Class of 1998 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019 

Hello Friends- 

It was just a year ago we gathered for our reunion.  Honestly, it seemed perfectly normal.  Even though it had been 20 years since we graduated, it just didn’t seem that long ago.  Well, my “holy crap, I’m old” moment finally arrived. In mid-August, my family and I spent several days camping in Decorah.  As we wandered around campus, it seemed to me there were an awful lot of students around for summer.  Then it occurred to me those students were on campus because fall sports practices had already begun.  I was happily reminiscing about those early days on campus - glorious days with no concerns but practice and bonding with teammates - when I slowly came to a stop and the cheer drained from my demeanor.  Gradually, a terrifying reality dawned on me. Whereas our 20-year reunion left me unfazed, I was somehow knocked completely off-center by the realization I was there almost exactly 25 years ago to the day that many of us first set foot on campus to begin our Luther experience.  Utterly shaken, I resumed my walk at a reduced pace more befitting a man of my advanced years, and spent the rest of the visit yelling at kids to get off the Library Lawn.  In related news, you can now reach me at [email protected] 

It promises to be an exciting year for Luther. In the wake of the shocking and inexplicable failure of our #dOSSforLutherPrez campaign, this fall the college inaugurated its eleventh president, Dr. Jenifer K. Ward. President Ward joins Luther with more than three decades of experience as an educator, scholar, and academic leader.  She served most recently as provost and dean of the college at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana.  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.

You can 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 ( While you’re at it, if social media is your thing, explore these Luther related options: 

·  FollowLuther College on Twitter: @LutherCollege

·  Follow Luther College on Instagram: @LutherCollege 

·  Follow the Luther College Alumni Facebook page:

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! 

I’ll talk to you all again in Spring.  For now, I need a nap and a butterscotch candy.  Would anyone else like one? 

Go Norse!

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]


Arika (Anderson) Alana is brand manager of engagement and retention at Kids In Need Foundation in Roseville, Minn.

Brian Bergstrom is assistant professor of psychology at Maryville University in St. Louis.

Sharlene Bohr of Cresco, Iowa, is director at Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center.

Emily (Helin) Olson of St. Paul, Minn., is lead equipper at E412 Consulting LLC.

Marti (Dettman) Post is corporate compliance/privacy officer at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie Du Chien, Wis.

Cara Presley is director of Youth and Family Services for the Town of Westborough, Mass.

April (Johnson) Remfrey is founder and special education consultant at Remfrey Educational Consulting in Bulach, Switzerland.

Kevin Schmoll is an application systems engineer for Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Joel Zylstra is director and managing trial attorney at CNA Insurance in Minneapolis.


Steven Michael Shank of Rochester, Minn., formerly of Iowa City, Iowa, died Feb. 4, 2019, age 43.

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.