Class of '86
November 2007

Dear Classmates;

In the past month I have had the pleasure of visiting campuses around the area with my 17-year-old son, Ben.  Just to be back among college students and the campus life again brought back so many fun memories.  My son has had the opportunity to spend a lot of time at Gustavus over the years since Paul and I, and several family members have graduated from Gustavus.  I was curious as to how Gustavus would “measure up” once we saw other colleges and what they had to offer.  I have to say, that although I loved most all the places we visited, there is still a distinct difference when stepping onto the Gustavus campus.

My son had a tour given by a warm, outgoing woman who had a lot in common with him.  We were inspired by a new theater professor who was so excited about being at Gustavus and the work they do, he wanted Ben to just stay and hang with him to show him more of what they had to offer.

We were just touring the art building when Professor Stan Shetka approached us and struck up a conversation with Ben and welcomed him to the campus.  We were also greeted by John Lammert, who as usual, was warm and welcoming.  He had the best line of the day when he told Ben that “A lot has changed here since your mom went to school, but the ethos has remained the same.”  I believe that is a great testament to the college, and we as alumni play a crucial part.

There are many new and exciting changes being made on campus.   A new Provost has been hired to oversee the academic experience at the college.  A center for Environmental Learning is up and running and fully funded.  There has been a push for more internationalization of the campus, therefore they have reinvented studies in Sweden and opened up studies in China.  There has been a great push for Leadership Development in the curriculum including education for leadership and service.  And I saw a campus that was more conscientious of social justice and environmental issues.

The Alumni Fund had an exciting year end in May of 2007.  For the first time, unrestricted giving to the fund exceeded One Million dollars!  Our class contributed over $12,000 to the fund, but I do believe we can do better!  Our class participation was over 30% which is up from last year, but our dollar amount diminished.  We still lag behind the classes around us by a sizeable amount.  If you haven’t planned out your year end giving, please keep Gustavus in mind.  The college is doing great things, and continues to thrive with help from fantastic alumni.

Class News

We don’t have a lot of class news to report, but I will update you on a few classmates:

  • Deb Ross Kittlesen is a teacher in Faribault Middle School in Faribault, MN.
  • Annette Schweisthal Schwartz owns the store, Kiwi Beach at the Mall of America.  She keeps even busier as the mom of 7-year-old triplets!
  • Kathryn Mitchell Niewolny is the human resource manager for Moduline Window Systems.
  • Dan Murray continues as vice president of the American Trucking Association and hosts a weekly XM Radio show covering transportation issues.
  • Dan Jansen is vice president and technology manager in software development in the Internet Services Group of Wells Fargo Bank, San Francisco.
  • Kristine Alvheim Smith is an account manager for the KNW Group.
  • Dara Syrkin is a member services coordinator and associate editor of the Lost Literary Center.

Thanks for all of the updates, keep them coming in—it is great to hear from everyone.

Campus News

President Peterson Announces Retirement

President Jim Peterson ’64 announced in August that he plans to retire at the conclusion of the current academic year, capping a five-year term.  His early announcement will provide the Board of Trustees enough time to undertake a thorough search process and assist in a smooth transition to new leadership.  Peterson will serve through June 2008 and has offered to assist in an orderly transition beyond that date if needed.

Moes provide gift for Kendall Center

Gustavus parents Robert and Karin Moe have made a $1 million commitment to the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning. This leadership gift brings the College closer to its goal of fully endowing the center, which is dedicated to advancing active and interdisciplinary learning across the campus. When fully funded, the endowment will generate funds to support two main areas: faculty development and student-faculty research.

New football stadium opened

On September 8, the football team played its inaugural game at the College’s new football stadium.  The synthetic-surfaced field is recessed below ground level and features an earthen berm surrounding the entire field.  The field will continue to be named Hollingsworth Field after the late Lloyd Hollingsworth, who served as the College’s football coach from 1942-1960 and athletic director from 1961-1978.

Athletics Hall of Fame Induction

On Saturday, November 3, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletic Hall of Fame:  Tim DeJarlais ’91 (golf), John Erickson ’81 (hockey), Dave Hultgren ’92 (baseball), Craig Miller ’91 (cross country), Mindy Mayerchak Oosten ’88 (softball & soccer), Mike Schumacher ’91 (football), Ann Sommerness Simms ’92 (swimming), and Ryan Skanse ’92 (tennis).

Twin Cities Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus. The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100), 8:00-9:30 a.m., $10 per person.  Reserve by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763/533-9083

Wednesday, November 21

Winter sports coaches – Jon Carlson ’88 (men’s and women’s swimming & diving), Mark Hanson ’83 (men’s basketball), and Brett Petersen (men’s hockey)

Wednesday, December 19

Margaret Kelliher ’90, speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives

Alumni Fund

The 2008 Alumni Fund has a goal of $1.95 million from 8,000 donors.  Continue a Gustie tradition ― join other alumni to reach the goal with your participation in the 2008 Alumni Fund.

Refer a Gustie

As the school year starts, many high school seniors are getting serious about their college selection. If you know of high school seniors or juniors who may be a good fit at Gustavus, please send their names to the Office of Admission at Gustavus to help recruit the next generation of Gusties.  Contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S).

Calendar of events:

  • Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2        Christmas in Christ Chapel
  • December 6                 St. Lucia Day celebration on campus

For those of us who were able to come back for the reunion last year, we got a taste of being back on campus amongst our friends.  For those who have not had the opportunity in recent years, I encourage you to come back and visit for a while.  It is really worth the trip.  And maybe, you will remember that intangible feeling that you got when you stepped on campus at age 18, and realized you would spend the next four years of your life here.  The support of alumni really is not about the money, but about allowing other students to have the same great experience that you have had.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Melinda Moen Batz

1986 Co-class Agent