Class of 1997 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Greetings, ’97 Alumni!

Homecoming 2012 has come and gone.  It was great to see so many of you at our 15-year reunion! I enjoyed hearing what you were up to, about your families, and reminiscing.  Several of us mentioned we had not laughed that hard in a long time.  I also took some time to walk around the campus with my family.  It was a brisk day and I was quickly reminded how long the walk to the library from the Union can be when the wind hits you.  The campus is still so beautiful even on a cloudy day.

I was energized by the students I saw on campus.  As I was eating lunch in Marty’s, I wanted to stop each of them and let them know what a great time in life this was for them.  I wanted to tell them that in fifteen years they would reflect back on this experience and realize how much they were gaining from their time at Luther College, how they were being prepared for life after college.  Much of that support is directly related to your giving and involvement as alumni.

So in that spirit I want to say Thank You! to you.  Our class is at 19 percent participation in giving to the Annual Fund, which provides resources for teaching, learning, and living at Luther.  If you saw the Q&A with President Torgerson in the recent Alumni Magazine, he reminded us “that it’s not the amount of the gift that counts, it’s the fact that you gave something.” 

I will wrap up with my usual reminders.  The easiest way to donate is online at As you make your gift, please remember to utilize matching gifts from your employer, if appropriate.  Any amount you are able to give- $1, $5, $25, $200, etc.―all counts towards our alumni participation number.  The participation number is an important indicator for institutions that offer grants.

If you know of classmates who have not yet shared their email addresses with the college, please encourage them to do so by sending a message to [email protected], or by signing on to the online alumni directory.

Wishing you the best,

Sara Isbell Cunningham
1997 Class Agent
[email protected]

Annette (Younes) Baltes
1997 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 79 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
MATT DOLLINGER of Chicago was named head of industry relations with Trulia, Inc., the leading national real estate website for home buyers.

LINDA (KLOTZBACH) FERRIS is a nurse at St. Croix (Wis.) Regional Medical Center.

CHRIS FISHER is a physical therapist at St. Luke’s Therapy Plus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

KRISTI (CARLSEN) and CHRIS McCONNELL ’98 live in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Kristi is an ESL teacher at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit.

BETH (SWANSON) ROELOFS is senior executive sales manager at Norwex Enviro Products.

JILL (MONIS) SCHWANZ is a fiber technology leader at Boise Inc. in Wallula, Wash.

TRICIA WALKER is vice president of MassMutual Financial Group in Springfield, Mass.

JOSH WHITE of Randolph, Vt., is co-director of the Community Health Initiative, which focuses on medical work in remote areas of Haiti. The Community Health Initiative agreed to operate World Wide Village’s 50-bed mobile hospital for six months when it was donated following the devastating 2010 earthquake. When the hospital closed last year, more than 30,000 individual patients had been served, and more than 700 surgeries and 250 deliveries had been performed.

MARY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS and REBECCA (OLSON) SJÖWALL ’99 were reunited in March 2012 while doing a production of Verdi's Aida at Arizona Opera.

AMY (BONCHER) and Josh Berman welcomed a daughter, Margaret, in April 2012.    

HALLIE (HITE) and NATE EVANS '96 welcomed a son, Finn, in October 2011.  Finn joins brother Noah.

KATHY (LINDSTROM) and Eric Knoll welcomed a son, Connor, in November 2010.  Connor joins brother Spencer.

DANA (JACOB-DVORSKY) and Andy Messenger welcomed a daughter, Avery, in April 2011.  Avery joins sister Mya and brother Caden.

LAURA (BEAMAN) and Jason Pike welcomed a son, Wyatt, in April 2011.  Wyatt joins sister Ella.

LISA (JOHNSON) '98 and DAN SHAW welcomed a daughter, Abigail, in December 2011.  Abigail joins brother Tyler.

NICOLE (EICHHORST) SWANSON welcomed a son, Carter, in March 2012.                                     

Luther College Bell