Class of 2004 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Classmates,

It’s hard to believe, but the end of the semester at Luther is drawing near! Students are starting to prepare for finals (remember that?) and all the fun that the Christmas season at Luther brings.

There have been many changes this year. The biggest one that is coming is the end of President Torgerson’s tenure at Luther. His presidency has been one of growth for the college. He will be greatly missed, but the Presidential Search Committee is actively searching for a new president. We are confident that whoever is picked will lead Luther to continued great accomplishments.

It’s been a terrific fall semester at Luther! New enrolled students total 681 and come from throughout the U.S. and 25 other countries. Construction on the new Aquatic Center is well underway and will be completed in the summer (you can search on the Internet for “Luther Aquatic Center” and check out the YouTube video). A stunning solar array, the largest in the state of Iowa, now supplies energy for Baker Village and propels Luther even closer to its carbon reduction goals. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute selected Luther to receive a $1.5M grant for its science education Preparing Future K-12 Teachers program—an amazing accolade for the college, and Luther is now ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

We are so fortunate to be able to say we were educated at a college like Luther! If you are interested in giving back, there are many ways to help out. We encourage you to visit to explore your options and learn more about what is going on with the college.

Have a very happy holiday season!

Berit Griffin
2004 Class Agent
[email protected]

Lindsay (Hagen) Riebe
2004 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 65 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
JON AANESTAD is a self-employed musician and session violinist in Boston. He recently toured the Northeast and Midwest, and was a violinist for the Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn.

VANESSA ABBE is manager of advisory services at Ernst & Young in Minneapolis.

BRET ASKELAND is a senior software engineer at Allscripts in Raleigh, N.C.

SARA (GOUDSCHAAL) and TERRY BLESSING ’06 live in Stillwater, Okla., Sara is a graduate assistant in choral conducting at Oklahoma State University.

SARA BRADLEY earned a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Minnesota. She teaches physical education and is head girls track coach in the Hilbert (Wis.) School District.

CASSIE (LEE) CARPENTER is eighth-grade vocal music director in the Johnston (Iowa) Community School District.

MATT CARPENTER is executive director at Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

LAUREN CHRISTEL teaches first-grade English at the International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, Calif.

LINDSAY COLWELL earned a master’s degree in theology from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.

ADAM DAVIS is assistant director of athletic performance and a strength and conditioning coach at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. His work is focused mainly on the football and women's volleyball programs.

ANNA (PLAGMAN) DAVIS is band director at Remsen-Union High School in Remsen, Iowa.

LISA FRANEK is marketing manager at Korn/Ferry International, Leadership and Talent Consulting in Minneapolis.

AMY FRYE is acting director at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

ANGELA (HOUSE) ’99 and STEVEN GRITTON live in Maple Grove, Minn. Steve is a training coordinator with GE Capital Fleet Services

ANN (JACOBS) GRUENIG is a nurse supervisor and critical care nurse at Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota in Sioux Falls.

TYLER HESSELTINE is AA sales representative at Davey Tree Experts in Minneapolis.

JOEL HOLLENBECK is owner of JH Enterprises in Amana, Iowa.

MATT HUCK is first assistant department manager at Menards in West Burlington, Iowa.

DAVID LENNINGER is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston, Wis.

KINDRA (Kruse) McGuigan is residential coordinator at Wellington Place in Decorah.

NATE MILLS is a supply officer in the U.S. Navy in Oak Harbor, Wis.

RACHEL MILLER-BLEICH and DAVID BLEICH live in Arlington, Va. Rachel earned a master’s degree in organizational science with a concentration in organizational management from George Washington University. David is a clerk for the Caucus on International Narcotics Control in Washington D.C.

DUSTY NASH earned a master’s degree in Near Eastern studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and is a doctoral candidate at Cornell in Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern studies.

CHRIS NELSON is a PMO project manager at RTI in Mendota Heights, Minn.

KARI (PETERSON) and EVAN NELSON live in Madison, Wis. Kari earned a master’s degree in nursing from Marquette University and is a pediatric nurse practitioner at American Family Children’s Hospital.  Evan is a faculty associate at University of Wisconsin Health.

LAURA (LENIUS) NELSON is a registered nurse in emergency services at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wis.

Rodolfo Nieto, Kelsey Bruso ’81, and Brian Jorgensen ’80 sang in the Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of “Silent Night,” which tells the story of the Christmas Eve 1914 truce among French, German, and Scottish troops in WWI.

TERYL (PRICE) and JAMES RUSSEL ’02 live in Cross Plains, Wis. They both earned their master’s degrees from Buffalo State University, New York. Teryl teaches seventh-grade English in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District.

JAN SAXHAUG is a graduate student in public policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

NICI SCHULT earned a juris doctorate from Boston University and is an attorney for the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago.

