Spring 2020

Dear members of the Class of 2019,
 
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 connect with you and to send you Sadie and Becca's letter that they wrote to you, the Class of 2019, just weeks before we became immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic. We think you'll enjoy reading what they have 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 Class of 2019,

It is hard to believe that it is 2020, almost a year after our graduation. We want to send you our well wishes for the new year and for a positive new decade. As you read this letter, we hope you are able to reflect on the months since graduation. Hopefully you were able to visit the campus, see C@L, or just catch up with other friends from Luther. Either way, we hope that the months since we last spoke in person have been a time of growth and discovery. Additionally, we look forward to connecting in the years to come—like our five-year reunion (which will come faster than we can imagine).

As a child, it seemed as if life beyond college was a void, a grey cloud, something that would come much later on, yet here we are. We are now in that void. What next? Some of us are working full-time jobs, some are still in school, some volunteering, and others are still working it out. Wherever you are, we hope that you are finding your life fulfilling and enjoying each moment. If not, don’t waste one second in a place you aren’t enjoying, because it just isn’t worth it. We studied hard for four years (maybe less, or maybe a bit more) and we should hold ourselves to a life that reflects it.

We also hope that you carry Luther pride with you in your daily lives—either through thinking as a global citizen, caring about our precious planet, or working in community. Being a Luther graduate is truly a special status and we hope you take advantage of that as well. Maybe you have connected with Luther alumni or applied for a job because of a
Luther graduate. Maybe you are wearing your class ring and someone has approached you. Wherever you are, it is never too late to leverage your Luther alumni status to help you along the way. We are living in a time where people are changing careers, living globally, and connecting as people. Take advantage of this privilege we have as college graduate—and make the world we live in a better place while you’re at it.

Additionally, you may be aware that Luther is going through some changes this academic year, including our new president. One highlight is a recent partnership with the local community college and social work students. There will be a new Global Health studies program starting next fall, which is increasingly important and relevant as we write this letter and watch the news of the COVID-19 pandemic unfold.

If you are missing the Luther community and are looking for ways to stay connected, the Ideas and Creations blog is a great place to start. Here you will find blogs from students and faculty that discuss what is happening on campus, in their classes, or in the world.

Lastly, we are proud to be your class agents and look forward to updating you again next fall. In the meantime, (between summer, your jobs, the presidential election, and the Olympics) if you have any requests for these letters, don’t be shy and send us a reply email!
 
 Sending each of you all the best for 2020 and beyond,
Sadie Andersen
2019 Class Agent
2484 320th Ave.
Hartwick, IA 52232
Becca Buse
2019 Class Agent
4281 Quaker Trail NE
Prior Lake, MN 55372

CLASS NOTES

Victoria Bleckeberg is retirement plan services account manager at Associated Financial Group in Minnetonka, Minn.

Samantha Bratland is a self-employed artist and also works at Identity Works in West Salem, Wis.

Gabrielle Bruns was selected by the Austrian-American Educational Commission to serve as a Fulbright teaching assistant for the 2019-20 academic year. She teaches English at the Pädagogische Hochschule Burgenland, a teacher training college in Eisenstadt, Austria.

Fallon Cassidy is a police officer for the Waukon (Iowa) Police Department.

Ananda Easley of Dubuque, Iowa, is a parent educator at Stein Counseling and Consulting Services and a part-time personal trainer at Anytime Fitness.
 
Jonah Gehrt is a licensed realtor at RE/MAX Results in Rochester, Minn.
 
Michaela Gyure teaches elementary music for the Waukee (Iowa) Community School District.
 
Erin Halverson is the events and social media coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
 
Claire Hess is a staff accountant at Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin, Minn.
 
Janet Irankunda is an area coordinator at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
 
Ty Kloft is a personal assistant III at Hills and Dales in Dubuque, Iowa.
 
Jana Mueller is a Fast Track specialist and independent living advocate at RAMP in Rockford, Ill.
 
Ally Peters is a Minnesota Greencorps member: Air Pollutant Reduction for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools, and a freelance photographer and photo editor.
 
Anna Phearman is front-end manager at Mobility4All in Hopkins, Minn.
 
Tyler Puettmann is the 7-12 vocal music director for the Cherokee (Iowa) Community Schools.
 
Alex Sekora is a customer service advocate at UnitedHealthcare in Green Bay, Wis.
 
Grant Sparstad is a cognitive skills trainer at Learning Rx and a Promise Fellow for the Minnesota Alliance With Youth in Lino Lakes, Minn.
 
Elizabeth Wiebke is a staff assistant for the office of congresswoman Betty McCollum at the U.S. House of Representatives in St. Paul, Minn.
 
 
MARRIAGES

ELIZABETH JOHNSON and Andrew Houdek, Sept. 14, 2019
 
SHELBY HEIM and COLTIN WELLMANN '17, Oct. 12, 2019