Class of 2001 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Class of 2001:

Greetings from Joy, Laura, and Paul!  We hope you have enjoyed your summer and are having a great fall, raking leaves, watching football, and participating in the various activities that accompany this time of year. 

If you didn’t get a chance to make it back on campus a year ago for our 10-year, I would encourage you to take the trip back to Luther.  You’ll notice new buildings, new businesses in town, and a president who will step down soon.  President Rick Torgerson announced this will be the last year of his presidency at Luther.  A search committee was assembled and has been actively researching and interviewing candidates.  The new president will surely have large shoes to fill!

I was recently at a Luther wedding when the topic of giving arose.  (By the way, have any of you noticed how weddings have been replaced with baptisms and celebrating births?)  The topic dealt not only with our class, but in general, how Luther utilizes our contributions.   To provide an update, our class of 2001―consisting of 559 graduates―gave a total of $26,479 to Luther last year. Relative to other classes, that represents a substantial amount.  Thank you!  Luther’s goal is to have 27 percent alumni participation, a goal several other Midwest liberal arts colleges have not only met, but surpassed.  Last year 22 percent of our class gave to Luther.  See the box below to see how we’re doing so far this year. 

You may be interested in knowing that for every dollar contributed to Luther’s Annual Fund, 36 cents goes to scholarships, 34 cents to teaching/learning, and 30 cents to living at Luther, a broad category consisting of career services/counseling, intramurals, SAC, and general maintenance around the campus. 

As we move forward to the holidays, we wish all of you a good close to 2012 and a great 2013. Go Norse!


Paul Hoyem
2001 Class Agent
[email protected]

Laura (Ahlstand) Bunch
2001 Class Agent
[email protected]

Joy (Christian) Stevens
2001 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 77 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
ILSE (HOPKINS) AKBAR is an associate in the Tax Planning and Business Organization Group at Fredrikson & Byron in Minneapolis.

GRANT APPLEHANS is resident chaplin at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

PHIL ASSMUS is an associate at Hogan Lovells U.S., LLP, in Washington, D.C.

BETH (KARLGAARD) ’02 and BYRON BAILEY live in Savage, Minn. Byron is a software architect with AT&T.

ALLISON (RESCH) ’02 and SEAN BREININGER live in St. Paul, Minn. Sean is a regional manager for Friends of the Orphans.

MELANIE (NEES) and FRANK CAIN ’00 live in Madison, Wis. They are co-founders of the Fresco Opera Theatre, where Melanie serves as artistic director.

JOE DEVER is a scientist at Standard Process, Inc., in Palmyra, Wis.

VICKI (CALDWELL) ’02 and DANIEL DRASHER live Eagan, Minn. Daniel is a senior chemist at Ecolab.

KATHRYN (ANDERSEN) and ROB GERDTS ’02 live in Minneapolis. Kathryn is a school counselor in the Osseo Area School District.

ELIZABETH GRICE is assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine in Philadelphia.

The band Six Mile Grove, composed of Barry Nelson, Brian Sampson, Brandon Sampson ’98, and their friend Dezi Wallace, released their sixth album, The Secret Life of a Quiet Town.

MICHELLE (MEYER) and ERIK SCHLICHT ’02 live in Rochester Minn. Michelle is a software engineer for IBM.

BENJAMIN SCHOENING―with Eric Kasper― authored the book Don’t Stop Thinking About the Music: The Politics of Musicians and Songs in Presidential Campaigns,” published by Lexington Books.

CARA SEELEY-JOHNSON is a senior paralegal for the Corporate Secretary’s Office of U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis. She received the Circle of Service Excellence award, one of the company’s top honors, for her research on a difficult customer issue.

LAURA SHAW earned a doctor of musical arts from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the cello faculty at Preucil School of Music in Iowa City. Laura is also assistant principal of the Quad Cities Symphony.

BESS SORENSEN is a biostatistician at the University of Washington in Seattle.

GENE TESDAHL is a doctoral candidate in early American history at the University of Colorado. He, along with his wife and family, started a magazine, Journal of the Early Americas, the premier publication of the discerning history enthusiast and re-enactor portraying the Americas from 1521 to 1848. The publication aims to be a portal into the lives, cultures, and times of the early Americas and strives to make primary-document research both practical and entertaining for readers. It was named one of the top ten best new magazines for 2011 by the Library Journal.

JOUSHA TWEDT received the State of Wisconsin’s 2012 Herb Kohl Educational Fellowship Award from the Kohl Foundation. He is a fifth grade teacher at Purdy Elementary School in Fort Atkinson, Wis.,

JEN WADE earned an MBA degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She is assistant vice president for public finance investment banking with Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis.

KATHRYN (DICKSON) ’02 and ADAM WOLKENHAUER live in Plymouth, Minn. Adam is project manager in technology assurance for Target Corporation.

SARAH (JEPSEN) WOODBURN is the music teacher and choir director for grades 2-5 at Frankfurt International School in Oberursel, Germany.

SEAN and ALLISON (RESCH) BREININGER ’02 adopted a saugher, Maya―born in October 2006―in July 2009.

ANN (ECKERMAN) '03 and JOE DEVER welcomed a daughter, Amelia, in November 2011.  Amelia joins sister Linnea and brother William.

MINDY (MOORE) and BRENT EBLING '99 welcomed a daughter, Addison, in August 2011.  

GINA (ALLEN) '03 and NATE ERICKSON welcomed a son, Samuel, in May 2012.      

SUZANNE (CIPRA) and Todd Haag welcomed a daughter, Emmy, in January 2012.  Emmy joins sister Reese.

LISA (DETTMANN) and JOSH HILDEBRAND ’02 welcomed a son, Hans, in April 2010.  Hans joins sister Asta and brother Lars.

ANDREA (SHIRK) and Justin Hockert welcomed a son, Reese, in October 2011.  Reese joins brother Jackson.

ANDI (HULS) '02 and CHRISTIAN LOGER welcomed a daughter, Grace, in January 2011.  Grace joins brother Lucas.

YULIYA (MAKSIMOVA) and Phil Marcuson welcomed a son, Anton, in February 2012.

KAREN (HOLTKAMP) and Alex Mason welcomed a son, Gabriel, in November 2011.  

ANN (MARTENS) and J.D. Miller welcomed a son, James, in September 2011.

APRIL ROWE NEAL and JAMES NEAL welcomed a son, Gavin, in January 2012.  Gavin joins sister Audrey.

LAURA SHAW and Dan Niemitalo welcomed a daughter, Lydia, in June 2011.

CARRIE (WALLING) '03 and JACOB NIMROD welcomed a son, Leonard, in April 2011.  Leonard joins brother Clarence.

LAURA (NASLUND) and BEN READY welcomed a son, Tait, in February 2012.  Tait joins sisters Ella and Ingrid.

KATHRYN (DICKSON) '02 and ADAM WOLKENHAUER welcomed a son, Eli, in November 2011.  Eli joins brother Carter and sister Leah.

LAURA RIORDAN and Gianfranco Berardi, May 26, 2012
STEVE ONDRASHEK and Alden Condict, July 1, 2010
CARA SEELEY and Steve Johnson, Sept. 24, 2011
MOLLIE BUSTA and Ted Lange, Oct. 19, 2011
LIZ YOUNGQUIST and Kevin Selby, Jan. 14, 2012

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