Class of 1983 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Class of 1983 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:

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!

John Balk
1983 Class Agent
16512 Timber Meadow Drive
Colorado Springs CO 80908-6203
[email protected]

Michele (Mertens) Stevens
1983 Class Agent
108 Maple Lane
Denver, IA 50622
[email protected]


Carmelita Afflalo-Neal is deputy budget director for the Chicago Public Schools.

Brian Beatty is director of business development at RACOM Corporation in Des Moines, Iowa.

Paul Cleven is a laboratory specialist at Energizer Holdings in Madison, Wis.

Kristi Doden is a self-employed communications coach and TRE provider in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Rick Grothaus is director of education systems at Germantown (Wis.) School District.

Kerry (Kramer) Johnson of Decorah retired as a fourth grade teacher from the Decorah Community Schools.

Beth (Beutler) Lind retired after 33 years teaching seventh grade English language arts at John Muir Middle School in Wausau, Wis.

Greg Lonning is program advisor for health and physical education at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.

Judy (Finanger) Moen of Decorah retired as a kindergarten teacher from the Decorah Community Schools.

Brett Olson practices family medicine at Lakes Regional Hospital in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He teaches third year medical students for the rural family medicine rotations with the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

David Torgelson was elected to a sixth term as Renville County (Minn.) Attorney.

Paul Tweed of Fall Creek, Wis., is a teacher and director at the Wildlands School. He also manufactures retro guitar amplifiers in his basement. His hand-wired “Tweed” amp is a clone of the revered Leo Fender 1950’s 5f2a Princeton amplifier, mimicking the sound quality of the rare and sought after amplifier, using low wattage, and a couple cool tone mods that allow for some choice in overdrive sounds. They can be purchased on

Bruce Warner is president and owner of BBarton in Bloomington, Minn.


Marvin L. Sojka of Des Moines, Iowa, died April 22, 2019, age 58.

The full obituary of the classmate listed above can be found on the Luther College website at:

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