Class of 1973 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Classmate,

Homecoming 2018 should be very special because it will mark 45 years since we graduated. The dates are October 26-28, and you should plan for your lodging ASAP. Besides the motels, check out and to find a large list of possibilities in and around Decorah. Fairfield Inn is the most recent motel opening in Decorah, located where the Cliff House and Bluffs Inn used to be. Luther also has a listing of local residents who are willing to offer beds to alumni.

EIGHTY YEARS AGO: A total enrollment of 450 students is reported at Luther College. Classes began in mid-September. The number of freshmen exceeds 150 and more than 50 of those frosh are girls. (Decorah Newspapers, Echoes of the Past)


For 2017-2018 Student enrollment is 2,053.

·         Our new registered student total is 540 (517 first-year students, 23 transfer students).

·         U.S. students of color total 221 (10.8% of total enrollment), and international students total 161 (7.8% of total enrollment).

·         39 states (includes Iowa) and 74 countries (includes U.S.) are represented in our total enrollment.

·         Student enrollment full-time equivalent (FTE) using the Common Data Set definition (full-time + 1/3 part-time), used for between institution comparison, is 2,027.

·         Forty percent of our total enrollment report Lutheran as their religious affiliation.

·         First-year to second-year persistence for the 2016 first-year student cohort is 82.5%; first-year to third-year persistence for the 2015 first-year student cohort is 77.0%; and first-year to fourth-year persistence for the 2014 first-year cohort is 78.9%.

·         Our most recent four-year graduation rate (2013 first-year student cohort graduating by Aug. 31, 2017) is 67.1%.

·         Our most recent five-year graduation rate (2012 first-year student cohort graduating by Aug. 31, 2017) is 78.4%.

·         Our most recent six-year graduation rate (2011 first-year student cohort graduating by Aug. 31, 2017) is 80.1%.

As you can see, our numbers are down to about what they were when we were students.

You can help in three ways:

·         Be a Luther ambassador by sending in names of potential students. By doing this, they are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship each year they are enrolled full time. You do not need to know if they have any interest in Luther or talk to them in advance. Go to They will receive information from Luther and the scholarship will be in your name. If you nominate a senior in high school, it

·         must be submitted by December 1 of their senior year. Parents cannot refer their own children.

·         Getting potential students on campus is a great recruiting tool. You might consider bringing them yourself. You also could organize a group from your church to visit.

·         Send in your donation to Luther College to be used in a variety of ways – general scholarships, development, athletics, Class of 1973 scholarship, etc. You can decide where you wish to give.

Financial aid is awarded to 98 percent of Luther students, so our help is greatly needed.

I was surprised to find that just over 25 percent of all alumni are giving to Luther. Our class is above the average, but it would be nice to raise the percentage even higher. Even a small gift is helpful. It doesn’t have to be a large dollar amount. Please consider joining me and our many classmates who have given in the past and continue to support Luther.

I hope you were able to participate in the second annual Giving Day. It was a great success with $504,991 pledged or given in one day. There were so many matching gifts that it made it easy to select several areas to give – such as Whippy Dip, departments, choir, etc.

The baseball and softball complexes were dedicated last spring with new press boxes and seating. The Wulfsberg Tennis Courts were resurfaced this fall, and Legacy Field (with blue AstroTurf) was dedicated September 9 with a win over St. Olaf!

Did you know that Decorah now has two craft breweries!?! Pulpit Rock is located in the back of the old laundromat on College Drive by the bridge. Toppling Goliath has been at the old Burger V but is building a new tasting room near the airport.

Luther has had a booth at the Iowa State Fair for several years, and they now ask alums to volunteer to help out the Luther staff. I had a great time being there and visited at other times to meet other alums. It was a great experience. If you have any interest in volunteering, please contact me or Sherry (Braun) Alcock ’82 at [email protected].

On Sunday, October 29, our classmate, Marty Haugen, led the event, Singing the Faith: A Reformation Hymn Festival, commemorating 500 years of reformation. The event, which took place in the Center for Faith and Life on Luther’s campus, celebrated the role of music, hymns, and singing in the shared work of spiritual formation, proclaiming the Gospel, and building community across generations, cultures, and traditions.

I’m looking forward to seeing you next fall.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Ranae Gip

1973 Class Agents:

Pat (Holtorf) Branstad
[email protected]

Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp
[email protected]



Chuck Beatty is an otolaryngologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He was elected president of the American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc. (American Triological Society). Founded in 1895, membership in the Society brings the distinction of being elected to the most prestigious society in otolaryngology. Active fellowship is achieved by presenting a thesis in the field of otolaryngology considered acceptable to a panel of peers. The Society disseminates scientific information by presenting the latest basic science and clinical information at scientific meetings and through publication of its scientific journals, The Laryngoscope and Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, and the newsmagazine ENTtoday. The Society promotes research into the causes of and treatments for otolaryngic diseases by attracting promising physicians to scholarly otolaryngology research and supporting their development, providing financial support for the research efforts of young scientists, and promoting the highest standards in the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.

Pat (Holtorf) Branstad is an instructor of German at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.

Jim Froisland is chief financial officer of Titan International, Inc., in Quincy, Ill.

Barbara (Elmer) Marshall Nickell of Salina, Kan., was selected as Kansas Wesleyan University’s 2016 Faculty of Distinction honoree. This annual Kansas Independent College Association award honors a faculty member at each school for their outstanding achievements in and out of the classroom.

Richard Nading retired from the U.S. Army after almost 30 years of service and has worked the last 10 years with Green River District Health Department in Owensboro, Ky., where he develops and presents programs for tobacco/substance abuse prevention and cessation to students from fourth grade through college level in seven counties.

Judy Olson of Austin, Texas, retired after 42 years of teaching secondary English and theatre.