If you were able to attend our 25-year class reunion at Homecoming 2017, I hope you had as much fun as I did! If you were unable to attend, rest assured that the reunion celebration provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with old friends and to celebrate the many achievements of our classmates.
The celebration began on Friday evening at T-Bocks Underground, where more than 100 classmates gathered. I saw many faces that were familiar to me, and others that I haven’t seen in 25 years. As you might expect, there was much catching up to do and the refreshments flowed long into the evening. The celebration continued at T-Bocks on Saturday morning with a few souls braving the foul weather to watch the homecoming parade. My sincere thanks to classmate, Dominque (Eells) Bockman and her husband, Mike Bockman, for graciously hosting these gatherings!
A number of classmates received awards over the weekend. On Friday evening, Sujay Lama, head women’s tennis coach at the University of North Texas, was honored with a Distinguished Service Award for his work serving those in need in his home country through Project Nepal. You can learn more about Sujay’s work in Nepal at www.luther.edu/magazine.
On Saturday, three classmates were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of their achievements as Norse: Stephen Stokes was recognized for his football and baseball accomplishments; Melanie House for golf; and Rick Burke for football, basketball, and track. Since we’re talking sports… I’m happy to report a homecoming victory. The Norse defeated Nebraska Wesleyan University 41-38 in overtime, for the first homecoming victory on the brand new blue turf field.
Finally, on Sunday, two from our class were honored for their musical achievements. David Upham was selected as the Sperati Award recipient for his work as the director of orchestras and assistant professor of music education at the University of New Hampshire, and as the founder of University of New Hampshire Youth Symphony Orchestras. Shelly Schaeufele received the Weston Noble Award for her outstanding efforts as a music educator, including work in the Waukee, Iowa, Community School District and her 28 years of service at Luther’s Dorian Summer Music Camps, where she currently serves as the dean of students. Please join me in congratulating these well-deserving classmates!
On Saturday evening, the class gathered for our reunion dinner. Chad Thomley kicked off the evening with an unforgettable routine on memories of our years at Luther… thank you Chad! During the dinner, Wendy (Jaycox) Davidson, who serves on the Board of Regents, presented President Paula Carlson with our 25-year reunion class gift, which totaled $334,866.86. Sincere thanks go out to the 141 classmates, 27 percent of our class, who have thus far contributed to the reunion giving campaign! As part of the reunion giving campaign, we established the Class of 1992 Scholarship and have so far received approximately $12,000 in gifts and pledges. We’re well on our way to the minimum funding level of $25,000, before annual scholarships can be awarded. If you are interested in making a gift in support of the scholarship or the broader reunion giving campaign, there is still time! All gifts and pledge made before December 31, 2017, will count toward the reunion giving total.
In closing, I want to thank the talented and energetic group that made this reunion celebration possible by serving on the reunion planning committee: Dominique (Eells) Bockman, Eric Dodd, Nancy (Quiring) Fisher, Amy Gilbertson, Suzanne Greene, Tracy Johnson, Eric Monson, Kimberly (Gass) Mueller, Rachel (Krieger) Nunez, Kari Amundson Schmidt, Jennifer (Lutz) Suhr, and Chris Tyler. The efforts of the planning committee were ably led by co-chairs Wendy (Jaycox) Davidson, Kirsten Roverud Heine, Karen (Titus) Trewin, and Craig Rabe. Finally, our thanks go out to Megan (Minnihan) Torkelson '05, assistant director of annual giving, who was the driving force behind the planning effort! Please join me in sharing a word of thanks with this incredible group for their work in making our reunion celebration a smashing success! Looking forward to Homecoming 2022!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Stephanie Agresta of Little Silver, N.J., helped found The Scale Collective and joined the board of SheWorx to take an equity stake in the company. The Scale Collective gathers 300 investors, female founders of technology companies and industry experts, to help accelerate growth for women entrepreneurs. She is an award-winning, digital first advisor who helps technology companies, startups, marketing teams and individuals to accelerate growth through relationship management, partnership development, evangelism, and counsel on marketing, communications, and advertising.
Todd Baxter is chief nursing officer at Texas Health Hospital in Carrollton.
Kurt Clopton of Marshfield, Wis., recently published a comic novel entitled SuperGuy.
Wendy (Jaycox) Davidson of Wheaton, Ill., is president, U.S. Specialty Channels for Kellogg Company in Elmhurst, Ill. She received a Top 20 Business Women in Illinois Award from the National Diversity Council. Wendy wrote a column for “I’m a Lutheran,” which was featured in Voices of Faith on livinglutheran.org. She is a member of Luther’s Board of Regents.Jill Esterly-Jayne is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist with Susan La Freniere & Associates in Marquette, Mich.
