Spring 2020

Dear Members of the Class of 1973,
Like colleges all over the country (and the world), Luther College is experiencing a spring semester like no other. Our students are participating in remote learning, connecting with their professors and classmates online. It certainly isn't the spring semester we imagined, but Luther is responding with resiliency and creativity.
Many of us are making adjustments, sometimes daily or even hourly, to these uncertain times but we wanted to connect with you and to send you Pat's letter that she wrote to you, the Class of 1973, just weeks before we became immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic. We think you'll enjoy reading what she has to share, knowing, of course, that any events referenced may have been cancelled or postponed.
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 ,   I hope you will consider making a gift today.

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during these times. For updated information about Luther's response to the pandemic, visit luther.edu.

Many thanks for your steadfast love and support.
Mariah Bringer Smith ‘95
Director of Development, Current Gifts
Dear Classmates,
Spring is just around the corner as I’m writing this letter – I’m slowly adjusting to Daylight Savings Time, and really appreciate the mild temps that have teased us with promise of warmer weather. I bought some tulips that are just opening and have stocked up on some candy for the grandchildren’s Easter baskets.
However, the anticipation of spring is clouded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of cases is growing exponentially in the U.S. and we depend on the expertise of health professionals and infectious disease experts like Dr. Michael Osterholm '75 for advice. Annual events, social and business gatherings as well as travel have been cancelled as we try to follow their advice and hunker down to try to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this virus. At the same time, we hope and pray that we will able to manage the effects of this pandemic now and as it ripples into our future. Please keep doing what you can to help yourselves, your family and neighbors!
COVID-19 has also had its effect on Luther and its students. President Jenifer K. Ward and her team are doing an admirable job of addressing the pandemic – a difficult task indeed in the face of so much uncertainty. 
I hope you were able to participate in Luther’s Giving Day 2020! It was fun to be part of the excitement as alumni, families, and friends of the college raised nearly $940,000 in one day! Your financial gift to the college is always welcomed! Check out givenow.luther.edu for ways to give, gift types, and areas to support. It’s very easy!
One of the areas you might choose to support is the Class of 1973 scholarship that goes directly to students. We received thank you cards from both students who benefited from this scholarship this year. Sierra Duncan, a sophomore majoring in Communication Studies, is “having an amazing year at Luther that wouldn’t be possible without [our] support.” Gabby Belzer, a junior history major, commented that her education at Luther wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of scholarships like ours, adding that the “kindness of the Luther community has transformed it into a second home” and “changed [her] life and those of countless others.”
There is always some exciting new about what’s happening at Luther:

If you haven’t looked at Luther’s website recently, you might enjoy browsing through the many links. The “connect” page , provides links to social media, streaming, news, blogs, and publications, and more. One of the blogs I enjoy reading is the Ideas and Creations blog , a forum for alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the College to “express their views, model ‘ good disagreement ’ and engage in respectful dialogue”.
In case you misplaced your most recent copy of the Luther magazine (or it was recycled before you read through it), you can link to it directly at luther.edu/magazine/ . You may also be interested in checking out luther.edu/outcomes / for links to college news and information such as alumni profiles, comparisons and rankings, life after Luther, etc. Another way to stay connected to Luther is through the college’s Facebook page or the Luther 1973 Facebook Page . Thanks to Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp for posting updates about all things Luther on our class Facebook page.
Many of us have regular, or semi-regular, contact with classmates - catching up with others through holiday greetings, on Facebook, or planned get-togethers. How about those unexpected phone calls, cards, or chance meetings? Last August I received a 50 th anniversary card from classmate and former roommate, Laurie Gage, marking the anniversary of our arrival on campus as incoming freshmen and the friendship that began as we shared a “made for two people” three person room in West Brandt with Stephanie (Hanson) Koch. Her thoughtful gesture brought back so many memories! Chance meetings at the airport with classmates Jerry Roppe and with Paul and Becca Torgerson, and serving on the SW MN ELCA synod council with Chuck Engebretson sparked some fun conversations and gratitude for the Luther connection. Have you had similar experiences? Please share what you have been up to with the Alumni Office, or contact Ranae or me at the email addresses below – and keep your eyes open for those Luther rings! 
By the time you receive this letter, perhaps the coronavirus pandemic will be behind us, perhaps it will still be foremost in our minds. Whatever the case, this is my hope for all of us:
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home respect and support those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no place to go.
May we who are losing on our investments remember those who have no money to invest.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find the ways to be the loving embrace of humanity to our neighbors.
Be aware. Be accepting. Be supportive. Be kind.
Peace in these uncertain times,
Pat (Holtorf) Branstad
1973 Class Agents:
Pat (Holtorf) Branstad
213 Second Ave. South
Saint James, MN 56081
Ranae (Keoppel) Gipp
212 High Street
Decorah, IA. 52101-1048

Rebecca (Banken) Brindle is a CPA and wealth advisor with Withum Wealth Management in Bethesda, Md.
Audrey (Happel) and Robert Hill of Independence, Iowa, are retired.
Dana “Dan” Hustvedt of Annandale, Va., died Dec. 8, 2020, age 71.