Greeting Classmates –
It was a spectacularly beautiful but chilly homecoming weekend at Luther this year. I was pleased to see (and thankfully recognize) some familiar faces on campus. I cheered for the Tau Delts in the parade, enjoyed the Jazz Orchestra concert, shivered thru the football game, cheered Josh Hildebrand’s (son of Jane Greene Hildebrand) and Randy Blank’s (’72) initiation into the athletic Hall of Fame, and saw Kevin Sand ’72 (Leslie’s husband) honored for his distinguished service to the college and community. The Sunday morning worship was moving as always - filled with the music of choirs and instrumentalists. The Sunday afternoon Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, and Nordic Choir concert is always a favorite too. That’s only a few of the activities that took place. There’s always a lot happening on a Homecoming weekend, in addition to seeing old friends. Our 40th reunion is in 2 years so it’s not too early to make plans to come. If you haven’t been here for a few years, you will be amazed at the changes on campus – new buildings, new landscaping, and of course the wind turbine. The green initiatives continue with a field of solar panels just off campus powering the student apartments at Baker Village. If you’re coming from the north, you’ll drive right by them after turning off of Highway 52.
The new aquatic center is underway! There’s a major hole in the ground at the bottom of the driveway coming down from the Tower Residence halls. Luther will go from the college that has to get an annual waiver for competition from the NCAA to the college with a state-of-the-art Myrtha pool. Remember sitting in the scary bleachers at swim meets? Those days will be gone when this spectacular facility is completed next summer. It’s already become a marvelous tool for recruiting swimmers and divers (know any??) and will be shared by both college and community.
We had some superb women athletes when we were at Luther in field hockey, basketball, swimming, tennis, and softball. That tradition continues at Luther. Luther softball player Kelsey Kittleson was one of 9 finalists for NCAA Woman of the Year. This is quite an honor for Kelsey and for Luther. See more on this at this website.
President Rick Torgerson will step down at the end of this school year after 14 years as president. It is with great sadness that we say goodbye. There will be 18 events around the country to celebrate starting in January, running through May, with the big celebration slated for May. The search for his successor is underway and includes men and women! In his talk with class agents, President Torgerson told us that this year there are 681 new students at Luther, which exceeded their recruitment goal. Even more good news during a tough job market is that 96 percent of the last graduating class were either working, in grad school, serving internships, or volunteering within 6 months of graduation.
The college continues to raise funds for scholarships and all aspects of teaching, learning and living at Luther. They also continue to build the endowment to offset costs and secure the future of excellence at Luther. I’m very proud of the giving from our class. We ranked #4 in the donations to the Annual Fund. Thanks! We still need some improvement though in the percentage of donors. If you haven’t given to Luther in recent years, please consider a gift of any amount – seriously, any amount. Every gift matters – regardless of the amount - because charitable foundations and corporations that support Luther consider your gift a vote of confidence in your college. You can easily give online.
I love reading the updates from all of you in the Luther Alumni Magazine and in these letters. Take a few minutes to log into the Online Alumni Directory and let us know what’s new or submit your updates at here.
I want to thank former Class Agent Barb Estenson Westre for her many years of service. I will miss working with her. Barb’s resignation opens up an opportunity for one of you! For me it’s been a pleasure to come to the Class Agent luncheons at Homecoming to get the latest updates on Luther. I always come away with a renewed excitement about Luther that I try to share with all of you. Luther is a special place and can remain so for generations with our continued support. If you’re interested in becoming a Class Agent, you can email me ([email protected]) or contact Sue Drilling at [email protected].
I hope to see some of you on campus in the coming year. Soli Deo Gloria.
Sue (Ness) Johnson
1974 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 1974 TOTAL GIVING: $73,935.73 FROM 18% OF THE CLASS*
Have you made your 2012 gift to Luther? Only 38 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
BARB (STOEN) DOWD retired after 36 years of teaching in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
CHUCK ENGEBRETSON is senior vice president and CEO of Array Services Group, Inc., in Sartell, Minn.
RUFUS GLASPER of Chandler, Ariz., was appointed to the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The new council, composed of prominent university presidents and academic leaders, is charged with advising the secretary and senior leadership at the department on key issues. Glasper--chancellor of the Maricopa Community College District--attended the group’s inaugural meeting in March in Washington, D.C.
DOUG HUFFAKER works for Broward County Parks and Recreation in Florida.
JAN KOE of Deer Park, Ill., is president of GoStar and principal of Method K Partners, a commercial real estate firm. He was recently appointed to the board of directors for Provectus Pharmaceuticals.
CHRIS MUNDY retired from teaching high school Spanish at West Delaware Schools in Manchester, Iowa.
MARK NESS retired after 38 years as a pilot. He also retired as a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Mark is area director at Profiles, Inc., in Eden Prairie, Minn.
DEBBY (STEINHORST) ROSHOLT retired after teaching elementary school for 37 years in Reedsburg, Wis.
JEROME RUD of Greencastle, Ind., retired after 29 years with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
JOAN (BRUMWELL) and JOHN STRAND ’72 live in Polk City, Iowa. Joan is a substitute teacher for the high school in Ankeny.
W.D. FOSTER and Edward Graham, June 21, 2010.
Mike Gerber of Rochester, Minn., died Jan. 6, 2012, at age 59. He attended Luther, Mankato State University, and Southwest State University, majoring in English literature. Following college, he worked as a planner at the Citizens Action Council in Zumbrota, Minn., and was the director of the Community Action Program for Olmsted County for 15 years. Mike was an avid sports fan and a talented writer of short stories and poetry. He is survived by his wife, Val; his father, Norbert; step-mother, Helen; brothers, Dennis, Doug, and Don; and his darling little dog and companion, Abbey Jo. He was predeceased by his mother, Maxine, and his precious dog, Kirby Jo, who fulfilled his day and brightened his life. Mike never walked, now he can fly!