Class of '69
January 2009

40-Year Reunion dates ― October 9-10, 2009

(Belated) Holiday greetings to the Class of 1969!

Several weeks ago, I agreed to write the December 2008 class letter as a “guest writer,” substituting for Jane (Norman) and David Leitzman, who have frenetic schedules this time of year.  So that I would have something to write about, I decided to wait until after attending Christmas in Christ’s Chapel, the St. Lucia Festival (my first since 1969!), and a Gustavus “National Summit Meeting,” in preparation for the college’s 150th anniversary.  I did all those things, but then life intervened and I’m sitting down to do this letter on December 24, before heading to my mother’s home in Hutchinson, MN for Christmas Eve!  Since you’ll probably receive this letter in January 2009, I’m not sure I’ll be asked to do another guest writer gig soon!  Oh well…

This year’s Christmas in Christ Chapel program was entitled “Joyeux Noel,” with music by French composers, with French lyrics.  (Side note:  I graduated from Gustavus with a French minor, and tried to understand the meaning of each song in French.  I must admit that I regularly sneaked peeks at the English translation to check for understanding!)  Performers included the Gustavus Choir and Orchestra, St. Lucia Singers, Christ Chapel Choir and Ringers, and several dancers, along with Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80, several readers and prayer leaders.  It was an inspiring performance, and a perfect way to enter the holiday season.  Someday, I hope CinCC will be videotaped for viewing on public television, as has been done with St. Olaf and St. Thomas!

A few days later, I enjoyed attending the Festival of St. Lucia and the lavish Swedish smorgasbord that followed.  (I could feel the lively spirit of Evelyn “Ma” Young darting about the room!)  Each member of the St. Lucia Court was introduced, and we were delighted by the storytelling of Kevin Kling, a 1979 Gustavus alumnus whom the Seattle Times described as “a humorist in the genially anthropological vein of Jean Shepherd, David Sedaris and fellow Minnesotan Garrison Keillor.”  I bought his CD, entitled “The Dog Says How,” which I am giving to my husband for Christmas so we can listen to it as we drive to the east coast, where we’ll rendezvous with family and friends.  (In a foray through the Gustavus bookstore, I also bought Jim Gilbert’s Minnesota Nature Notes, as another Christmas gift to my husband.  I’ll read that on our trip!  Jim is a 1962 Gustavus alum who, after retiring from teaching in Hopkins, has taught classes at Gustavus and directed the Gustavus Arboretum.)

While I enjoyed CinCC and St. Lucia greatly, I was especially pleased to be able to participate in the Gustavus 150 National Summit Meeting on December 9, one of 16 such meetings that will be held around the country from November 2008 through March 2009, led by new Gustavus President, Jack Ohle.  Participants at the December 9 summit included alumni from a wide range of graduating years, parents of current Gusties, current and former Gustavus administrators and staff, and non-alumni Gustavus supporters.  The breadth of perspectives contributed to lively discussions about how Gustavus can maintain and enhance its identity as a “learning community, rooted in its Swedish traditions and the Lutheran faith, committed to excellence in all it does and determined to ensure justices and fairness through lives of leadership and service.”  Recommendations from the National Summit groups will be presented to the Board of Trustees in April 2009, after which stakeholder input will be invited regarding the relative priority of the recommendations received.  After some additional research on cost estimates to implement the recommendations, the Board of Trustees is expected to establish priorities, which will be reported to all Gustavus constituents by Homecoming 2009.  The actual Sesquicentennial will be launched during Homecoming 2011, concluding at Homecoming 2012.   It will be a busy few years!

While President Ohle instructed the discussion groups NOT to consider cost when formulating recommendations, it was obvious that new or expanded initiatives will require resources.  Hopefully, you made a gift to the Annual Fund in 2008.  (I am making my gift today, online!)  If you missed 2008, please consider a gift in 2009.

Also – Be sure to save the date for our 40th reunion, scheduled for October 9-10, 2009.  More details will be forthcoming as the event draws closer.

Finally, here’s some news from our classmates!

Debra Hendrickson Bradbury retired from teaching and is now a small business consultant in Eden, Utah.  Her husband, Brent, is stationed at Hill Air Force Base.

