Class of 1997 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Dear Member of the Class of 1997,

When the calendar flipped over to 2017 in January, did you realize that we will be celebrating our 20-year reunion at Homecoming this fall, October 6-8? It seems like yesterday we were getting accepted to Luther and in the blink of an eye, we will be coming back to campus in October to celebrate 20 years.

As I write to you today in early March, Luther students are nearing the end of the first half of the current term and likely thinking about spring break and a well-deserved change in routine. The Development Office just celebrated Luther’s second Giving Day on March 9. Did you catch any of the fun FB live videos? It was a great day to share Luther love all over social media and help raise more than $500,000 for the Annual Fund.

You probably heard the news about our beloved Weston Noble ’43, who died Dec. 21, 2016. A celebration of his life will be held on campus at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Center for Faith and Life, Main Hall. More details about his life can be found in the Winter 2017 issue of the Luther Alumni Magazine and on Luther’s website.

While we’re on the subject of music, it was announced in January that our very own Andrew Last ’97 (go ’97!), assistant professor of music and conductor of Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen, has been appointed to the post of Nordic Choir conductor and director of choral activities at Luther. He will begin his new duties at the beginning of the 2017 fall semester. Congratulations, Andrew!

You can read more about Andrew on Luther’s website, and you can find lots more as well, including students’ J-term course blogs and other course blogs, Alumni Office travel tours and events, links to alumni profiles, comparisons and rankings, life after Luther, etc. It’s easy to find web content that interests you at by clicking the search button next to the “info for” drop-down box at the top right of the page. Type in the word “news,” click on the search button, and you’ll get all of the Luther news, for your reading pleasure.

Attached to this letter is the list of all who made gifts to Luther in calendar year 2016. Thank you for your generosity! Did you know you can sign up for monthly giving to Luther? It’s a great way to ensure a gift is made each year. Those who make a gift at any level for three or more consecutive years become members of Luther’s Loyalty Society. Visit for more details. Regular giving to Luther is a great habit to cultivate!

Do you have memories of past Luther experiences you’d like to share? I’m sure our classmates would enjoy reading about them; send me your stories!

See you at Homecoming this fall,

Jodi (Nelsen) Dettmann          and      Geoff Pesanka
[email protected]                        [email protected]

PS. Mark your calendars for Homecoming, Oct. 6-8, 2017. Our 1997 class reunion information will be sent in the summer.


Valerie (Yelton) Baul of Shawnee, Kan., is a mediator and educator at Best Case Scenario, LLC.

Brian Billings is vice president and client operations director of Mercer in Urbandale, Iowa.

Amy Boncher is an associate warden for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Beaumont, Texas.

Gretchen (Goltz) Conway of Peosta, Iowa, is a sector coordinator at Keystone Area Education Agency.

Dave Coyle is an extension associate in forest health at the Southern Regional Extension Forestry in Athens, Ga.

Boyd Layton is a physician assistant at St. Alphonsus Medical Group Orthopedics Clinic in Nampa, Idaho. He received a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the College of Idaho and Idaho State University in 2016.

Lea (Donhowe) Lovelace of Decorah is an adjunct faculty member in the Art Department at Luther and was named the 2016-2017 Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator by the Art Educators of Iowa.

Nicole Plymesser Nelson is an artist and teaches art at Jacobson Elementary in Belmond, Iowa.

Greg Strunk is a pastor at Rosemount (Minn.) United Methodist Church.

Becky (Hinrichs) Vianden is director of the academic advising center and career services at University of Wisconsin in La Crosse.


BRIAN BILLINGS and Lori Vander Zyl, Dec. 13, 2014

BRENDA RENGSTORF and Nicholas Bauch, June 21, 2014


Michelle and DAVE COYLE welcomed a son, Parker, in September 2015. Parker joins brother Connor.  

Amanda and MATTHEW DOLLINGER welcomed a daughter, Josephine Mae, in September 2016. Josephine joins sister Danika.

The Annual Fund – make your gift today:
Your gift. Put to work, right away, where it is needed most.

Last year more than 10,000 alumni, family, and friends supported Luther’s Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $100,000. Your gift makes a difference for each and every student at Luther, and we are grateful for your support.

This list includes all gifts received January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016. Making a gift each and every year is an investment in the lives of Luther students and a show of support for the Luther College community. Thank you for your support of Luther College through your giving.

Rebecca Albertson
Mark Anderson
Alina (Sabatke) Bailey
Erin (O'Connor) Bailey
Sarah (Smith) Bauer
Brian Berg
Daniel Bickett
Brian Billings
Amy Boncher
Scott Bossman
Debby (Myers) Bower
Jennifer (Shierholz) Brekke
Joseph Brekke
Laura Broadhead
Douglas Bruns
Kelly (O'Brion) Carlson
Mimi (Matthiesen) Carlson
Donald Carrothers
Sarah (Cherry) Cole
Nichole Colsch
Karen (Olson) Crews
Amy (Ostrander) Croll
Matthew Cullen
Ellen Damschen
Brian Decker
Cristina (Webb) Deeds
Jodi (Nelsen) Dettmann
Kirsten (Alworth) Doescher
Michael Doescher
Michael Elsbernd
Rebecca (Severson) Elsbernd
Laurie (Arneson) Emery
Jennifer Erickson
Rodolfo Espino
Rachelle Evenson
Heather (Sorenson) Felderman
Amanda (Alcock) Freese
Lara (Tills) Freidline
Sara (Rebischke) Gallegos
Sarah Grimm
Kyle Gustafson
Nori (Greenlee) Hadley
Lori (Stastny) Hagstrom
Tracy (Carlson) Hartmann
George Hawkinson
Duane Huffer
Matthew Huggenvik
Lonnie Humpal
Sara Isbell Cunningham
Ross Johnson
Turena Johnson Lane
Sarah (Bakke) Joyce
Daniel Kapler
Joni (Kurtz) Kinnan
Sara (Nicholas) Koehnen
Robin Lammi
Jamie (Palmersheim) Lane
Jason Lane
Heather (Crowell) Langan
Andrew Last
Lea (Donhowe) Lovelace
Rachel (Petersen) Lynch
Kristine Lyndon Wilson
Jennifer MacMenamin Happel
Karin (Halverson) McDonald
Matthew Miller
Jennifer (Goodell) Monarski
Peter Newburg
Bradley Nichols
Emily O'Banion
Tobin O'Berry
Paul Odenbach
Luke Olson
Jennifer (Huebner) Oyen
Joy (Fritz) Paffenroth
Amy Parker Fiebelkorn
Andrew Paulios
Geoffrey Pesanka
Erin Peterson
Scott Purpus
Kirk Radke
Wayne Reames
Mark Rhodes
Steven Runde
Tonya (Schwers) Schmidt
Jill (Monis) Schwanz
Kurtis Schweitz
Kirk Severtson
Daniel Shaw
Amanda (Smith) Sieger
Eric Sieger
Ian Stark
Brent Storhoff
Mark Sundet
Melanie (Nelles) Tafaro
Karen (Simonson) Tenneson
Laura (Hart) Tills
Karen Townsend
Daniel Tresemer
Mark Udstuen
Todd Velnosky
Becky (Hinrichs) Vianden
Jana (Larson) Vorvick
Joshua Vorvick
Amy Vroom
Tricia Walker
Laurie (Kollars) Walter
Jennifer (French) Weintraub
Yvett Werth Collopy
Matthew Wilson
Matthew Wogsland
Christopher Wrecza

Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If an error has been made, please accept our apology and contact the Luther Development Office at 800-225-8664, or email [email protected].