Class of 2001 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Classmate,

We hope you are all enjoying the fall weather and all it brings— football, leaves, bonfires, soups—and remembering the fond times we had at Luther during the fall. I think we can all agree there isn’t a more beautiful place in the fall than Decorah, with all its beautiful leaves amongst the cliffs. These days, with how old I feel, (how are we about to start hitting 40!?!?) it would be nice to be back as a student enjoying studying amongst the beautiful leaves and walking across the library lawn to the caf where someone else makes your food!

Speaking of age, the Luther Nordic Choir went on its first international trip 50 years ago. Studying abroad in 1967 wasn’t as prevalent as it is today, and there is a recent documentary on it. Imagine the wonder and amazement they had boarding that overseas flight and the joy they had in broadening their horizons by experiencing another country. Most of us went on trips while at Luther, and I would think most would say it was life-changing and eye-opening to see different customs and ways of life. I’m so grateful when I travel, as it takes the lessons we learned at Luther into the real world. Such a great foundation we received, with opportunities to embrace the world—like that early Nordic Choir—and to use our liberal arts education continue to grow.

As Luther continues to grow and improve, I can’t imagine what our kids will experience there. We have fellow classmates who have been recognized at Luther for their contributions, including Erin Alberty winning a Pulitzer and Keith Lesmeister’s book We Could Have Been Happy Here. In making these contributions—or financial ones— we should all support and make Luther proud. We will stress again that it is more about giving (even $5 helps) than it is the amount. Obviously, a larger amount helps as well, but participation counts for so much in getting additional aid from foundations and the like. So, please consider giving up Starbucks two times throughout the year, and that would at least give you the ability to donate $10. Imagine if our whole class did that what an impact we could make.

Enjoy the rest of your fall, and as we enter into the holiday season, relish the time with family and friends.


Laura (Ahlstrand) Bunch
[email protected]

Paul Hoyem
[email protected]

Joy (Christian) Stevens
[email protected]


Derek Altorfer was elected president of Altorfer, Inc., in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, succeeding his father

Bruce Altorfer ’68, who served as president since 1998 and is now chairman of the board.

Amanda (Jack) Alwy of St. Louis Park, Minn., is vice president of technology and engineering for SmarteCarte, Inc.

Brett Bever is senior pastor at New Vision Bretheren Christ Church in Pewaukee, Wis.

Theresa (Wencl) Castaneda teaches special education for the Tahoma School District in Maple Valley, Wash.

Alison (Blumer) Kaster is vice president and director of the project management office of United Fire Group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Sara Leisso earned a master’s degree in translation studies from the University of Portsmouth in England, and is a freelance translator in Milwaukee.

Britt (Winter) Moore of St. Paul, Minn., is a behavior analyst and family support coordinator at Behavioral Dimension, Inc.

Katie Marske is assistant professor of biology at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Heather (Svoboda) Morris is senior manager of global communications and social media at Entrust Datacard in Shakopee, Minn

Laura (Naslund) Ready of Sioux Falls, S.D., received the Sanford Women's Health Employee of the Year Award. The award recognizes Sanford USD Medical Center OB/GYN department employees who display exceptional work performance and have excellent relationships with patients, their families, and physicians.

Angie (Johnson) Richards is director of sales and catering for Downtown Rochester Hilton Hotels (Hilton, Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn) in Rochester, Minn. She and her team were named the 2016 Sales Team of the Year for the Doubletree by Hilton brand. She also serves as Leadership Greater Rochester program chair for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce and on the board of directors for the Rochester Downtown Alliance.

Matt Titus is portfolio manager for Invesco, Ltd., in Houston.



SOMMER ANDERSON and Barry McInerney, Oct. 28, 2016

HEATHER MILLS and Timothy Palermo, Aug. 7, 2013


MICHELLE (HARRIED) and BRENT BARNESS ’05 welcomed a son, Emmett, in August 2013, and a daughter, Norah, in April 2015.THERESA (WENCL) and David Castaneda welcomed a son, Matthew Oliver, in August 2015.

SUE (BUCKHEISTER) and Karl Hanson welcomed a daughter, Robyn, in Decemeber 2016.

ALISON (BLUMER) and Leony Kaster welcomed daughter, Peyton Elise, in June 2013 and daughter, Harper Grace, in July 2015.

Emily and MATT MILLS welcomed a daughter, Eleanor Marta, in April 2017.

BRITT (WINTER) and Tim Moore welcomed a son, Patrick James, in August 2016.

HEATHER (MILLS) and Timothy Palermo welcomed a daughter, Gabriella Jane, in January 2014.

JULIE (SATRE) and Rik Trytten (deceased) welcomed a daughter, Anawrenn Kiramarie, in March 2017.

REBEKAH (RUSCH) and Brandon Vogelsberg welcomed a daughter, Molly Marie, in February 2017.