KAIA (NORDAL) SHERBURNE is assistant director of admission at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

MIRIAM (BLOM) SKRADE is women’s assistant tennis coach at Luther and head coach of the Ames (Iowa) High School boys tennis team. Dubbed the “First Lady of Ames Tennis” for being the first female head coach of any boys team in the school’s 90-year history, she led the team to best-ever finishes as district champions and state runners-up in 2010 and Class 2A state champions in 2011. Miriam was also awarded Boys Tennis Coach of the Year honors.

TIANA (TOSO) STINSON is the email marketing designer for MagnetStreet in Blaine, Minn.

KATIE (MILLER) STOBBE is a corporate responsibility manager US at ArcelorMittal in Chicago.

JULIE (ALBERTSON) STOVER is an associate in children’s ministry at Colonial Church in Edina, Minn.

RUPAK THAPALIYA is a hydropower reform coalition coordinator at American Rivers, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

CARISSA THOMAS earned a doctorate in cell and molecular biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where she is also completing a medical doctorate.

AMY (HOODJER) UPDEGRAFF is an elementary teacher in the Pleasantville (Iowa) Community Schools.

ERICK WEEG is the senior analyst for Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo business in Minneapolis.

REBECCA (SCHARPE) and CHRIS WENTHOLD live in Minneapolis. Rebecca is a registered nurse at Allina-United Hospital. Chris is a manager and a retail software specialist at Accenture. 

CAROLYN (YOUNES) and EVAN ALMELIEN '03 welcomed a son, Edward, in September 2010.          

EMILY (LUNDQUIST) and AARON BARNES '03 welcomed a daughter, Lucia, in Februrary 2012.

SARA (GOUDSCHAAL) and TERRY BLESSING '05 welcomed a daughter, Aria, in August 2011.           

CASSIE (LEE) and Robbie Carpenter welcomed a son, Rocco, in October 2010.  Rocco joins brother Fitz.

BECKY BARTH and DYLAN FLUNKER '08 welcomed a daughter, Norah, in November 2011.          

ANGELA (HOUSE) '99 and STEVE GRITTON welcomed a son, Andrew, in April 2011.   

ANN (JACOBS) and Tom Gruenig welcomed a daughter, Alivia, in July 2011.  Alivia joins brother Ethan.

Heidi and JOEL HOLLENBECK welcomed a daughter, Malea, in May 2011.    

Emily and DAVID HOVLAND welcomed a daughter, Harper, in April 2012.  Harper joins brothers Jonas and Jude.

ANGIE (SCHNEIDER) and Jason Montgomery welcomed a son, Drake, in February 2012.  Drake joins brother Reese.

ANNE (PETERSON) and Jeff Murphy welcomed a daughter, Avery, in January 2012.   

Lorena and DUSTY NASH welcomed a son, Elias, in November 2011. 

KARI (PETERSON) and EVAN NELSON welcomed a daughter, Paige, in June 2011.  Paige joins sister Claire.

EMILY (JENSEN) and Michael Pollard welcomed a son, Rylan, in January 2011.  Rylan joins brother Jackson.

Sara and JON REM welcomed a daughter, Emma, in August 2011.       

ERICA (WANLESS) and SCOTT RHEINSCHMIDT welcomed a daughter, Kathryn, in November 2011.  Kathryn joins sister Molly.

TERYL (PRICE) and JAMES RUSSELL '02 welcomed a son, Samuel, in December 2010.  Samuel joins brother William.

MEG (WILLIAMS) and DAIN TEPOEL '05 welcomed a daughter, June, in December 2011.  June joins sister Lena.

AMY (HOODJER) and Eric Updegraff welcomed a son, Grayson, in August 2011.  Grayson joins sister Amelia.

Rachel and TOM VELISHEK welcomed a son, Vance, in December 2011.

JEN (CRAWFORD) and BLAKE WAYSON '02 welcomed a son, Bo, in October 2010.  Bo joins sister Caitlin and brother Brady.

CHRISTIE (MORSE) '03 and ERICK WEEG welcomed a son, Henrik, in May 2011.  Henrik joins sister Aune.

SARA (CROSS) and Dan Wientzen welcomed a daughter, Meredith, in June 2012 and a son, Landon, in August 2010.      

EMILY BERNAU and Jordan Bohonek, Sept. 17, 2011
ALISSA WENDELSCHAFER and Christopher Brody, July 7, 2012
ANNA PLAGMAN and Greg Davis, May 28, 2011
JESSICA JANSEN and Mike Nicoletti, Oct. 22, 2011
BECKY KNOTT and Seth Porter, May 21, 2011
MARC RUNDE and Shelly Westhoff, Oct. 8, 2011
JULIE ALBERTSON and Mark Stover, Aug. 28, 2010
RUPAK THAPALIYA and Neha Khanal, Dec. 15, 2010
ANNIE HIBBS and ERIK ULNESS, Nov. 12, 2011
STEF DICKENS and Jason Underferth, Sept. 10, 2011
CHERISE OLSON and Michael Weber, June 16, 2012

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