Class of 1957 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019 

Dear members of the class of ‘57, 

I’m your brand new Class Agent, Hildy McGown. I live on the west side of Madison, Wisc., in the house my husband Wayne and I built 45 years ago. If your travels bring you to Madison, be sure to give me a call, even if it means talking to my answer machine. 

I taught 5th grade in Madison before staying home 17 years raising two sons and one daughter. In 1981, Joanne Hamburg Heggen ’59 hired me to work at St. Benedict Conference Center. I retired as director of that center in 1995. I’ve been a widow for ten years, am very active in an amazing congregation, Advent Lutheran, and stay healthy with daily walks plus workouts at the “Y” four days/week. I get back to Decorah quite a few times a year because my sister, Agnes Hjelle ’60, gives me free room and board every time I show up. 

Unless you submit your news and views we’ll just receive the canned LC communications. So please use my contact info to help us all get reacquainted and up to date on what’s of interest to you. 

Here’s my first inquiry for you to respond to:  LUTHER CLASS RINGS Did you buy one? Do you still wear it? Why or why not? Do you have any good “Luther Ring Stories” to share? 

Here’s my second: Other than being a parent (for any of us lucky enough to have kids), what would you name as your BEST ADVENTURE SINCE LEAVING LUTHER?

Send me your thoughts on either or both topics and I’ll share some in the fall letter. (Deadline to me is August 15)  I may use your name unless you specifically request otherwise. And thank you! 

Now here’s news from Luther. Luther student musicians are playing and singing at full tilt. Collegiate Chorale and Cathedral Choir just returned from tours of the Midwest, and Jazz Orchestra sets out April 12 for a tout that includes South Dakota and Minnesota ( On top of that, Nordic Choir sings with the Des Moines Symphony April 27 and 28 (

This year, Luther hosted a number of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary ( of the college’s Black Student Untion ( The events included visits from several alumni who were invited back to campus to speak throughout the year, including Christie Owens ’16, Maggie (Steinberg) Hagen ’15, Gaone Masire ’82, Emerald-Jane (Aggrey-Appiah) Hunter ’03, Kara (Skatrud) Baylor ’92, Lorenzo Creighton '75, Barbara Fuller '72, Spruiell White ’67, and Maxie (Jones) Rockymore ’82, who will deliver the Don Kemp Memorial Lecture on April 25. The yearlong celebration of the BSU kicked off at Homecoming and will culminate in an alumni reunion April 26–28.

The Class of 2019 and their loved ones will celebrate Commencement on Sunday, May 26 ( It’s hard to believe, but that means we’ll soon bid a fond farewell to President Paula Carlson, who plans to retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year.

After Commencement, Luther’s campus will start to buzz with summer visitors young and old. Each June through August, Luther hosts thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students interested in everything from music ( to nature ( to sports ( to science ( This summer, the college will also offer its third annual Dance Camp (, an inclusive, empowering, fun, and inspiring week of movement and expression.

Luther has summer programming for adults, too. If you enjoy singing in fellowship, mark your calendars for the college’s second annual Dorian Choral Retreat for Adults (, June 28–30. And keep in mind that you can host your own event ( on Luther’s campus. Your alma mater would love to have you!

Best wishes for a happy spring,

Hildy (Grevstad) McGown
1957 Class Agent
106 Nautilus Drive
Madison, WI 53705
[email protected]



R. Neale Downing of Harpers Ferry, Iowa, died Sept. 10, 2018, age 87. 

Conrad O. Engebretson of Decorah, died July 15, 2018, age 85.

Marlys (Wilkens) Lien of Decorah, died Sept. 28, 2018, age 82.

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]