Class of 1973 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Dear Friend,

A few years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to return to Luther, but this time in a totally different capacity. I wasn’t on campus as an alum for Homecoming festivities or for Christmas at Luther; I wasn’t being a Luther parent at volleyball matches, or visiting daughter (Anne ’02) and son (Jeff ’04) at Family Weekend, or celebrating their graduations; this time I was there as a sabbatical replacement instructor of German in the Modern Languages Department. As I walked up to my office on 4th floor Main, past the desk where I had spent many work-study hours as a student, and looked out the windows overlooking the campus, my heart was filled with memories of my Luther experiences, and gratitude for the impact they have had on my life.

Having the opportunity to teach at Luther gave me another perspective of the excellence of a Luther education. Working alongside faculty committed to the liberal arts, who provide students with high quality instruction as well as challenge them to think critically and responsively in an ever-changing world, helped me better appreciate and understand the effort that our professors “back in the day” expected of us. It was also heartwarming to see that the sense of community is still important and vibrant—students and professors still get to know and support one another—inside and outside of class. And, it was so much fun to experience the Luther connection in yet another way—Linda (Schwake) Vold’s niece was one of my students!

My gratitude for the Luther connection prompted me to say yes last summer when asked to consider serving as the next class agent. I’ll do my best to live up to the high standards set by my predecessors: Tom Walters, Susan Rosholt, Sara Fisher, Susie (Arends) Amundson, Debra Rosheim, Linda Wangsness, Craig Hall, Shirley (Newman) Harrold, and, especially our current class agent extraordinaire, Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp, who has been a mainstay for the Class of ’73. Thank you, Ranae, for your enthusiastic support and loyalty, and for keeping us so well informed about all things Luther via your class agent letters and posts on Facebook! If you haven’t already seen it, you should check out the Luther 1973 Facebook Page.

You can also stay connected with Luther through the many links on the college website at The “connect” webpage,, provides links to social media, streaming, news, blogs, publications, and more; you can also check out for links to lots of news and information: alumni profiles, comparisons and rankings, life after Luther, etc.

Some recent Luther news:

  • A light went out in the Luther community with the passing of Weston Noble ’43 at age 94 on December 21, 2016. Weston left a mark on the hearts and lives of generations of Luther students, especially those who were blessed to sing in his choirs, and part of his legacy will be those fond memories that connect us to each other and to Luther. A celebration of life for Weston will be held on the Luther campus at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Center for Faith and Life, Main Hall. More information about his life can be found here:
  • Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was the honored speaker at the opening convocation for Luther’s 2017 spring semester, when the college began its commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
  • “Jerome the gnome” is back to promote Luther's second Giving Day on March 9. This is a fun day of sharing Luther love all over social media and raising money for the Annual Fund. If you missed out on this awesome event in either 2016 or 2017, I hope you will be able to participate in March 2018. Check out #luthergives17 on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Giving back to Luther is a wonderful way to honor those who shaped our Luther experience and who form the bond of our Luther connection. Establishing a habit of regular giving will play a big role in sustaining that unique experience for current students, and ensuring it for others in the future. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is through monthly giving, and joining Luther’s Loyalty Society, which recognizes donors who make gifts at any level for three or more consecutive years. For more details, visit Regular giving to Luther is a great habit to cultivate – and it truly makes a difference!

We recently received a heart-warming note of thanks from the recipient of the Class of ’73 scholarship, Anna Seboldt, a sophomore communication studies major. She is minoring in music and participates in Cathedral Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra, and expressed her gratitude for our contributions to Luther in general, as well as to her personal education. It feels good to know how the dollars we give impact students’ lives!

We alumni play an integral role in recruiting new students to the college. Do you know some students you would like to see at Luther? Prospective students who show promise may receive a voucher from the Book Shop when they enroll at Luther. The Admissions Office will be rolling out a new scholarship program this summer. Stay tuned.

Do you have plans to travel in the coming year? You may want to check out some of the travel tours coordinated and/or promoted by Luther’s Alumni Office. Information can be found on the web page Upcoming tours in 2017 include a New England coastal cruise in September; Holocaust tour in Europe in July; and Vietnam and Cambodia adventure in November.

Returning to Decorah always brings memories of those “back in the day” favorite locales, but it is also fun to explore the relatively new places the town has to offer. Besides its three coffee shops—Java John’s, Magpie Coffeehouse, and Impact Coffee—Decorah has a new burrito place, B.A. Burrito Co. And, did you know there are two breweries in Decorah? Toppling Goliath and Pulpit Rock have each helped to put Decorah on the beer map.

Decorah is a busy place! Check your 2017 calendars and consider making plans to attend these upcoming events:

Although it is more than a year away, I hope you are already thinking about attending our 45-year class reunion. The dates for Luther’s 2018 Homecoming are Friday, October 26-Sunday, October 28. More details about the reunion will come out later, but please put these dates on your calendar now—let’s have a great turn-out from the Class of 1973!

Following are notes received recently from classmates:

  • Tim Christ is pastor at Joy Lutheran Church in Richmond, Texas, and serves as the dean of the South Texas Mission District of the North American Lutheran Church.
  • Brent Christianson is retired after 21 years as the executive director of Lutheran Campus Ministry in Madison, Wis. His poem “Reading Bly in the Waiting Room” was published in the Oct. 18 Journal of the American Medical Association, and his book My Beloved, My Friend: The Song of Songs for Couples will be released by Judson Press in January 2017.
  • Greg Dahlberg was elected to the board of directors for Leidos Holdings, Inc., in Reston, Va.
  • Loren Esse works in pharmacy delivery for HyVee Drugstore in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ranae and I both look forward to sharing more of your news with our classmates. Feel free to write either of us at the email addresses below, or contact the Luther Alumni office directly.

