Class of 1951 Spring 2018 Letter

Spring 2018

Dear 1951 Friend,

Writing this class agent letter at the time of the Olympics in South Korea made me think how we as alumni can be important participants in the race to get students enrolled at Luther.  There are so many reasons our alma mater continues to be a strong contender as a liberal arts college. In the latest Luther Magazine, our President, Paula Carlson, has written a good letter about our value for pre-professional students. Her reference to the article about Scott Roland as a pre-engineering student who designs rockets for a private space travel agency, was fascinating. I hope you read it and continue to tell young people you know or meet how Luther's liberal arts education will prepare them for their Olympics in life as it did you and me.

If you have grandchildren or a grandniece or nephew have you shared with them what days at Luther were like back in the '50s when you were a student? Maybe you have written in a journal or maybe you have spent time with a grandchild like I did. She had listened to stories on MPR, and though I would in no way match those exceptional stories in my recollections, it was fun to answer her questions and recall the way it was for girls then; sign out at our dormitory any time after 7 in the evening, even to go to the library, be back to sign in by 10 (was it 11 on weekends?) when the doors were locked; all good nights to boyfriends outside the dorm entrance; no boys allowed in your room except once during the year when we had open house for all visitors to see where we lived; lights out at 11 or midnight, except for some flashlights or candles that managed to escape the eyes of your counselor, etc. I lived at Sunnyside as a freshman and one of my counselors was Ruth Lunde, who now lives at the 7500 York Senior Co-op that I do. She still has a very good memory for the way it was. When memory for what you had for breakfast this morning may escape you, I hope you like to share what has stayed in your memory. Let me know. I've given a woman’s side. I invite you men to share for our next agent letter, athletic specials or your major.

Most of us don't live near Decorah or may not be in good enough health to travel there. I have been fortunate enough to have a son and daughter-in-law, both graduates of Luther, who can take me to Christmas at Luther. The theme this year “The Tree of Life My Soul Hath Seen,” the art work and wonderful anthems sung by over 600 students so beautifully, was exceptional. I hope you found out that Christmas at Luther was streamed. It was actually on the website for several months. If you missed hearing it in 2017, put it on your December 2018 calendar as a must hear and see event.

It is so wonderful to report on our Class of 1951 Scholarship that was given to Nikhil Viraj Thacker, a junior from Iowa City who is majoring in Environmental Studies. The balance of our fund as of May 31, 2017 was $39,871 and Nikhil was awarded $1,771 for this 2017-18 school year. 

Luther’s Giving Day has come again, raising $478,193 for the Luther Fund. Many alumni make this a time they contribute to the Luther (former Annual) Fund. If you made your gift then, thank you. Or if later in the year is a better time in your budget to make a contribution I hope you will do so. Last year our '51 class received honorable mention for one of the top ten classes in alumni giving. Make our total the best ever in 2018. Use the attached form and the reusable envelope or visit to donate today!

There are a few obituaries listed below: Robert Jenson, known by classmates as Bill and Beatrice (Johnsrud) Stoddard. Bill's obituary is really a tribute to him as one of the top American theologians of the 20th century. Eleanor (Erickson) Hagstrom was a close friend of mine, both as a freshman at Sunnyside, an alto in Nordic for four years, a Messiah soloist several years, secretary to the President of Luther and later, the maid of honor at Luther's and my wedding. We had a lengthy telephone conversation just a few weeks before pneumonia ended her time. Have you had a class friend who you keep/kept in close contact with and would like to pay tribute to their enduring friendship? Email or P.O. mail to me which will be happily accepted for sharing later in 2018. 

Soli Deo Gloria, 

IvaNell Monson
1951 Class Agent
7500 York Ave. S #842
Edina, MN 55435
[email protected]



Eleanor (Erickson) Hagstrom of Alexandria, Minn., died Jan. 24, 2018, age 90. 

Robert W. Jenson of Princeton, N.J., died Sept. 5, 2017, age 87.

Beatrice Marjorie (Johnsrud) Stoddard of Amery, Wis., died Aug. 6, 2017, age 88. 

Full obituaries can be found on the Luther College website at:
If you would like a printout of the full obituaries from your class mailed to you, please contact us at:
[email protected], or 563-387-1509