Class of '48
March 2009

Dear Classmates:

This letter is long overdue but I wanted to connect with you about our dear college Gustavus.  I am reminded of how time flies when our five graduate and undergraduate grandchildren are busy talking about spring breaks which are welcome and important this time of year.

Campus News

Semonti Mustaphi ’03 was recently named Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama.  Mustaphi worked on the Obama campaign, and has also held communications positions for three senators.  Mustaphi graduated with a political science and communication studies double major, danced in the Gustavus Dance Company, and was an Anderson Scholar.

Prof. Byron Nordstrom (history/Scandinavian studies) has been awarded the insignia of Commander in the Royal Order of the Polar Star from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf.  It is the highest award the Swedish royal family can bestow on a foreign national who contributes to Sweden’s benefit and strengthening ties between Sweden and other countries.

Erin Holloway Wilken ’02 is our new assistant director of Alumni Relations.  She will work on reunions, homecoming, web updates, Quarterly news and social networking.  You can reach her at:  507-933-7595 if you have questions about Facebook or LinkedIn.

In 2012 the College will celebrate it’s 150th year―our sesquicentennial.  Gustavus Board of Trustees Chair, James Gale ’83, has announced Commission Gustavus 150, a major initiative to chart the College’s future and plans for this event.  Commission Gustavus 150 will engage all college constituents in integrating and expanding the College’s strategies plan and make recommendations for the College’s future advancement.  The eight task forces will make specific recommendations to the Board of Trustees by the end of the 2008-09 academic year.  Pres. Ohle is traveling the country holding 16 National Summit meetings to gather input from alumni, parents and friends.  If you want to learn more visit the Commission Gustavus 150 website at:

Peter Haugen was named the new head football coach in mid-December.  Haugen posted a 111-44 record in 15 years at Washburn High School.  He is the 17th head coach in the 93-year history of Gustavus football and started his new position the second week of January.  A Twin Cities reception to meet Coach Haugen was held on February 12 at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis.

Gustavus Library Associates, on Arbor Day, April 7, will sponsor Poets Joyce Sutphen, Gustavus Adolphus College and Deborah Keenan, Hamline University at the Edina Country Club for you Twin City alumni.  The grand Royal Affair,Shine” is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 5:30 at the Minneapolis Convention Center―new theme, new location, you won’t want to miss!

Join us for the “Come on You Gustie” Breakfasts.  The breakfasts are held the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy 394 and Hwy 100).  The breakfast runs from 8-9:30 and is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at (763) 533-9083.  March’s speaker will be Ken Westphal, vice president for finance.

The Linnaeus Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, April 22, 2009 and will include Dr. Margaret Lowman, a tree ecologist; Gustavus alum, Gail Johnson Speckmann ’73, whose water color art display will premier during the conference; and a special choreographed dance production on the theme of trees.  Humm―sounds like a program I’d really enjoy!

Class News

Harold Mattke, Minneapolis, shared his Christmas and New Year’s 2009 diary typed 19-page letter.  Wow, Harold, it was amazing!  He suggested to his readers that they should contact him no earlier than 10 a.m. (because they sleep late) and the best time is between 4-7 p.m. (because later they are involved in their favorite TV shows.)  They are real goers and involved in many things and with many people.  He writes, “We are in good health generally, drive, and manage to fly a couple of times a year to get a break from the ordinary, everyday routines.  Life is not greatly stressful and I am enjoying my retirement to a great degree.”  He also sent me a copy of “40 Way to Bring Loveliness to Your Life.”  A favorite was “burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion.  Today is special.”  Thanks for the kind words about your class agent, Monk!

Marilyn “Jim” Smith Douglass and husband, Mac, Groton Long Point, CT spent time over Christmas with their son, Jeff and family in Hawaii and spent her birthday, last month, in Florida.

Delores Gardner Pederson, Milaca, called recently.  She is feeling better and living independently on the farm her husband, Martin, lived (I believe his entire life) and died on.  She attended a very nice dinner event at Gustavus not long ago.  She still drives herself around Milaca and keeps very busy volunteering in the community and her church.

I hope to hear from more of you before our 61st reunion on Saturday, May 30 ― this year everything for the 50-Year Club is planned for one day.  Registration forms will be sent in April.  Please send a short note and/or a picture of yourself.  Hopefully we can get a collage of photos into a spring class letter in early May.

President Ohle sent all class agents a special email letter in December regarding Gustavus and the economy.  He was pleased to report that the College continues to be able to deal with the complex and ongoing economic realities from a position of strength and confidence.  “At such times as these, we can be thankful.  We are grateful for our talented and energetic students; for our Board of Trustees; our faculty; administration and staff who have led us ably throughout the years; for our alumni and their unending love for their College; for our donors, including some who will be able to increase their support during these difficult times; and for the strength in faith that makes possible all that we do.  For the 146 years, the stewardship, generosity and service of alumni and friends have defined Gustavus.”  He also said, “As good stewards we expect to manage the adversity of our economic environment with minimal impact on the College’s core programs and constituents.  We will continue to keep students at the center of all we do, upholding our core values of excellence, community, justice, service and faith.”

As your class agent, I want you to know I feel a great deal of confidence in the leadership and faculty of our College.  Our third grandchild will become a Gustie graduate this spring, and a fourth from the same family will be a sophomore next fall.  All four have given us great reports regarding experiences on the “windy hill.”

It is easy to support this institution and prioritize “education” in these troubled times.  I am looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you soon!


Lorrie Johnson Leaf

1948 Class Agent

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustavus Library Associates, Easter Bunny Breakfast – March 14
  • Boston Chapter Gathering - March 15, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
  • New York Chapter Gathering - March 16, New York Marriott East Side
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - March 18
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering - March 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, WA
  • San Francisco Chapter Gathering - March 23, Hotel Vitale
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, retiring men's tennis coach - April 15