Class of 1999 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear Classmate,

It’s the start of a new school year at Luther, one that promises to be as wonderfully action-packed as ever. In August, the college welcomed 575 new students to campus. Over the summer, they read a book that many Luther grads will remember from Paideia: The Odyssey. This year’s edition comes with a twist: it’s the first English translation by a woman, Emily Wilson, and by all accounts it’s a vivid, engaging, and sprightly retelling of the classic homecoming story. If you’re up for a return to your Paideia roots, you can join the fun through 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. 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. Luther’s Nursing Department also observes a birthday—its 40th—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. 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 article:

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, 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.

While changes are afoot at our alma mater, Luther also holds tight to its traditions, like keeping in touch with valued alumni. We hope you’ll let us know what’s new in your life too! Until then, best wishes for a fall that’s as beautiful as it is in the Oneota Valley.

Jen (Larsen) Newburg
1999 Class Agent
1961 James Avenue
Saint Paul MN 55105
[email protected]

Sarah Tofte
1999 Class Agent
20 Sickles Street, Apt. 3D
New York NY 10040-1859
[email protected]


Carryn (Ensrude) Anderson is a medical doctor at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. She was awarded the Steven M. Grunberg Memorial Award for the top abstract of over 900 international abstracts submitted to the 2018 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. Her abstract was also awarded Best of American Society of Clinical Oncology and Best of American Society for Radiation Oncology in 2018.

Rachel (Knutson) Dahl is an attorney at Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC in Edina, Minn.

Johanna Hayward Muniz is a cross-cultural bridge builder with Evangelical Covenant Church in France.

Brandis (McFarland) Negrin is a licensed mental health counselor. After 14 years in private practice, she opened her own practice, Brandis McFarland Mental Health Counseling, which focuses on eating disorders and related mental health issues in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Amy (Hinshaw) Nyren is a registered nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee.

Jason Wilken is associate professor and director of collaborative research and development at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City.

Matthew Williams earned a master’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn. He is a senior COBRA implementation manager at Discovery Benefits in Fargo, N.D.