Class of 2011 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Hey, Class of 2011!

Fall is well underway, and we are now in our second year away from Luther!  It’s crazy keeping up with everyone, as it seems each of you is doing something awesome with your time!  As always, we love getting updates from you—so be sure to email us or contact us via Facebook with your updates!  Check out the end of the letter to see all the amazing things our class is doing!

Let’s start with some general news from campus:

This fall Luther welcomed 681 new students to campus.  Minnesota remains the leading state in number of new students, with Iowa second.

  • Luther had three Fulbright scholars this year, including one of our own, Rachel Barclay.  Congrats, Rachel!
  • Construction began on the new aquatic center, and it should be finished in 2013.  It will be an incredible facility for the swimmers and Luther community, with 8 lanes and an area for adaptive PE classes.
  • Dieseth was remodeled this past summer, but we figure they still call it “Dirty D.”  All residence halls at Luther have been renovated in the past ten years, which is pretty impressive. 
  • Luther received a $1.5 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.  Luther is a first-time recipient of this prestigious award.  The award was granted to support strategies that include providing authentic research experiences to students who will become teachers, engaging undergrads in K-12 outreach activities and creating joint faculty appointments shared by education and science departments.  President Torgerson said the grant “will provide extraordinary opportunity and resources to link two of Luther’s signature programs—the sciences and teacher education.”
  • This is President Torgerson’s last year at Luther—be sure to wish him well if you see him!  The search committee for his successor has been meeting and has many good candidates.  The search committee sends out periodic updates―if you aren’t receiving them, make sure Luther has your current email address. You can also read the updates on the webpage

Lots of GREEN news at Luther:

  • Luther was selected to receive a 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award, recognizing Luther as one of the nation’s leading colleges and universities with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus and integrating this goal with the college’s educational mission.
  • Luther was one of eight colleges across the country to receive an “A” on the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card!
  • This summer, the U.S. Energy Department launched the “Clean Energy in Our Community” video series, and Luther was the first featured video.  You can view the video at this link:
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Luther as a Green Power Partner for its ongoing commitment to using green power.  Luther used more than four million kilowatt-hours of green power in the 2011-2012 academic year—enough to meet 28 percent of the campus’s electricity use.
  • The Regents set a goal for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.  Luther plans to reduce its campus carbon footprint by 50 percent by the end of 2015, 70 percent by 2020, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • This summer, Luther completed a new $1.2 million solar energy field.  It is the largest single solar energy production facility in the state of Iowa.  It will power Baker Village and make it a carbon-neutral facility.  Check out the solar energy field next time you're in Decorah!  It's on Pole Line Road by the Dr. Pepper building and across from the rugby pitch.  

That’s the news from Luther in a nutshell.  You can keep up with more Luther news by checking out the website and “liking” their page on Facebook.  We hope all of you are doing well and enjoying life after Luther.  Until next time…Soli Deo Gloria.

Kelsey Leppert
2011 Class Agent
[email protected]

Kelsey Wauters
2011 Class Agent
[email protected]

Alex Ulfers
2011 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 18 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
MOLLY ANDERSEN is an English teacher at Anuban Singburi School in Singburi, Thailand.

KELSEY BALK is a project manager at Epic Systems in Madison, Wis.

KELLY BANDMAN is an Americorps program coordinator for Rebuilding Together, a non-profit organization that builds and repairs homes in Minneapolis.

NATALIE BAUDLER is internal communications coordinator at Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn.

BLAIR BOEHNKE volunteered with Mission of Mercy in Bangladesh.

BLAIR BOEHNKE is a student in the physician assistant program at Des Moines University.

LAUREN BOLEEN is a student in the physician assistant program at Des Moines University.

BRAD BROGE is a production software tester for IBM in Rochester, Minn.

TIM CAMPBELL volunteers in schools through City Year in Chicago.

ADDISON CHOI is on the audit staff at Ehrhardt, Keefe, Steiner, and Hottman in Denver.

ALI COWMEADOW is a resource call specialist at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in Washington, D.C.

MITCH DIETZ is a freelance composer, trumpeter, and private lesson instructor in Chatfield, Minn.

SONJA ECKLUND is the school outreach resource contact for the Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative at Luther.

EMILY ELLSON is an EBD teacher at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Rochester, Minn.

BRETT EPPERSON is associate director of vocal music at Thomas Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

LEAH FORSBERG is a graduate student in medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

LAUREN FLADLAND teaches grade 5-12 vocal music in the Martin County West School District in Welcome, Minn.

J. SCOTT HARRISON is an independent contractor with Hanging Out, LLC, and director of sales and operations at Fireplace Blocker, LLC, in Leawood, Kan.

