Class of 1985 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019

Dear Friends of the Class of 1985,

As I write to you, I am invigorated by the messages from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. In recent years, this isn’t something that I closely monitored, but I had the good fortune to work on it this year. The messaging rang especially true on many levels. The basic premise is that in times of unprecedented disruption, trust is everything. Trust is the world’s currency.

Obviously, trust is imperative in business, but as I reflect on the state of the world, down to individual relationships, the same applies. And while WEF was focused on shared responsibility and shared benefits, I am struck that this is one of the most precious values we retain from our time at Luther. Trust, a sense of community and shared responsibility is the fabric of Luther. Sometimes I think I took that foundation for granted, but in times like this I am strongly reminded of the importance. We have a unique lens to the world and the world needs more of it. (IMHO as my kids would say)

With that infusion of trust and faith emanating out of Chicago, we have thrown off the Polar Vortex and spring is finally making its way! 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 tour that includes South Dakota and Minnesota ( On top of that, Nordic Choir sings with the Des Moines Symphony April 27 and 28 ( I hope you are able to catch them when they pass through your town!

This year, Luther hosted a number of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary ( of the college’s Black Student Union ( 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 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. You can create your own pop-up reunion – which is making me hungry for Mabe’s.

Best wishes for a happy spring,

Jane (Theodore) Bakker
1985 Class Agent
409 Division Street
Oak Park, IL 60302-1438
[email protected]

Charles Hoven
1985 Class Agent
5841 N. Kenmore, # 1
Chicago, IL 60660
[email protected]


Karen (Wilken) Braun was named as one of the top 50 professors in business by Poets & Quants for Undergrads. She is Professor of Accountancy at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland. Her textbook, Managerial Accounting, now in it’s fifth addition, is used in classrooms at more than 200 universities across the U.S. and Canada. 

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]