Class of '84
October 2006

Dear Classmate,

Recently I found myself heading south on 169 from the Cities to St. Peter, a road I’ve traveled countless times over the years.  As I approached campus, winding my way up the hill to campus, I found myself transported back to the early 1980s, when we were college students.  The new academic year had recently begun, and Gusties were all over campus—going to the dining hall, walking across the mall toward chapel, standing in a group talking, studying in the ’brar.  It was a familiar scene to be sure, and it made it hard to believe that we were those students so long ago.  The fall, and being on a college campus as I am so often as a consultant, always makes me a bit nostalgic.

Still, time marches on, and Gustavus opened another fall term, welcoming both new and returning students to campus.  This fall 682 first-year students and 44 new transfer students moved into their residence halls.  Here are some details about the new class:

• 20% are from out of state

• 10.5% are students of color

• The female-to-male ratio is 58%/42%

• 37% graduated in the top 10% of their high school classes

• The average GPA is 3.7

• 72 of them are second-generation Gusties

Class News

Since our last letter, news came in from only three classmates.  Here’s the latest from them:

Michael Bishop (Plymouth, MN) is now the insurance manager for The Mosaic Company, a new firm formed by Cargill in 2004.  His wife, Kelly, is a systems analyst for Target Corp.  They have two sons:  Tyler and Timmy.  The family spends the summer boating on Lake Minnetonka and skies during the winter.

Karen Clodfelter Blandford and her husband, Mark, reside in Round Rock, TX.  She has been a Creative Memories consultant for a decade, and is a part-time literary assistant for the Leander Independent School District.  Karen and Mark have two daughters:  Kristen (11) and Lauren (14).

Susan Astrup Lundquist and her family relocated to Rochester, MN, this past April.  She continues to work part time as executive recruiter for Target, though is now telecommuting.  Erik is now the resident director for Merrill Lynch, Rochester.  Their three kids (Anna, 12; John, 10; and Peter, 6) are adjusting well to their new home.

Dollars & Cents

The College wrapped up the last fiscal year with $1,440,794 from the Gustavus Fund.  The gifts came from 7,257 donors, or 31.5 percent of the alumni body.  From the Class of 1984, 159 donors (down from 177 last year) contributed $12,440.90 in unrestricted dollars.

Campus News of Note

• If you haven’t been on campus for some time, there have been some changes to the physical plant, namely a new residence hall, and several other construction projects that are under consideration or in the planning stages.

Ø      A new football stadium is being built behind Lund Arena.  Construction is set to begin after the Nobel Conference.  A new baseball field is also being built.

Ø      The next construction priorities include a new academic building for the social sciences (to be located where the stadium is currently located) and a new mall from the chapel going west to the arboretum. 

Ø      Future building projects include:  renovating Anderson Social Science Center, installing wind turbines, building a new fitness center, renovating/expanding Nobel, and upgrading the music building.

• Gustavus has also opened the Glen and LaVonne Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation.  The center, which is looking for a director, will push through innovative environmental initiatives on campus, ensure that new construction projects involve building greener buildings and raise money for such initiatives, and sponsor conferences and speakers.  Energy and sustainability are key topics on campus these days.  A case in point is the College’s biodiesel project, whereby grease from the dining hall is converted to biodiesel.  Efforts are underway now to convert the physical plant vehicles so they can use the biodiesel.  And next year’s Nobel Conference will focus on energy.  These efforts are all in support of a core value of Gustavus.

• At this fall’s annual gathering of class agents and alumni board members, President Peterson shared highlights of the state of the College and an overview of initiatives Gustavus is working on now:

Ø      Gustavus faculty earned their advanced degrees from the top graduate programs in the country.

Ø      For several years the College has run in the black.

Ø      There is a new chief academic officer, and the College is searching for a vice president for college relations and a director of church relations.

Ø      This year’s top initiatives include:  environmental sustainability and energy conservation (i.e., the installation of wind turbines; Gustavus has a $1.4 million per year electric bill), internationalization of the campus (i.e., faculty exchanges, the curriculum, study abroad, international students enrolling at Gustavus), strengthening the implementation of the leadership component in the curriculum, setting in motion a capital and endowment campaign (the endowment will go over $100 million this year but it is not near the level it needs to be for an institution of Gustavus’ stature and quality), and expanding the base of active volunteers.

• Gustavus was included in a USA Today article on 10 Great Places to Tour Swedish America.  The September 8 article listed Gustavus as one of the top 10 Swedish-American destinations in the nation and included a winter photo of Old Main.

• Gustavus home football games will be both audio-and video-streamed through the Gustavus athletics Web site.  All games will be broadcast by KNUJ AM (860) out of New Ulm (up to 90-100-mile coverage) with our own Ken Ericson providing color commentary.

• The OKs will celebrate their 100th anniversary on October 21 at the Science Museum in St. Paul.  For more information, to go gustavus.edu/alumni/reunion/OKS.

• Interested in helping a current Gustie with his/her career exploration?  Then consider signing up to be a career mentor.  Just contact the Career Center by e-mailing career-center@gustavus.edu and providing your name, an e-mail address, a username, and a password.  An online account will be set up for you, and you control what information you share, the way you want to be contacted, and how often you want to be contacted.  You can check out the Career Center online at gustavus.edu/careercenter.

That brings me to the end of another letter.  I wish you a wonderful fall season, and hope that from time to time you’ll find yourself transported back to our college days, and that you’ll smile at the memory.

Carole Arwidson

1984 Co-class Agent