HALEY GIBBONS is the associate vocal music director at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. 

ERIN GILBERTSON is a community health volunteer for the Peace Corps in Portoviejo, Ecuador.

KARL GILBERTSON is a manufacturing technician at SurModics in Eden Prairie, Minn.

COURTNEY GILL teaches Spanish at Rochester (Minn.) Montessori School.

COURTNEY GRUTZ is a tax consultant at Deloitte and Touche in Minneapolis.

CHRIS HARBAUGH is a graduate student in school psychology at the University of Northern Iowa.

MICHAEL HART is a public finance investment banker with Northland Securities in Minneapolis.

AMIE HELLER is the morning co-host and music director at KQ98 in La Crosse, Wis.

MARI HENDERSON is a marketing intern for Thomson Reuters in Minneapolis.

LISA HIEB is a PCR Lab Technologist at SGS-North America in Brookings, S.D.

TATUM (NORTON) IVERSON is a case manager with Northland Agency on Aging in Decorah.

SAMANTHA JEWELL is a student in the doctor of physical therapy program at Des Moines (Iowa) University.

ALEXANDRA JOHNSON is a student in the doctor of physical therapy program at Washington University in St. Louis.

KIA JOHNSON is a student resource advocate for AmeriCorps at Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College.

MADELINE JUNGBAUER of Dellwood, Minn., is an Americorps Minnesota Reading Corps literacy tutor.

ADAM KRUSE is working with the Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization (BERDO) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

RYAN KUHN is a graduate student in the master of business administration program and a sports marketing graduate assistant at the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.)

KELLY KUSSMAN is a graduate student in opera performance at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

TYLER McCUBBIN works at Agri Credit in Johnston, Iowa.

KATE McDonald is a graduate student in health promotion at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

DUSTIN NOBLE of Decorah is running for the Republican nomination for the Iowa House in District 55.

NNAMDI OKOLUE is an auditor working with non-profits and government clients at Clifton LarsonAllen in Minneapolis.

MELISSA RECORD is associate director of Camp Amnicon in South Range, Wis.

JENNA REISHUS is a research assistant on healthcare access at the V.A. Medical Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

ALYSSA RITTER is the Admissions Visit Coordinator at Luther College.

KIRSTEN (JENSSON) ’10 and TAYLOR SCHOLZ live in Chaska, Minn. Taylor is an athletic trainer at Tria Orthopedics.

DANA SONNICKSEN is a K-5 English language learner (ELL) teacher in the Albert Lea (Minn.) School District.

TESS SPINDLER is a trauma registered nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

KATE STEBBINS is a registered nurse at University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

CAITLIN STEINBERG is a staff writer and works in public relations and marketing at Veteran’s Outreach in Cedarburg, Wis.

CAMILLE STENHAUG is a treasury analyst in the Treasury department at Target Corporate in Minneapolis, Minn.  She also volunteers with Ace Hoops, a faith-based non-profit that uses basketball to reach out to urban youth.

TRENT STONEROOK is a business technology analyst for American Family Insurance in Madison, Wis.

STEVEN THAI was appointed by President Obama as assistant press secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.

KATIE (CUMMINGS) TJADER is an assistant to the project manager at Abhe and Svoboda, Inc., a construction company in Prior Lake, Minn.

LEAH WALTERS earned a certificate in nuclear medicine from Mayo School of Health Services. She is a medical imaging analyst at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

JOE WHEELOCK is a graduate student at Iowa State studying sustainable agriculture.

BETHANY WICHMAN is development assistant for the Milwaukee (Wis.) Children’s Choir.

KATELIN WILSON teaches eighth-grade mathematics in the Austin (Minn.) Public Schools.

NICOLE WILSON is an Internal Auditor at DISH Network, LLC in Englewood, Colorado. 

MEGAN WOBSCHALL is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

ALICIA WOODHOUSE is a customer care representative at CarePro Heath Services in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

BRYNNE ZINNECKER is an auditor at McGladrey and Pullen in Minneapolis.

LINDSAY PRUIS and Steve Biedermann, Oct. 7, 2011
MICHAEL HART and CARAH CLAFLIN ’12, August 25, 2012
LAURA DAVIS and Nathan Dahlke, June 9, 2012
TATUM NORTON and TJ Iverson, Aug. 27, 2011
KATE PATTERSON and REID MASON '08, June 30, 2012
KATE CUMMINGS and Dylan Tjader, July 1, 2011
CHRISTOPHER ZINK and Domonique DeWild, Nov. 5, 2011                

Luther College Bell