Class of '71
April 2006

My husband, Paul and I (Joan Sandberg Smith) have returned to Conroe, TX, for two weeks of golf.  And no, I haven’t as yet been able to repeat my hole-in-one which miraculously took place on our last outing here a year ago.  In fact, I got the “yips” when I teed up for the shot across the lake onto that same green, which is on a peninsula connected to dry land only by a bunker.  This time, however, I fed the fish gods two balls before taking a drop on the other side and racking up a snowman…  But we have had hot, dry weather this year, which doesn’t always happen here at this time of year.  The azaleas and tulips are in full bloom, most of the leaves are out, and the lawns are greening up.

Plans for our 35th reunion are also coming along.  All of the anniversary planners met in Eden Prairie on February 25.  Present from the class of ’71 were Judy Okerman Kastelle, Shirley Gholston Key (who gets the prize for coming the farthest―from Memphis, TN just for the weekend!), Barb Carlson Lescenski, Cathy Howard Waldhauser and me.  Kathryn Erlandsen, Barb Larson Taylor ’93 and Randall Stuckey ’83 were there from the Alumni Office to give us guidance and encouragement as we went a step further in our reunion plans.  We also received reports from the Board of Trustees and Alumni Board regarding their priorities for the coming year.

Here is what we have planned so far:  Friday, October 6 we hope to have a get-together in the St. Peter area (maybe wine-tasting at Morgan Creek Vineyards) for those folks coming in from out of town, though all classmates will be welcome.  Saturday, October 7 will include a memorial service in Christ Chapel and brunch in Alumni Hall from 10-2, followed by optional games, tours or lectures and the Homecoming football game at 1:00, then a VERY CASUAL dinner at Westwood Marina Bar and Grill on Lake Washington between St. Peter and Mankato from 4:30 to 10.  Reunion tables will be marked in the Gustavus Marketplace for Sunday, October 8 breakfast.

The college has reserved a limited block of rooms at the lovely Country Inn & Suites by Carlson in Mankato at a special rate of $123 a night for a room that would accommodate four.  Make your reservations directly (800-456-4000) and make them early so that we can get additional rooms.

Class News

In one of my contact calls I spoke for quite a long time to Rosie Mumm who has made her home in New Orleans.  She offered some insightful information about Hurricane Kristina and how she and her community were affected.  Here is an email she sent to friends and relatives last fall―

Date: 09/15/05

Live from our own "situation room" in Destin, Florida:

We saw our house Tuesday and were tremendously relieved to find no apparent inside damage!!  We had minor outside damage just as our neighbor had reported and aside from needing a new refrigerator, the house just needs a good airing out.  (OK - a good cleaning, too, but that's not from hurricane conditions).

Going into Algiers (our part of New Orleans) was very weird, to say the least.  Hardly a car on the road, except for Humvees and military vehicles with armed uniformed soldiers or power and other construction trucks.  We saw only two other people outside their homes in our neighborhood.  Trees, limbs, and debris everywhere.  A major section of the brick wall around our subdivision is crumbled.

Bob sealed up some vulnerable areas on our house where siding had stripped away and a roof vent that had blown off.  Roof shingles were all around our property.  One small outer window blew out.  Trees are practically defoliated.  We lost a portion of a privacy fence.  We still had no power.  Our next-door neighbor no doubt, has water in his house from his chimney breaking away.

I drove to a meeting at my office in Gretna six miles away and had to pass thru several armed guards.  I had a pass from the parish president as an “essential emergency personnel.”  (Don't laugh!) There was much more activity and traffic than in Algiers, but still eerily sparse, with the sound of an occasional helicopter as the background.  The city of Gretna actually opened up yesterday for residents to return, even though power was not fully restored.  Between our house and my office, only about half the traffic lights were working on major thoroughfares.  At the meeting, one obvious immediate mission was for supervisors to track down the status of their employees, the condition of their homes, and their ability to return to work.  (A number of my staff had lost everything!!) The office has power and is physically functional, although carpeting and sheet rock replacement is necessary in several areas, including my office. There were wind gusts tracked at 176 mph in the area.  They had a FEMA nurse providing tetanus/diphtheria and Hepatitis A and B shots.

