Class of 1976 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear 1976 Classmate,

Is it just us -- or does TIME seem to go faster and faster as we A.G.E.??? It is already AUGUST 2018 and Luther is organizing Homecoming.  Please see the details about the homecoming happenings included in this letter.  

As "we" write this letter we are anticipating a wonderful weekend at the Mayowood Stone Barn in Rochester for one of our twin boy’s wedding.  (The one that went to Luther - so we are hoping for a nice representation of our LUTHER NATION) It is always SO great to be with our Luther Family. It always seems to amaze us that when we meet a person who graduated from Luther, they are instant friends. We can all be so proud to have been a part of such an awesome institution. 

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:

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:

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.

While changes are afoot at our alma mater, Luther also holds tight to its traditions, like keeping in touch with valued alumni. We hope you’ll let us know what’s new in your life too! Until then, best wishes for a fall that’s as beautiful as it is in the Oneota Valley.

Blessing to all of you.. Be Safe.. Be Happy... and LOVE LIFE!!! 


Rod and Geri (Grimm) Dirth
1976 Class Agents
13890 Gulf Breeze Court
Apple Valley, MN 55124
651-660-0503; 952-215-7854
[email protected]
[email protected]


Cheri (Wiedenmann) and Scott Francik live in Marion, Iowa. She retired after 37 years teaching math for Anamosa (Iowa) Community Schools. He retired after 36 years as a counselor at Anamosa State Penitentiary.

Paula (Larson) Petersburg is vice president and trust officer at Clear Lake Bank and Trust in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Laurel (Ellison) Shultz of Greene, Iowa, retired after 37 years as vice president at Principal Financial Group.



Winnifred Marian (Pond) Althiser of Bemidji, Minn., died Oct. 15, 2017, age 63.

Michael Lee Bina of Bloomington, Minn., died April 17, 2018, age 63.

Margie Ann (Berkland) Blake of Mason City, Iowa, died June 21, 2017, age 80.

Sandy Myhro of Brightwaters, N.Y., formerly of Rushford, Minn., died Dec. 4, 2017, age 63.

The full obituaries of classmates listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at:

If you would like a printout of the obituaries listed above in their entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.