Class of 1996 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear Classmate,

We all have our stories about how we ended up at Luther. My decision was largely influenced by my friend and former youth director, who was an ‘88 grad. His father was a professor there as well. I had lunch with him the other day and he shared that his daughter will also join the Norse community as a 2022 grad. What a great family legacy. I will be taking my kids to Decorah this weekend for a mini-reunion of my own. We plan to visit Mabe’s Pizza and Whippy Dip as well as float down the beautiful Upper Iowa River. But most importantly, I look forward to reminiscing and catching up with old friends. While I truly value the education I got there, the relationships I formed were such an important part of my experience at Luther. I would love for my children to have that opportunity as well. The demands in our lives seem to grow every year. We have to be selective about where we spend and invest. I hope that The Luther Fund remains a priority in your financial commitments. We can be part of making the Luther experience a reality for future generations!  Thanks for your support.

UPDATES: 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.


Homecoming: October 26-28, 2018:

Check out for information on what’s happening on campus and in the Decorah community.

Jessica Pearson


1996 Class Agents:

Jessica (Kettles) Pearson
2835 Hartford Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81503
[email protected]

Ami (Shoup) Hall
825 S. Newton St.
Denver, CO 80219
[email protected]

Andy Sassaman
2365 Allan Drive Road
Decorah, IA 52101-7576
[email protected]



Angela (Koschmeder) Beck is principal at Blessed Sacrament School in Waterloo, Iowa.

Marianne (Shaw) Bernadino is a private practice psychiatrist in Rockport, Maine.

Jason Besler was appointed Linn County 6th Judicial District Judge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Teresa (Wheeler) Condon was honored for 20 years of service with Allamakee Community Schools at the District’s annual employee recognition event in May.

Nancy Groves is head of social media for the United Nations Department of Public Information in New York City. She returned to Decorah to speak with Luther’s English majors earlier this year, and in May was invited to deliver the commencement address at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, her library science alma mater.

Debby (Bender) Gutierrez is a bilingual speech language pathologist at Hawthorne Early Childhood School in Wheeling, Ill.

Daniel Haddinger is an event specialist at The Roark Group in Rogers, Ark.

Sarah (Voorhees) Hershberger is interim pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Sunbury, Pa.

Jill Johnson is a registered nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minn.

Erica Kairis is community relations/diversity and inclusion lead and manager of HR strategy and planning at Thomson Reuters in Eagan, Minn.

Ghea McPhee is a customs and revenue officer for Bahamas Customs in Grand Bahama, Bahamas.

Darcy Reed is an internist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.



Jenna Lovie (Dulas) Sculley of Eagan, Minn., died Feb. 5, 2018, age 43.

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.