Class of 2007 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Friends-

Homecoming 2012 has come and gone, along with our 5-year reunion; for those who were able to attend, all had fun! (See some pictures.)  For those unable to attend, it was great seeing your support―particularly through Facebook on our class page―as well as in individual posts!  Whether you were there or not, your spirit for Luther is always with you.

This time of year can be exciting for some and overwhelming for others.  The seasons are changing, schedules are filling up with holiday activities or the discussion of those activities, and you may already be pondering what to say you are thankful for when asked at Thanksgiving, or the gifts you may give or be asked to give others.  There always seems to be an emphasis this time of year for giving. Give to charity, give to your family and friends, and give time for others.   But this time of year can be a reminder to give all year.  Why cram it all into the final two months of the year?  It is nice to make that special end of the year gift, but consider giving every month and be able to share your gratitude every month.  As you consider giving to your favorite charity or volunteering your time for causes near and dear to your heart, don’t forget that you can give to Luther online.

As a class, we have a high participation percentage in giving compared to some other classes at Luther.  Additionally, as a class, we presented President Torgerson with a check for nearly $50,000 at homecoming, representing total gifts made from our class since graduation.  Let’s keep that spirit going!

At Luther, there are many projects to support: most importantly, the Annual Fund, but there are also scholarship funds or other projects.  Currently, a designated project you might consider an end-of-year donation to is the new Aquatic Center.  This project will move the swimming and diving team into the future, as well as provide for classes and community use.  It will also allow for more supporters of the team to participate as spectators.

As we all know, participating as a spectator or volunteer or leader is a great way to give back!  If you want to continue that great feeling you had around homecoming or when you give, why not plan an event for local alumni in your area?  We as a class and many other classes have sent individuals all over the world.  Contact the alumni department to find out how to host an event or reach out to others.  Maybe it means planning a toast at the local brewery, or inviting others to your home.  Whatever you want to do is up to you; an event will start conversations, let you network, and lead to other opportunities for you as an individual, and all of us as members of the Luther community.

We, as your class agents, hope you will consider giving every month, not just during the holidays. As we continue moving forward, it is great to reflect on the past – the people who supported us, our family and friends that helped us grow, and the places we visited and experiences we had, which all contributed to helping us become who we are today! We are proud to include Luther in that reflection of the past and in our plans for the future!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dan Schmidt
2007 Class Agent
[email protected]             

Sarah (Quick) Olejniczak
2007 Class Agent
[email protected]

Megan (St. Clair) Nelson
2007 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 12 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
DUFFEY AINSWORTH JR. earned a master’s degree in sports leadership from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.  He is a project manager assistant at HCA in Charlotte, Tenn.

ANNE (STENSVOLD) CURLEY works in accounts payable at Sterling State Bank in Rochester, Minn.

KELLI BILLSTEIN is a staff writer at Exhibitor Magazine in Rochester, Minn. She is also a freelance writer and editor, and organizes a “Foodie Book Club.”

DEREK BROMAN earned a master’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of New Hampshire.

TIMOTHY BRUETT lives in Brooklyn, New York. He's a project development associate at Manhattan Concert Productions in New York and works with Craig Arnold.

ELIZABETH (HANSON) and ERIK BUTLER live in Northwood, Iowa. Elizabeth teaches high school English in the Northwood-Kensett High School. Erik is a soil technician for the Worth County Soil and Water Conservation District.

TIM CARROLL is an Americorps crew supervisor for the Utah Conservation Corps in Logan.

RENAE (HOLTHAUS) DAHL teaches second grade at St. Benedict School in Decorah.

MEGAN (MANTHEY) and ERIC ELLINGSON ’06 live in St. Paul, Minn. Megan is a cardiovascular nurse-practitioner at United Hospital.

KRISTIN GALSTAD is a software test engineer at SWAT Solutions, Inc., in St. Louis Park, Minn.

MARISSA GRASMICK earned a master’s degree in transpersonal counseling and art therapy from Naropa University. She is a self-employed art therapist in Boulder, Colo.

KATIE (STRAWBRIDGE) HALL is an occupational therapist at Melrose Institute in St. Louis Park, Minn.

