Class of '68
October 2001

Dear ’68 Classmates,

After the tragic events of September 11th we can only hope and pray that our letter reaches each and every one of you and your loved ones safe and sound.  It’s hard to imagine what our lives will be like after this senseless act, but for sure our lives will be forever changed.  The most powerful emotion to come from this tragedy is the spirit, the unification of the Nation and the resolve to preserve the freedoms all our generations have cherished.  God Bless America…our hearts and prayers are with everybody during these devastating and hopeful times.

Several classmates were directly affected on that fateful day.  Jan Lee Sponberg who works at the Pentagon was at her office on Monday the 10th, but was attending a training session away from the building on the 11th .  Dawn Nelson who works for the Department of Education in Washington D.C. wasn’t in the immediate area, but was caught in the chaos as the city shut down and she had to walk five miles to get back home.  Laurel Beedon who we haven’t actually spoken to works for AARP in Washington and we pray for her well being as well.  Barbie Gray Wenschlag’s son Eric who is in the Navy stationed at Virginia Beach was called up immediately after the attack and his F14 squadron was assigned to the JFK carrier which was on it’s way to New York harbor for national security.  Barbie tells us that just prior to this, Eric had received orders to return home to take a ROTC training position at the University of Minnesota and we certainly pray for his safe return.  If you wish to pass along any other information about other classmates that we might share please do so by letting us know or through Paula and we will get out the news.

Kris and I attended an outstanding class agent kick-off event September 8, 2001 that brought together the Board of Trustees, the Gustavus Alumni Board, Campaign Cabinet members and the Class Agents for the 2001-2002 “Building A Greater Gustavus” campaign.  It was a full day filled with lots of energy and enthusiasm as the college staff presented the Alumni objectives for this school year.  What came out loud and clear was the commitment of the staff to focus on a new plan to keep our alumni “family” connected to the college not only financially but through communication that will go a long way towards meeting the College’s goal of “Building a Greater Gustavus!”  The Gustavus alumni/advancement staff has recognized that in keeping with the times, as class sizes get bigger, as our lives seem to be moving at a much greater pace, and as communications throughout the world gets better, that they need to take steps to manage the alumni affairs and the alumni fund.

Naturally, the college needs OUR support and we will be asked to respond in ways that haven’t been explored in the past.  Phonorama will continue to play a big part in the effort, but changes have been made.  This year the first session phone drive October 15, 16 and 18 will be at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Shoreview a new location to better serve the callers of the northern & eastern metro area.  Calling will begin at 6:00 and end at 9:00 with a social hour after the calling.  The second session, October 22, 23 and 24, will be held at the Radisson South Hotel with the same time schedule.  At both locations we will use cell phones that will identify the caller, on caller ID, as a Gustie!  With this new format I would like to encourage anyone who would be willing to make a few calls on behalf of the class to come out and join us!  In addition to this effort we may be utilizing email to get the word out so please don’t be surprise if you get your “call” by electronic mail.  The last element will be GusLink student callers,who will pick uncalled alumni only after the fall Phonorama is completed.  The challenge is to raise support and funding for the 2001-02 campaign.  The primary focus will be to get participation up over 50%.  That said, the dollars will follow!

Accepting this three-year goal to get our participation and dollars up means that over the next three years we have to increase 5% to get over the 50% mark.  This being the first year we would like to expand our giving from 45.2% (157 out of 347) to 50.1% adding just 17 donors.    When called upon, no matter the means or the method please keep the college in mind.  Thank you!

Classmate Notes

As many of you might know, Chuck Linnerooth ’66 passed away unexpectedly in July and while attending Chuck's funeral I was pleased to be able to relive some old memories with Joel Hanson, Jerry Okerman and Walt Awada as we came together to celebrate a good friends life.

The biggest surprise for me was that Joel Hanson and his wife, Helen, are back in Minnesota after spending many years in Colorado.  As Joel admits the Rocky Mountains were just getting too crowded so he’s back and living in Lake St. Croix Beach.

Last spring we did get an email from Judy Opheim Schwakopf giving us a new electronic address and we pass it along to all

Gayle Affolter Carlson also emailed us to tell us that her daughter, Lindsay, was part of the 2001 Gustavus graduating class and from there off to law school.  Gayle continues to teach German at Eagan High School while completing her master’s  (M. Ed.) in teaching and learning.  Gayle's husband works at 3M.

Current Campus News:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who will gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference will included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive 10-course banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 13.  Numerous sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country are participating in the event.  Contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or for more information or visit the events section of the alumni page at

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

Let’s stay in touch, we would love to include your news in the classmate notes, so if we don’t get an opportunity to connect during Phonorama please drop us an email and let us know the latest.

All Our Best,

John & Kris & Paula

1968 Co-class Agents