Class of 2001 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Classmate,

Well, we hit 40 this year. I don’t know about most of you, but I was not ready for this birthday. It hit me, hard. Seems like I just graduated Luther and was launched into this world, so how could 20ish years pass already? In some ways, it seems like it has been 20 years and in others it feels like 20 seconds. What I love most about reflecting back and Luther, though, is the caring people there and the friendships that were formed. Whether it is weekly, monthly, or yearly touch points with Luther friends, it is always back to the ease of those days and conversations. Bottom line, Luther seems to attract and produce really nice people. I’m so grateful for those long, lasting friendships and relationships. I think of those new freshman this year and how they don’t even know how lucky they are to be forging these lifelong friendships.

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!

Laura (Ahlstrand) Bunch


2001 Class Agents:

Laura (Ahlstrand) Bunch
1344 Kiefer Bluffs Drive
Ballwin, MO 63021
[email protected]

Paul Hoyem
35130 Mulberry Lane
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
[email protected]

Joy (Christian) Stevens
37948 Dendal Drive
Peterson, MN 55962
[email protected]



Dan Bellrichard is owner and founder of Sogo Snacks. He was one of 37 Iowans selected for the inaugural Iowa class of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

Carolyn Combs is the Talented and Gifted coordinator and teacher for the Postville (Iowa) Community Schools.

Anessa (Dawley) Cummings is a security analyst at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Affiong Ekpo-Davids is a human resources officer at West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management in Lagos, Nigeria.

Nathan Hansen opened his own law firm, The Law Office of Nathan P. Hansen, in Fort Collins, Colo.

Katie Prochaska of Decorah was elected vice chairperson of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Winneshiek County Extension Council.

Sulman Raja is senior cloud platform architect at CGI in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Elizabeth (Youngquist) Selby is choral director at Patriot High School in Nokesville, Va.

Kristina (Jones) Slaney of Mill Creek, Wash., is founder and lifestyle consultant at Family. Work. Life. Consulting.

Carolyn Sommers-Tillotson teaches seventh grade science at Eagle Ridge Academy in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Eugene Tesdahl is assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Platteville, Wis. He was selected for the 2019-20 Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars Program. Gene will research chattel slavery and lead mining in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, 1826-1865. His recent article, “Lead, Slavery and Black Personhood in Wisconsin” was published in the Wisconsin Magazine of History.


BETSY (SCHEURER) and Jeff Anderson welcomed a son, George Allen, in June 2018.

LAURA (RIORDAN) and Gianfranco Berardi welcomed a son, Dominic, born March 2009, adopted November 2018, and a daughter, Dontae, born April 2011, adopted November 2018.

AFFIONG (EKPO) and Abasiono Davids welcomed a daughter, Eden SenoAbasi, in February 2018.

MEREDITH (MILLER) and Dana Tenneson welcomed a daughter, Liesl Grace, in March 2018.


Robyn Lynne (Martinson) Barclay of St. Charles, Minn., died July 20, 2019, 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.