Class of 1973 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Greetings Friend!

It’s been an interesting summer in Northeast Iowa. After a long drought, we finally received much-needed rain.  The fall colors were at their peak for Homecoming, but the horizon is now looking browner. Cooler temps are here and we are questioning what kind of winter to expect. Such is the life of Midwesterners, but some things never change and that is our connection to Luther College.

The Class of 1973 continues to be generous to our alma mater but the needs are, of course, increasing.  Did you know that tuition and fees have crept over the $40,000 mark this year? The Class of 1973 is ranked #8 in the number of donors to the Annual Fund, #5 for total gifts, and 8th for number of donors to all funds. That’s very impressive! Thanks for all you do for Luther College. Interestingly enough, the classes of 2007 and 2008 are the top two classes in number of givers! If we could get even five more donors, we would jump up the list!

Luther is charging further into the technology age with new solar panels north of campus, which provide the power needed for Baker Village. This is the largest solar display in Iowa and a smaller one is coming soon, alongside Baker Village. The wind turbine is a noticeable sign of energy conservation also.  Watch for it as you drive to Luther next fall.

Did you know two of the challenges faced by Luther are the cost of a Luther education and how best to use media? TGIF means something very different in this age. According to President Rick Torgerson, it now stands for Twitter, Google, iPhone, and Facebook. Vying for students has become more challenging as we would expect, but we also need to communicate with them in their style, which means social media. Any direct contact you can make is very helpful too! How many of us came to Luther because someone recommended it?

At the class agent meeting, we were introduced to Corey Landstrom, the new dean for student life (replacing Ann Highum, who retired at the end of June).  He is off to a great start. He learned about Luther back in graduate school from a Luther alum who extolled its virtues. We also learned about the much-needed aquatic center, scheduled for completion in the summer, which means we will be able to see it when we come for our reunion next October.  The 17,700 square-foot facility will feature a 25-yard by 30-meter natatorium, and it will include 8 competition-width lanes with a consistent water depth of 8 feet. There will also be a 14-foot deep diving area, allowing for expanded three-meter high board competition, plus a shallow area for adaptive physical education classes, swimming lessons, water aerobics, and more. Larger deck and diving space will allow Luther to host larger and more prestigious competitions, and there will be seating for 250+ spectators.

And speaking about Fall 2013, it will be the 40th anniversary of our graduation. I know we aren’t old enough to have been out of college that long, but many of our classmates have turned 61 in the past year, which means retirement is fast approaching, and for some is already a reality. I’m jealous. Start making plans for a fun-filled weekend in Decorah. Luther has a webpage full of housing possibilities, so check out to get started. The dates are October 4-6, 2013.

Craig and I would love to hear from you regarding your life, family, career, retirement – ANYTHING! Please update your information. It’s a secure link to Luther. They will share news with Craig and me.  Remember there is a Facebook page for our class. It is called Luther 1973. Please feel free to join us and post from time to time. I try to add info relating to Luther and Decorah occasionally.

If you have an interest in serving as class agent, please let either of us know, or contact Sue Drilling at [email protected]. While we enjoy serving you, we want others to have this opportunity too! We meet at Luther each fall during Homecoming Friday and have opportunities to participate in activities on campus at other times. It has been fun to be a part of our legacy to Luther. You might enjoy it too! Please consider it!

I hope you are enjoying family, friends, and good health! See you next October at Luther!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp
1973 Class Agent
[email protected]

Craig Hall
1973 Class Agent
[email protected]     

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:


Have you made your 2012 gift to Luther?  Only 40 more gifts are needed to reach 27% for your class.  Please visit 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

Class Notes
ALAN FISH was appointed vice president for real estate and campus services at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

CASSIE (BENTSON) HANSEN is a councilwoman in Fountain Hills, Ariz. For Veteran’s Day in 2011 she organized a “Red Friday” outdoor service. People wore red shirts and the town’s fountain in Fountain Lake--which spews water to a height of 562 feet--was colored red in remembrance of those who have served our country.

DEBORAH (COREY) and JOE WEMETTE live in St. Paul, Minn. Deborah serves as director of community Programs with FamilyMeans. Joe retired as assistant superintendent for the Roseville Area Schools.

Carmen Wharton Kates of Chicago died Nov. 13, 2011, at age 57. She attended Luther and completed a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1984. An early interest in computers led her to become a programmer analyst at Baxter Travenol Laboratories and Kemper Insurance. After receiving a liver transplant in 1987, Carmen considered studying theology and enrolled in the Center for Community Transformation at the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2000. Proud of her African-Puerto Rican heritage, Carmen established an annual scholarship in her mother's name at Trinity United Church of Christ. She earned a master's degree in divinity in 2002 and served as chaplain at the University of Illinois Medical Center, and as a member of the hospice ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ. A strong advocate for education, she was a reserve teacher for the Chicago Public Schools and a motivational speaker for the Regional Organ Bank of Illinois.  In 2003 she became the co-founder and co-owner of the Beverly Pagoda Martial Arts Academy with her husband, Kenneth L. KATES ’73, and their son, Kenneth, Jr.  She is survived by her husband, Kenneth; her son, Kenneth L. Kates, Jr.; and siblings Aura Wharton-Beck, Donald E. Wharton, Jr., and Lloyd Wharton. Carmen was preceded in death by her parents, Donald E. Wharton Sr. and Edith Brinn Wharton.                            

Martin Luther