It’s the start of a new school year at Luther, one that promises to be as wonderfully action-packed as ever. In August, the college welcomed 575 new students to campus. Over the summer, they read a book that many Luther grads will remember from Paideia: The Odyssey. This year’s edition comes with a twist: it’s the first English translation by a woman, Emily Wilson, and by all accounts it’s a vivid, engaging, and sprightly retelling of the classic homecoming story. If you’re up for a return to your Paideia roots, you can join the fun through Luther’s reading guide to the book: luther.edu/paideia/program/summer-reading/the-odyssey.
Speaking of homecomings, this year we’ll celebrate two important milestones during Luther’s Homecoming Weekend, October 26–28. First, the Black Student Union (BSU) commemorates its 50th anniversary this fall. There are several events planned during Homecoming and throughout the year to celebrate the founding of the organization—including forums, lectures, a brunch, and a BSU reunion—so mark your calendars. Luther’s Nursing Department also observes a birthday—its 40th—this fall. Homecoming Weekend, Kris Dreifuerst ’85 will lead a workshop for nursing educators and deliver the Ironside Distinguished (Alumni) Lecture in Nursing, which will be followed by an open house at Luther’s simulation lab.
In addition to Homecoming lecturers, Luther will welcome other notable speakers to campus this season. On October 23, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt will deliver the Farwell Distinguished Lecture, “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.” His book of the same name, published earlier this month, explores how the cultural climate of “safetyism” on college campuses across the U.S. interferes with the healthy development of students. He argues that recent social and cultural trends are setting children up to fail as healthy, autonomous, adaptable adults. If you don’t have time to read the book, you can get a snapshot through Haidt’s Atlantic article: theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356.
Finally, most have heard that President Paula Carlson will retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year. During her time at Luther, President Carlson added several academic programs to the college, renewed outdoor facilities, expanded Luther’s Career Center services, developed and launched the “Next Steps for Sophomores” program, added a dean of institutional equity and inclusion to Luther’s staff, and achieved Luther’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 percent by the end of 2015, among other things. Luther’s Board of Regents is taking the necessary steps in the presidential search process with the hope of transitioning leadership over the course of next summer and having a new president in place for the 2019–20 academic year.
I especially enjoyed hearing from some of you directly after the spring letter. Here is an excerpt from Connie Kronlokken’s e-mail:
Thank you for your letter with thoughts about legacy. My sister and I joke that we are past our “Sell by …” date, but of course we still have much to give our children and families! I have been in California for the past fifty years, mostly working in the administration of architectural companies, and haven’t had a lot of contact with our class.
But I do have a little class news to contribute: I have been working on, and will finish in the next year or so, a series of novels of the years from 1950 to 2010. It focuses on three Mikkelson siblings, who are somewhat like myself and my sisters. The series as a whole is called So Are You To My Thoughts and I have completed six of the volumes. It celebrates my parents, also Luther graduates (John and Florence Kronlokken), and the family that they made, in fictionalized stories. The books are published by Lightly Held Books, an imprint set up by myself and my husband. Here is the website: http://lightlyheldbooks.com/
In one of the books, Fit Company for Oneself, based on the proverb that education makes one fit company for oneself, you can see an idiosyncratic picture of Luther from the points of view of Line, who participates in the civil rights movement, and Marty, who is a literature major. I hope to finish the series soon! Copies of all of the books are in the Luther College Library in the alumni collection and are of course available on Amazon.com.
And an update from Dan Thurmer:
Filled with more blessings than any one person deservers, even through the toughest and best times in life, it continues to be rich and filled with growing edges. I’m finding it really hard to retire. Although most of my consulting through Thurmer Consulting Company is mostly at ‘rest’, I’m energized to continue as the Executive Director of ChristPond Retreat Center and Foundation in Random Lake, WI. Sharing part - time Pastoral Care work at Fox Point Lutheran Church, Milwaukee keeps me centered in living, dying, helping, reaching, praying, seeing the reality of the seasons of life. Joyful? Not always, but meaningful, yes.
Working responsibilities keep my heart going, but don’t feel sorry for me. Oh yes, ‘remission for mission’ is the mission statement since diagnosis with cancer.
Frankly, a rich experience recognizing you are not ready to live until you are ready to die. The diagnosis helps make the reality of it more genuine. We are all on the same route. Route 66 is a good starting point if you use the Bible as a road map.
I love hearing from all of you. My first letter felt scary; I remember pleading with you for news. I also remember threatening you with stories about my grandchildren if you didn’t comply! Now I feel like we almost have a dialogue. Please feel free to join in at any
time. If I have one regret from my Luther days, it’s that I didn’t get a chance to meet everyone. Some of you I have met for the first time at our reunions and I realize that the loss is mine.
Continue to support Luther in your prayers and contributions, whatever they may be.
Soli Deo Gloria.
1966 Class Agent
21867 Deters Drive
Spring Grove, MN 55974
Vincent Wixon lives in Ashland, Oregon. His latest book of poems, Laying By, was published by Flowstone Press and is available on Amazon.
Sandra J. Rettschlag of Clyman, Wis., died June 1, 2017, age 73.
The full obituary of the classmate listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at: luther.edu/in-memoriam/
If you would like a printout of the obituary listed above in its entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.