Class of 2003 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Classmate,

Lots has happened on campus since you received your spring 2017 class agent letter, and we hope you’ve been able to experience some of these events in person. For starters, RAGBRAI—the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa--came through Decorah July 28, and the Luther community enthusiastically greeted the estimated 15,000 riders with a large welcome sign, free Gatorade, water, and Norse cookies!

A short five weeks later, and the fall semester began for the college’s 157th academic year, welcoming 542 new students to campus. Acknowledging that these are turbulent times for our nation, Luther President Paula Carlson, in her Fall 2017 State of the College speech, urged us to “rededicate ourselves and our community to our founders’ vision of a more just society and to our namesake Martin Luther’s commitment to be true to conscience, to live by our core values and beliefs.”

Two facility dedication events were held in September: Legacy Field, the new blue synthetic turf system by AstroTurf that was installed over the summer in Carlson Stadium, was blessed in a special ceremony Sept. 9, part of a full day of Luther athletic events, which included a football victory over St. Olaf. Thanks to much-appreciated donor support, including a lead gift by Dennis ’64 and Suzanne Birkestrand, Luther now has one of the safest and most distinctive fields in NCAA Division III football. A week later, on Sept. 16, the college’s newly renovated 12 outdoor tennis courts were dedicated. The $1 million project—generously funded by an alumni couple who wishes to remain anonymous—has resulted in a more durable, stable, and consistent playing surface, making Luther’s outdoor tennis venues one of the best in the region. Many thanks to all of the donors who contributed to these projects.

Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 6-8, brought more than 2,000 alumni and friends to campus for 65 various events, including the annual alumni dinner Friday night, where a Distinguished Service Award was given to eight alumni. Play was suspended during the second quarter of Saturday’s football game due to lightning; after the game resumed, Norse player Cory Wirth ’18 went on to make a 25-yard field goal in overtime, leading his team to a 41-38 victory over Nebraska Wesleyan University. Go Norse!

Another highlight of Homecoming Weekend was the very well-attended official viewing, at Noble Recital Hall, of To This Day: Remembering Nordic Choir’s First International Tour. Aiden Spencer ’18 and Jacqueline Wilke, Luther professor of history, created this documentary film of Nordic Choir’s first international tour in 1967as part of a three-year student/faculty collaborative project.

Student/faculty collaborative projects are just one of the many ways learning happens beyond the classroom at Luther. Internships and externships are also vital components of a Luther education, as are study-away experiences, which are key to the global perspective Luther promotes.  Do you know high school students who could benefit from the kind of education Luther provides? If so, please refer them through the Alumni Ambassador Program, which awards $4,000 in scholarships to students who enroll after your referral. There was a form just for this purpose tucked in the pages of the Fall 2017 Luther Alumni Magazine, or you can submit one online at

The college’s year-long exploration of the Reformation—and celebration of its 500th anniversary—culminated October 31, 2017, with a day-long symposium and evening concert. The symposium—The Reformation of Everything, 1517-2017, Examining the Reformation and its Continuing Impact—looked at the impact the Reformation has had on Christianity, the Church, education, broader society, and culture; how it has shaped Luther College; and what its influence might look like in the future. Among the many distinguished presenters was Marty Haugen ’73, renowned composer of liturgical music. Later, the Reformation Commemoration Concert, where The Reformation Cantata was premiered, raised up the work of alumni and students. The cantata was anchored by four choral movements, composed by Luther alumni Daniel Kallman ’78, Sky Macklay ’10, Mark Petering ’95, and Daniel Raney ’92, and four instrumental interludes—composed by Luther students Pablo Gomez-Estévez ‘18, John Kuntz ’19, Caleb Linville ’19 and Hunter Prueger ’18—were interspersed throughout the work.

As you can see, it’s been a busy fall semester on campus, and we’ve only included some of the many happenings. Please keep Luther informed of what’s happening in your life, and we will write again in the spring.


Jess (Romens) Schouten
[email protected]

Joel Summers
[email protected]


Bjorn Berg is national sales trainer at TASC in Madison, Wis.

Matt Birkenholz of Chanhassen, Minn., is senior vice president of sales-carrier markets at AddOn.

Josh Cinnamo of Lakeville, Minn., competed in the Chula Vista High Performance Meet for para athletes at the Olympic Training Center in California last spring, where he set the shot put World Record by 18 centimeters with a toss of 15.98. Cinnamo was one of 50 Americans invited to compete for team USA in the World Para Athletics Championships in London in July. He finished in fourth place in the shot put, with a toss of 15.09, and was 10th in the discus with a throw of 39.33.

Andrej Kostresevic of Miami, is CEO of Nomads and Expack, an engineering company specializing in rapid development of custom, direct-to-consumer, internet delivery products for mobile, web, and connected devices. Expack delivers custom food packages from an individual’s home country.

Amber Wilson is advanced care planning social worker for the VA Central Iowa Health System in Des Moines.

Jodie (Jansen) Campbell is owner and principal consultant for JansenCampbell Limited in Khandallah, Wellington, New Zealand.

Krisanne (Linde) Forsman is ECSE evaluator and IFSP facilitator at Sherburne N. Wright Special Ed. Co-op in Monticello, Minn. She and her husband, Josh, launched a new business last August called Ultimate Home Outlet, a discount home improvement store.

Riley (McNurlin) Huebsch is owner and doula of the Doulas, LLC, in Monona, Wis.

Kelsey Knutti is regional director of clinical operations for Presence Health in Aurora and Elgin, Ill.

Erin Kube of La Crosse, Wis., is a senior real estate specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Amber (Kobler) Lynch is senior city planner with the Neighborhood Development Division for the City of Des Moines, Iowa.

Janelle (Kime) Olson of St. Paul, Minn., is senior immunogenetic specialist for National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match.

Leah Schumann is loan documentation team lead at Bell Bank in Minneapolis.


Jessica Bothun and BJORN BERG, March 23, 2017

KRISTIN HALTINNER and Garrett Clevenger, Aug. 1, 2015

Kelsey Holmes and TOM KRAMBEER, June 20, 2015 

JILL JOHNSON and Rob Stanway, June 4, 2016


MOLLY (VANDERSTOEP) and MATT BEATTY welcomed twin sons, Arie Walter and Patrick Lee, in March 2017.

BECKY (JOHNSTON) and Richard Bole welcomed a son, Porter, in May 2013 and a daughter Lennon, in March 2017.

JODIE (JANSEN) and Mitchell Campbell welcomed a son, Hunter Campbell, in August 2014.

KRISSY HALTINNER and Garrett Clevenger welcomed a son, Ethan Sur, in January 2016.

KRISTA MAHLER and LT Grant welcomed a daughter, Caroline Ellen, in February 2017.

AMBER (RISLOW) and Zac Harder welcomed a daughter, Feven, in May 2011; a son, Kairus, in March 2015; and a daughter, Freya, in January 2017.

RILEY (MCNURLIN) and Bill Huebsch welcomed a daughter, Sylvia Patsy, in March 2015.

Kelsey and TOM KRAMBEER welcomed a son, Theodore Roger, in September 2016.    

KELSEY (RESS) and PHILLIP PAPPANO '04 welcomed a son, Owen, in October 2015.

LAURA (AMUNDSON) and ALEX SMITH welcomed a daughter, Signy Elizabeth, in April 2017.