Class of '87
April 2004

Happy Spring Class of 1987!!

Is it warm and greening up where you live?  Out here in the Pacific Northwest it was 80 degrees on Easter!  We took our boat out and we've already gone through one round of spraying dandelions!  Amazing but true.  The months pass quickly, and I hope you are enjoying the new season with a refreshed energy that only spring can bring.

As I write my yearly letter, many things come to mind:  how busy we've all been, how the school year passes quickly even for our second-grader, how I miss the fragrance of spring in Minnesota, how I wish I could see my old friends more often.  If you've never moved away from the Midwest, you may not realize how fortunate you are to have such good schools, such "wholesome" people, and the ability to visit Gustavus frequently.  However, like most things, if it's there you probably don't take advantage.  Do you ever sit and realize all that you have?  Do you spend any time appreciating your past, the advantage you've been given by the people you have met, or the experiences you have had?

As much as we love it here, my husband and I are always thinking about what will be best for our children as they approach junior high (we don't plan to move anymore after that age, at least we hope!).  Will we move back?  Where will they attend college?  Our oldest who is only seven-years-old, already talks about attending Gustavus to be a teacher and visiting Grandma and Grandpa!  The neat thing that has recently occurred to me is that it must be apparent to her that Gustavus is important to me and a neat place to be.  Somehow through our conversations she must believe that it would be exciting to be there, and that surprised me!  Do you ever talk about Gustavus?  Do other people hear you say things unintentionally, leaving a good impression?  Is Gustavus still a part of your life?  Do you consciously realize the positive impact our alma mater has had on you and everyone else?  Do I sound like a Gustavus "nut?"

Stay with me here, I do have a point!!  I have just finished a whirlwind four-week rally for my daughter's private school.  Last Friday evening we had our first scholarship fundraiser in the form of a dinner with silent and live auctions.  We live in a state that is consistently in the bottom for child services and state education.  We enrolled her in a Christian school for the benefit of learning from a Biblical standpoint, but we quickly grew to appreciate the fact that our school tests a year and a half ahead of the national average per grade.  SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU??  (I know you are asking yourself...)  Well, I learned that every single business I approached for a donation for the school auction said "Yes."  EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS.  I was surprised, to say the least.  I went into it fully expecting many to say no because it was a Christian school, to say no because the families who want to attend should figure out how to pay on their own, to say no because they had their own bills to pay...  But everyone said yes!!  It really made me stop and think.

What does this mean to you?  If you haven't been called already, you may be called during the Gustavus Phonorama and asked to make a contribution to the annual fund.  Will you?  Have you in the past?  Have you never in the past?  Perhaps you paid every dime for Gustavus on your own, or perhaps you completely depended on the funds in your financial aid package.  That's not the point now.  The point is that the college needs you and the kids who are coming up need your support.  Don't take for granted everything that you had or all that surrounds you now.  Make the commitment to say, "Yes" when the phone rings!  The businesses I called on had no reason to say, "yes" to me but they all did.  Will you say yes?  You have the memories and the connection to Gustavus.  Perhaps you have children on the verge of college, perhaps your children are small.... perhaps you do not have children at all.  But at one time you were 18 and heading off to Gustavus and many generous people before us continued to say, "Yes" to the call.  Gustavus is in a great place now because of it.

All I'm doing is asking.  I am excited about the future of Gustavus, I appreciate the past, and I know that it's easy to ask for your support.  And it will be easy for you to say yes.  I hope you have a wonderful spring!!  And for those of you, who live close, stop by and visit campus for me!

Sincerely,

Heidi Jo Wilking Pearse

1987 Co-class Agent

P. S.  Now the Alumni Office will add some campus news here:

Campus News

President Peterson inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson '64 was inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18, included a symposium featuring Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, tree dedication, Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, G.I.V.E. community service day in St. Peter, music concert, art exhibition, and an alumni reception preceding the Nobel Symphony Concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven't given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus' annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Alumni survey

An alumni survey was sent to 2,000 members of reunion classes.  Approximately 600 have responded as of April 1.  Questions on the survey consist of how well Gustavus prepared them for employment and graduate education, activities involved in while at Gustavus, personal growth skills, alumni events and services, and overall satisfaction with the College.  Results of the survey will be included in the Fall Quarterly.

Winter sports summary

Women's basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men's basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men's hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women's hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men's swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women's swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men's Nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women's Nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6-1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women's indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships. 

Did you know . . .

●Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.

●There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.

●More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.

●For student safety, the campus is well-lit, there is 24-hour Safety and Security patrol and escort service, residence halls are locked 24 hours a day, and there are blue light emergency phones throughout campus linked directly to Safety and Security.

●And looking back -- during the college's early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.

Upcoming events

Phonorama - April 25-29, Central Lutheran Church

Mayday! Conference, The United Nations at the Crossroads - April 28

Cec Eckhoff Society Reception - May 1

Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunions - May 28 & 29

Commencement - May 30

Alumni Fund closes - May 31

Class reunions on Homecoming & Family Weekend - October 1 & 2