Class of 1993 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear Class of 1993,

Fall is upon Luther; all of the colors, cool air, and new beginnings. Remember our first fall together? It was 1989 and a very different time. 25 years passed in a flash and to celebrate those years, we’ll gather for our 25th reunion in Decorah for Homecoming weekend from October 26-28. It’s a big reunion, sure to be full of smiles, stories, and re-connecting. If you have not already made plans, please do! Registration is online at And follow all of the planned activities at

More about Homecoming: this year we’ll celebrate two important milestones. 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. Second, Luther’s Nursing Department also observes it 40th birthday 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.

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 in addition to a completing a number of other goals. Luther’s Board of Regents is moving forward with the presidential search process with the hope of having that person in place for the 2019-20 academic year.

This is the last Class Agent letter from Joellyn and David. Joellyn has served as Class Agent for the past 10 years and David for the past five. It has truly been our honor to serve you, all of our classmates, and we’re grateful for all of the connections. We are excited to pass the baton to our two new class agents, to be announced and welcomed at our Homecoming dinner.  

We wish you all a wonderful fall!

Joellyn (Kilburn) Veninga
1993 Class Agent
10453 Misty Morning Lane
Eden Prairie, MN 55347-5023
[email protected]

David Schifsky
1993 Class Agent
528 Virginia Drive
Petaluma, CA 94954
[email protected]


Wayne Anderson is lecturer in rhetoric at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

DeAnn Barlow and Kurt Martinson of St. Anthony, Minn., launched their new bicycling and accessories company, äventyr, in May. DeAnn is owner and creative director while Kurt is owner and CFO.

Benoy Benny is founder of The Spine and Sports Center in Houston.

Merrilyn (Moetsch) Berg is a seasonal tax accountant at Clifton Larson Allen in Austin, Minn.

Lena (Katzenmaier) Christiansen is a principal for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.

Sara (Peterson) Connelly is operations specialist at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, formerly called Stevens Wealth Management, in Deerfield, Ill.

Sarah (Petersen) Cordray is senior pastor at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Syracuse, Neb.

Shelley (Vangen) Ferner is a certified occupational therapy assistant at Learning Charms Therapy in Charlotte, N.C.

Brent Hill is professor and chair of the department of biology at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

Mary (Cumming) Hoskins is senior prospect specialist at Sunlife Financial in Kansas City.

Sonya (Lindquist) Jansma is a certified public accountant at Guinn, Vinopal and Zahradka in River Falls, Wis.

Kerwin Kilian is service information supervisor at John Deere Dubuque Works in Dubuque, Iowa.

Kari (Gere) Larson of Eagan, Minn., is director of planning and administration at Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Becca (Radke) Leach is a special education paraprofessional for Prior Lake-Savage (Minn.) School District. 

Joel Lipetzky is information technology director at Land O’Lakes in Shoreview, Minn.

Susan Marzolf is a technical writer for United Healthcare in Minneapolis. 

Steve Mattson is a physical therapist with NovaCare Rehabilitation Services in Buffalo, Minn. 

Jason Nosek is senior systems administrator and HCIS imaging manager at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Kris (Korman) Novak of Minneapolis is a self-employed technology consultant.

Maria (Sjosten) Oberg is county treasury administrator for the County of Santa Clara in San Jose, Calif.

Vance Prigge is president of Atlas Insurance Brokers in Rochester, Minn. 

Ted Rohlwing is territory brand manager at Kraft Heinz Company in Minneapolis.

Elise (Eklund) Rothfusz is a pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Peoria, Ill.

Carrie Siewert is strategic accounts director at Mentor Mate in Minneapolis.

Karen (Weber) Sims of Frederick, Md., is security manager for the U.S. Army.

Kari (Van Auken) Stern teaches Norwegian immersion preschool at Concordia Language Villages in Bemidji, Minn.

Deborah (Wilkinson) Sundal is senior vice president of product architecture, enterprise research and development at UnitedHealth Group. She was named a 2018 Women in Business honoree by the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal.

Mitchell Thompson is senior project manager at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis.

Joellyn (Kilburn) Veninga of Eden Prairie, Minn., is vice president of human resources at Ecolab, Inc.

Jon Walsh is director of bands and chair of the fine arts department at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Ill. In 2017, he was awarded the Inspire, Empower, and Succeed Award for Outstanding Teaching in Glenbard Township High School District 87. Jon was also elected president of Illinois Music Educators Association District IX.

Carrie (Mahlum) Wees is quality manager at Minnesota Vet Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Mark Zobel is director of annual giving and adjunct professor of arts administration at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Ill.



Bridget (Uffelman) Skaleski of Green Bay, Wis., died April 24, 2018, age 47.

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.