Class of '98
10-Year Reunion ― October 3 & 4, 2008
As you know our tenth class reunion is only a week away. To finish off our series of “our years at Gustavus” newsletters this is our senior year edition.
In the fall of 1997 we began our senior year at Gustavus. For many of us it was a time to start looking toward our future and figure out what we were going to be when we “grew up.” Some of you remember the last rush class we would be involved with, Homecoming King, Rob Castille and Queen, Sara Huntley were crowned, Nobel Conference “Unveiling the Solar System: 30 Years of Exploration,” where some of us hosted the speakers, the 25th annual Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Even So, Come Lord Jesus,” and the late night study sessions for fall finals. January brought cold Minnesota weather, many internships, study abroad experiences and even an international band trip. The spring semester was packed full with President’s Ball, interviews for jobs, final interviews for graduate and professional schools. Even more of our classmates were living off campus or even in one of the coveted “Campus Houses.” We went into our final spring break with huge plans and for some of us and a little uncertainty of the future life after college. We were at home, on a work trip, on a trip to Mexico, on a sports trip or music ensemble trip. Then on March 29, 1998 life at Gustavus dramatically changed. Many of us still remember what we were doing or where we were when we found out about the tornado that hit St. Peter, here are a couple of such stories…
“I was getting ready to go out on the town in Acapulco, Mexico when I heard the news that a tornado hit Gustavus. I was with a group of about 20 Gustie juniors and seniors, and someone came running into the room with the news. I thought it was a joke at first, or an exaggerated tale of a spring storm that maybe took down a couple of trees or a power line or two. It didn’t totally sink in until I saw pictures of the tornado’s damage on the FRONT PAGE of the Mexico City newspaper. My heart sank into my stomach. I began making phone calls (as everyone did) and checking the status of any friends that may have been at GAC. Our evening plans changed that night, as did the rest of our college careers.” ~Alicia Sutphen Schimke
“As our senior year approached in the fall of 1997 I could not wait to move in to the campus house known as Brick House near the top of the hill! Our theme was the “Student/Faculty Fellowship House” that year and I had eight awesome housemates: Tasmin Cordie, Colleen Mulvihill Pacem, Carl Lockrem, Joe Wahlberg, Brad Peterson, Erik Eckman, Dave Johnson and Sean Lewis. I never would have guessed in a million years that we would be the last inhabitants of good ol’ Brick House. . . .
The orchestra had just finished performing our second concert of our Spring Break Tour in Omaha, NE when Barb Larson Taylor ’93 got on our bus to announce that a tornado had gone through our campus. Many of us actually started giggling at first because we thought she was pulling an early April Fool’s Day joke. Of course this was no joke; one by one we began to accept the reality that our home on the hill was badly damaged.
When I went to campus for the first time to survey the damage it was a very emotional experience. I couldn’t believe the amount of trees that were down; the campus seemed so exposed as opposed to be tucked behind a sea of green. It was tough to wrap my brain around the complete destruction to many homes and structures in the city of St. Peter, as well as to homes and buildings on campus. When I approached the top of College Avenue I was shocked to see yellow tape around the property of Brick House. I could tell that there was major damage to Carl’s room on the second floor; but the rest of the house didn’t really look that bad to me! I got out of the car and started heading towards the front entrance and noticed there was an article of clothing stuffed in the corner between the siding and the front steps. It was my dark green winter coat that I had left hanging on a wooden peg in our front entry way! How in the world it made it outside to that corner will always be a mystery; especially since the first pictures my parents took of the house showed no coat in that corner. . .
I crossed the yellow tape to get my jacket when a member of Safety and Security blew her whistle and told me to go back on the other side of the tape. She told me that the house was not safe to enter and that our belongings would be removed by “authorized personnel” to be picked up at a later date. Some of my things I’d never see again; including several prints I had purchased in Paris during J-Term, the wooden coat rack I had made in 7th grade shop class (where my green coat was left that I later found outside!), the ping-pong table that got a lot of use that year etc. Losing some of my belongings was of course not that big of a deal in the grander scheme of things; we all know it could have been a lot worse and we are all very lucky that the storm hit when most of the students, faculty and staff were not on campus.
When the students were officially allowed back on campus I moved in with Karin Hogberg Schatte, Jenny Koehnen and Macy Miller Mulheron in their place in College View. They all welcomed me with open arms and we had a great time spending the rest of our senior year together! I guess I’m still a little sad that I never got to see the inside of Brick House again (it still feels strange to drive up College Avenue and see an empty lot there); but very thankful that we were all able to finish out our senior year. Amongst the sadness of losing items and housing, the true Gustie spirit shone through once again as we all returned to campus.”
The Class of 1998 graduated on campus just two months after the tornado hit Gustavus. Remember that day? It was a beautiful summer day and we had our entire lives ahead of us. As we sat and listened to class speaker Shane Thielke, you may have been reminiscing over the things that you did and learned at Gustavus, or you may have been thinking about your new job that you were starting the next day. It was a new beginning for all of us, including the campus of Gustavus.
If you have not been back on campus in the decade since graduation, you would be amazed at some of the changes! Trees have been planted, the arboretum expanded, new building are all over campus, and there are new athletic fields including a track and football stadium. We hope that you all plan to attend our reunion and there is still time to register! We hope to see you back on the hill October 4, 2008 where we can catch up with the people and the places that were part of our family from 1994-1998. Visit: https://secure2.gac.edu/ecommerce/88 for more details and registration.
10:30 Campus Tour led by Hank Toutain, see the new and reminisce about the old
11:30 Tailgating Picnic - north of the new football stadium
1:30 Homecoming Game
1:30 Campus Tour led by Charlie Strey
4:30 Happy Hour and Refreshments in Alumni Hall
5:30 Dinner in Alumni Hall
9:30 Informal gathering at Patrick’s!
We are nearing the $20,000 mark!! Please consider giving to the reunion fund in these last few days before the reunion. As we remember our past with Gustavus we want to support the future Gusties as well!! https://gustavus.edu/give/
Your 10 Year Reunion Committee
Karen Delgehausen Gigi Wait Dobosenski Angie Henrikson Fahl
Sara Huntley Keegan O’Brien Louis Brad Peterson
Julie Austrums Saul Nate Saul Alicia Sutphen Schimke
Mike Strong Jim Timmerman