Class of 2003 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Dear Classmate,

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.

Jess (Romens) Schouten
2003 Class Agent
1780 Lochaven Drive
Woodbury MN 55125-9015
[email protected]

Joel Summers
2003 Class Agent
5931 Holiday Road
Minnetonka MN 55345-5427
[email protected]

CLASS NOTES                                          

Erin (Clark) Benedict is a foster parent and staff training specialist at Lutheran Social Services in Peoria, Ill.

Narren Brown earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Iowa, and is associate vice president of research and institutional effectiveness at South Central College in Faribault, Minn.

Katherine (Swenson) Cinnamo is executive director at Nexstar Legacy Foundation in St. Paul, Minn. 

Kristin Dorow is an emergency room registered nurse at Seton Medical Center-Williamson in Round Rock, Texas. 

Heidi (Gericke) Eickstadt earned a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and is pastor for discipleship at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Burke, Va. 

Jamie (Thoelke) Hay is a staff division order analyst for Marathon Oil Corporation in Houston. 

Andrea Leibold is a process engineer at TEL FSI in Hillsboro, Ore.

Megan (Larsen) Lovinguth is national education manager at Big Green in Boulder, Colo.

Andrew Nelson is director of campus ministry and community service at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

Bronson Power is tax manager at Morken Eckberg Steiner, LLC in Mankato, Minn.

Terra (Schwerin) and Jim Rowe live and work in Denton, Texas. She is assistant professor of religion and ecology at the University of North Texas, and he is chaplain at the Good Samaritan Society.

Brooke Sanders of Clive, Iowa, is a career and college consultant with FutureU.

Joshua Shank is a lecturer of music at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

Lisa Thimjon is legislative liaison for the Minnesota Department of Health in St. Paul, Minn.

Nate Veldman of Apple Valley, Minn., is account executive at Reynolds and Reynolds.

Aaron Weiss teaches history and is the department chair at Walter Payton College Prep, a Chicago Public School. He was named the Illinois History Teacher of the Year in 2017 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History.



Margo and STEVEN NUMEDAHL welcomed a son, William Mark, in February 2016.

TARA (WILKINS) '04 and ERIK SHERIDAN welcomed a daughter, Evelyn Charleen, in July 2017.