Class of 2006 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Hi fellow classmates!

As I write you, I've got our newborn daughter napping on my shoulder (and her napping is nothing short of a miracle!) so I'm sending you just a quick note this fall, along with lots of information collected below about all the happenings and changes at Luther right now. As I hold this (hopefully) future Luther graduate of 2040 and think about how I hope she and lots of other children eventually have the opportunity to look at attending Luther, I encourage you all to keep supporting the great opportunities Luther is providing for current and future students!

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.

Jamie Sue Knight


2006 Class Agents:

Jamie Sue (Schultz) Knight
50261 Rebecca Drive
Paw Paw, MI 49079-8420
[email protected]

Chris Bellinder
2040 Ashley River Road #911
Charleston, SC 29407
[email protected]



Megan (Murphy) Bey earned a master’s degree in music education from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Jill (Dinkla) Borrall is family medicine department administrator at University of Iowa Healthcare in Iowa City, Iowa. 

Todd Brown is a guidance and control engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Over the last few years, Todd has been part of the team that flies the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn. He led the guidance, navigation, and control team for the launch of the Soil Moisture Active/Passive spacecraft in 2015. He is currently helping design the Europa Clipper spacecraft, which is a mission to study Jupiter’s moon, Europa, and search for life there, planned to launch in 2022.

Ian Cawley is account manager at VWR International in Iowa City, Iowa.

Angela (Reichert) Griffin is a registered nurse at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, Mich.

Dan Herman is a special agent with the U.S. Department of Justice in Las Cruces, N.M.

Hoda Hersi is a project manager for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Gaborone, Botswana.

Rachel (Bails) Jeffrey is a broadcasting teacher and technology specialist at Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Karen Kaluza is associate scientific director at Articulate Science in New York City. 

Megan (Finnegan) Kelly is an account manager at SS&C Technologies in Edina, Minn.

Andrew Foltz-Lynch is a driver technician at Martin Health Services in Johnston, Iowa.

Andrew McNamara is a clinical fellow in hand and upper extremity orthopedic surgery at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

Meghan (Gesing) and John Palmer ’03 are dairy farmers near Waukon, Iowa. They received a 2017 Silver Quality Award for Milk Quality from Organic Valley at the CROPP Cooperative Annual Meeting. 

Cassidy (Sill) Reinken earned a master’s degree in education from Morningside College, a National Board Certification in art education, and a second master’s degree in in educational leadership from Drake University. She is currently the magnet coordinator at Johnson STEAM Academy and recently received the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Kemin Industries.

Mike Schmalfeldt is co-founder and owner of Prostart Sports in Whitefish Bay, Wis.

Jordan Smith is a logistics specialist at Amazon Logistics in Eagan, Minn.

Dana (Strandjord) Talsness is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Angela (Grunder) Ventris is a development officer at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.

Heather (Buckner) Wilensky is executive director of alumni engagement at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement in Iowa City.



ANDREW FOLTZ and Jack Lynch, Sept. 24, 2016



AMANDA (PAYNE) and Glen Bramstedt welcomed a son, Dennis, in October 2016.

KATHLEEN (LUNSFORD) '08 and DAN DURBIN welcomed a daughter, Fiona Hazel, in July 2017.

LAUREN (KRAUS) and DAVE KELLER '09 welcomed a daughter, Esmae Evelyn, in September 2017.

ELIZABETH (BROKISH) and Bret Kressin welcomed a daughter, Reagan, in October 2017.

Keely and KEVIN OPPERMANN welcomed a son, Odin Daniel, in June 2017.

DARCI (KUNZ) '07 and JOSH WILSON welcomed a daughter, Elaina Jillmarie, in January 2018.