians –Mayo Health System. Included among his many achievements, Kevin served six years on Winneshiek County Board of Public Health, is a member of the Northeast Iowa Forestry Advisory Committee, and founding member and president of the Prairie’s Edge Sustainable Woods Cooperative. Kevin has spent a lot of his adult life in service to his community and, from what I heard, has probably planted more trees than anyone in Decorah as part of his commitment to the local ecology.
Kevin joins our other classmates, Barbara Fuller, Thomas Holman, Lennis Moore, Karen Smith, Carol (Kershner) Olson, Diane (Baum) Thormodsgard, and Connie Mohlis Vicuna, who have been honored by receiving this award.
Randy Blank was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame this year. Randy was a three-year letter winner in football, a two-year letter winner in basketball, and a member of the IIAC conference, among other athletic achievements too numerous to count.
Other members of the class of ’72 who have been inducted into Luther’s Athletic Hall of Fame over the years include Bernard Peters, Chris Haugen, Thomas Kelly, Rory Falconer, Robert Spiegler, Jerry Maland, Susan Oertel, and Gary Kittelson.
Congratulations to both Kevin and Randy for being honored by Luther.
One hundred seven members of our class attended our reunion dinner, which was held at the South Winneshiek Golf and Country Club. (I am working at getting us back to Decorah for our 45th reunion.) During dinner we passed around the microphone, and we told each other stories. Some of the stories were humorous. Karl Jacobsen talked about the snake that got thrown in Valders during class. Kevin Sand admitted to putting a dead skunk in the elevator at Towers and punching all seven floors. Some of the stories were about serendipity. Sue Oertel, who had planned to attend La Crosse, stopped to look at Luther at her parents’ insistence and stayed for 32 years. Some of the stories were reflective. Pauline Amundson talked about how we started college in skirts and nylons and graduated in jeans. Some of the stories solved long-standing mysteries, including the real reason Bernie Peters kept his hair long; what actually happened to Rick Fromm’s senior paper; and how a picture of those tiger panties happened to wind up in the yearbook. And, finally, many of the stories were heartfelt appreciations of what Luther had meant for many of us. Kristen Dumas talked about being one of seven children, the first in her family to attend college, and the support Luther gave her. Bernie Peters, who never visited Luther before his first day on campus, talked about how finding his name on his locker made him feel that Luther was expecting him.
As your class agent, I was thrilled to learn that in 2011 our class made the Class Agent Honor Roll. We were ranked number eight out of the top ten classes for donations to the annual fund in 2011, and we were also ranked number eight out of the top ten classes for the number of donors to the annual fund.
The number of donors that give to their alma mater is an important statistic for small colleges. Foundations make decisions about grants to colleges based on the percentage of alumni who make annual gifts. So no gift is too small. Every gift you give to Luther increases that percentage. Luther’s percentage of alumni giving is 24.5 percent. We are ahead of St. Olaf but behind schools like Gustavus and Grinnell. So thank you for your generous support in the past, and I hope that you will continue your support for Luther in the future.
Our homecoming dinner was a wonderful tribute to those long-ago ties that have bound us forever to this wonderful place. It was a joy to see all who returned and get to talk to some, however briefly. Looking forward to seeing you again at our 45th!
Thank you for a wonderful evening.
1972 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 1972 TOTAL GIVING: $60,085.92 FROM 15% OF THE CLASS*
Have you made your 2012 gift to Luther? Only 51 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
PAUL AASEN is a corn research associate at Dow AgroSciences in Clinton, Wis.
CORRINE BRUE is director of organization development at Advanced Micro Devices in Austin, Texas.
DAVID CHRISTENSEN works in retail sales at On Deck Clothing in Fish Creek, Wis.
AMY (CHRISTIAN) and DARYL DODD live in Anaconda, Mont. Amy owns the gift shop Beyond Necessity Gifts. Daryl is the director of Rehab Services at Anaconda Community Hospital.
RICK FROMM of Decorah is managing editor for the Decorah Newspapers. He received the Iowa Newspaper Association's highest honor―Master Editor-Publisher―at their annual awards banquet in July. The plaque includes language citing that Rick’s peers have determined “…he has worked hard, lived honorably, thought soundly, influenced unselfishly, and is entitled to the highest honors of the profession."
LOIS (ANDERSON) and BRUCE GARBISCH’70 live in Cook, Minn., where Lois is a homemaker.
