Class of 1984 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Class of 1984 Alumni,

Wow, what a 35-year reunion!   It was a lot of fun and so good to be home again. Thank you to everyone who attended, to our talented classmates who donated door prizes and, a special thank you to Luther and to our  reunion committee. If you couldn’t make the reunion, please check out the photos on our informal Facebook page, Luther College Class of 1984.

The excitement continues at 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!

Please keep in touch!   Remember these resources:

Alumni Ambassador Program  Luther alumni can play a direct role with the Admissions Office in recruiting the next generation of Luther students. Every student referred receives a $1,000 scholarship each year, for four years, should they decide to enroll at Luther. Participation in this program has a direct financial impact on a student’s experience at Luther. Visit to learn more.

Social Media Using social media is another way to stay connected with Luther’s campus. Go to for links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.  Don’t forget about our informal Facebook page, Luther College Class of 1984.

Campus News Check out for information on what’s happening on campus and in the Decorah community.

Spotlights You’ll find alumni profiles and additional pages at and the alumni spotlights at Faculty stories can be found at, as are student blogs:

Luther’s Career Network   Luther’s Career Network is on LinkedIn.  What a great way to help current students succeed. Go to for more information.

Alumni Directory You can find information about the directory at If you haven’t used it, please contact Luther’s Technology Help Desk for assistance in logging on to the site.

Tuesday The most recent edition of Tuesday is available for viewing on the Luther College Web site via the office of public information home page. The address for viewing Tuesday is If you would prefer to subscribe to Tuesday as a weekly email, send a two-line message to [email protected], which says, Subscribe.

Take care everyone and Soli Deo Gloria!  Luther, Luther, Luther!

Michele Minske

1984 Class Agents:

Paul and Sonja (Shatzer) Gibbs
320 Pheasant Avenue
Marion, IA 52302
[email protected]

Michele Minske         
2005 39th Street
Des Moines, IA 50310
[email protected]


Jim Berg is vice president, business development and client management at Vizient in Irving, Texas.

Sylvia Berrios-Merrit of Cresco, Iowa, retired as a teacher from the Decorah Community Schools.

Eric Bunge stepped down as managing director of Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vt., and continues to lead special projects and act as a resource for the staff and board. Bunge took the position in 2013, and under Bunge’s leadership, the theatre built and opened the Barrette Center for the Arts in 2015. Prior to leading the Northern Stage, Bunge founded the Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro, Minn., and was managing director for 23 years. He was also managing director at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minn., when he was recruited to Northern Stage.

Brett Corson retired from the Army Reserve after 30 years. After graduating from Luther, Brett did his basic training at Fort Knox and then was a reservist as a combat engineer at Fort Snelling. During this time he attended William Mitchell Law School and with his law degree was assigned to the Judge Advocate Unit at Fort Snelling as a reservist. He was commissioned as an officer in 1991 and had two yearlong deployments: Afghanistan in 2003-2004, and Iraq in 2007-2008. After his time in these two deployments, Brett was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptional service in combat. Brett retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC). He serves as Fillmore County Attorney in Preston, Minn.

Lori Drinovsky-Sojka is a special education consultant at the Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools.

Craig Gahnz-Kuhar is assistant choir director and vocal coach at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif.

Sara (Andreasen) Hopkins is a clinical social worker at Compass Clinical Associates in Urbandale, Iowa.

Bruce Lutz is a financial advisor at Centennial State Financial in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Melanie Porter-Kunz is a HBPC social worker at Albuquerque Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M.

Chris Storlie is CEO for Deco Products Company in Decorah.

Pat (Haugen) Wright is founder of Hello Cookie and creative director for Pat Wright Creative. Hello Cookie is an online source for fresh-baked cookies, delivered to businesses across the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It offers an easy, fun way to get conversations and camaraderie started. Each cookie order comes in a beautiful box along with built-in icebreaker questions. It’s the tastiest way to welcome new hires, bring smiles to a team meeting, delight clients, or thank a customer.