The mayor is announcing, as I write, that Algiers will be the first area (HURRAY!) to which residents can return.  This will be next Monday.  A few other "dry spots" in the city will open in the days following, including the French Quarter.  We may go "celebrate" with a drink at the one bar that never closed!  Of course, many areas are still flooded.  One of my staff lives in St. Bernard Parish, which will not open even for visitation for at least four more months.  It is estimated that 100% of the homes were lost to flooding.

Yesterday was the first time Bob and I actually felt just numb and dazed for much of the day―and we are in the best of circumstances!  The nightmare that this recovery will take so many months and years is just difficult to grasp.  But at least we have a return date which begins the normalization process…not that I ever aspired for normalcy.

This morning, Bob left for the annual Minnesota Men's Conference that he has attended for so many years.  He was supposed to set up his contract with the state for Project Return funding the Friday before the hurricane.  Now it is quite doubtful that that will happen at all.  So the conference is a great place to look for alternative employment as well as seeing some of his dearest friends and allies.

All things considered, we feel so unbelievably fortunate we can't tell you!!

Hugs and Kisses!  Rosie

Most likely you all remember a similar act of destruction, the tornado that hit the Gustavus campus on March 29, 1998.  (We were particularly interested in this since our daughter was a sophomore at Gustavus at the time.  Fortunately she was, as were most students, on spring break and away from campus.  At the time, my husband and I were living in Singapore, and first heard of the storm on CNN.  Thanks to the Internet we were able to closely follow the news.)

Not long ago I was sifting through our videotapes and by chance, found one entitled “Rebuilding a Greater Gustavus” which documented this event.  President Axel Steuer addressed the hundreds of volunteers who showed up with rakes and buckets to help with the clean up.  He read a letter he had received from a student who was going to be an incoming freshman the next fall.  In it she described Gustavus and its people.  She included a check “…to help repair the damage of Gustavus Adolphus College.  $25 is not a lot of money, but if a lot of people give what they can, maybe it will all add up.  People asked what I thought about going to a college that was hit by a tornado.  What I always liked best about Gustavus were the people.  While the campus was very pretty, I thought the people at Gustavus were more important to students than trees and buildings.”

She understood the spirit of Gustavus even before becoming a student!  We hope that you will return to our very beautiful campus in October to reminisce with your Gustavus classmates.

 Here’s the latest from you:

Marcia Olson Horn’s husband, Doug ’68 is an independent consultant.  Becky Heath Johnson’s husband, Mark ’70, has been with J.C. Penney for 35 years and is presently the store manager at Colony Square Mall in Zanesville, Ohio.  Marjorie Aasness Schaffer presented “Quality Of Life At The End Of Life” at the Minnesota Nurses Association Nurses’ Academy in October.  She is professor of nursing at Bethel University in St. Paul.  Joanne Simonson Hall is a supervisor in the Medicare Medical Review Unit at Wisconsin Physicians Services.  Marilyn Mericle Rauenhorst has been at the same job at United Hospital in Blue Earth since graduation!  Lenore White Flinn has opened her own law office in Hutchinson and practices in the areas of injury and estate planning.  Karen Leonardson Borre is training and organizational development manager at MTS Systems Corporation in Eden Prairie.  Susan Alexis accompanied a team from Volunteers In Medical Missions (VIMM) as interpreter in Guatemala.  VIMM brings medical care to poor people around the world and offers both medical and non-medical people a 1-2 week opportunity to see firsthand what life is like for the poor in developing nations.  It also gives participants a chance to share some goodwill from Americans.  Sue says it gives her a chance to work on a professional basis with her sister Nancy, a physician from Forest Lake.  This year will be her 10th trip with VIMM; she will be going to Uruguay.  Nancy Cross Ma is a parish nurse for Hope Presbyterian Church in Richfield.  Judy Okerman Kastelle is doing the costuming for a Shakespearean play at the Phipps Theatre in Hastings in April―check it out.  Marcia Bomgren Bussey teaches math and coaches tennis in Wheaton, IL and just sent the youngest of her four sons off to Gustavus last fall.  Tom Dokken continues to work as an actuary for Securian (formerly Minnesota Mutual) in St. Paul and has four grandchildren!  Buster West is still with The Principal, helping with plans for his son’s wedding next spring and involved in fundraising for the new Gustavus football stadium.  (Beat ‘em Bust ‘em!)  Sue White Colt has been very busy with a new granddaughter, volunteering and other family obligations but has also volunteered to help with our reunion.  Gary Tidrick is also busy with two grandchildren and unfortunately will be at choir camp over the week of our reunion.  Bob Dahlof also expects to be occupied with his first grandchild, due the first week of October.

