Class of ’84
April 2010

Dear Gustie:

As I sit here typing this letter, the sun is shining and the day is warming up.  April has been just glorious, and the early spring has certainly been welcomed.

But this spring has brought with it sad news.  Matt Comstock, who you may have had a chance to catch up with at last fall’s reunion, passed away recently, which was very unexpected.  His obituary from the Star Tribune is below.  When I heard this news from a classmate, it certainly gave me pause.  Losing a member of our class always feels so personal, even if I didn’t know them well.  If you were close to Matt, I’m sorry for your loss.

Text Box:(Star Tribune, April 14, 2010) Comstock, Matthew John age 47, of Mpls., passed away suddenly on April 11, 2010.  He was preceded in death by his father, Eldon “Ice”; mother-in-law, Lois Steinback; and brother- in-law, Craig Backer.  He is survived by his wife and best friend, Deb Steinback Comstock; son, Lucas; mother, Bette Comstock; father- in-law, Clarence Steinback; brothers, Philip (Linda), Gary, Willie (Lisa), Mark; sisters, Susan (Wayne) Berger, Julie Backer; many nieces, nephews and friends.  Matt will always be remembered as a friend, husband, father, son, brother, uncle and rugby mate.  Matt was an information technologist at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  He was an integral part of the coordination of Living Green Expo and the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair.  His passion was to use technology to connect with the environment.  He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.  In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the Matt Comstock Memorial Fund.

Oddly enough, I have no other class news to share (this is a first!), but here is the latest news from the hill:

Campus News

Gustavus Announces Major Building Projects

At its Monday, Jan. 25 meeting, the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with three major building projects.  The College will erect a new 125,000 square foot academic building with a large 3-story atrium at the center providing natural light to many of the spaces.  It will qualify for a “gold LEED” qualification as a green building.  This will develop a mall extending west from its iconic Christ Chapel.  It will house the largest departments on campus (economics and management, psychology, and communications).  Also, plans are under way to renovate A. H. Anderson Social Science Building.  Construction timelines for the projects are not yet finalized, but the College expects to break ground on the new academic building late this spring.

The effort is a significant early implementation step of Commission Gustavus 150, an innovative, constituent-based strategic planning process that has engaged hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders over the past year.  “These projects will greatly enhance learning and teaching, student recruitment, and institutional advancement for many years to come,” said President Jack R. Ohle.

Alumnus, Kurt Elling ’89, Wins Grammy Award

Kurt Elling, a 1989 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, took home his first Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 31 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.  Elling won the “Best Jazz Vocal Album” category for his album Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman. This year marked the ninth time Elling was nominated for a Grammy.  Elling typically performs annually at Gustavus and did so most recently on Oct. 10, 2009 in Jussi Björling Recital Hall.  He has also had the distinct honor to perform in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and their 350 guests at the White House State Dinner on Nov. 24, 2009.

Gustavus Forensics Wins Nationals

The Gustavus Adolphus College forensics team took first place in the individual events portion of the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament March 19-21 in Minneapolis.  Gustavus amassed 306 points to narrowly defeat Ohio University, which scored 305 points.  A total of 57 colleges and universities participated in the tournament.  Gustavus sophomore Chloe Radcliffe won the Pentathlon competition, which recognizes the top 10 students who compete in at least five events.  First-year student Kate Bissen took first place in Informative Speaking and senior C.J. Hunt also took home a first-place trophy in the Program Oral Interpretation event.

Fantastic Winter for Gustie Athletics

The Gustavus winter athletic teams had great success including MIAC championships in men’s and women’s hockey, women’s basketball, and women’s swimming.  The Gusties finished second in men’s basketball, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s indoor track and field.  Gustavus also played in and hosted the NCAA Div. III Women’s Frozen Four National Hockey tournament in March.

GLA Membership

All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.”  But, in the 21st century, it has become much more.  It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge.  It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education.  The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members.  Join this year and immediately make a difference.  Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget.  Join today at www.gustavus.edu/GLA!!!

Admission News

Applications for next year are ahead of where they were last year at this time which makes Mark Anderson ’66, the director of admission, very happy.  We graduated two very large classes in the last two years so we need to have somewhat larger classes in order to maintain our enrollment at about 2,500.  Mark Anderson will retire at the end of the academic year so a search is going on to replace him.  Gustavus has had only three directors of admission since 1950 (Howard Holcomb ’49, Owen Sammelson ’58, and Mark Anderson ’66) which is quite an amazing track record.

 “Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speaker, May 19:  Al Molde ’66, athletic director and Tim Kennedy ’82, sports information director.

Upcoming Events

  • Apr. 22 – New York Chapter Event – The Core Club
  • Apr. 23 – Choir of Christ Chapel Home Concert
  • Apr. 25 – Boston Chapter Event - Bay Back Hotel
  • Apr. 28 – May Day! Peace Conference
  • May 1 – Gustavus Choir Home Concert
  • May 3 – Chicago Chapter Event – The Chicago Club
  • May 4 – Denver Chapter Event – Denver Athletic Club

And finally, if you’ve made a gift to the annual fund this year, thank you for your support.  If not, there’s still time since the fund year doesn’t close until May 31.  And remember, we started the “Class of 1984 Endowed Scholarship” to celebrate our reunion and gifts to that scholarship are always welcomed.  When the fund hits $25,000, the Class of 1984 will begin sponsoring a Gustavus student.  Please consider this gift opportunity individually or in addition to your gift to the Annual Fund.

That’s all for now.  If you’ve got news to pass along, please do so.

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Carole Arwidson

1984 Co-class Agent