Class of 2004 Spring 2018 Letter

Spring 2018

Dear Classmate,

When you think back to our days at Luther, do you remember a time without social media, smartphones and streaming? When I think about it, it’s hard to believe that such media was just emerging right around the time we graduated. And now, fourteen years later it has become completely commonplace in our lives and pervasive in our culture. Back in ’04 we were dependent on just email and phone to stay connected and most of us used snail-mail to share pictures. How much did we realize then that our culture would shift so rapidly into a new kind of connectivity?

Despite the not-so-savory images some of us might get when we think about the role social media sites have played in our current events (i.e. fake news, Russian bots, etc.), it’s hard for Dave and me to imagine our lives without it. The many adorable baby pictures we have posted on Facebook of late are a testament to how much we depend on the Internet to share our life news with family and friends. We have also taken a lot of pleasure in keeping up with the news and activities of many of you – our classmates. Thanks to Facebook we have kept up better than I think we might have without it.

However, as connected as we may feel these days, I’d like to posit a challenge. Think for a second about a classmate who you may not have been in touch with for a long time and consider reaching out to them the old fashioned way – shoot them an email or a text and maybe find some time to chat on the phone. Share a favorite memory from back in the day and catch them up about how you got from then to now. Whether you choose to accept this challenge or not, I hope you will still take some time to remember the kind of connectedness that we gained by attending Luther College – connectedness through meaningful relationships, life-long learning, and shared experiences.

Dave and I are proud to remain connected to Luther through our relationships, but also through our giving. Thank you to all of you who participated in Luther’s Giving Day this year ($478,193 was raised for the Luther Fund!) and for continuing to support our alma mater. If you have yet to make a contribution, we hope you will consider doing so to support the next generation of Luther grads and help perpetuate our tradition of life-long learning. You can make a gift today by using the attached form and the reusable envelope or by visiting

Many blessings,

Rachel (and David) Bleich,
2004 Class Agents
240-353-0957 (R)
[email protected]; [email protected]


Meredith (Eilertson) Azeem is a pharmacist at the Mayo Clinic St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn.

Lauren Christel is an elementary school principal for the International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, Calif.

Kendra (McGill) Evans teaches preschool at Riceville (Iowa) Community Schools.

Joel Hollenbeck is project manager of Specpro Environmental Services in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Carrie (Morris) Miller is associate director of the Academic Advising Center at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Aubrey (Connolly) Nelson is youth and family programs coordinator for Bloomington (Minn.) Public Schools.

Susan Olson of Ames, Iowa, was named a member of the 2017 Class of the AARP Iowa Executive Council, a team of volunteers from across Iowa who provide leadership to support accomplishments of AARP state and national priorities.

Amy (Hoodjer) Updegraff earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instructional technology from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and is a graduate assistant and Ph.D. student in curriculum and instructional technology at the university.


AUBREY CONNOLLY and Christopher Nelson, Oct. 8, 2016


RACHEL (MILLER) and DAVE BLEICH welcomed Annika JeLaine in October 2017.

SARA (GOUDSCHAAL) and TERRY BLESSING '05 welcomed twin daughters, Ada Marilyn and Edith Jean, in March 2017.

KENDRA (MCGILL) and Nacy Evans welcomed a daughter, Presley, in June 2015.

LINDSEY (PALMER) '10 and TIM LUND welcomed a daughter, Ella Renee, in August 2017.

Elizabeth and CODY TIGGES welcomed a daughter, Eleanor Claire, in October 2016.