Class of 1995 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Class of 1995 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!

And finally, good news! We have class agents for our class! A huge THANK YOU to Jill Ness, Kyle Jackson, and Brian Juchems for stepping into this role. You can expect to hear from these three in future letters. Welcome, Jill, Kyle, and Brian!

Mariah (Bringer) Smith ’95
Director of Development, Current Gifts
Luther College
700 College Dr.
Decorah, IA. 52101|563-387-1096
[email protected]



Michelle (Mann) Abel is a tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Boston.

Tricia (Fink) Davis is designer and owner of TRDavis Design, LLC. in Maple Grove, Minn.

Nicole (Forde) Delorme is an ASD teacher at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn.

Maureen (McGraw) Duncklee is vice president and branch manager at Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank in Decorah.

Shannon (Miller) Duval is senior vice president of philanthropy with CommonSpirit Health in Denver. Shannon also serves on the Board of Regents for Luther.

George Leistikow is a financial advisor with EFS Advisors in Brooklyn Park, Minn. 

Jon Ploetz is vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary at Harsco Corporation in Camp Hill, Pa.

Sharie (Ellis) Thoelke is operations office manager at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minn.

Christa (Gutenberger) Tollefson is assistant library director at DeForest Area Public Library in DeForest, Wis.

Amalia Vagts of Decorah, is a candidate for word and sacrament ministry in the Northeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA. Her year of pastoral internship is a collaboration between Luther College Student Congregation and campus pastor Anne Edison-Albright, Bethany Lutheran Church in Elkader, and Emanuel Lutheran Church in Strawberry Point with Pastor Susan Friedrich. Her candidacy is sponsored by her home congregation, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Following this internship year, Vagts will return to Wartburg Theological Seminary School in Dubuque, Iowa, for a final year of study.

Kristin (Chelberg) Williams is project manager at Magnet360 in Minneapolis.