Class of ’69

July 2013

Dear Classmates,

Another academic year at our college has concluded.  This one was more significant for me because it marked the end of Karla’s journey through our alma mater.  I knew what to expect, as I had a “dry run” at commencement last year.  The sister of one of Karla’s very good friends graduated from high school in Decorah, Iowa, on the same day that Gustavus graduated its seniors, so I got to be the “stand-in mom” for Karla’s friend, who I had known since her first year.  Ceremonies for the class of 2012 took place in the stadium on a very hot, sunny Sunday with very little wind to provide comfort.  My status as a “loner mom” afforded me the opportunity to join the rest of my “chosen family” at Neighbors Restaurant in North Mankato for the post-graduation celebration.  I enjoyed the chance to rejoice with the graduate and his family, but it was nonetheless a bittersweet parting, one as difficult as I would have wanted, thank you very much.  As I was driving home after dinner I left a message on a friend’s answering machine indicating that I anticipated being on drugs for 2013!  He saved that message and played it for me on the day of the Karla’s graduation.

Recalling our own moment of glory in 1969, I have a vivid memory of meeting Jerry Prouty in front of what was then our field house as all of us were preparing to take our leave.  He managed to get out, “Jane, don’t you start to cry or…” before we were both blubbering on that humid day 44 years and some weeks ago.  So, I didn’t come into this day un-prepped.  There is no longer a field house across from Uhler Hall, many new buildings have been added, and the campus landscape offers new views from many directions, but the members of the class of 2013 that I’m acquainted with had equal difficulty departing from one another after their lovely day.

Sitting in the chapel for Baccalaureate, I slipped back to Elvee sending us from the same space 44 years ago by first reminding what we knew all too well; “the party’s over.”  At the end of his homily he let us know that it was time for us to go, urging us to “try not to lose our soul” as each of use followed our varied paths into an uncertain future.  He softened our departure by reminding us that we would always be welcomed back, and that the lights would be left on to guide our return.

The class of 2013 could not have had a more perfect day for officially marking their first step into their new world.  It was exciting to sit in the grandstand and watch the faculty and graduates in their colorful academic gowns, urged on by the college’s band, enter the end of the football field to take their seats before a platform erected for dignitaries and guests.

Rather than invite a commencement speaker from elsewhere, the Class of 2013 was very capably addressed by one of Karla’s good friends from her class, Julia Tindel.  While I can recall much of Elvee’s Baccalaureate address, the only thing I recall from Governor Harold Levander’s speech to us was that we should be careful “not to throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Proudly I made it through all seniors involved in music singing Remember; “For you belong to GA College and Gustavus belongs to you.”  The official events of the day concluded with a lovely reception on the mall—students, faculty, and families greeting one another.

After visiting with friends, we left campus on the following day.  The campus returned to its summer routine once more, totally quiet with only a couple of remaining trash cans giving evidence of the throngs from the previous day.  It would be soon time to prepare to welcome the next class of Gusties, but not quite yet.

I retired from teaching this spring, a change which probably won’t seem real until I awaken on the morning of the fall workshop and realize that I don’t have to report for duty.  At lunch last week some of my school friends, not yet retired, noted that after the Fourth of July it would be time to start getting ready for the new school year.  Seeing those early “back to school” advertisements in the Sunday paper will no longer signal summer’s final act.

One of the things I’m looking forward to as I open the gate into my “golden years” is having the time to do a better job of gathering and reporting news of our class and the college.  To begin, there are a few things to think about.  For those who may have lost count, Gustavus’ next graduation in the spring of 2014 will also mark our forty-fifth year since graduation.  Next spring we will join the classes of those “old people” who will be celebrating their anniversaries on campus.

In recent years those present for their fiftieth reunions have stood along the path new graduates take as they process from the chapel to the stadium, offering congratulations and encouragement.  Wouldn’t it be fun for our class members living within driving distance to mimic this tradition by welcoming first year students, our new alumni, as they begin their college careers with “move-in day” this fall?  Our welcome would not include construction of lofts or moving furniture moving up to the fourth floor of Co-Ed, tasks reserved for parents and members of the football team.  We’d join the Gustie Greeters by singing the rouser (recall Mr. Knautz trying to teach it to us during orientation in the field house?) and waving our “Welcome Future Alumni” signs along the road up the hill.

For now, enjoy the remainder of the summer of our 66th year.  Could we have ever envisioned that possibility when we were 21?

Jane Leitzman

Campus News

President Ohle Announces Retirement

Jack R. Ohle, the 16th President of Gustavus Adolphus College, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2013-14 academic year when he will complete his sixth year as president of the College.  He began his service to Gustavus on July 1, 2008, and will officially retire on June 30, 2014.  Ohle submitted, and the Board accepted, a letter announcing his retirement to the Board of Trustees at its regular quarterly meeting last weekend.  The Board of Trustees will be initiating a search to find President Ohle’s successor who will begin serving the College in the summer of 2014.  Details of the search process will be announced in the near future.

New Chaplains

Gustavus Adolphus College President Jack R. Ohle announced Monday, July 1, 2013 that the Reverend Siri C. Erickson and the Reverend Brian E. Konkol have accepted calls to become the new chaplains at the College.  They will officially join the college community on August 1, 2013.

Erickson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carleton College where she majored in chemistry.  In 2002, she received her master of divinity degree from the Claremont School of Theology.  While at Claremont, she was honored with the President’s Award for academic excellence and was also presented the Award for Excellence in biblical studies.

Konkol is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., where he majored in criminal justice.  In 2005, he received his master of divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary.  While enrolled in seminary he served a one-year internship with the Ebenezer Lutheran Parish in Guyana, and shortly after his graduation he returned to Guyana to become pastor of the Emmanual Lutheran Parish where he served from 2005 to 2007.  In 2008, he became the Country Coordinator for the Young Adults in Global Missions (YAGM) program with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa in Pietermaritzburg.

Reading in Common

Looking for a good book for the summer?  Try A Pearl in the Storm, by Tori Murden McClure, this year’s Reading in Common selection. A Pearl in the Storm is about failure and twists of fate, and the pearls (guides, guardians, and mentors) that lift us up when we fall.  The 2013–14 academic year will be the 14th year of the Reading in Common program at Gustavus.  All incoming first-year students, Collegiate Fellows, Gustie Greeters, Peer Assistants, and many faculty members will be reading it this summer as well.

Gustavus at the Minnesota State Fair

Look for Gustavus at “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.”  Gustavus will again host a booth at the Minnesota State Fair in the Education Building, Aug. 22–Sept. 2.  Stop by the booth after you have had your cheese curds and pronto pups and you will find friendly faces, Gustavus information, Gustie Grams, and a cool giveaway.  High school students can enter to win a Gustavus shirt.  Wear your Gustavus apparel to the fair to show off your Gustie pride!

Upcoming Events

Denver Chapter Picnic – Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rochester Chapter Gathering – Monday, August 19

Mankato Chapter Picnic – Tuesday, August 20

August Gustie Breakfast, Twin Cities, Matt Swenson ʼ06 – Wednesday, August 21

Volunteer Leadership (Class Officers’) Day – Saturday, September 14

September Gustie Breakfast, Nobel Conference Preview – Wednesday, September 18

Homecoming/Reunions – Friday-Sunday, September 27-29

Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet – November 2