Class of 2014 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.

All the best from your class agents,

Logan Hjerleid
2014 Class Agent
506 E. Clay
Mt. Pleasant, IA. 52641
[email protected]

Taylor (Johnson) Ledvina
2014 Class Agent
1122 S. 26th Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
[email protected]

Samuel Molzahn
2014 Class Agent
1313 E. Pryor Avenue, Apt. A
Milwaukee, WI 53207
[email protected]


Anna Arbisi is a registered nurse at Allina Health in St. Paul, Minn. 

Anna (Derdzinski) Banks is an accountant at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Des Moines, Iowa.

Talia Barber is a data analyst at INVO PEO, Inc. in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Ellen Behrens is the training and standards administrator for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Food and Feed Safety Division in St. Paul. 

Katherine Blocker earned a doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of Iowa. She is a physical therapist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. 

Hannah (Delzer) Christenson is a STEM teacher for the Proctor (Minn.) Public Schools and K-6 general music teacher for the Stillwater (Minn.) Area Public Schools.

Lauren (Meintsma) Dosland is senior communications specialist at UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minn.

Cate (Anderson) Duin is a teaching assistant at McGill University in Montreal, Qubec, Canada. 

Brooke (Johnson) Eppen is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. 

Pat Fagan is choir director at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Kristen Flak teaches grades 6-8 orchestra for the Middleton-Cross Plains (Wis.) Area School District.

Holly Fusco teaches middle school music for the Waukegan (Ill.) School District.

David Geist sings for Cantus Vocal Ensemble, an eight-member men’s a cappella group, in Minneapolis.

Sarah Guhl teaches orchestra at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine, Minn.

Chloe Gumpert earned a medical doctorate from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and is a resident physician in pediatric medicine at the University of Washington-Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Laura Davis and Matthew Jaronik live in Wasilla, Alaska. She teaches third grade at Larson Elementary School, and he teaches high school for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

Carrie Juergens is PR coordinator at Cura Cannabis Solutions in Portland, Ore. 

Bridget Keenan teaches vocal music for the Shakopee (Minn.) Public Schools.

Eric Klein is director of youth and family ministry at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Iowa City, Iowa.

Kiersten (Swenson) Kralovetz teaches third grade at Brevig Mission (Alaska) School.

Jess Landgraf is service manager at Erik’s Bike, Board, and Ski Store in Roseville, Minn.

Tanya Maas teaches general music and is the choral instructor at Marrs Middle School in Omaha, Neb.

David Mendez was the choreographer for New Minowa Players’ summer production of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” in Decorah.

Mariah (Mierau) and Andrew Nelson ’13 live and work in Rochester, Minn. Mariah is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic, and Andrew is a prosthetist/orthotist at Limb Lab.

Sarah Nolte is a sexual abuse specialist at Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center in Winterset, Iowa.

Colleen Oster of Minneapolis earned a master’s degree in creative practice from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England.

Megan (Gress) Park is a client success agent at LeadCrunch in San Diego.

Regina Preston is a business administrator at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Tessa Romanski is youth education coordinator at Matthew 25 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Katie Scherr is church relations and development assistant at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains in Denver.

Michelle Schieber is material planner scheduler at Ingersoll Rand in Memphis, Tenn.

Erin Schmidt is a nurse at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange, Calif.

Rebekah Schulz is office manager at Champion Naturopathic Health in Minnetonka, Minn.

Angela Stancato is the digital content strategist at Omnivore in Milwaukee.

Connor Stanton is an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, La.

Emily Vander Stel is an international accountant for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa.

Rachel (Roe) Stevens teaches music at Hamilton Elementary School in Coon Rapids, Minn. She is also a private music teacher at TakeLessons.

Katie (Switzer) and Zach Tubbs live in Minneapolis. She is product owner at BrightPeak Financial in Minneapolis. He is an education and community outreach specialist at the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance in St. Paul.

Rebecca (Girvan) and Matt Zellmer ‘13 live in St. Paul, Minn. Rebecca is senior actuarial associate at Securian Financial Group, and Matt is a physical therapist at Fitness Focus.


ANNA DERDZINSKI and Alan Banks, Nov. 5, 2016

REBECCA GIRVAN and MATT ZELLMER '13, June 24, 2017

MEGAN GRESS and Austin Park, June 5, 2017

JESS LANDGRAF and Katrina Nichols, Nov. 25, 2017


JAIMIE RASMUSSEN and AARON BURK '12, Nov. 18, 2017


TESS ROMANSKI and David Savino, Feb. 18, 2018




HANNAH (GESING) and Patrick Kelly welcomed twin sons, Clayton William and Collin Patrick, in September 2017.