Thank you for being an integral part of our collective Luther experience, and an important part of my personal connection to Luther. You helped me figure out who I was, what was important to me, and who I was called to be. Thank you for being who you are, and for the positive impact you are making in our world. And, thank you, for supporting Luther’s mission, as well as its current and future students, with your financial support! See you in October 2018!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pat (Holtorf) Branstad
[email protected]                       

Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp
[email protected]

Your gift. Put to work, right away, where it is needed most.

Last year more than 10,000 alumni, family, and friends supported Luther’s Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $100,000. Your gift makes a difference for each and every student at Luther, and we are grateful for your support.


This list includes all gifts received January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016. Making a gift each and every year is an investment in the lives of Luther students and a show of support for the Luther College community. Thank you for your support of Luther College through your giving.

Kenneth Abraham
Candace (Grimm) Altorfer
Barbara (Langdon) Anderson
Thomas Appel
Kathleen (Fraser) Ayer
William Ayer
Charles Beatty
Mary (Scofield) Belden
Kari Berg
Marsha Bergan
Kathryn Bohstedt
Pamela (Kerling) Boland
Deborah (Nelson) Bowles
James Branch
Patricia (Holtorf) Branstad
Laurel (Dain) Braun
Rebecca (Banken) Brindle
Karen Brubakken
Karen (Peterson) Burger
Brenda (Landsgard) Carlson
Else (Hanson) Carlson
Diane (Butterfield) Caucutt
Barbara (Donaldson) Chapin
Rocklon Chapin
Jeanne (Rutenbeck) Christensen
Birgitte (Povelsen) Christianson
Steven Clausen
Janet Clegg
Gregory Dahlberg
Kathryn (Sorensen) Dahlberg
Pamela (Bungum) Davick
Karen Davidson
Marc Dettmann
Teresa Eckhart
Mary Eide
Dennis Ellingson
Susan (Arneson) Ellingson
Charles Engebretson
Nancy (Glew) Erickson
Judy (Afdahl) Evans
Daniel Flage
Donovan Frank
Shirley (Shelton) Franks
Laurie Gage
Carol Galvin Wick
Catherine (Hansen) George
Debra (Rosheim) Geske
Ron Gesme
Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp
Debra (Hopson) Glasper
Beverly Hale-Halleckson
Craig Hall
Eileen Hanneman
Shirley (Newman) Harrold
Jo Ellen Haugo
Steven Hendrickson
Brenda (Knudtsen) Hennessey
Paul Hesterman
Steven Hildebrand
Ruth Ann Hjelle
Muriel (Flom) Hogan
Daryl Holcomb
John Holt
Fay (Reinert) Hunter
Ronald Jensen
Dale Johnson
Jeffrey Johnson
Nancy (Nelson) Johnson
Patricia (Shefveland) Jordahl
Susan (Swenson) Juergensmeier
David Kark
Gary Kelm
Merlin Kneisler
Paul Koch
Stephanie (Hanson) Koch
Cheryl Kolander
Douglas Kratz
Steven Larsen
Eric Larson
Keith Larson
Eugene Leisinger
John Lowe
Debora Madsen
Jay McLaren
Janet (Rawson) Metcalfe
Randal Miller
Victoria (Dahly) Miller
Rolf Moan
Steven Moburg
Mary (Runningen) Monsted
Julie (Ray) Moore
David Morrison
Barbara (Elmer) Nickell
Deanna (Schulz) Nordstrom
Patricia (Potter) Oestreich
David Olson
Judy Olson
Larayne (Rahn) Olson
Betty (Taylor) Peterson
Warren Peterson
Shirley Poock
Catherine Powers
Joanne (Fieser) Reinertson
Gregory Rosholt
Susan (Teig) Rosholt
Barry Rowe
Rebecca Rush
Julie (Nelson) Sabin
Carol (Leiding) Saddoris
Nancy (Fredrickson) Savre
Paul Savre
John Schaefer
Stephen Schmidt
Vicki (Hatleback) Schuh
Vicki (Nuttelman) Schwichtenberg
Bonnie (Richardson) Seem
Julie (Hedlund) Seidelmann
Thomas Seidelmann
Peggy (Smith) Sorensen
Susan Sorlien
John Steger
Karin Steinlicht
Ruth (Rem) Thickpenny
Janet (Purmort) Tollund
Paul Torgerson
Rebecca (Larson) Torgerson
Marilyn (Young) Tremml
Joyce (Hildenbrand) Turnbull-Reynolds
Steven Vick
Linda (Schwake) Vold
Shirley (Groth) Voll
Joann (Hove) Voltmer
Thomas Walters
Cheryl (Lee) Wangsness
Deborah (Corey) Wemette
Joe Wemette
Jean (Hausknecht) Whipple
Alan Wicks
Rodney Wiemeri
Rosemary (Davitt) Williamson
Marsha (Goettsch) Witte
Catherine (Ewings) Wright
Pheobe (Rasmussen) Yencic
Jan Young

Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If an error has been made, please accept our apology and contact the Luther Development Office at 800-225-8664, or email [email protected].