Class of 2004 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019

Dear Classmates,

As I write to you, I am pondering what has been a tumultuous fall and winter. From fires in California, to frigid temperatures in the Midwest, to a partial government shutdown that has impacted the entire country, there have been plenty of hard times to go around. The shutdown had an impact on our family, but not as hard as for others in our local communities. It has been difficult to see our neighbors and our country go through such trying times, but we were heartened to see such a magnificent outpouring of support from first responders, good Samaritans, generous donors, and local businesses who have helped to see their neighbors through it all.

Giving and generosity are values Dave and I cherish as part of our daily life and they are deeply embedded in our local culture. I often joke that the reason D.C. won the Luther Giving Day Challenge three years in a row, is because as Washingtonians, we are conditioned to hand our money over (charitably speaking of course). For us, giving is a form of currency that cultivates relationships and signals our support and appreciation for the efforts and goals of others. Not to say that isn’t so across the country, but it is especially noticeable here. We give as a gesture of support and also because we know that what goes around comes around. Some might find this to be a cynical assertion, but there is really something elegant about how generosity inspires more generosity.

Here’s a look at what is going on at Luther these days: Luther student musicians are playing and singing at venues across the Midwest. Luther has hosted a number of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the college’s Black Student Union. The Class of 2019 will soon be graduating and once summer comes, the campus will host thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students interested in everything from music, to nature, to sports. This summer Luther will also offer its third annual Dance Camp, an inclusive, empowering, fun and inspiring week of movement and expression.

With so much going on, there are a lot of students (and future students) who depend on the generosity of Luther’s friends and alumni for these programs to succeed. The hope is that our generosity will someday inspire their generosity; that generation after generation of Luther students and alumni will feel that they have been supported for their efforts and appreciated in meeting their goals.

While our annual Giving Day may have passed, it is never too late to make a contribution. Thank you to those who have given so far this year, especially to those who make Luther College an ongoing philanthropic priority. Your contributions mean so much to the students – present and future- and to the Luther community at large.

Happy spring and we look forward to seeing you at our 15-year reunion at Homecoming in the fall, October 5, 2019!

Best regards,

Rachel (and Dave) Bleich
2004 Class Agents
5025 7th Road S, Apt. 202
Arlington, VA 22204-2524
703-399-4685 (D); 240-353-0957 (R)
[email protected]
; [email protected]


Bridget Boehmer-Campbell is a clinical social worker for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Thomson, Ill.

Henry Cruz is owner of Northland Trucking Enterprises in Los Angeles. 

Sarah (Braun) Ekenberg is marketing manager, PR and media for Protolabs in Maple Plain, Minn. 

Anna Haugen is a pastor at Naselle Lutheran Church in Chinook, Wash.

Mandy Henderson is a mental health practitioner for the Open Door Autism Project in Lafayette, Colo.

Jen (Rogers) Levisen is communications director for Mortarr, an online inspiration and networking platform for commercial construction and design in Albert Lea, Minn.

Rachel Miller-Bleich is a non-profit governance consultant at MillerBleich Consulting, LLC in Arlington, Va

Phil Pappano is a manager of clinical applications for Epic Learning and Development at HealthPartners in Minneapolis.

Nick Peter is the Orchestra Hall event and facility sales manager at Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis.

Ryan Sommers is director of clinical services at the Wilshire Group in Sierra Madre, Calif.

Karisa (Jensen) Thompson is an adoption finalization coordinator at Lund Family Center in Burlington, Vt. Last summer, she was awarded Vermont’s 2018 Congressional “Angel in Adoption” Award for her work in the field of adoption and permanency.

Hans Thurmer is a chiropractor at Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis.

Cherise (Olson) Weber is an operations analyst for Wells Fargo in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


ANNE (BURMEISTER) and Nate Booth welcomed a son, Harrison Glenn, in November 2017.

Amanda and HENRY CRUZ welcomed a daughter, Caroline, in December 2017.

SARAH (BRAUN) and Randy Ekenberg welcomed a daughter, Isla, in July 2018.

Allie and JAMES GREGG welcomed a daughter, Genevieve Mae, in August 2018.

KELLY (FLYNN) and Christopher Janson welcomed a daughter, Josephine Grace, in September 2018.

ERICA (CROWSER) and JOSH KLAETSCH '03 welcomed a son, Ezra, 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]