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The Alumni page offers a place for Alums of Duke Lutherans to share life updates and prayer requests, as well as to enable connections across space and time.

We are very aware that the relationships formed while at Duke, especially those in which faith, worship and service were intimately shared, continue beyond graduation.  But time and distance can strain those ties. 

We also have a "Thoughts and Opinions" section in which you can voice your thoughts on subjects of interest to you (and hopefully the community) and engage in conversation about issues that are significant in many of our lives.

With our current web design technology, you must submit your comments to the Lutheran Campus Minister (lutheransduke@gmail.com) and they will be posted as soon as possible.

You may also log onto the Duke Alumni Association home page, click on Affinity Groups, and go to the Duke Lutherans affinity group page. This is another location where you can learn of other alums and their activities, as well as posting notes and messages of your own.


Alumni Updates


August 19, 2011

Bill Dahl, Lutheran Campus Minister, '06-'11:

Although I am not technically a Duke alum, having just retired after 5 years as the Lutheran campus minister at Duke makes me feel like one.  So here is an update on what Barb and I have been doing.  My retirement became official on May 15, when I was honored to pass the torch to Andrew Tucker.  Barb retired from her position with that light blue school to the south on June 4.  We both left town (together) on June 15, with Ginger Hunter house-sitting and cat-watching for us.  Since then, we have only been home 2 nights.  A trip up the east coast as far as Boston (with a week visiting our daughters in NYC) preceded the real adventure - a grand tour of the western US which is only about 1/2 way done as I write.  We have hit 20 states so far, and spent time in many wonderful places (National Parks alone include  Black Hills, Badlands, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff [in Canada], Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Lava Beds and Mt. Lassen).  Camping most of the time, but some time in hotels and visiting friends when personal hygenie requires it.  A week ago we hit the Bay Area, stayed with friends in the East Bay, and then headed to Maui, Hawaii, from where I am writing.  Tomorrow we return to the mainland, to begin the long, slow return by the southern route.  What a ride!

The trip has been a vivid reminder of the glories of God's creation, but we are careful to remember at the same time the importance of friends, family and partners in ministry.  We offer our prayers to the Duke Lutheran community, where the freshmen orientation process begins next week (how time flies!), in the sure knowledge that our new arrivals will find the same welcome that so many before them did.

Blessings to you all, and may your own lives continue to be blessed by the Grace of Christ.  Please stay in touch.

August 9, 2011

Sarah L. Kieweg, '97:

I am an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kansas.  My husband, Doug, and I live in Lawrence with our daughter, Ada (age 4), and we are expecting another girl in October.   I'd love to be in touch with LCM people from 93-97!

July 31, 2011

Lisa Mauerer, '91 & Erik Maurer, 93:

We now live in Alaska, where I grew up. We attend Central Lutheran church in Anchorage, where I also grew up! I still sing in the choir, and am a regular liturgist.  We have two children, Madeline (age 12) and Alexander (age 9). Alexander's big question in life is why we "have do to communion 'walking style' in the summer." I am still working part time as a physical therapist, running a wheelchair and seating clinic which I founded here, working primarily with severely disabled children. My husband is a radiologist. I'm also involved with various non-profit boards. I fondly remember my times with Duke Lutherans, where we were able attend different churches as a group (including my fond memories of a primarily African American congregation, where the music was beyond what I though Lutherans capable!). I also enjoyed, immensely, the very first welcome dinner, which was hosted by a local congregation. I actually met people there that I ended up remaining friends with during my time at Duke, and it was a great opportunity for a graduate student to feel welcome and connected. I am thankful for the ministry Duke Lutherans provided! Thank you for

July 30, 2011

Tracy Hresko Pearl,'02:

I am currently living in Washington, DC, working as a litigator at a large law firm down town, and my husband and I are the proud parents of a new baby!  Our daughter, Lily Faye Ollali Pearl, was born on January 22nd of this year, and has turned our lives upside down (in a good way).  I've taken an indefinite leave of absence from my firm to stay home and be a mom for the time being.  I would love to hear what everyone else is up to!  Please also note that we have extra space at our house if anyone is ever in the DC area and looking for a place to stay while they see the sights!

July 29th, 2011

John Overcash, '08:

I'm currently going for my PhD in Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ian Yunker, '05, writes on 12/22/07:

Greetings Duke Lutherans!  I was pleasantly surprised to see an email from Duke Lutherans and followed the link to the website. It certainly looks like things are going very well back at Duke and I can see that the Lutherans are still having fun and making a difference. I remember fondly the friendships and good times with the Lutherans at Duke and recall with gratitude all that Duke Lutherans did for my faith.  My friends there helped me through some very tough times and helped me to take my faith to a level I had never experienced before. I am so thankful for my time there, it changed my life. It makes me happy to know that Duke Lutherans and St. Paul 's are still doing the same for other people.

