Class of 1980 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear Classmate,

Everyone seeks purpose and a place in life. Students coming to Luther College in the fall for the first time are not only seeking an education, but a place to grow and develop individually as well as in their personal faith journey.  Are you pleased with your choices?  Luther College is where you walked the paths, learned from dedicated professors, enjoyed a social atmosphere with sports, lectures, concerts, and developed life-long friendships. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than planting seeds for wanting to learn, grow and develop oneself. Thank you, Luther College.   

As a musician, my passion for travel was spawned with a Luther College Concert Band (LCCB) tour, January 1981, on the West Coast as a freshman. Playing music in churches and concert halls, being hosted by generous alumni in various cities, and getting to know my fellow musicians is one of my favorite memories. Today, as a college professor, I now lead tours both domestic and abroad for musicians. The goal of connecting with people through music and cultural exchange is the mission of each trip. Italy, Switzerland, and France were the countries I explored with 52 others this past June. Outcomes? A social and educational environment where people enjoyed exploring, experiencing new friends and cultures with musicians in each country, and being cultural ambassadors with music serving as the bridge. I thank Luther College for continuing their tradition of having groups travel both domestic and abroad, sharing music, learning, and our talents with the world.  

I often run into Luther College connections and hear from friends via social media. For example, Ray Harney continues to participate in the American Bierkebeiner cross-country ski race every February in northern Wisconsin where we both have cabins. His entire family, all four children, went to Luther College, and they all participated in the ski race. Last spring, the Luther College Concert Band performed near my home in Hudson, WI, while on their tour. I enjoyed attending this concert, seeing friends and Luther alumni, and connecting with the Luther band director, Joan deAlbuquerque. 

I love seeing friends, reconnecting, and sharing a memory of Luther College. The Twin Cities Luther College Connections luncheons are a great place to network and connect with people. Consider attending one of Luther’s regional events or pull together your own community of Luther people for an event or activity. If you want assistance, contact the Luther alumni office. 

Any plans for your next chapter of life?  I hope you take the time to develop goals for your bucket list. No matter where your path has led, the support of Luther College and values this place nurtures should be remembered. Please consider Luther College in your annual and planned giving.

It’s the start of a new school year at Luther, one that promises to be as wonderfully action-packed as ever. In August, the college welcomed 575 new students to campus. Over the summer, they read a book that many Luther grads will remember from Paideia: The Odyssey. This year’s edition comes with a twist: it’s the first English translation by a woman, Emily Wilson, and by all accounts it’s a vivid, engaging, and sprightly retelling of the classic homecoming story. If you’re up for a return to your Paideia roots, you can join the fun through Luther’s reading guide to the book:

Speaking of homecomings, this year we’ll celebrate two important milestones during Luther’s Homecoming Weekend, October 26–28. First, the Black Student Union (BSU) commemorates its 50th anniversary this fall. There are several events planned during Homecoming and throughout the year to celebrate the founding of the organization—including forums, lectures, a brunch, and a BSU reunion—so mark your calendars. Luther’s Nursing Department also observes a birthday—its 40th—this fall. Homecoming Weekend, Kris Dreifuerst ’85 will lead a workshop for nursing educators and deliver the Ironside Distinguished (Alumni) Lecture in Nursing, which will be followed by an open house at Luther’s simulation lab.

In addition to Homecoming lecturers, Luther will welcome other notable speakers to campus this season. On October 23, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt will deliver the Farwell Distinguished Lecture, “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.” His book of the same name, published earlier this month, explores how the cultural climate of “safetyism” on college campuses across the U.S. interferes with the healthy development of students. He argues that recent social and cultural trends are setting children up to fail as healthy, autonomous, adaptable adults. If you don’t have time to read the book, you can get a snapshot through Haidt’s Atlantic article:

Finally, most have heard that President Paula Carlson will retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year. During her time at Luther, President Carlson added several academic programs to the college, renewed outdoor facilities, expanded Luther’s Career Center services, developed and launched the “Next Steps for Sophomores” program, added a dean of institutional equity and inclusion to Luther’s staff, and achieved Luther’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 percent by the end of 2015, among other things. Luther’s Board of Regents is taking the necessary steps in the presidential search process with the hope of transitioning leadership over the course of next summer and having a new president in place for the 2019–20 academic year.

While changes are afoot at our alma mater, Luther also holds tight to its traditions, like keeping in touch with valued alumni. We hope you’ll let us know what’s new in your life too! Until then, best wishes for a fall that’s as beautiful as it is in the Oneota Valley.

Should you have news to share, please feel free to contact me.

Kris Tjornehoj

1980 Class Agents:

Kris (Skoglund) Tjornehoj
104 13th Street
Hudson, WI 54016-2074
[email protected]

Barbara (Forde) Linnell
740 E. Decker Street
Viroqua, WI 54665-1802
[email protected]


Karen Angell of Eden Prairie, Minn., retired as a certified public accountant and partner at Baker Tilly. 

Linda (Balster) Roberts is manager of the Invest in Incredible program at Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Venice, Fla.

Mark Tiedemann published a new book, The Belle of Nagasaki, available on Amazon and in the Luther Book Shop.



Tim Burkey of Hawkeye, Iowa, formerly of Maynard, Iowa, died April 15, 2018, age 57.

The full obituary of the classmate listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at:

If you would like a printout of this obituary in its entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.