Class of 1984 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear 1984 Classmate,

Remember getting ready for college? My parents had a kid at Luther for eleven years in a row and one year there were two of us there at the same time. They had hauling our stuff to college down to a fine art.    

So, 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. Say it with me, “Rosy fingered dawn.” 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.

Want another reason to go home to Luther? 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.

Remember, even if you can’t make it “home” please support Luther with your time, talent, and donations. Your gift may be made in many ways. You can make a gift today by using the attached form and the reusable envelope or by visiting

While changes are afoot at our alma mater, Luther also holds tight to its traditions, like keeping in touch with you, our 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.

Soli Deo Gloria, Luther-Luther-Luther!

Michele Minske


1984 class agents: 

Michele Minske
2005 39th Street
Des Moines, IA 50310
[email protected]

Paul and Sonja (Shatzer) Gibbs
320 Pheasant Avenue
Marion, IA 52302
[email protected]


Steven Berg is an AS400 programmer at Stine Seed Company in Dallas Center, Iowa. 

Gail Bolson-Magnuson is owner of Agora Arts in Decorah. The gallery celebrated 25 years in business in 2017.

Jeffrey O’Brien is an architect and project leader at Slingshot Architecture in Des Moines, Iowa.

David Stork is of counsel in the Corporate Group at Stoel Rives LLP in Portland, Ore.


Jeffrey Michael McCarty of Phoenix, Ariz., died May 11, 2018, age 57.

Lars A. Oldenburg of Eden Prairie, Minn., formerly of Stoddard, Wis., died Aug. 14, 2017, age 61.

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

If you would like a printout of the obituaries listed above in their entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.