NATE HANSEN is the head wrestling coach at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

EMILY HOLLEY is campaign manager of Citizens for Rock, the campaign organization for the election of William Rock to the Iowa State House in District 36 in Des Moines.

KARLIE (ARMOUR) HUEY is a business development manager at Epicor Software Corporation in Minneapolis.

KAREN (KOZA) JOHNSON is a physical therapist at Woodlyn Heights Health Care in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

LEAH KINNAIRD earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa; she is domestic violence liaison at Iowa State University in Ames.

AMY (SCHMEIDEL) KLEIN earned a medical doctorate from the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City.

KYLE KNIGHT teaches high school social studies and coaches in the Galena (Ill.) Public Schools.

RACHEL LITTLE is an assistant teacher at Sunflower Child Development Center in Decorah.

JON MADSON is a business systems analyst at Transamerica in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

STACY MYHRE is a legislative liaison for the Minnesota Department of Human Services in St. Paul.

BLAKE NELLIS is a dancer at Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater in Minneapolis. He is also a self-employed educator and artist.

ANNALISE (CONAWAY) and JOE NELSON ’09 live in North Liberty, Iowa. Annalise teaches in the Iowa City School District.

EMILY NELSON earned a master’s degree in social work from University of Northern Iowa.  She is a school social worker in the Albert Lea (Minn.) School District.

STACY (HORNING) OLSON is a senior service specialist at Hartford Life in Woodbury, Minn.

CARMEN (CLINE) RANGEL is a senior associate in contract administration and operations at Galliard Capital Management in Minneapolis. 

JOHN RYNDERS is an accounting administrator at Manhattan Concert Productions in New York.

AMY (GMINSKI) SCHULTZ is program manager of operations at Quad/Graphics, Inc., in Sussex, Wis.

MOLLY SHEPPARD is a fourth day home visitor for Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

MELISSA SIMMONS is a Pilates instructor at Discover Happy Studio in Decorah.

KEITH “CHIP” SMITH works for UPS in Fargo, N.D.

KENDRA SWANSON earned a master’s degree in science education and a certificate in environmental education from Northern Illinois University. She is a camp instructor at YMCA Camp St. Croix in Hudson, Wis.

ERICA (SVIEN) SWENSON is a special education teacher in the St. Anthony-New Brighton School District in St. Anthony, Minn.

BRANDON TEWALT is a coordinator in the Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District.

DANA THEILER is a senior copywriter at Torre Lazur Managed Markets in Parsippany, N.J.

SARAH WARNER is a wavered services director at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development in Minnetonka, Minn.

BRIANNA WASSINK is high school and middle school orchestra director in the Faribault (Minn.) Public Schools. She also serves on the Minnesota Orchestra’s Crescendo Project board of directors as the education committee chair, and is chair of the nominating committee.

ANNA (DYRUD) WEDEKIND is a web designer at Greenspring Media Group in Minneapolis.

JORDAN WIKLUND’s book, Cribbageland: The People, Craft & Culture of a Curious Game, and research were featured in a November 2011 Minneapolis Star-Tribune article. He is a developmental editor at Quayside Publishing in Minneapolis.

KATHERINE (HARROLD) WORTHINGTON teaches fifth grade in the Boone (Iowa) Community School District.

JOHN XAVIER is executive director of Camp Tomah Shinga in Junction City, Kan.

DANNY YOUNG of New York plays drums on the national Broadway tour of Young Frankenstein the Musical, by Mel Brooks.

SARAH (TWEDT) '06 and JONATHAN CARLSON welcomed a son, Knute, in April 2012.  Knute joins sister Kennedy.

JENNY (JEFFERSON) and HANS GUSTAF '06 welcomed a son, Nolan, in November 2011.     

ALLISON (KRUGER) and DANIEL HERMAN '06 welcomed a daughter, Olivia, in November 2011.   

ASHLEY (WIRTZ) and MATT JOHNSON '05 welcomed a daughter, Jordan, in April 2012.  Jordan joins brother Brenden.

Amy and JOE KOENIG welcomed a daughter, Riley, in March 2011.

