Class of '68
January 2005

Dear Classmates,

As I recall our early class letters were filled with news of employment, moves, promotions, transfers, military achievements and, sadly, losses.  These three plus decades later the topics of information have taken on new forms…

After perusing the material available to me I have chosen three categories.  Enjoy…


Helene Nilsen is teaching psychology at St. Michele's College and is a self employed child psychologist/psychotherapist in Morrisville, VT.

Gary Wenschlag, Sioux City, IA is teaching special education at the Westwood Community Schools.

Barb Howe Burmaster, Medina, OH is a French and social studies teacher for the Medina School District and Dick is practicing dentistry.

Angie Kuper Christmann, Santa Cruz, CA reports that the “U is still in business.”

Carl Zaar, Milwaukee, WI is a director/auditor for The Marcus Corporation.  (When he visits his mother in Hudson he winds his way here to Afton and we have great times.)

Connie Bohn Edwards, Detroit Lakes continues teaching 4th grade.

David W. Olsen, Mendota Heights is a manager of export/import regulations for 3M, and Gloria Blaine Olsen is a partner in education law at Rider Bennett in Minneapolis.

Mary Ellen Lewis Russell, Fairfield, IA teaches Title I Reading.

Joel Bexell is serving as interim pastor at Trinity Lutheran, Moline, IL and Donna (Davies ’67) continues teaching English at Tartan High. 

Barb Gray Wenschlag, Pequot Lakes, is counting the days until she retires this spring from teaching.

Starr Hall Blair, Lubbock, Texas, is in private practice as a psychotherapist.  She serves as an expert reviewer on federal discretionary grant proposals in areas related to child welfare, early childhood education, minority affairs and mental health in Washington, DC each August.  Husband, John ’66, holds an endowed chair and is a professor of management at Texas Tech.

Mary Ellen Olson Hansburg, Columbus, OH teaches at a private school and at the university and is a published poet.

Kathy Eaton Asted, Andover, and her husband, Paul, have started Asted Consulting Associates which advises small offices and business regarding dental practice management, employment, consulting, and CPR and AED sales.

My "old" homeroom friend from Central High, Judy Opheim Schwakopf, Overland Park, KS is Carondolet health education coordinator for St. Joseph Health Center and was the hospital's EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR!

Congratulations, Judy!!


Tom Uecker, Blue Earth, retired in 2004 and Carol (Skold ’67) will soon follow.

Tom Albrecht, Montevideo, closed the cabinet shop he had operated with his brother for 33 years.

Dawn Nelson, Washington, DC, spent some of her retirement time in Portugal last fall.  She and (semi-retired, back part-time with the DOD) JanaLee Sponberg volunteer together during the holiday season.  Jan also spent time in Greece and Puerto Rico aside from her wanderings around the USA.

Rebecca Gilbertson Merritt, Scottsdale, AZ has been retired for a year and a half from Marsh and McLennan where she was senior vice president for human resources for their southwestern U.S. operations.

And speaking of Arizona, Jean Henke Dowdy and husband, Ron, retired there and have now moved to "sunny" Spokane, WA to help raise their grandsons.  Which leads me to the next category…


Those mentioned above―

Joel and Donna (Davies ’67) Bexell

Kathy (Eaton) and Paul Asted

Barb Gray Wenschlag

Jean Henke Dowdy

are also enjoying the offspring of their offspring.

Those who reported ONLY this enjoyment

Susan Swanson Foster

Dick and Karen Monson Peterson

Joe ’66 and Diane Ostrom Morgensen

As the year begins we think also of those we know and love who are serving in the Armed Forces.  Those decades ago we hoped and prayed that they would return safely and we do so again.

From the employed category, the best to you in 2005,

Paula Navarro

1968 Co-class Agent

Campus News:

Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus.  To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added.  Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester

Did you know that the college has gone wireless? Wireless computing, that is? Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs. Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.

Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon.  The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.  The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.

The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December. The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Announcing a new tool for all Alumni: The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.

The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy.  It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you.  Check it out today at

The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004. To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
  • New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
  • Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
  • Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
  • Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
  • Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
  • Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
  • Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
  • Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30