 As for me, I am living in
Corpus Christi TX now.  I left Jacksonville after my last deployment and am now serving aboard the mine sweeper USS Avenger and enjoying living in Corpus.  I married Emily Taylor, yes that girl for those of you who may remember, in Mobile on September 1st of this year.  It was a great wedding.  Darren came down for it, as did Jared from the Episcopal group, and we had ourselves a time.  We have found a spiritual home here in Corpus at St. Mark's Lutheran Church and are enjoying it very much.  Emily is working as a vet tech here and is pursuing graduate studies at Texas A&M CC. I am still doing the Navy thing and will be taking some classes at my next duty station, God willing.  My hope is to become an ROTC instructor and my first choices are Duke and UNC.  Thus it is possible I may be back up there in the future.  Again, Duke Lutherans meant so much to me during my four years at Duke.  I wish you the best of luck and will always keep you in my prayers.  If anyone should want to reach me, my email is ianyunker@gmail.com. And no I am not on Facebook, it is evil :-)  In Christ, Ian Yunker, Duke Class of 2005.

Gretchen Ferber, '07, has been spending a remarkable year in the Philipines, and providing insightful updates on h er experiences by email.  Here are some excerpts:

:...Having never visited a prison previously, my expectations were non-existent when visiting the wrongly-accused Pastor Berlin in the Cavite Detention Center.  Within the low-security prison lacking many bars and confined cells, many prisoners were allowed to walk freely about the grounds, to visit the small shops set up around the courtyard.  However, not all prisoners were granted this freedom, especially since a crackdown on security followed a recent escape.  Pastor Berlin, privileged to have his own private cell while most prisoners found themselves living in cramped, claustrophobic cubbies, would only see the outdoors once a week.  Visiting with four others in the private cell measuring merely 5’ x 5 ½’ x 5 ½’ was a constant struggle to remain grounded amidst the knowledge of 200 other bodies in the cell block and no view of the outdoors.  Rather than wallowing in the grimness of this new reality, Pastor Berlin utilizes his private cell as the setting for Bible studies, pastoral care sessions, and his writings which relate to a different time and a different cell—that of late pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, protestor of the Nazi Regime.  Despite the relatively low level of security, prison life, as one would imagine, lacks ease with the deplorable living conditions.  Prisoners are crammed to full capacity, creating an intimidating sea of orange shirts; food is inedible, the dogs even refuse of touch such food; and as a result, outside support is heavily relied upon.  Living in such a reality with the knowledge of unlawful detainment following abduction and torture, one would expect to be downtrodden.  But the Filipino spirit resonates in Pastor Berlin—the quintessential underdogs, Filipinos may often be down, but rarely are they out.  Pastor Berlin and the UCCP community continue to fight within the court systems as he cheerfully says full of hope, “I shall leave here by Christmas.” I hope to be writing just that in my December newsletter..."

"...The month of December, in looking towards Christmas and the celebrations of the season, was spent in preparation for a Christmas program in the community.  In remembering the story of the Holy Family—a family traveling with no place to rest, eventually resorting to a manger filled with animals—parallels began forming in my mind about a modern-day Holy Family right here in Punta Engaño.  The vision of a family displaced, wandering at night as victims of demolition, resonated in my mind, having witnessed the tragedy of displacement without relocation firsthand.  Piles of rubble strewn with sheets of corrugated metal remain while the family also remains, cooking over the debris, sleeping until they must leave.  Spending one afternoon at the seashore, enjoying a beautiful day, I noticed a boat moored a few meters from the coast loader with sacs, bundles, and other containers.  After some time, teenaged boys appeared with more and more sacs, transporting them from the land to the water, and it was then that the beauty of that place was stolen amidst the reality.  I watched them make countless trips to that boat named Gracia—grace.  Dr. Montes and Butch also observed with me, joking the boat’s name was a misnomer; disgrace would be more fitting.  A common trait among Filipinos is to laugh under any circumstances: joy, pain, or sorrow.  They’ve been beat down so many times that all that remains is laughter.  Ironic it is that the people of the Philippines were voted among the happiest in the world concerning the state of poverty and oppression that the majority live in.  But at what expense does this happiness come?..."

These excerpts can hardly do justice either to the vivid and often brutal circumstances with which Gretchen is in contact, nor to the grace, insight and honesty with which she reports her reactions.  If you would like to receive complete copies of one or more of her monthly updates, just email Chaplain Bill at Duke Chaplain.

