Class of 1969 Spring 2018 Letter

Spring 2018

Dear Classmate,

In years gone by, I remember hearing older folks talking about it being a “tough winter” or hoping to “get through another winter.” Now in my seventies, I understand those sentiments a bit better. I choose to live in Wisconsin, so my winter is a cold one, contributing to aching joints and muscles. The days are short and the nights are long - darkness seems to win over light. Winter would be a depressing season for me if it were not for my retirement job at our local school, helping students to experience the joy of singing! Rather than enduring the winter alone, I have been given the gift of community surrounded by teenagers. They bring light to my life!

We are currently engaged in a discussion about the effectiveness and relevance of different modes of education. In our community we have initiated an interscholastic cooperative that offers a wider range of technical courses than could be offered by each individual school alone. The philosophy behind this venture is the belief that all students do not fit into a college-bound mold and need to be given different opportunities to learn. In a recent discussion with our very progressive and student-oriented superintendent, I voiced my concern that the broader humanity of each student not be neglected for the sake of skills acquisition and job-readiness. I was gratified to hear the administrator emphatically acknowledge the absolute need to strengthen our humanities offerings rather than diminish them. He agreed that a tech–based education could be dehumanizing if we do not accept the responsibility of developing the whole person. 

I was reminded of my conversation with the administrator when I read President Carlson’s article about Luther’s pre-professional programs in the winter edition of “Luther Magazine.” She writes about a young Luther graduate who she describes as a “T-shaped engineer.” Carlson states, “The T represents both vertical depth of knowledge in scientific and technical areas, and horizontal breadth in literature, the arts, philosophy and more…. His liberal arts education at Luther gave him the added skills that now provide him an advantage in his career.  He knows how to question and think critically, how to make connections among disciplines, how to keep learning throughout his life, and how to communicate clearly.”

I would add one thought to President Carlson’s. The broad liberal arts education we all received at Luther took place within a caring community of both faith and learning. The relationships that were possible within this small community also strengthened and enriched our lives. For me, Luther was and is a model of community that needs to be perpetuated as we live in these very turbulent and distressing times. Our world needs not only skilled technologists, but also leaders who are able to understand what it means to be human together. 

So I continue to proudly and gratefully support Luther College and I encourage you, too, to give back to our Alma Mater as you see fit. You can make a gift today by using the attached form and the reusable envelope or by visiting

One of the ways to do that is to recruit students for Luther. If you know a young person who you believe could be successful at Luther, make a referral to the college through the Alumni Ambassador Program, If the person you refer decides to attend Luther, they will receive a $1,000 grant each year for four years because you referred them.

Another way to recruit students is to bring them to campus for a game or musical performance. Let Luther speak for itself during these visits. If you have an extra $500 to spend on something special, give the gift of a scholarship to Dorian Summer Music camp. And please be generous with monetary gifts. The cumulative effect of even small gifts provides for the ongoing needs of a vital community. Let the Class of ’69 step forward as a leader in supporting our beloved Luther!

Save the date – Homecoming 2019 – October 4-6, our 50-year Anniversary Reunion! 

Think Spring!  Soli Deo Gloria!

Richard Staff

1969 Class Agents:

Judy (Miller) Nelson
[email protected]

Richard Staff
[email protected]


Aleta (Reckling) Chossek of Shorewood, Wis., is author of A New Life: New York to Chicago, a part of Family Stories from the Attic: an anthology of essays, creative nonfiction, and poetry inspired by family letters, objects, and archives.

James Hockings passed away in Feb. 2013. His book Zen Slaps from a Cancer Warrior: a Pissant’s Perspective, was launched in London, Ontario, where he was a portrait and artistic photographer for over 30 years before becoming a writer. The book chronicles his year-long fight with bladder cancer. The book’s promotional description: Welcome to an irreverent memoir of a passionate photographer/writer fighting cancer on his own terms, while living a love story. James Hockings is a witty and sometimes profound companion for anyone facing a life-threatening disease. He was written a soulful answer to Hitchens’ Mortality. The book is available in paperback by order from Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, a wide range of bookstores, and in paperback or eBook through Amazon. The book was edited and published by Eric Hustvedt ’69 of Mill Village, Nova Scotia, Canada, through his communications company Talent Bank Communications.