Spring 2020

Dear Members of the Class of 1989,
 
Like colleges all over the country (and the world), 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.
 
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 you Maria's letter. We think you'll enjoy reading what they have written to your class.
 
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 1989 Classmate,

As I write to you today, I am in my seventh week of teaching second grade through a Distance Learning model. I miss my students and their daily smiles, struggles, and humor. I feel a wide range of emotions as I have tried to adjust to a new way of life. I am certain it is the same for you as we all have had to make changes in our daily lives. I pray this letter finds you healthy and surrounded by love and goodness. I wish to share a poem with you, by author Haroon Rashid:
We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another.
Suddenly, Disney is out of magic.
Paris is no longer romantic.
New York doesn’t stand up anymore.
The Chinese wall is no longer a fortress, and Mecca is empty.
Hugs and kisses suddenly become weapons, and not visiting parents and friends becomes an act of love.
Suddenly you realize that power, beauty, and money are worthless, and can’t get you the oxygen you’re fighting for.
The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts humans in cages. I think it’s sending us a message.
You are not necessary. The air, earth, water, and sky without you are fine. When you come back, remember that you are my guests, not my masters.
Rashid’s poem gives us some thoughts on the value of our earth and the necessity to treat it with love and care. As the poem gives me some pause and reflection on the beauty of the earth and life overall, I am in disagreement with the final statement. I believe we all ARE necessary! We need each other more than ever during this difficult time and we need to reflect on how we can be of value to each other. Although we are avoiding close physical contact with others to help slow down the spread of a deadly virus, we still need to stay close in other ways. I find myself taking time to reflect on many good times of the past, including the four years we were together. We were all transformed by our connection to a beautiful college in the corner of Iowa where we found lifetime memories and lifelong friends.

During this pandemic you may find extra time to do some interesting reading. I highly recommend perusing Luther’s Ideas and Creations blog . In the blog alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the college are encouraged to express their views, model "good disagreement" and engage in respectful dialogue.

Some news from campus:

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.

It has been 31 years since we walked across the stage for our May 1989 Luther graduation. The Luther College Class of 2020 will not get that opportunity as all campus events are cancelled until June 30. My heart goes out to all seniors, both college and high school. While we have all had to make sacrifices for the past weeks I hope we can collectively look for the positives and the opportunities in situations. Life goes on, it just goes on differently. We need to keep living, loving, and learning.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Maria Mickelson

1989 class agents:
Maria (Spieker) Mickelson
2417 8th Avenue SW
Austin, MN 55912-1256
507-433-3933
Chris Hubbs
1362 Camelback Drive
Eagan, MN 55123
651-204-3904

CLASS NOTES
 
Todd Argall is executive vice president and chief executive officer at Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho in Pocatello, Idaho.
 
Brian DeVries is area director at Search Ministries in Minneapolis.
 
Barbara Guenther is pastoral associate for liturgy and music at Holy Rosary Catholic
Church in Albuquerque, N.M. She was declared the 2019 Archdiocese of Santa Fe Pastoral
Musician of the Year. She also serves as chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, presents liturgy and music workshops throughout the Archdiocese and the Southwest region of the United States, and serves on the board of directors of the Southwest
Liturgical Conference.
 
Michael Kinsel received the 2019 Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. The award is given to a graduate who has excelled in their field and made significant contributions to the profession and/or college. He currently serves on the Morris Animal Foundation Wildlife Scientific Advisory Board and is a contributing author on the 2018 published textbook, “Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals.”
 
Maria (Spieker) Mickelson teaches second grade at Neveln Elementary School in Austin, Minn. She was named 2020 Austin Teacher of the Year. Mickelson is now eligible to become the Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Those results will be announced in May 2020.
 
Paul Reimann of Mount Vernon, Iowa, is an instructor for Kirkwood Community College in the education department at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
 
Hans Sieber is a mental health therapist at Arvada Therapy in Arvada, Colo.
 
 
MARRIAGES
 
KENDRIA HUTZELL and Kevin Opdahl, March 31, 2018
 
ANGIE WISE and Tyler Johnston, Sept. 29, 2018