Sara and ALEX LEWKE welcomed a daughter, Piper, in January 2012. 

CHELSEA (NEWMEISTER) and Kurt Liske welcomed a son, Sawyer, in December 2011.         

ASHLEY (THOMPSON) and Jason Morehouse welcomed a daughter, Zoey, in November 2011.

EMILY (JACOB) and KYLE PEARSON welcomed a son, Thomas, in April 2012.         

LISA (HUINKER) and JASON RUDE welcomed a son, Landon, in January 2011.         

Genna and TODD SCRIPTURE welcomed a son, Cooper, in February 2012.

REBECCA (WESTPHAL) and CHRIS SORENSON welcomed a son, Nolan, in January 2012.

MELISSA SIMMONS and Caleb Timp welcomed a daughter, Lillian, in December 2011.          

DUFFEY AINSWORTH and Katie Raisanen, May 20, 2012
KASSIE PETERMANN and JEFF BECK '06, Oct. 1, 2011
ANNIE HERRIG and CARSON BRUNS '08, July 9, 2011
LUCIAN CAMP and Paige DeVine, Sept. 4, 2011
RENAE HOLTHAUS and Ryan Dahl, Dec. 18, 2010
RYAN HAHN and Beth Struzynski, July 2, 2011
EMILY HOLLEY and Greg Hauenstein, July 2, 2011
KARLIE ARMOUR and NATE HUEY, Oct. 29, 2011
KAREN KOZA and Brent Johnson, Aug. 6, 2011
AMY SCHMEIDEL and KRIS KLEIN '08, Sept. 17, 2011
ANNALISE CONAWAY and JOE NELSON '09, July 23, 2011
STACY HORNING and DAN OLSON '09, Oct. 1, 2011
TODD SCRIPTURE and Genna Nelson, May 15, 2010
SARAH MURRELL and KARL SWENSON '06, Aug. 6, 2011
CLAIRE BARVIR and Matt Tschann, Aug. 13, 2011
STACY PROCTOR and Shawn Vaughan, Aug. 27, 2011

JOHN “JOHNNY” FISHER of San Diego, Calif., died Feb. 23, 2012, at age 27.  He had recently returned to his native state after 17 years in the Midwest.  He held―and was gifted in―a variety of jobs, including most recently private computer consultations, IT support, and tax preparation. His kind and loving patience in explaining how to do things on the computer will be sorely missed.  Johnny was passionate about music as well as computers. As a small child he started taking piano lessons, then moved on to the string bass in middle school orchestra, and the trumpet and tuba in high school band. Once he started choir in middle school, he was hooked for life, and sang in various choirs at Luther.  He is survived by his loving parents, Leif and Jennifer; his siblings and their families: Brett, Lauren, Alex and David Fisher; Christian, Tara, Dustin and Jacob Fisher; Eric, Joni, Kristin (Peich), Anna, and Guinevere Fisher; Megan Fisher; Elizabeth and Anthony Hughes; and Justin Fisher.

GINA SEXE, of Postville, Iowa, died June 9, 2012, at the age of 43.  She was born in Elizabeth, N.J., and graduated from Del Norte High School in Albuquerque, N.M. She attended Flagstaff Community College, Flagstaff, Ariz. (graduating with a 4.3 grade point average; received a scholarship from Tulane University, but had to evacuate because of Hurricane Katrina on the day of freshmen orientation) and Luther. She graduated from Luther with a double major in accounting and business.  Gina had a special place in her heart for Luther and Decorah. After evacuating to Decorah, Luther opened its arms by extending to her the same scholarship Tulane offered. The people of Decorah were very kind to her and eased the relocation.  Her tissue was donated to Iowa Donor Network; 80-100 people will benefit from the donation.  Gina will be missed by her family, extended family, and her friends. Loving and loyal, she was an example of how one should live.  She was preceded in death by her grandparents and her cousin, Chad Wagner.  Gina is survived by her son, Justin; her mother, Pat Lewis; two brothers, Ken Sexe and Jim Lewis; and six nieces and nephews.

Dan Schmidt
Sarah Olejniczak