At 101 years old, Luther College alum Dorothy Anderson continues to attend homecoming celebrations
DECORAH,IOWA—Every five years since 1943, Dorothy (McMillen) Anderson gets dressed up and makes it over from her hometown of Mabel, Minnesota, to attend Luther College’s Homecoming and class reunions.
Even at 101 years old, she wasn’t going to stop that tradition, so she came to Decorah for the Luther reunion luncheon Oct. 7.
When asked how it feels to be the only member of the class of 1943 back for the Luther reunion, Anderson is quick with her answer: “I can’t believe it. I’m very happy to be here. God blessed us with a beautiful day.”
An only child who grew up on a farm near Hesper, Iowa, Anderson was the first in her family to attend college. Now, her family boasts a large coalition of Luther graduates. Her daughter Karen (Anderson) Forde ’69 brought her to the reunion luncheon. Her other daughter, Sonja (Anderson) Bennett, also graduated from Luther in 1967. Forde’s three children, Elizabeth Forde ’01, Joanna Forde ’05 and Karl Forde ’08, also all graduated from Luther
At Luther, Anderson earned her B.A., majoring in music and English. She has taught English, music and drama in Mabel and other places. During her time at Luther, she was a four-year women’s choir member, and she had some remarkable musical classmates. Luther legends Weston Noble, who built the college’s renowned music program, and Bud Herseth, longtime principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and David Preus, bishop of the American Lutheran Church, both also graduated in 1943.
Luther’s director of alumni relations, Sherry Alcock, was amazed when she heard that Dorothy planned to come for Homecoming. “In my 33 years at Luther, this is the first time we have welcomed an alum for their 80th class reunion!”
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