Campus News

The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award

Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations

Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards

Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Alumni Directory

The 2006 Gustavus Alumni Directory will be published soon and our goal is to represent your information as accurately as possible in the printed edition.  PCI:  the data company, is publishing our directory and a short phone call will update or verify your information.  Call toll free:  1-800-982-1589, Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST, and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. CST.  International callers dial:  1-972-386-0100, Monday-Friday CST.

Short Term Medical (STM) insurance Available

Short Term Medical Insurance can fill the temporary needs of those without health insurance, usually at a lower cost than other alternatives.  Alumni and their families may apply.  This is perfect for children of alumni who are graduating (even if they did not attend Gustavus) and aren’t yet covered under an employer’s health plan.  Contact the program administrator at Meyer and Associates at:  800-635-7801 or about this and other sponsored life, medical, auto and homeowners insurance.

Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.)

Gusties love to serve while they are students and after they graduate.  Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.), the annual day of community service, will focus in the Twin Cities’ Phillips Neighborhood.  This 1.6 square mile section of Minneapolis has 3,100 families, and 31 percent of those families live below the poverty level.  This neighborhood also is home to the American Swedish Institute.  Come out to help make the community a little better.  To learn more about G.I.V.E. Day and to register, go to


MAYDAY! Peace Conference:  "AIDS + Africa, the Unfolding Crisis"

The 26th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference will be held on Wednesday, April 19.  This year's topic is AIDS in Africa.  The conference will feature a keynote address by Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the HIV virus, and Marjorie Mbilinyi, social activist and professor in Tanzania.  The AIDS Memorial Quilt will also be on campus for viewing.  Robert Gallo is spending time on campus during March and April sponsored by the Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell Distinguished Professorship, a residency program for Nobel Laureates and similarly distinguished scholars.  For more information, go to

Gusties Gather!

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, August 6!  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  Ever think you want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Now is your chance, sign up to host a Gusties Gather! event.  Complete event checklist, host kit, and details will be provided.  Sign-up via e-mail at <> or call 800/487-8437.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference on AIDS – April 19
  • Rydell Distinguished Professorship lecture by Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of HIV virus, professor and director of the Institute of Human Virology – April 20
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations Meeting, keynote address, "Discipleship in Today's World:  Religion and Ecology," by Larry Rasmussen – April 22
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) Day of Community Service in Minneapolis – April 29
  • Gustavus Library Associates Author Day with Robert Alexander – May 3
  • Reunion for Class of 1956 and 50-Year Club – May 26-27
  • Commencement – May 28
  • Gusties Gather! – August 6
  • Reunions for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 – October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 7 & 8

Last but not least,

Remember that we’re hoping to have as many classmates as possible to contribute to the Gustavus Fund during our reunion year.  Our giving goal is $71,000, which is roughly $200 per classmate and double our normal level.  Thank you so much if you have already pledged or given!  If you haven’t already pledged or given to the Gustavus Alumni Fund, please give it your careful consideration.  More than ever the college needs our financial contributions to cover student needs, including scholarships.  The Gustavus Alumni Fund also supports Gustavus’ desire to provide students the most up-to-date classroom technology, thereby enhancing their position as they enter the workforce.

Joan Sandberg Smith

1971 Reunion Committee Member