Summer 2020

Dear Members of the Class of 1954,
Many of us are making adjustments, sometimes daily or even hourly, to these uncertain times but we wanted to be sure to connect with you and to send your class letter and notes to you!

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. I invite you to view President Ward's message regarding the college's initial 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
Dear Classmates,

Yes, it’s true!!!

Seventy years ago, we set foot on the Luther College campus as first-year students to find out what it meant to be a college student.

Thanks to Weston Noble and the music department, to Helen Bodensteiner and the theatre department, to Hamlet Peterson and Edsel Schweizer and the athletic department, many of us found our way into a co-curricular activity to supplement our college education.

In our day, we were a student body of about 700 students, in comparison to the size of about 2,000 students today in the 2020s. Needless to say, we had the better chance to meet and know most all of our colleagues at Luther College (and faculty and staff).
Now, this morning, Friday, April 17, 2020! We are in the Coronavirus confinement for all of Minnesota, all of the Midwest, all of the United States of America, and yes, even all of the world. “Stay at home,” is what we are being told.

Talk about “something new” / “something devastating” / “something strange” / It is this world-wide Coronavirus confinement policy that affects all of us. Lois and I are in our fourth week of confinement, and we’ll stay at home until they tell us otherwise. Talk about “something strange,” there it is!!!

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 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.

In closing, this “spring edition” of our 1954 Luther College class newsletter, let’s mention some of the faculty members names because they became so very important to us:

  • Ruth Mostrom, Academic Dean of the college
  • Barbara Bahe, Professor of German
  • Hamlet Peterson, Professor of Physical Education
  • Edsel Schweizer, Professor of Psychology
  • David Nelson, Professor of English
  • Chellis Evanson, Professor of History
  • Clara Paulson, Professor of English
  • David Nelson, Jr., Professor of Physics
  • Sherman Hoslett, Professor of Professor of Biology
  • Ade Docken, Professor of Chemistry
  • Roger Anderson, Professor of Education
  • Herb Rebassoo, Professor of Mathematics
Wonderful, caring professors for us to remember!
I started writing the spring class agent newsletter in early March, and here we are to almost mid-May, 2020. Without question, the Coronavirus confinement has had its effect on our lives, and still does! For how long, no one knows.
It kind of reminds me of the polio confinement in the 1940s when we were in our mid-tween-age years. In fact, it was just a year of two before we “packed our bags” to attend Luther College in the fall of 1950. Now we are in our eighties, looking back at all of these events that have happened in our lifetime.
WOW!!! FUN!!! WOW!!!
Now, we are blessed to call Luther College our Alma Matter, and we pray God’s blessings on Luther’s future.
Kent Finanger
1954 Class Agent
c/o Trillium Woods
5855 Cheshire Parkway, #4406
Plymouth MN 55446

Paul Estrem Ofstedal of St. Paul, Minn., died Oct. 13, 2019, age 87.