Class of 1979 Spring Letter

Spring 2012

Dear Member of the Class of 1979,

From what I have heard, the early arrival of spring has put everyone on campus in an especially bright mood for the usual slate of April/May events—recitals, symposiums, ball games, and banquets.  February and March were also full of their share of faculty and student accomplishments, including tour homecoming concerts for Nordic Choir and Symphony Orchestra, faculty recitals, theatre/dance productions, and a host of athletic activity for Luther Norse swimmers, runners, and baseball/softball players. These events are a veritable feast for both participants and spectators.

Speaking of accomplishments, we can’t help but reflect on an impressive example of leadership and achievement as Luther begins the final year of President Rick Torgerson’s tenure as its leader. In the summer of 2013, President Torgerson and his wife, Judy, will step down from their positions there. They joined the Luther community in July 1999 and have led the college through a period of remarkable progress. During the Torgerson presidency, Luther has become a stronger institution academically and financially, maintained its enrollment of well-prepared students, and made significant improvements to the campus landscape. Luther has also gained—under President Torgerson's leadership—recognition as one of the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges, prepared to meet the challenges facing higher education in the decades ahead.

President Torgerson has described his serving at Luther as an honor and the fulfillment of his calling as an education leader:  "Over our working lifetime, serving five different colleges, 14 years is the longest Judy and I have stayed in any one place. To be able to live in Decorah and serve Luther College has made these years very special and rewarding…we have been enriched beyond our imagination by this opportunity to serve Luther." A search committee for Luther’s tenth president has been appointed with a timeline for naming a new president in February 2013.

The latest Luther news is available to all who have an Internet connection, at Stay connected with the campus community, read about sustainability initiatives, check out when events are happening in your area, and find out the results as Norse athletes compete. It’s all just a click or two away!

Thank you for your gifts to Luther in 2011. Each gift to the Annual Fund goes to work as soon as it is received, supporting each and every student, professor, and staff member, having an immediate and lasting impact on the Luther community. I know the college is grateful for our support.


Keith Ellingson
1979 Class Agent
[email protected]

PS.  It's not too late to purchase a copy of Transformed by the Journey: 150 Years of Luther College in Word and Image. Richly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, Transformed by the Journey was compiled and written by Wilfred Bunge '53, professor emeritus of religion and classics, with assistance from Mary Hull Mohr, professor emerita of English, and Dale Nimrod, professor emeritus of chemistry.  Contact the Luther Book Shop at, or call 1-888-521-5039 or email [email protected] to place your order.

Kathryn (DUNKELBERG) Lucero of Albuquerque, N.M., died May 5, 2011, at age 54. After graduation from Luther, she earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980 and a juris doctorate from Stanford University in 1986. Kathryn was an attorney and partner with the law firm of Foster, Johnson, McDonald, Lucero, and Koinis. She is survived by her husband, Rudolph Lucero; children, Elizabeth and Michael; her mother, Leone Dunkelberg; and her brothers, Kermit and Kendall.

We extend sympathy to KEITH NORTHWAY, whose wife, Ann, died August 4, 2011 from cancer.

Don't forget your Annual Fund giving! 
Each year nearly 10,000 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 reach our goal of 30% alumni giving.  Here’s how your class—and surrounding classes—did in 2011: 

Class of 1978 total giving in 2011:  $47,099 from 25% of the class

Class of 1979 total giving in 2011:  $100,606 from 28% of the class

Class of 1980 total giving in 2011:  $174,601 from 26% of the class

Your gift can boost the impact your class has on current students!  Please use the enclosed envelope or visit to show your support.   Thank you!

Men's Basketball