Class of 1975 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Class of 1975 Alumni,

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:

Also, 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:

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!

Finally, thanks for your support of Luther! You help make it possible for class after class of students to be grounded in a wonderful liberal arts education and then to go out to face and engage the world!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Chris Lee-Thompson
1975 Class Agent
18100 Fir Island Road
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-7107
[email protected]



Erica (Trytten) Helmick is senior director of quality and patient safety at St. Luke’s Health System in Boise, Idaho. 

Denice Hoggatt of San Antonio, Texas, retired after 35 years from onsite customer service globally with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Ann Leon of Madison, Wis., is retired.

Michael Osterholm is a regents professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He will co-lead a $5.4 million research project that focuses on the supply chains and global disruptions for the most critical drugs for life saving and life-sustaining treatments. Outcomes of this research will improve the health care supply system’s ability to maintain a steady and adequate supply of critical medicines and supplies worldwide. Mike also serves on the Board of Regents at Luther.


Steve Earlen Arneson of Spillville, Iowa, died March 26, 2019, age 65. 

Christopher Jon Rummé of Asheville, N.C., died May 26, 2018, age 65.

The full obituaries of classmates listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at: 

If you would like a printout of the obituaries listed above in their entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.