Class of 2000 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Classmate,

This past June, I had the extreme joy of experiencing “Luther Magic” vicariously through my daughter, Lilly, as she attended her first junior high Dorian music camp!  The excitement of attending camp was palpable as we checked her in and got her settled.  Ironically, Lilly was assigned room number 105 in Brandt Hall; two doors away from my freshman year room!  As we unpacked her items for camp, I retold some of the shenanigans and happenings of my year living on “Brandt First West.”  She was amazed at some of the stories I told and thought it was extremely humorous that half of the floor was named some variant of Jennifer, Megan, or Rachel.  

With the evening rehearsal set to begin, a few girls from the floor knocked on her door, introduced themselves to her, and said they would save her a place at the all-camp meeting. I was transported back to the fall of 1996 as I nervously introduced myself to others and planted the seeds of friendship. Little did I know, that those first seedlings would grow into the forest of Luther friends that helps to sustain me today! 

Before we left our camper, we took a picture of her under the Luther Bell. The sparkly eyes, optimism, and glee reflected in that picture perfectly captured the magical feeling that is Luther. Her week was filled with joyful texts and pictures as she planted her own seeds of friendship. 

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:

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!

I hope that you are able reflect on your time at Luther and continue to hold those memories close to your heart.  I firmly believe that there is “Luther Magic” within all of us.


Jenn (Potter) Walker


2000 Class Agents:

Andrew Haase
91 Lockwood Court
Hudson, WI 54016
[email protected]

Jenn (Potter) Walker
428 19th Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
[email protected]


Tia (Philibert) Bastian earned a doctor of philosophy degree in social and behavioral epidemiology from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She is senior evaluator at Professional Data Analysts, Inc. in Minneapolis.

John Hatlevig is a financial associate at Thrivent Financial in Shakopee, Minn.

Angie (Spartz) O’Keefe is a group fitness instructor at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

Jessie (Danielowski) Olson is senior clinical analyst at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Minneapolis.

Jason Soland is a trust officer at Decorah Bank & Trust in Decorah.

Cassidy (Johnson) Steiner is a teaching assistant at The Blake School in Hopkins, Minn.


Adam W. Kiracofe of Foxboro, Mass., died Nov. 9, 2018, age 40.

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.