Class of 2007 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Class of 2007 Alumni,

It was mid-July when a request for a fall letter went out to your class agents.  If you are like me, you’ve been asking yourself where the year has gone – it’s almost fall? Hopefully it has gone to time with family and friends, vacations, relaxation, reading or learning and that you’ll settle into fall doing things you love.  I hope to get back to an apple orchard and enjoy the scenes of fall! But enough about me, how about a big update about Luther.

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!

We wish you all well and hope you embrace all that is fall.  If you need anything, please let us know or reach out via our class page on Facebook.

Soli Deo Gloria!

2007 Class Agents:

Daniel Le Guen-Schmidt
5544 34th Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55417
[email protected]

Megan (St. Clair) Nelson
2624 E. Hill Road
Beloit WI 53511-2152
[email protected]

Sarah (Quick) Olejniczak
N27W22538 Burningwood Lane
Waukesha WI 53186
[email protected]



Brielle (Stahnke) Anfinson is a special education teacher at North Hudson Elementary School in Hudson, Wis.

Jenny (Sedan) Berning earned a doctor of physical therapy degree from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. She is physical therapist and director of physical therapy at Midwest Medical Center in Galena, Ill.

Andrea (Hemphill) Birch is nurse practitioner at Katmai Oncology Group in Anchorage, Alaska.

Kate (Sies) Boutilier is academic advisor at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill.

Ben Chaon is assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Amy (Hillesland) Chatfield is founder and designer at Silkebana and a retail associate at The Rustic Corner in Charles City, Iowa.

Sonja Damerval is senior sales enablement manager at Box, Inc. in Redwood City, Calif.

Theresa (Thompson) Jones is a certified pharmacy technician at Walmart in Boscobel, Wis.

Laura (Meixell) Kuhlmann is donor engagement officer at Center for Victims of Torture in Denver.

Michael “Coz” Lindsay is a communications associate for Ramsey County in St. Paul, Minn.

Emma (Peterson) Lutzke was selected as one of the recipients for the 2019 Caring for Kids Award through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Emma works in the Treatment Foster Care Program for the Lutheran Social Services office in Eau Claire, Wis., and was nominated for her ability to develop trusting relationships with clients and community partners, allowing for positive interactions and increased ability to obtain needed resources. Emma’s nomination speaks to those strengths. “Emma shares with children the importance of establishing safety, including feeling safe and how to develop the power to keep themselves safe — in action, interactions, communication and thoughts,” a colleague wrote. “She has developed a special way of connecting with children; building rapport and building trust with children who have experienced so much trauma.” Award selection criteria included years of service and experience, adapting to new initiatives, advocacy, leadership and a proven record of ensuring the well-being of children and families.

Kelsey (Cochrane) Martinez is a stay-at-home mom in Phoenix, Ariz.

Kendra (Swanson) Masters is a self-employed musician and outdoor education contractor in Mount Horeb, Wis.

Sarah (Quick) Olejniczak is vice president for student affairs at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee.

Becky Schinker teaches vocal music at River Valley High School in Spring Green, Wis.

Tim Strey is accounting manager at Walker and Dunlop in Bethesda, Md.

Alyssa Wehr is psychotherapist at HealthPartners in Bloomington, Minn.

Nathan Wicks earned a master of divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary. He will serve as pastor in ministry of word and sacrament at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Gackle, N.D.

Julia Zaffarano is housing portfolio manager at the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing in Denver.



THERESA THOMPSON and Kraig Jones, May 26, 2018



Amy and RAY BISSEN welcomed a daughter, Lauren, In August 2018.

JESSICA (MEYERHOLZ) and Anthony Smith welcomed a son, Kyle, in April 2018.

CLAIRE (BARVIR) and Matt Tschann welcomed a son, Axel Anthony, in June 2018.

ANNA (DYRUD) and TODD WEDEKIND welcomed a son, Soren James, in August 2018.