Class of 1953 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019

Dear Luther College Classmates of 1953,

“O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” I’m not sure what Shelley had in mind in this combination of resignation and hope. However, you will receive this when Spring has once more refreshed your spirits; I am writing it in the midst of wintry chills, reported to be the worst in a generation. Polar vortex, the experts claim. Whatever that is, it is surely not a friend. I prefer to linger on hope. Spring will come again, both literally and metaphorically.

January is a quiet month at the college. That special January Term, inaugurated 53 years ago, provides opportunity for a wide variety of educational adventures. Study Abroad in January has become the choice for many -- 367 students and 32 faculty leaders are this week returning from several weeks in programs scattered over the globe. I led enough of those programs, back in the day, to know their value, a brief, but intense introduction to the larger world. The absence of so many leaves a diminished presence on campus and a much reduced events schedule. We did mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a guest speaker. And we look forward to the homecoming concert of the Symphony Orchestra upon their return from Vienna.

The 9 in 2019 reminds me that we entered college 70 years ago in 1949. Has anyone checked whether we are still in the same world after all those years? Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, was on the mark when he observed some 2500 years ago that no one can step into the same river twice, since the river changes with the flow and people change. In any case, try recounting to your grandchildren that your childhood and youth were marked by the Great Depression and World War II. As they glance up from their Apples (not a snack), they may respond, “So?” Probably a response that echoes what we said to our grandparents 70 years ago.

Personally, I could not have imagined, 70 years ago, the richness of experience that lay ahead. I suspect the same is true for you, through both good and not so good days. Those four college years were a transition to the larger world of maturity and responsibility. And now, at our advanced age, we are enjoying the special privilege of living to observe and encourage the efforts of subsequent generations to nurture the world.

The Upper Iowa River, bordering the campus of Luther College, reminds all who stop by of the flow of change in the world. Successive generations have attended to that flow to guide it toward good, good for all who identify themselves with the college and good for the larger world. In recent years that has meant attention to the conservation and wise use of the world’s resources. Students participate extensively in this. The world will be a better place as a result. 

By the time you read this letter, Luther will have a new president, if the search schedule of the Board of Regents is successful. Appreciation for leadership accomplished and anticipation of new leadership always join hands. Such transitions are special. Please join in making both the transition and the ongoing welfare of the college healthy by making a financial contribution. It is a good thing to do.

Wilfred F. Bunge
1953 Class Agent
902 W. Pearl Street
Decorah, IA 52101
[email protected]

P. S. There were 20 of us who gathered in October for our 65th. Since we’ve seen one another at least once every five years, recognition was not a problem. From my viewpoint, we’re looking pretty good, reasonably happy, cheerful, and positive, a credit to our alma mater.


Donald Dean Ambroson of West Des Moines, Iowa, died Aug. 21, 2018, age 86.

Inez (Cocker) Dolley of Decorah died Oct. 21, 2018, age 87.

Keith Russell Gordon of Red Wing, Minn., died Oct. 11, 2018, age 90.

Ruby F. (Totman) Hermeier of Edina, Minn., previously of Decorah, died Nov. 26, 2018, age 86.

Barbara Lucille (Kells) Raymond of La Crosse, Wis., formerly of Sioux City, Iowa, died Aug. 8, 2018, age 83.

Clyde William “Bill” Sagvold of Spokane, Wash., died Nov. 20, 2018, age 90.

John A. “Jack” Stueber of Austin, Texas, died July 30, 2018, age 87.

The full obituaries of classmates listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at:

If you would like a printout of the obituaries listed above in their entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.

We are pleased to announce Dr. Jenifer K. Ward as the 11th president of Luther College! For more information about President-elect Ward, visit

As you may remember from your Fall 2018 Class Agent letter, Luther has recently completed an extensive brand strategy research process.


As a result of our research and in collaboration with members of the Luther community, we have developed several statements that will guide future communications.

We know that you, our alumni, are often asked about your alma mater. What you say to prospective students and their families about Luther College can have a huge impact on their decisions to visit campus, apply and, hopefully, enroll.

You know Luther well. You matter to us and we’re interested in hearing from you.

We invite you to take a few minutes to preview some of our new statements and share your thoughts. The example statements, as well as a response survey, are available online:

Many thanks!

If you have any questions please email Catherine Dyer, Brand and Marketing Director at [email protected]