Class of 1978 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019

Hey Class of '78,

What a reunion! A whole lot of our classmates - 185, give or take a few - gathered in Decorah back in October to catch up, swap stories, share a beverage or two and to just celebrate all the memories and slices of life we've shared for these past 45 years. Kudos to the Luther College Alumni and Development staff and to the 40-year Reunion Planning Committee for their enthusiasm and creativity in putting together such a fabulous weekend.  And a huge thanks to everyone who joined the celebration, either in person or in spirit. What do you say? Let's do it again in 2023!

And, an equally huge thanks for your incredible support of the 40-year Reunion Giving  Campaign. And I do mean Incredible! The hard working folks in the Development Office have come out with a few year-end giving reports - including the 40th reunion campaign and challenge report.   

So let's do the numbers:

  • The Class of 1978 Challenge resulted in $23,143 in donor support that was matched dollar-for-dollar and $76,213 triple matched. Wow!!  129 of our classmates "activated" this matching support.
  • Campaign dollar total including all gifts, pledges, and planned gifts summed up to a remarkable $2,022,829! This is the largest 40-year reunion two-year campaign total to date.  We've definitely set the bar for future reunions!
  • 143 classmates—34.5% of our class—were counted in the campaign. This is roughly 10% higher than Luther's average reported alumni participation. It's also higher than the 31% four-year average participation for previous 40-year Luther reunions. 

So Class of  '78 - take a moment or two to pat yourselves on the back. We done good. Can't wait to see what we'll do next. Here's to our 45th!

As I write to you, Luther student musicians are playing and singing at full tilt. Collegiate Chorale and Cathedral Choir just returned from tours of the Midwest, and Jazz Orchestra sets out April 12 for a tout that includes South Dakota and Minnesota ( On top of that, Nordic Choir sings with the Des Moines Symphony April 27 and 28 (

This year, Luther hosted a number of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary ( of the college’s Black Student Union ( The events included visits from several alumni who were invited back to campus to speak throughout the year, including Christie Owens ’16, Maggie (Steinberg) Hagen ’15, Gaone Masire ’82, Emerald-Jane (Aggrey-Appiah) Hunter ’03, Kara (Skatrud) Baylor ’92, Lorenzo Creighton '75, Barbara Fuller '72, Spruiell White ’67, and Maxie (Jones) Rockymore ’82, who will deliver the Don Kemp Memorial Lecture on April 25. The yearlong celebration of the BSU kicked off at Homecoming and will culminate in an alumni reunion April 26–28.

The Class of 2019 and their loved ones will celebrate Commencement on Sunday, May 26 ( It’s hard to believe, but that means we’ll soon bid a fond farewell to President Paula Carlson, who plans to retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year.

After Commencement, Luther’s campus will start to buzz with summer visitors young and old. Each June through August, Luther hosts thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students interested in everything from music ( to nature ( to sports ( to science ( This summer, the college will also offer its third annual Dance Camp (, an inclusive, empowering, fun, and inspiring week of movement and expression.

Luther has summer programming for adults, too. If you enjoy singing in fellowship, mark your calendars for the college’s second annual Dorian Choral Retreat for Adults (, June 28–30. And keep in mind that you can host your own event ( on Luther’s campus. Your alma mater would love to have you!

Best wishes for a happy spring,

Julie Dahlen
1978 Class Agent
205 Dempsey Road
Madison, WI 53714-3005
[email protected]

Barbara (Noe) Koch
1978 Class Agent
4303 Woodsmill Court NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52411
[email protected]



Diane (Bandel) Padrutt of Marshall, Wis., is a piano accompanist for church, school concerts, solos, and ensemble groups.

Kathy (Jacobson) Ruhser teaches K-6 music at MFL MarMac Elementary School in Monona, Iowa.



Susan JoAnn Wilke of Dubuque, Iowa, died Oct. 30, 2018, age 62.

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

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.


We are pleased to announce Dr. Jenifer K. Ward as the 11th president of Luther College! For more information about President-elect Ward, visit

As you may remember from your Fall 2018 Class Agent letter, Luther has recently completed an extensive brand strategy research process.


As a result of our research and in collaboration with members of the Luther community, we have developed several statements that will guide future communications.

We know that you, our alumni, are often asked about your alma mater. What you say to prospective students and their families about Luther College can have a huge impact on their decisions to visit campus, apply and, hopefully, enroll.

You know Luther well. You matter to us and we’re interested in hearing from you.

We invite you to take a few minutes to preview some of our new statements and share your thoughts. The example statements, as well as a response survey, are available online:

Many thanks!

If you have any questions please email Catherine Dyer, Brand and Marketing Director at [email protected]