Class of '72
October 2006

Greetings to the Classmates of 1972,

School is back in session and Gustavus welcomed 680 new Gusties on campus―a record for admissions!  These incoming freshmen and returning upperclassmen were greeted with numerous changes on campus:

  • Old Main has been completely remodeled with a beautiful new look while retaining its historic character.
  • The new Southwest Residence Hall (replaced Wahlstrom) is brimming with activity.
  • As the current football season ends, construction will begin on a new football field which will allow Gustavus to build a new social science building in the location of the current football field―the new field is planned to be ready for next year’s home opener.
  • Work will begin to remodel the Social Sciences Building (the old Library which I know many of you walked by every day and some of you actually entered occasionally).
  • Work will begin to build a new mall to go from the Chapel to the Arboretum to extend the campus even further out.
  • A new Fitness Center will be constructed in the Lund Athletic Center.

As one of the new slogans of the college says:  Extraordinary People – Extraordinary Place!

Some other initiatives on campus include a move to study environmental issues and evaluate how the college can do more to conserve resources.  There is a move for an increased internationalization of Gustavus, giving more opportunities for students and faculty to study abroad, offer more opportunities for foreign students to attend Gustavus, and broadening the curriculum.  There is also a move towards engaged learning or experiential learning, offering joint faculty/student research opportunities, offering more internships/work studies, offering leadership service opportunities such as leadership in the church or leadership in the community, and other qualitative types of learning. 

There are plans to continue to increase the visibility of the college and increase the publicity.  Each of you can do your part.  Each of you had your own Gustavus experience, your own Gustavus story.  Share it, publicize it!

Reunion Plans

This coming year, 2007, will be our 35th Class Reunion (ouch, 35 years since we left the hallowed halls of Gustavus).  We will be having a reunion on the Saturday of Homecoming next year which will be October 13.  I would like to see us have a much greater turnout than has been the case in past reunions.  Each of you reach out to your 4 or 5 best friends from our class, load up the mini van or SUV and come on down to St. Peter together. 

I am actively seeking volunteers to be on the reunion planning committee.  So far, I have heard from Nancy Evenson Lindley, Vicky Johnson Goplin, Peggy Benedict Pallas, Kathie Moline Widen, and Ralph Van Hoven on their willingness to help out―THANKS.  We could use even more people (think, even the planning meetings could be fun―a reunion all on their own).  Let me know if you are interested―you can e-mail me at  We will be scheduling a meeting up in the Cities soon to kick this off.

Nancy and I were thinking that we might want to do something informal this time.  The new football stadium will be completed so we thought we would try to save a section of the stands for the Class of ’72 to sit together.  After the game, we were going to have a tent set up with burgers, brats and refreshments―a casual chance to catch up with all your classmates.  We are considering an activity for that morning also―stand by for that update!

Gustavus Fund

One of the goals of the college is to have the reunion classes be leaders in donating to the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  In the Fund year just ended (May 2006 was the last month), our class had increased the number of donors from 107 to 120 and increased our total contributions by $400.  That’s encouraging, but I think we can do much better.  We would welcome any size contribution you can give to the Alumni Fund to help more students be able to attend Gustavus.  As a matter of fact, Nancy and I are going to set up “sponsors” for the Class Reunion to help raise funds―Platinum sponsorship, Gold sponsorship, Silver sponsorship.  I can see it now:  “The Gustavus 1972 Class Reunion brought to you by ___________”. 

Class News:

This is the latest news I have received from our classmates:

Michael Cooper-White was quoted in a press release announcing the acquisition of the Washington, DC based Luther Institute by The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.  Michael was listed as the President of the Gettysburg Seminary―sounds like an exciting merger of two highly regarded institutions.

Suzi Franzen Hansen lives in Mansfield, MA and is in her 15th year working as the activities director at an active senior center and teaching classes in music, art and exercise to help promote health and fitness.  Speaking of fitness, she and her husband will be riding in the Pan Mass Challenge, a 192 mile bicycle ride to raise funds for cancer research, Suzi’s 9th year of riding in this event.  Congratulations on helping out a great cause.

John Headlee retired from public school administration in 2003, but didn’t stay retired long.  He was just recently named assistant professor at St. Mary’s University teaching in the EDD program.  He is living in Rockford, MN.

Marlys Sorenson Segaar still loves teaching her third graders in Paynesville, MN.  It’s comforting to know she is molding tomorrow’s leaders.

Jamesetta Alexander Newland was just appointed editor-in-chief of The Nurse Practitioner:  The American Journal of Primary Health Care.  Congratulations on that new appointment―well deserved I’m sure.  She calls White Plains, NY home.

Jack Pedersen is still living in North Oaks, MN and is working for Bremer Financial.  He and his wife, Linda (Nordlund ’71) Pedersen are proud to announce twin boys born to their daughter this past March.  Now, don’t spoil those grandkids.

I read an article that was written by Karen Backels Carpenedo in The Tau Kappa Report, a newsletter put out for former TK’s at Gustavus.  Karen wrote about the frequent visits to campus during our time there by John Denver and his wife, Ann Martell ’68.  I’m sure writing the article brought back memories of Gustavus for Karen―reading it did for me.

As for me, I had a chance to play in the Gustavus Hockey Team golf outing with Gary “Dizzy” Petersen and Dan Engstrom a couple weeks ago.  We didn’t win the tournament, but it was great to see them both again and a good time was definitely had by all.  We also got to see a number of the other hockey players from our era.  Gary is doing well selling real estate for Coldwell Banker Burnet and Dan is the assistant county administrator for the Human Services and Public Health Department of Hennepin County.

I am saddened to report that Jean Rebischke Wolff’s husband, John ’69, passed away in February of this year.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jean.

Also, our thoughts and prayers go out to classmate Sandra Brekke on the passing of her father, Professor Emeritus Gerald Brekke, who taught in the Gustavus Department of Education for 25 years.  I know many of you were fortunate to have had classes from him and his contributions to Gustavus were numerous.  Our sympathies to your family, Sandra.

Make sure you send any news to Gustavus or to me directly at  Love to hear from everybody.  Being a reunion class, you will also be receiving a survey intended to update the current profile information the college has for you.  Your help in returning that survey is appreciated.

So, mark your calendars for October 13, 2007.  Let’s make this reunion one to remember!  Start spreading the word.

Todd Dokken

1972 Co-class Agent