Mike Gerdin is chairman and CEO of Heartland Express in North Liberty, Iowa.
Craig Helmstetter is managing partner of American Public Media Research Lab & Analyst Group in St. Paul, Minn.
Alesia Hruska-Hageman is associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Andrew Mangion is chairman of EC English Language Centers, which recently funded the construction of a village well and partnered with an education charity, United World Schools, to build a school for children in Ban Huoy, Cambodia.
Todd Pyka is clinic director for West Central Wisconsin Behavioral Health Clinic in Independence.
Diane (Johnson) Smith earned a professional certificate in case management from the Commission for Case Manager Certification and is a clinical review RN for the Radiology Department at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.
Troy Terry is a sales consultant and sales manager for St. Joseph Paper and Packaging in South Bend, Ind.
(†)ANDREW GRAY and Carrie Willett welcomed a daughter, Karna Raine, in October 2013
Andrew Gray of Northfield, Minn., died July 28, 2017, at age 47. Born in La Crosse, Wis., he grew up in Spring Grove and Mabel, graduating in 1988 from Spring Grove High School, where he participated in choir and band. During his time at Luther, where he majored in elementary education, Andrew sang with Norsemen as a first-year student and Nordic Choir for the next three years, and he was honored to serve as Weston Noble’s personal valet during Nordic’s Russia tour. He was a member of the WIMI fraternity service organization, serving as its president, and, because of his passion for the college’s philosophy and mission, he had a goal of becoming Luther’s president someday, and shaping young people spiritually, educationally, and for service to others. During his senior year at Luther, Andrew was recruited for a position with Lutheran Brotherhood (LB) in La Jolla, Calif. After five years and being homesick for the Midwest, he secured a job at the LB home office in Minneapolis, followed by a management position in Davenport, Iowa, recruiting and training LB representatives. Andrew decided to try a new career path and, after studying the human nervous system, ventured into pharmaceutical sales. He met Carrie Willett in 2004, while living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and thecouple were married May 28, 2006, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove. Andrew and Carrie spent their early years building a home together, socializing with family and friends, hiking, traveling, and running. In 2011 their son was born and in 2013, their daughter. Andrew returned to the field of financial management in 2011, working for Thrivent Financial as a wealth advisor in Northfield. He loved being a husband and father and sharing his love of music, friends, faith, and learning with his young children, and taking them to his parents’ cabin in Canada. In March 2016 Andrew was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and his friends began working together to find a donor who would be a perfect match for his eventual stem cell transplant. With the help of his parents, who were at his side as caregivers; Carrie; work colleagues; and many dear friends and relatives, Andrew navigated the 16-month journey of chemo, radiation, and transplant. He died July 28, 2017, at Methodist Hospital in Rochester. Andrew is survived by his wife, Carrie; children, Kyle and Karna; his parents, Jim and Karen Gray; a brother, Paul (Heather) and their two children; Carrie’s parents, Gene and Lorraine Willett; brother-in-law, Kelly Willett, and his son and daughter; sister-in-law, Mandy (Dustin) Westerdale and their three sons; numerous aunts, uncles, and their families; and many dear friends.
Krista Sandstrom of St. Paul, Minn., died June 1, 2017, at age 47, as the result of a traffic accident in downtown Minneapolis. Born in Northfield, she graduated from Northfield High School before enrolling at Luther, where she majored in history and anthropology. Krista continued her education at the University of Minnesota, receiving master’s and doctoral degrees in human resource management, and was employed as director of organization development and learning for Hennepin County Medical Center. She married K. Christian McGuire on Oct. 2, 1993. Music played a great role in Krista’s life: She was a contracted singer with the Minnesota Chorale and sang regularly with her husband as a member of the New Prescriptions; played oboe and bassoon and was learning violin so she could play along with her children at their June 8th recital; and had recently purchased a mandolin. Krista also loved to dance and choreograph dances; she had set up mirrors and a ballet bar in her living room and recently begun taking ballet classes. She practiced environmental conservation and responsible living, decorating her front yard with native Minnesota wild flowers and grasses and creating a haven for birds, butterflies, and bees in the back yard, and being an active supporter of rescue animals, Heifer International, and other humane organizations. Krista is survived by her husband, K. Christian McGuire; son, Soren; daughter, Birgitta; father and stepmother; brother, Scott Sandstrom; stepsiblings: Kathy Kelly, Amy Kelly, Anne Kelly Berg, and Bill Kelly; and many friends and relatives. She was preceded in death by her mother.