Class of 1973 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Class of 1973,

I have heard from so many who have already attended their 50-year class reunion from high school. Hope you have enjoyed renewing friendships from our long ago youth. It seems so many great friendships started in our early years.

Our reunion last year was a lot of fun! Pat and I really appreciated those who were able to attend and we heard from many who couldn’t. We hope you will start to make plans for our 50th in a few years. There are many B&Bs, VRBOs and Airbnb’s in our area, as well as the local motels and hotels.

I talked with Jack Evert the other day when he was visiting Decorah with David Johnson, who started Luther with us. Wandering Decorah and the campus was great fun for them.

Chuck and I golfed in the Luther wrestling golf tournament and got a chance to visit at length with Dan Elliott. He spends his time at the golf course in Jackson Junction.

One of the new changes downtown is the Penney’s store has been transformed into an amazing coffee shop. The entire first floor is for seating and they have a great variety to choose from. I still don’t drink coffee or tea, so I really appreciate that! I got to talk with Kari Berg while we were there, too. The rest of the store will be renovated in the future so I’ll keep you updated as it progresses.

It promises to be an exciting year for Luther. In November, the college inaugurated its eleventh president, Dr. Jenifer K. Ward. President Ward joins the Luther community with more than three decades of experience as an educator, scholar, and academic leader after serving, most recently, as provost and dean of the college at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Prior to joining Centenary, President Ward served in several leadership roles at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, including dean of the college, interim provost, and associate provost. She was also a faculty member at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she taught German.

In a message to the Luther community, President Ward said, “Our work together must be strategic, collaborative, creative, and—most importantly—must articulate what it means to be both grounded in Decorah, Iowa with a face to the world, and set goals for how we can adapt Luther’s past and present for a sustainable future.”

A self-described extrovert and lover of art, film, and literature, President Ward started

her duties at Luther July 1, and her official inauguration took place November 1–3.

Learn more about President Ward—including her thoughts on food, art, Twitter, Decorah, and higher ed—on Luther’s YouTube channel (, then search “Luther College President Ward”) or in the fall issue of the Luther Magazine:

While I haven’t met President Ward yet, I continue to hear wonderful things about her engagement with the Luther community, even before her arrival on campus. Im looking forward to making an appointment to meet her soon.

While you’re at it, use this checklist to up your Luther social media game:

❏    Follow Luther College on Twitter: @LutherCollege

❏    Follow Luther College on Instagram: @LutherCollege

❏    Follow the Luther College Alumni Facebook page:

And, finally, keep in mind that Christmas at Luther takes place December 5–8. This year’s theme is Whom Angels Greet with Anthems Sweet. Luther would be happy to see you there!

Check out our Facebook page, “Luther 1973” and feel free to post. I try to add tidbits that I think you may find interesting about Luther or Decorah. Let me know what you like and if there is anything you don’t care for.

Another way to keep in touch is the Alumni Directory. I encourage you to make use of the resource. You can find information about the directory at If you haven’t used it yourself, please contact Luther’s Technology Help Desk for assistance in logging on to the site. I continue to use it from time to time.

Thanks for all you continue to do for Luther College. Our alma mater is dear to so many of us and we need to remember to support it for the students who are coming. Please encourage young people in your church and community to look into Luther. You are able to offer them $1,000 each year as a scholarship if you nominate them by December 1 of their senior year in high school. Visit to learn more.

I hope to see you when you’re in Decorah. I’m just down the street from the Jenson-Noble music building. I’d be happy to meet you somewhere on campus or downtown.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Ranae Keoppel Gipp


1973 Class Agents:

Pat (Holtorf) Branstad
213 Second Ave. South
Saint James, MN 56081
[email protected]

Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp
212 High Street
Decorah, IA. 52101-1048
[email protected]