Ann Martens Fischer retired from teaching physical education in the Rochester Public Schools.  Her husband, James Fischer, is also retired.

Mary Wahlgren Fermin is married to Ruben Fermin, a physician-surgeon at Hudson Physicians in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Jordan Gish is a musician living in LeCenter, MN.  He was inducted into the Midwest Rock and Country Hall of Fame in May 2008.  Congratulations, Jordan!

Sandra Gingold Iverson lives in St. Paul, MN and has a new job position at Fairview Hospital and Clinic, working with Hispanic healthcare.  Her husband, Timon, is the director of Global Health Ministries.

Carol Johnson lives in Marshall, MN and teaches a class for first time homebuyers.

Cheryl Meyer Klein is the athletic director for Sandpoint High School in Sagele, ID.  She is married to fellow teacher Jim Klein.

John Ondov is the executive director of Lifelab Institute.  He and his wife, Tameeka, live in Chanhassen, MN.  His wife teaches in the Hopkins Public Schools.

Tom Philpot and his wife, Jo Ann (Jensen ’74) live in Lummi Island, WA.  Tom reports that his wife just got back from a month of volunteering in Africa with the organization, Heifer International.

Wanda Schwartz Schnabel is retired from teaching.  Her husband, Gene, is the controller for Daniel Measurement and Control.

On a personal note, I retired in June 2008 from my duties as Superintendent of the Richfield Public Schools, joining my husband, John who is in his second year of retirement from teaching in the Prior Lake Public Schools.  While I miss the students, staff, administrative colleagues, board members and parents, I was ready not to “have the weight of the world” on my shoulders, especially in these challenging economic times.  These days, I’m doing some consulting, both independently and through Springsted Public Education Advisors.  I’m enjoying the additional flexibility, and have even resumed piano lessons, practicing more faithfully than I did 40+ years ago!

I hope Jane and Dave Leitzman approve of my “pinch-hitting,” even though I did miss my deadline.  (Jane – I know you’ll empathize!)

Have a wonderful 2009, and I hope to see you at our class reunion in October!

Yours truly,

Barbara Seeley Devlin

1969 Guest Letter Writer

Campus News

Presidential Inauguration

Gustavus Adolphus College inaugurated Jack R. Ohle as its 16th president on Friday, Oct. 3 in Christ Chapel.  Various inaugural events were held over a four-day period.  On Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 4 the celebration was capped-off with an Oktoberfest; a buffet-style dinner immediately following the Homecoming football game with about a thousand Gusties in attendance.

Twin Cities Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month.  Here are the details:  Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100).  Third Wednesday of the month - 8-9:30 a.m.  Cost is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at:  763-533-9083.

Need medical insurance?

Are you between jobs?  Self-employed?  Not covered by an employer health plan?  If you need health insurance you can find the right coverage for yourself and your family through the alumni association.  Whether you need temporary or permanent coverage, please visit to learn more about the range of coverage options available.

The Linnaeus Arboretum's 2009 calendar is available now for purchase

The calendar features the photography of Anders Björling ’58 and phenological notes by naturalist, Jim Gilbert ’62.  You can purchase your copy for $16 ($15 for current members of Friends of Linnaeus Arboretum).  Please add $3 per calendar for shipping and handling.  Checks should be payable to Linnaeus Arboretum Calendar and mailed to:  Linnaeus Arboretum Calendar, Gustavus Adolphus College, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN  56082.  (Contact Shirley,, 507-933-6181 with questions.)

Legacy Award for Gustavus admission

The Gustavus Legacy Award was created for new students whose siblings are current Gustavus students or graduates or whose parents or grandparents are Gustavus alumni.  Renewable awards of $2,500 per year are given to scholarship recipients who have a high school grade point average of at least 3.5 or an ACT of 26 or 1170 (Critical Reading + Math) on the SAT.  For more information, contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Washington, DC Alumni Gathering - Jan. 12, Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport, 7 p.m.
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Gwen Freed, vice president for marketing and communication - Jan. 21
  • Chicago Alumni Gathering - Jan. 29, Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 7 p.m.
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Kris Kracht, communication studies; forensics head coach - Feb. 18
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - March 18
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, retiring men's tennis coach - April 15