Class of 1975 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Friends,

At the class agent luncheon a few weeks ago, I was privileged to sit next to Corey Landstrom, Luther’s new vice president and dean for student life.

Corey grew up in Duluth.  After considering another un-named Lutheran liberal arts college, he decided to attend UMD (University of Minnesota, Duluth).  His intention was to go into urban planning but, after becoming involved in college activities, decided his real passion was in student planning. 

From UMD he went to graduate school at Mankato State, where he not only met his wife, but also 1990 Luther grad Nate Gamb.  He was impressed with what he heard about Luther from Nate.  He didn’t immediately pack his bags for Decorah, though.  His work took him to Grinnell, Hamilton, Reed, and Colgate, before having the opportunity to return to the Midwest and his dream job at Luther.

In conversation at the table, I discovered we shared some things in common – a Midwestern background with the experience of life on both coasts; a devotion to folksinger Greg Brown; and numerous transitions related to professional moves.  (His eleven-year-old daughter’s first reaction to Decorah?  “Dad, Decorah is huge!”)

I came away from lunch very glad that Corey and his family have made this particular move.  It is not only his vision for aiding students in “building skills, developing habits, and becoming engaged citizens,” as his power-point presentation said.  It is who he is as a person – thoughtful, skilled, and passionate.

What makes Luther such a great place is that it is full of such people!  I am certain that Luther will attract another high quality person to serve as its next president.  The search committee will be interviewing candidates this January and making a recommendation to the board of regents by the end of February 2013.  May the new president be another faithful leader in serving and shaping students for the sake of the world!

You can also support Luther’s mission by making a regular donation.  It doesn’t matter what the size of your gift is, or whether you want to support student scholarships, faculty sabbaticals, or solar panels.  Only let it become a habit!  And it too will become huge!

Soli deo gloria!

Chris Lee-Thompson
1975 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 46 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
ANTHONY ALBERT is retired in Cornville, Ariz.

MARION BEATTY of Decorah received the Iowa State Bar Association’s highest award–the Award of Merit. Beatty is past president and long-time active volunteer with the association. Outgoing President Bob Waterman praised Beatty for upholding the three pillars upon which the 66-year-old award is based–service to the legal profession, to the bar association and to their communities: “Marion L. Beatty embodies the principles upon which the Award of Merit was established. He has tirelessly applied the law to assist his clients during the 35 years he has been in practice. He has far exceeded what is expected in serving his state bar association, including as its president, and national professional organizations. And he has worked to improve the lives of fellow citizens in his community.”

BECKY (MURRAY) CARPENTER of Plymouth, Minn., is a pediatric radiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

BOB DAKE is a senior UNIX administrator for the State of West Virginia Office of Technology in Charleston.

LENORE FRANZEN is marketing communications manager at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners in Plymouth, Minn.

NORMAN JAMESON is assistant dean for development at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, N.C.

MELODY (LARSON) MELIN retired as K-12 technology integration specialist from the Kasson-Mantorville (Minn.) Schools.

RON POPENHAGEN of Camarillo, Calif., is an adjunct professor at University of Southern California School of Theatre and Cal State University Channel Islands.

JANE (BOWERS) REMMEN is retired in Waterville, Iowa.

ALLAN ZARLING is a financial analyst at Graphic Packaging in Portland, Ore.  He married Mary (Gorely) Zarling in 2009.

DEBRA WILCOX JOHNSON, of Waunakee, Wis., age 59, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, after a two-year struggle with lymphoma.  She attended Luther on a scholarship and received the President’s Most Outstanding Graduate Award for 1975. After marrying her husband, Donald, they moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Debra earned her master’s in library science at Case Western Reserve University in 1977. Eleven years later, she received her doctorate in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Between 1987 and 1993, Debra served on the faculties of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana, and of the School of Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison.  Debra launched a successful business, Johnson & Johnson Consulting, as a nonprofit management consultant. During the nearly two decades that followed, her client list included state, county, and municipal libraries and systems, as well as nonprofits across the country. Debra continued to teach online as an adjunct professor for the University of Illinois library school as well.  Recognized as an expert in public library management, she was asked to step in as acting director for the Monona Public Library and Janesville Public Library during transition periods, and she served as the founding director for the creation of Fitchburg’s first public library, a $14 million project.  Debra was an inveterate reader, a classic movie aficionado, and an untiring traveler, who relished the opportunity to plan adventurous trips. She is survived by her husband, Donald; son, Jared; and sister, Sandra Herfel. Debra was preceded in death by an infant daughter and her parents.

Lower campus with wind turbine