Class of 1962 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Greetings to the Class of ’62,

It has come and gone: another Homecoming with the celebration, a getting together of our class, the 55th gathering of the young and the restless.

I think we should pause and give thought to how much effort the college expended on this weekend.  To take a pragmatic view of it, Homecoming in many ways is a great fundraiser for the school. Beyond that, however, that weekend pulls so many wonderful elements together: friends come from far away; once students, we now are back with former faculty; we are updated on present initiatives of faculty and administration, obtaining an understanding of  where higher education is tending. There is, also, a glimpse of what we alums can do to help the college keep abreast of developments in society. 

Wherever we now are, homecoming reminds us all that we are forever members of the Luther community. Sure, when our school looks good we all look good. 

More than that, however, participating in the “life of Luther” is one significant way we can influence the direction of society. Teaching, public service, medicine, ministry, and research all strengthen and improve the world we inhabit. Just look at the various arenas where our graduates have contributed in high and low stations – it all has an effect, increasing the social capital of our world.

Next homecoming, mentally stand back and appreciate all the power that has been added to the world through the many gifts those around you have made real for so many people. What is the value and consequence of the lives lived since 1962?

One of the emphases that President Farwell presented the college was that of global awareness.  This remains important for Luther. One of the selected topics for January Term, which we did not have, is travel to and participation in foreign societies. In our time a European tour was a great challenge.  Nowadays January Term students are enlightened by foreign travel and what it brings back from various ends of the earth to become discussion topics in regular classes. President Torgerson took steps to expand global awareness as well. This awareness is now far more present than in our time. 

Sunday afternoon of homecoming is always special to those who were involved in musical activities in our time. Along with the delight of hearing Nordic Choir, Concert Band, and Symphony Orchestra comes a note of sadness I feel for the musicians. It is clear to me that when they leave Luther they will not have the opportunities to play or sing along side others who are equally skilled as musicians nor will they be led by conductors nearly so competent. I want to shake them up and say, “Enjoy it when you have it.”  

Even though it was rainy off and on, it was a marvelous homecoming that could not be soaked up.  Then as now the Luther experience was an indoor experience. For that I want to express my gratitude to Luther and so should we all.Finally here are some statistics the college has crunched for us: Out of 239 living members, there were 116 who donated which is 48.54 percent of those living. All funds given totaled $110,463. In the honor rolls for the year 2016 there were six categories of giving, the class of 1962 figured in three of the six. GOOD SHOW!

As class agent I have adopted the following philosophy: I do not rag on more and more contributions to Luther.  Rather I try to dwell on how good Luther is and assume that if you find that valuable you will support it.  People pay for what they value!  That makes it easy on my part because Luther is Damn Good.

Sic semper

John Helgeland
1962 Class Agent
[email protected]


Marilyn (Miller) Anderson of Decorah presented the program “Christian Churches in Israel and Palestine: Protectors of the Holy Sites” for the December Lutheran Church Women’s Advent-Christmas potluck.

Lois (Stole) Berg of St. Anthony, Minn., is retired.

Paul Heltne of Chicago was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Lee Nylander of Noblesville, Ind., died Jan. 6, 2017, at age 76. Born in Elmwood Park, Ill., he majored in chemistry at Luther and went on to receive a doctorate in chemistry from Loyola University in Chicago. Lee was retired from Broutman & Associates in Chicago, where he had served as a vice president for 19 years. A member of the Noblesville Baptist Church and Blatchley Nature Club, Lee raised prized orchids and was also a past-president of the Illinois Orchid Society and Society of Plastic Engineers.He is survived by his wife, Belva Nylander; children, Kimberely (Lou) Nylander Herrera and Neil (Aliya) Nylander; four step-children: Lisa (Kurt) Herron, Richard (Kathy) Gigante, Andrew (Shannon) Gigante, and Lauren (Matt) Wilkens; 14 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.