Daren Rivas, '06, writes again from Dallas, TX on Christmas Eve:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone,
I just wanted to send a quick email wishing everyone well during the holidays and giving everyone a quick update on whats been going on with me. I have had a busy year, but overall it has been a lot of fun and quite successful. My job has been going quite well with AA, and I had a promotion in July. I am now working on Domestic Pricing Strategy, and I am in charge or a lead on several of American's programs and relationships including with Priceline, Dealfinder (AA's version of Southwest's Ding), NetSaavers (if you any of you are signed up for the emails with AAdvantage, I am the analyst that selects and analyzes the markets each week. I guess  I may have been emailing you all for the last 6 months without any of you ever knowing it), and a program with Travelocity. The job is very interesting, and it gives me a lot of great exposure with several directors and even a couple of VP's.
I have been traveling a lot with American for a variety of reasons. I have been blessed enough to go on several relief trips to help bring medical, clothing, and kids' items to several places around the world and have seen some inspirational people who are persevering through the toughest of circumstances. By far the poorest place I have seen is Haiti. I went there once in February and again a few weeks ago. The situation is definitely improving, but it has a long way to go as the country has minimal infrastructure as their streets are all gravel paths strew   with trash and kids pulling water out of polluted streams. Thankfully Haiti's safety and security is getting better every month, but their history has been so cursed that a lot more good fortune and hard work will be needed. I have also been to Rio de Jainero, Uruguay, Uganda, and La Paz on relief trips while also getting to learn about the people and countries. For fun, I have been all over to places including: Medellin and Bogota, Colombia; Hawaii, Alaska, Brussels, Munich, Zurich, St. Maarten, Carlsbad Caverns, San Francisco, Seattle, L.A., and a few other places. Work has allowed me to visit most of Central America and meet some amazing fellow employees in Managua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama City, and Tegucigalpa. One other highlight was in July when my brother and I threw a surprise 50 th birthday party/25th anniversary party for mom and dad. They were quite caught off guard, and it went very well as even my Uncle Joe from Ottawa, Canada was able to visit.
So I know what you might be thinking with all these travels, when I am ever home? It is actually a lot more than anyone might realize. I am still quite involved with volunteering at the Children's hospital two nights a week, and I help with a youth group at my church. The fourth and fifth graders are a lot of fun, but I am amazed how much energy they seem to have. I am looking forward to our service project in February at one of the food and community service banks. Other than that, I am fine just relaxing with friends in Dallas and looking at possibly doing a triathlon next spring. My marathons went well this year. I not only improved by 15 minutes in the Boston marathon (I ran the Disney marathon in January) in sub par conditions, but I was able to run in honor of my late grandpa who died of cancer a little over 11 years ago. I ran for Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts, and I was able to raise over 4,000 dollars due to friends and family like you. Thanks to all of those who supported me. It meant a lot to me, and I feel truly blessed!
Well I must be off to midnight Christmas eve services, but a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Have a great New Year, and I will be thinking of you all when I am in Japan next week.
God Bless,

Jack V. Rich, MF, '79, writes from Rocky Mount, NC on 3/4/07:

Thank you for your recent Duke Lutherans newsletter...  I graduated from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, with an MF degree in 1979...I have been a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Rocky Mount, NC for the past 26 years.  I was also a member of the Call Committee last year, until we located our new Pastor; Alice Johnson Curl.  She's a real keeper, and we are fortunate to have her...  I have been blessed with a loving wife and a beautiful six year old child, which we adopted within the country of Guatemala.  God has given me countless friends and a few loving relatives still living back in Nebraska, where I grew up... 

Looking  back, I wish that I hade been more active in the church during my college days.  I assume that many of us that were not studying to become members of the clergy look back with similar regrets.  Luckily, when I got out of school and landed a job, I also went looking for a Lutheran church.  Rocky Mount is rather void of Lutherans, so we have struggled here with a declining membership.  As in most churches, from what I read, we are more the "norm" than the exception.  Keeping college-aged kids interested in the church, and its mission from God, should be a concern for all of us...  Based on my experience, I believe that reaching kids in school, Lutheran or otherwise, and convincing them to stay within the realm of the church community "away from home" is important to their future, as well as the future of the Lutheran church...

Thanks for your efforts.  BRich0406@aol.com. 


Please share your own news, and inquire about brothers and sisters with whom you may have lost contact.  Click on this link to submit your material.  Duke Lutherans Alumni - News and Contacts

Thoughts and Opinions

Something on your mind?  Faith, theology, the church?  Personal issues?  Politics (egad!)?  Sports, media, culture, the arts?  Let's talk about it!  Tell how you feel, or what you think about someone else's thoughts.  Click on this link to submit your material.  Duke Lutherans Alumni - Thoughts and Opinions

Note:  We reserve the right to review and edit submissions.  If we think our doing so will offend the author, we will contact him/her for approval prior to posting.
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