Class of 1996 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Friends,

I write to you today about commencement.  Perhaps the fall letter seems like the wrong time for commencement?  It seemed to me this spring as I sat through three kindergarten celebrations, four middle-school “bridging” ceremonies, and no less than six high school commencements, that my timing was off.  I was reveling in the completion of a lot of hard work and excited to say farewell to my students.  Most of them leave with a hug and a smile and I rarely see them again.  I was finishing.  I realized halfway through the third high school graduation that I'd missed the point.  Yes, the commencement was the end of my time with them, but for students the focus should be not on what they had done, but what they would do–what they would become.  The students are beginning.  Just leaving the port, as I was waving goodbye.  One of the things I love about being a teacher is that I have a starting and ending each August and June.  I am able to start anew with each new class of students, and since I teach music, I have the best day of anyone I know.  I teach them for three, sometimes six, years and I learn to love them.  Even on those days I say things like, “When standing, please keep your fingers out of your noses” for the thirtieth time, I still love them. 

So, what does all of this have to do with Luther?  Luther is about beginnings.  Students long ago, ourselves (not SO long ago), students today, and future students come to Luther to commence.  What did you commence at Luther?  Education?  Spiritual practice?  Family?  Career?

I would be remiss in my class agent duties if I didn't say to those of you who have not made a financial gift to Luther, your timing may feel off, but this is the perfect time to start giving to Luther.  It is NOT important that you give large amounts; if each of us gave a dollar the impact would be fantastic and would start something amazing.  Or, perhaps you've been giving to Luther for years (thank you!) and you need to start something else- a new habit, a new route to work, a new friend or even a new flavor in your coffee.  As for me, I've decided to purposely be more generous.  It has helped me a great deal to have a plan for this.  My planning to be generous has made me more aware of opportunities to give.   So, I give you the charge-should you choose to listen- Commence!  Begin something new soon.


                    The Aquatic Center is scheduled to be completed in Summer 2013

What is the Annual Fund?

The Luther College Annual Fund provides unrestricted, budget-relieving dollars through gifts from alumni, parents, friends, and corporations. It supports all areas of the college, from programs and projects in the academic curriculum to extracurricular activities and student life. Since tuition, endowment income, and grants alone are not sufficient to meet all the needs of the college, while providing the excellence we expect, the Annual Fund helps to make up the difference between those forms of revenue and what it actually costs to educate students.

Green Luther
Luther College recently received the 2012 Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature. It was also one of eight colleges across the country to receive an "A" on the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card.  Go Norse!

Did you know?  The classes that rank in the top 10 for percentage of the class giving to the Annual Fund are between the graduating years of 1939-1961. They are still connected to Luther and helping it thrive! Let’s all contribute to our alma mater and get 1996 on that list. Many celebrations will take place between now and May to prepare to say farewell to President Torgerson and Mrs. Torgerson, and recognize all their work for the college.

Ami (Shoup) Hal
1966 Class Agent
[email protected]                                                                    

Jessica (Kettles) Pearson
1996 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 82 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
DEE BROWN was named NJCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year and Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Assistant Coach of the Year. He is head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.

MARTI (ZACHER) CROSBY of Excelsior, Minn., is director of communications and change management at Park Nicollet Health Services.

CELINE FARRUGIA is a self-employed director in Malta.

LAURA GENTRY released a Christmas album, Yule Laugh, featuring the Luther College Jazz Ensemble. She is pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Lansing, Iowa.

DAVID HUSTRULID is a franchisee and owner of two Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Parks in Minnesota, one in Plymouth and a second in St. Paul. At Sky Zone, teens, parents, and kids jump, leap, and defy gravity on a patented all-trampoline walled playing court.

LUTHER KOENIG is Northeast region sales director for Iowa Rotocast Plastics in Decorah.

SARAH MEYER-REYERSON was named one of the “20 Under 40” by Cedar Valley Business Online. She is the public library director in Waverly, Iowa.

SUZANNE (ROVERUD) MINECK was named one of the “Forty under 40” by Des Moines Business Record magazine. She is president and CEO of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation in Des Moines.

MARIANNE (MATHER) MORGAN is an intern at the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago.

JILL OSIER of Fairbanks, Ala., received the 2011 Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah Lawrence College and was invited to recite her poetry at Poets House in New York City in April 2012. Other recent honors include the 2011 Robert Watson Poetry Prize from the Greensboro Review, runner-up for the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, honorable mention for the 2011 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize, and finalist for both the 2012 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and the 2012 Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Arts & Letters, Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, Granta, Ninth Letter, Subtropics, and West Branch

JENNIFER (RODELL) ’98 and MATT PRESTEGAARD live in Newport, Minn. Matt is an IT manager for the National Marrow Donor Program in Minneapolis.

CHRISTINA SCHUCK earned a juris doctorate, magna cum laude, from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., and lives in the Seattle area.

AMY SPROSTON of Portland, Ore., won a gold medal and led the U.S. Women’s team to gold at the World Championship 100k race held in Seregno, Italy, last April. According to the website, Sproston's race was dramatic: At the 90K mark, Sproston was in a pack of three runners. Teammate Meghan Arbogast, Kasja Berg of Sweden, and Sproston were within 15 seconds of each other. A fourth runner, Russian Irina Vishnevskaja, was less than a minute back. Sproston pulled away at the end, finishing in 7:34:08. It was the fourth fastest time in U.S. women's history.

Lisa Dellinger and DEE BROWN welcomed a son, Elias, in May 2012.  Elias joins sister Nyssa.

Heather and RYAN COGSWELL welcomed a daughter, Merryn, in April 2012.  Merryn joins brother Brennan.

ERIKA (HENDRICKSON) and Steve Connelly welcomed a son, Maxwell, in November 2010.  

HALLIE (HITE) '97 and NATE EVANS welcomed a son, Finn, in October 2011.  Finn joins brother Noah.

AMY (CARLSON) and Einar Floan welcomed a son, Oscar, in November 2011.

JAIME SCHULTZ and PAUL HEFTY '86 welcomed a daughter, Nella, in December 2011.        

AMY (VON RUEDEN) and BRAD LUND welcomed a daughter, Scarlett, in October 2011.  Scarlett joins brothers Carson, Angus, and Myers, and sister Claire.

JILL (KOVACH) and John Otte welcomed a son, Micah, born in July 2011 and adopted in December 2011.  Micah joins brother Isaiah.

JENNIFER (RODELL) '98 and MATT PRESTEGAARD welcomed a daughter, Maren, in September  2010.

AMANDA (GRELL) and CLINT SCHNEKLOTH '95 welcomed a son, Ezra, in January 2011.  Ezra joins brother Samuel and sister Miriam.

Sheila and AARON STRONG welcomed a son, Compton, in January 2010.

LUTHER KOENIG and Mindy Schnuelle, June 11, 2011



Jess Pearson