Class of 2016 Spring 2018 Letter

Spring 2018

Dear Member of the Class of 2016,

Even though it may seem at times as though the Midwest is still in the middle of winter, we know spring is just around the corner. If this season has you daydreaming about taking a trip, you might get your fix by reading Luther students’ J-term blogs at This January, 286 students participated in one of Luther’s 17 programs around the globe, studying everything from choral singing in Namibia and South Africa, to religion and corporate culture in Japan, to entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

These experiences have profound impacts on students. As Izzy Michaud ’19, who studied environmental issues at Holden Village in the Pacific Northwest, writes, “My time at Holden has . . . renewed my faith in people and in God. It has allowed me to find parts of myself that I believed to be lost, and it has given me good courage for the journey ahead.” Experiences like Izzy’s are hallmarks in a Luther College student’s journey.

If a trip abroad or to Holden Village isn’t in your near future, remember, Decorah is also a great place to visit, especially in the spring/summer. Consider making plans to attend these upcoming events:  the Oneota Film Festival, April 19-22 ( and Nordic Fest, July 26-28 ( Also, did you know there are two breweries in Decorah? Toppling Goliath ( and Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. ( have made Decorah a beer tourism destination! If you haven’t been to Decorah recently, be sure to check out for area hotels, B&Bs, coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping. 

Also, as many of you know, Thursday, March 8, was Luther's third annual Giving Day! Thousands tuned in to an all-day livestream from Marty's and joined the fun through social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more). Overall, a whopping $478,193 was raised for the Luther Fund - WOW! If you'd like to relive the fun (and see the 12-hour livestream), visit THANK YOU to all who donated and made this day such a success!

Finally, Luther’s Board of Regents voted in February to approve a new strategic plan: “Inspired. Empowered. Engaged.” The new five-year plan is designed to make Luther more dynamic and innovative in its support of the 21st-century liberal arts student. Expect to hear more about the exciting changes ahead as we begin implementing the plan.

Thank you to all who supported Luther in 2017. Please consider supporting Luther students with a donation to the Luther Fund this year. Use the attached form and the reusable envelope or visit to give!

Best wishes for a happy, healthy spring season!

Hailey Johnson
2016 Class Agent
[email protected]

Jacy Mahoney
2016 Class Agent
[email protected]

Laura Vestle
2016 Class Agent
[email protected]


Kai Hedstrom is executive director of the Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center in Decorah.

Hailey Johnson teaches social studies and coaches girls tennis at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo.

Jenna Johnson is an M.D./Ph.D. graduate student the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Peter Lillibridge is a footwear sales leader at Dick’s Sporting Goods in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Ervin Liz Andela is the founder of Colombian Coffee Connection, LLC, in Hutchinson, Minn.

Jake Martin played in the Midwest Basketball League for the Twin Cities Elite, and in the Australian semi-pro BigV league for the Bulleen Boomers. He has been signed by the Goldfield Giants and will join them in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in January for their pre-season campaign.

Alayna Nelson teaches eighth grade at Lower Kuskokwim School District in Bethel, Alaska.

Hannah Sackett is a Young Adult in Global Mission volunteer serving on behalf of the ELCA in Kibungo, Rwanda.

Clare Slagel is a doctoral student at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa.

Alanna Spencer teaches middle and high school math at Lower Kuskokwim School District in Bethel, Alaska.