Luther Alumni Magazine

Chance encounters

Over the summer we asked Luther alumni to share with us their chance meetings with other alumni, close to home or around the world. 

Giving a leg up

Bob Bishop '70
Bob Bishop '70

Bob ’69 and Sandy (Sime) Bishop ’70 were vacationing in Florida last February when Bob sustained a severe ankle fracture requiring immediate surgery. After surgery, the surgeon recommended first-class seating for the three-hour flight back to Minneapolis so there would be adequate room for Bob to elevate his leg. Unfortunately there were no front row seats available. Bob and Sandy had to settle for seats in the second row.

Just before takeoff Bob was attempting to elevate his leg over the center console between his seat and Sandy’s seat. That’s when a kind and compassionate person looked back from his front-row seat, saw Bob’s struggle to elevate his leg, and offered to change seats. Bob and Sandy gladly accepted his offer.

Shortly after take-off Bob and Sandy were chatting with a couple across the aisle about where they were from. When Bob said Decorah, Iowa, the man who had generously traded seats called out “Luther College, class of ’86.” Bob and Sandy responded “Luther, class of ’69 and ’70.” A nice conversation followed between the three Luther grads.

That chance meeting, and the kindhearted actions of a Luther grad, made a positive difference in what could have been a long, uncomfortable flight home for Bob. Thanks again, Tim Swenson ’86, for your understanding and kindness on that February flight from Tampa to Minneapolis. Go Norse!

—Bob Bishop ’70

Now there’s a secret handshake!

Bjorn Berg ’03 and I first met in July 2013 at Ripon College in Ripon, Wis., during our first staff training meeting for the Wisconsin Association of School Council Leadership Camp. Out of a staff of 24 individuals, 12 adult counselors and 12 junior counselors, we were paired together to be AC and JC for the week.

Bjorn Berg ’03 and Kate Knepprath ’17 over four years
Bjorn Berg ’03 and Kate Knepprath ’17 over four years

Getting to know each other, I made small talk about being a recent high school grad and how I had plans to attend Luther in the fall. Immediately, Bjorn threw up an L and started chanting. I had no idea what he was doing. He looked at me very seriously and said, “Kate, this is important for you to know.”

We worked together that week—on creating our camp curriculum as well as a secret Luther handshake—and have continued to work together each summer we return to camp. And, because of the proud Norse we are, the Tuesday of camp has officially become “Luther Tuesday,” when Bjorn and I both sport our Luther apparel.

We’ve taken a photo on a Luther Tuesday for the past four years, and this July will be the first time we’ll both be alumni!

—Kate Knepprath ’17

Joining the party

A bachelorette party for Kelsi Holmes ’13 turned into an unexpected Norse Encounter at Cowboy Jack’s in Minneapolis on July 1. Emily Banitt ’13, Kirsten Hash ’13, and Marissa Satern ’14 were celebrating with Holmes (she’s the one in the tiara and sash, of course) when that Luther golf shirt alerted them that they weren’t the only Norse alumni in the place. Dan Blattner and Kendra Moser, center, both class of 2014, got in on the photo opp. Holmes married Drew Giese on Aug. 5. —Emily Banitt '13

Kelsi Holmes '13 and her bachelorette party ran into Dan Blattner '14 and Kendra Moser '14 in Minneapolis.
Kelsi Holmes '13 and her bachelorette party ran into Dan Blattner '14 and Kendra Moser '14 in Minneapolis.

Francisco Neto ’14 and Owen Neubauer ’15
Francisco Neto ’14 and Owen Neubauer ’15

Learning the language

Francisco Neto ’14 moved to Germany in August to start a master’s program this fall at Albert Ludwig University of Frieburg. In the meantime, he is taking a German language course. In the school’s canteen, he ran into Owen Neubauer ’15, who is taking the same course. 

Norse news network

I will never forget being in the cathedral in Salzburg, Austria, in January of 1977, when I spent a month in Europe after the original fall Malta program. As I was walking out, I happened to see a small group of familiar faces in the back. Yes, it was the J-term group from Luther, who informed me that Mabe’s had just burned down (a different location from where it is now). Because this was before easy electronic communication, this was news to me!

I also often talk to fellow Luther grads when I travel if I happen to see “the ring” on their hands.

—Deb Wiley ’77 

You tell us!

Next we want to know: Which course that you took at Luther had the biggest impact on you and why? Email your story to [email protected] or write us at Luther Alumni Magazine, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101.