Class of 2009 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.

Justin Madsen
2009 Class Agent
1868 Munstoer Avenue
Saint Paul MN 55116
[email protected]

Julian Stanke
2009 Class Agent
4056 13th Avenue S
Minneapolis MN 55407
[email protected]


Christina Arceo of Iowa City, works for University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. 

Ashley Beek is a technical upgrade analyst at TriTech Software Systems in Decorah. 

Rachel Billstein is graphic and email content specialist at Plasco ID in Miami.

Flannery Cerbin-Bohach and Adam Bohach ‘06 of Decorah both left the Festival of Foods Grandad Half Marathon in La Crosse, Wis., victorious. Flannery won the 5K female division with a time of 17:46 while Adam ran the half marathon in 1:12:19, taking first place in the men’s division for the second year in a row.

Jessi Cooper works in global marketing communications for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing in St. Paul, Minn. 

Laura (McCarty) Cooper earned a master of music degree in cello performance from the University of South Dakota. She teaches fourth and fifth grade orchestra for the Sioux Falls (S.D.) School District and is in demand as an orchestral player, chamber musician, adjudicator, and clinician. 

Laura Dickson is a certified pharmacy and compounding technician at Sterling Drug in Northfield, Minn.

Kristin (Flessland) Duesterhoeft earned a master’s degree in applied anthropology from the University of North Texas and is marketing product strategist at Midcontinent in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Mischa Fleishman is director of foundation and government grants at the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago.

Alyson Gangstee is senior financial analyst at The Toro Company in Bloomington, Minn.

Ashley Johnson is a fiduciary advisory specialist 2 at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Emily (Dyess) Klepperich is the 6-12 choral music director at Central Public Schools in Norwood Young America, Minn.

Spencer Knapp of Farmers Branch, Texas, is cloud enterprise account manager at IBM Global Services in London.

Christina (Soward) Krouse-Gagne is an occupational therapist at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah.

Cory Lee is senior auditor at Athene USA in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Kyle Lilly is senior product manager at Compass Minerals in Overland Park, Kan.

Jake Madrinich is COO at Enterprise Lighting in Waukesha, Wis.

Robert Morris is an IT support consultant at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. 

Andrea Schiefelbein earned a PG certificate in public health with distinction and is continuing with the master’s in public health program at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, England. She is lab manager and research specialist at the Skala Lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, Wis.

Megan Selvig is program director at Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center in Portland, Ore.

Emily Shriver earned a master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s University. She teaches English at Cotter High School in Winona, Minn.

Kristin Swedlund is philanthropic research manager at Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, Wis.

Jacob Waddle is head baseball coach at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill.

Cody Webb is an EHS manager at Stanley Engineered Fastening in Decorah.

Maia (Elgin) Wegmann earned a master of fine art’s degree in poetry from Louisiana State University and is an assistant professor at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.

Jeff Weston earned a Ph.D. certificate in cultural studies with an emphasis in sound studies and is a doctoral candidate in music composition and theory at the University of Pittsburgh.

Christopher Wuebker is a deputy with the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Department in Decorah, Iowa. He was honored with the 2017 Enrique S. Camarena Award by the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for his commitment to reducing drug abuse.

Kristin Youngmeyer earned a master’s degree in public administration from Ohio State University, and is a management analyst at Management Partners in Cincinnati.



EMILY DYESS and Bryan Klepperich, July 21, 2017

KYLE LILLY and SARAH LULOFF '10, July 8, 2017

MEGAN McNAMARA and Boise Wilcox, Oct. 8, 2016                                      

ASHLEY UECKER and Josh Nettesheim, June 17, 2017



SARA (WALTERS) and CHRIS GRAVERSON '07 welcomed a son, Collin Michael in August 2017.

LAUREN (KRAUS) '06 and DAVE KELLER welcomed a daughter, Esmae Evelyn, in September 2017.