Summer 2020

Dear Members of the Class of 2011,
Many of us are making adjustments, sometimes daily or even hourly, to these uncertain times and, for a variety of reasons, a few Class Agents were unable to write their class letters this spring. We look forward to sending you a letter from your agent this fall, but, in the meantime, we wanted to send you an update from the college and your class notes.

Luther College has just wrapped up a spring semester like no other. Our students participated in remote learning, connecting with their professors and classmates online and on Sunday, May 24, we celebrated the Class of 2020 with a virtual commencement . It certainly wasn't the spring semester we imagined, but the Luther community responded with resiliency and creativity.

In the midst of the uncertainty of a worldwide pandemic, in the United States and at Luther, we also confront centuries of racism that has led to oppression, injustices, and inequities.
We must strive to make this world a better place for our neighbors who experience systemic oppression. Luther College is preparing to be a leader in the difficult and painful conversations that will take place over the coming months and years and I invite you to view Pres. Ward's message regarding the college's action steps .

Especially now, gifts to the Luther Fund can make a big difference in supporting students as they navigate all that's ahead. If you can, please consider making a gift today.

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during these times.

Many thanks for your steadfast love and support.
Mariah Bringer Smith ‘95
Director of Development, Current Gifts
College Updates:

  • ICYMI (in case you missed it): the second issue of Norse Notes is available!

  • Luther is now a Bee Campus USA affiliate, recognizing the benefit to pollinators that Luther has been providing through our sustainability and land stewardship efforts over the years.

  • Luther's Ideas and Creations blog is an excellent way to keep up with what we're talking about in our community. The latest post, What is Juneteenth, by Professor of Religion, Guy Nave, is timely and informative.

  • Luther College and Northeast Iowa Community College are partnering in an effort to meet growing workforce needs in the social work field. The two institutions partnered to create an A.A. to B.A. Social Work Transfer Pathway. This agreement will provide students the opportunity to complete an A.A. at NICC with credits that directly transfer to Luther, allowing them to obtain their B.A. in social work in only two additional years.

  • Beginning in the fall of 2020, Luther College will offer a program to equip students with the knowledge and skills to improve the health and wellness of people worldwide. The new program, global health, is an interdisciplinary field that addresses health, health equity, and socioeconomic concerns of people around the world. Students will be trained to understand the complex interactions among social, political, environmental and cultural forces that shape the health status of populations across the globe.They will be encouraged to understand the implications of inequalities domestically and globally and begin to take steps toward positive change. After students graduate from Luther with a degree in global health, they will be qualified for careers such as health program coordinators or policy analysts in a variety of domestic and international health organizations. They will also be prepared to pursue a master's degree in public health, global health or another health-related field, and have the option to gain further expertise through a doctoral program.


Taylor Bergen is interim director of Legion Arts at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Mitchell Demers is executive director at Hope Farm School in Stockholm, Wis.

Amy Dorman is the Eileen R. De Dea Fellow for the Study of Gender and Women’s Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis.

Sabrina Hawkinson of Minneapolis, earned the MEd degree in mathematics from the University of Minnesota. Sabrina teaches second grade and is makerspace coordinator for ISD 196.

Aaron Knodle earned the DMA degree in choral conducting with a cognate in vocal pedagogy from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He was named assistant professor of choral music education and director of choral activities in the Louisiana Tech University School of Music.

Chris Nevala-Plagemann is an internal medicine resident at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Alex Olson works for Amazon in Seattle.

Kelly (Bandman) Scocchera is site supervisor at Habitat for Humanity Chicago.

Claire (Philpott) Utecht is associate producer at Minnesota Public Radio in Minneapolis.

Shaun Vegter is production supervisor at Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn.


KELLY BANDMAN and Brian Scocchera, Aug. 11, 2018

LARA GRAVES and Daniel Zimmerli, June 23, 2018


CLAIRE PHILPOTT and Brad Utecht, Oct. 5, 2019

LAURA WILLIAMS and Tim Sprick, Dec. 29, 2018


Grace Elizabeth in July, 2019, child of KATIE (WILSON) and PETER FERRELL

Oak, in September 2019, child of BEKKY (WILLIS) and BEN HARKINS '10

Ezekiel, in April 2019, child of BETHANY (WICHMAN) and Andrew Lehman

Hendrick, in November 2019, child of MELANIE (MASSNICK) and JACOB REITZ '10

Easton, in November 2018, child of Jackie and ALEX RUSTAD

Harper, in November 2018, child of HEATHER (MALECHA) and DARIN SCHNEIDER '10

Isla, in June 2018, child of MELISSA (LARSON) and BEN SCHORI '10

Owen Lee in October 2019, child of LAURA (WILLIAMS) and Tim Sprick