Class of 1998 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018 

Dear Classmate, 

If it seems like I just pestered you with a letter, don’t panic.  Even though we’re getting older, you’re not losing your mind (as far as I know). You should have recently received my letter inviting you to our 20th Reunion at Homecoming, and I’m looking forward to seeing you there shortly. I’ll mostly be hanging by the bar, putting out the vibe. I apologize in advance if this letter doesn’t live up to my usual standard of brilliance, but I’m creatively tapped out from my reunion letter, I’m writing on deadline, and I’m short of time because I’m busy turning my family van into a dog.  

A new school year at Luther has recently kicked off, and all of the new students of course prepared for Paideia by reading The Odyssey. This year’s edition is a new translation - the first English translation by a woman, Emily Wilson. It’s apparently a vivid, engaging, and sprightly retelling of the classic homecoming story. I’m planning to read it just as soon as I finish the original translation.  But, if you’re one of those overachievers and already finished your Paideia reading, you might want to check out Luther’s reading guide to the book:

Speaking of homecomings, this year we’ll celebrate two important milestones during Luther’s Homecoming Weekend (October 26–28, in case you haven’t been paying attention). First, the Black Student Union (BSU) commemorates its 50th anniversary, with several events planned to celebrate the founding of the organization—including forums, lectures, a brunch, and a BSU reunion.  Mark your calendars. Luther’s Nursing Department also observes its 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, followed by an open house at Luther’s simulation lab. 

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 recent book of the same name explores how the cultural climate of “safetyism” on college campuses interferes with the healthy development of students. He argues that recent social and cultural trends are setting children up to fail as healthy, autonomous, adaptable adults. If you don’t have time to read the book, you can get a snapshot through Haidt’s Atlantic It’s an excellent article, and a theory everyone would do well to give serious consideration.

Finally, you may have heard that President Paula Carlson will retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year. During her time at Luther, President Carlson oversaw numerous changes including the addition of several academic programs to the college, renewal of outdoor athletic facilities, expansion of Luther’s Career Center services, and the development and launch of the “Next Steps for Sophomores” program, among many others. 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.  Given my highly acclaimed run as 1998 Class Agent, I’m sure I’m on the short list, and I thank you in advance for your support. Join the movement at

Go Norse!



1998 Class Agents:

Doug Ross
816 Nina Avenue
Wausau, WI 54403
[email protected]

Joel Zylstra
12790 Durham Way
Apple Valley, MN 55124-8644
[email protected]


Kjerstin Andreasen is senior executive officer for the research group for information systems at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Suzanne (Dabroski) DeKay is director of safety, security, and transportation for UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla. 

Diane (Sarafolean) Durnick earned the master of arts degree in education from Hamline University. She teaches social studies for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.

Joe Grimstad is executive vice president of mortgage at Decorah Bank and Trust in Decorah.

Mary (Weis) Hellmark was in Washington, D.C., last spring for her daughter Kajsa’s National History Day competition. While walking in Cathedral Heights she bumped into and had a chat with musician Dave Matthews.

Jay Kautt is advanced sales counsel, Individual Product Solutions Group, for Securian Financial Group in St. Paul, Minn.

Bill Richardson is senior vice president of business development for IMO and Prosperity Capital Advisors in Minneapolis.

Kat Shaner is assistant professor of New Testament at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C., and serves as pastor for the North Carolina Synod.

Carolyn (Johnson) Vreeman is lead organizational change manager at Abbott in Minnetonka, Minn.






SUZANNE (DABROSKI) and James DeKay welcomed a daughter, Charlotte James, in February 2017.