Class of 1998 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019 

Dear Class of ‘98- 

As per usual, I sat down to write this letter and fired up a movie for inspiration. My selection this time wasFerris Bueller’s Day Off, a light-hearted romp about a high school kid who’s got too much living to do to be bothered with high school. The big takeaway from the movie, of course, is that we could all use an easily persuadable friend who owns a Ferrari. Coming in a close second though, is the lesson that “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” 

I laughed, because just a few short months ago, we all got together in Decorah and the conversations were so similar: people marveling at how fast life had been moving, and trying to take in everything we’d been missing over the last 20 years. I guess it was a good reminder to look around a little more often. 

As I write to you, Luther student musicians are playing and singing at full tilt. Collegiate Chorale and Cathedral Choir just returned from tours of the Midwest, and Jazz Orchestra sets out April 12 for a tour that includes South Dakota and Minnesota. On top of that, Nordic Choir sings with the Des Moines Symphony April 27 and 28. Check online for a stop near you! 

The Class of 2019 will celebrate Commencement on Sunday, May 26. It’s hard to believe, but that means we’ll soon say farewell to President Paula Carlson, who retires at the end of the 2018–19 academic year. It’s even harder to believe that Luther’s Presidential Search Committee has not yet contacted me about the position. Clearly #dOSSforLutherPrez has not taken off as hoped. 

After Commencement, the summer on campus will be filled with visitors. June through August, Luther hosts thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students interested in everything from music ( to nature ( to sports ( to science ( This summer, the college also offers its third annual Dance Camp ( Thus far I’ve been unable to confirm rumors that it includes in-depth instruction on The Safety Dance. 

Luther has summer programming for adults, too. If you enjoy singing in fellowship, mark your calendars for the college’s second annual Dorian Choral Retreat for Adults (, June 28–30. Also keep in mind that you can host your own event ( on Luther’s campus... Wait!  What?!  I can?!  Someone get me a parade float and a recording of Danke Schoen, stat! 

Go Norse! (And Save Ferris!)

-Doug Ross

1998 Class Agents:

Doug Ross
816 Nina Avenue
Wausau, WI 54403
[email protected]

Joel Zylstra
12790 Durham Way
Apple Valley, MN 55124-8644
[email protected]


Gina (Napoletano) Clinger is an administrative associate at Global Telehealth Services in Hudson, Ohio.

Jessica (Peterson) Etten is senior director of alumni engagement and annual giving at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Constantine Grancharov is senior product manager at IBM in Montreal.

Corey Schmidt is a founding partner and wealth advisor with IntentGen Financial Partners and Thrivent Financial in Naperville, Ill.

Angie (Poock) Schmitt earned a master’s degree in human nutrition and functional medicine from the University of Western States. She is a clinical nutritionist with Naturally Better Nutrition, LLC and a Registered Nurse at the Waverly (Iowa) Health Center.

Ann (Bossard) Smith is director of student services and special education for Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools in Cresco, Iowa.

Yer Vang is director of immigration legal services at Catholic Charities of Dubuque in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


MELISSA (AHLSTROM) '00 and BRIAN GREGG welcomed a daughter, Amanda Grace in August 2018. 

We are pleased to announce Dr. Jenifer K. Ward as the 11th president of Luther College! For more information about President-elect Ward, visit

As you may remember from your Fall 2018 Class Agent letter, Luther has recently completed an extensive brand strategy research process.


As a result of our research and in collaboration with members of the Luther community, we have developed several statements that will guide future communications.

We know that you, our alumni, are often asked about your alma mater. What you say to prospective students and their families about Luther College can have a huge impact on their decisions to visit campus, apply and, hopefully, enroll.

You know Luther well. You matter to us and we’re interested in hearing from you.

We invite you to take a few minutes to preview some of our new statements and share your thoughts. The example statements, as well as a response survey, are available online:

Many thanks!

If you have any questions please email Catherine Dyer, Brand and Marketing Director at [email protected]