Class of 1986 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Classmates,

Now that I have a high school junior in the house, our family is navigating the college search process.   After my younger daughter, Mara, spent a week in June at Luther’s Dorian High School Music Camp and she had nothing but good things to say about the music faculty and the Luther students who worked with the Dorian kids.  It was simply amazing to hear the final concert in the CFL with hundreds of talented and hard-working high school musicians in the orchestra, symphonic band, and choir ensembles (including Judy Kittelson’s son, Karl, playing percussion).  Mara stayed in Brandt Hall, made friends, and got to experience Luther on her own.  It was a great first taste of college life.  Inspired by the week at Dorian, Mara signed up for a Summer Preview at Luther with the Admissions Office in July.  The Admissions staff and student tour guides did a marvelous job of letting Luther shine.  We’ll be looking at colleges all year, but Luther has set the bar high for all the other schools.

In November, Luther inaugurated its eleventh president, Dr. Jenifer K. Ward. President Ward.  She brings more than three decades of experience as an educator, scholar, and academic leader to the Luther Community.  She most recently served as provost and dean of the college at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Prior to joining Centenary.  Previously, 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. I have heard good things about President Ward from a variety of people, and there is much enthusiasm around Decorah and on campus as she begins her work.

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

Also, you can 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:

❏    Join “Luther Class of 1986” on Facebook and watch for class notes and info for our upcoming reunion October 1 – 3, 2021.

And, of course, 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!  If you go, take a minute to post a photo on our “Luther Class of 1986” Facebook page.  That’s a great place to share photos of any visits to Luther, and encounters with Luther classmates that you’d like to share.

Alicia Anderson
1986 Class Agent
372 First Avenue
PO Box 608
Lemont, PA 16851-0608
[email protected]


Cayleen (Sternhagen) Garigliano teaches English at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, N.J.

Jamie Skjeveland is superintendent for Crosby-Ironton (Minn.) School District.

Ragna Urberg is corporate council at Benchmark Human Services in Fort Wayne, In.