RITA GARRISON is a retired Wisconsin State Patrol trooper in Madison, Wis.
CARL HANSEN is a financial associate with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Flushing, Mich.
MARK HANSEN is retired in Manchester, Iowa.
PHILIP HOLTAN was awarded Luther Seminary’s 2012 Faithfulness in Ministry Cross Award, recognizing his 35 years of innovative, creative ministry, and he received Waldorf College’s Distinguished Service Award in September 2012. Philip is pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham, Minn.
DOUGLAS HOWARD retired after 37 years of working as a school media specialist in New Ulm, Minn.
JIM KING is an environmental compliance manager at EnviroNET in Davenport, Iowa.
KERRY KNODLE is CEO of Comprehensive Community Solutions, Inc., in Rockford, Ill.
CHERYL (DIETZMAN) LICARY is the organist and choir director at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Beloit, Wis., and serves as a music adjudicator and field representative for the Wisconsin School Music Association.
BRIAN MARTENS of Forestville, Calif., earned a master’s degree in organization development from Sonoma State University and is a consultant and mediator with Brian R. Martens Consulting. He also works in receiving at Korbel Champagne Cellars.
DIANE MAURER is member services coordinator at the Norwegian American Genealogical Center in Madison, Wis.
ROBERT MILLER is on special assignment working on EHS integration issues for Lonza, Inc., in Mapleton, Ill.
THOMAS NINNEMANN is the news director at Chaparral Broadcasting, Inc., in Jackson, Wyo.
CHRISTY (TURNER) NOONAN of Naples, Fla., is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines and is a self-employed artist. She created the “Language of Art” workshops and lectures and is a Certified Reiki Master, practicing in her home.
GARY RIEMER of Neenah, Wis., retired as security operations manager in corporate safety and security for Thrivent Finnancial for Lutherans.
DARRELL SEELEY is vice president at Rockwell Laser Industries in Sedona, Ariz.
CAROL (BENKE) SHEINGOLD is an adoption consultant at Adoption Simplified in Sudbury, Mass.
TODD SMITH is the regional sales director for Assist America, Inc., in Des Moines, Iowa.
JOAN (LANDER) and RICHARD STACH are retired in Appleton, Wis.
JOAN (BRUMWELL) ’74 and JOHN STRAND live in Polk City, Iowa. John is a certified financial planner designee at Pede & Strand Financial Services in West Des Moines.
MARK SWANSON of Mission, S.D., is a long-term pulpit supply pastor at Trinity Episcopal and St. John’s Episcopal churches.
NANCY THOMAS is the program director for the HIT program with Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Fla.
JEAN (KRIEGERMEIER) THOMPSON is a program assistant at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
JOLENE VRCHOTA is retired in Seattle.
MARY WAARVIK is library director at the Elroy (Wis.) Public Library.
JAMES WEGER is a math teacher for the Iroquois (S.D.) Schools.
JANIS (FERGUSON) and DAVID WELLER live in Robbinsdale, Minn. Janis is chair of the liberal arts division at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. David is the senior solutions engineer for Allianz Life.
BONNIE (FJELSTAD) WELLS is a self-employed martial arts instructor in Ankeny, Iowa.
Timothy Jon Crapp of Waukon, Iowa, died Nov. 10, 2011, at age 61. After graduating from Luther with a major in business administration, he served four years in the U.S. Navy, earning the rank of second lieutenant. Following his discharge, Timothy was employed as a logger. He is survived by his mother, Carol Crapp; a son, Eric Crapp ’95; two brothers, Michael Crapp ‘71 and Daniel Crapp; and a sister, Jane Cassidy. Timothy was predeceased by his wife, Edith (Sickles) Crapp ’72, in 2006, and his father, Leo.
John R. Severson of Phoenix, Ariz., died Oct. 25, 2011, at age 60. After graduating from Luther with an accounting major, John worked as a photographer for Gannett Newspapers and did freelance photography. While living in Florida, he met Leslie Hurst, and they were married on Sanibel Island in 1997. John achieved many awards for his work, and his friends and family will treasure his photos and the memories they bring. He will be greatly missed as a quiet, sensitive, caring friend and a loving son, uncle, and brother. He is survived by his siblings: Stanley Severson, Carol Severson, Ellen Martin, and Kathryn Nygaard. He was predeceased by a sister, Marilyn.