Class of '73
September 2002

Dear Classmates and Friends:

Sad news to report in this letter.  John Kendall died on Friday, 26 July.  He was almost 74 years old.  Not very old.  Remember Psych 201?  I’m sure all of us had to take it.  I took it from Kendall.  I had taken a psych class in high school and knew I enjoyed the subject.  In Kendall’s class, I enjoyed it even more.  Several things stand out in my mind.  First, he made us stare at a slide of the American flag, and then we looked at the blank white screen.  I saw a yellow and blue flag.  I’ve never needed that piece of information, but for some reason it stuck with me.  Second, the lecture on Harlow and his monkeys.  I remember Kendall saying that Harlow was a great researcher – when he was sober.  And was it B F Skinner who put his daughter, Debbie, in a box?  That amused me because I have a sister named Debbie who in no way would have lived in a box, at least not quietly.  Most importantly, Kendall practiced what he preached about immediate reinforcement.  By the time we had completed an exam, he had posted the answers on the wall outside the classroom in Old Main, and we pretty much knew how we had done.  I really liked that.  Jan Hilton Peterson and I spent many hours in the caf studying for those tests.  An A was my reward, and I’ve no doubt it was hers, too.  Evie Cieslar Erdman, my roommate at the time, was also in that class.  I remember John Kendall as a smiling, happy person, a professor who made learning fun.  Here’s to you, John Kendall.

Here’s some better news.  On Thursday, 25 July, Ma Young celebrated her 90th birthday at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  It was a small, intimate affair, only about 500 guests.  Dean Wahlund ’72 and Paul Tillquist ’63 amused us with their rendition of baking rye bread.  Fortunately, that was not the rye bread we were given on our departure.  Several speakers spoke of Ma Young’s contributions to Gustavus and those she claims as her family, namely the entire world.  Ma Young had an opportunity to address the group when the other speakers had finished.  Red velvet cake was served, as it was on my 22nd birthday at Gustavus.  Only difference, a few more guests at Ma Young’s party.  I hope that when I’m 90 I can look as good, get around as well, and be as articulate as Evelyn Young is today.

I plan to attend the Nobel Conference this year, for the first time.  I’m looking forward to having dinner with Marcia Woie Robertson and Evie Cieslar Erdman during the conference.  All I have to do is drive to Mankato and find Mexican Village.  If I end up in Waseca, I’ll know I’ve missed it.

Now, here's the news:

  • At the Class Agents meeting on September 7th, Al Molde, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, spoke to us about Gustavus athletics, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  Mary Dietrich was mentioned among his list of great Gustie athletes.
  • Ruth (Trimbo) Heilman received her doctoral degree in education on July 10, 2002, from St. Thomas University.  Her dissertation was entitled, “The Beginning of an Elementary Teacher:  A Phenomenological Study of the Process of Teacher Preparation and Into the First Year Teaching.”  Ruth teaches at Kennedy Elementary in Mankato, MN.  Son, Jacob, graduated from Gustavus in May, Roy is Class of ’02, and Baird is a senior in high school.  Will he follow his brothers to Gustavus?
  • Diane (Peterson) Retzlaff, Shafer, MN, is a first grade teacher for Forest Lake Schools.
  • Trudy Severson, Owatonna, MN, is an English teacher and AP Coordinator.  Both of her children are at Gustavus: Meghan is a senior and Erik is a freshman.
  • Dale Fredell, Lindstrom, MN, is currently manager, Education Services, Food & Beverage Division of Ecolab in St. Paul, where he has worked for 25 years, beginning in Research and Development in 1977.
  • Barry Lane, Ramsey, MN, is director of adult learning programs for Bloomington Public Schools-Community Education.  He completed a doctoral degree in Strategic Leadership (DSL) from Regent University, VA. 
  • Andrea (Grimsrud) O’Brien, Raynham, MA, is a staff nurse in perinatal nursing at New England Medical Center.
  • Patti (Randa) and Steve Rude, both teachers at Eden Prairie High School, are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.  They have 2 married children and one grandchild, about 1 year old. 
  • Marilyn Arvidson is a legal secretary in Chesterton, IN.
  • Deb Weissenborn, Blacksburg, VA, is research director of Plant Transgenic [something must be missing here] at CropTech.  When I talked to her in April, she was on her way back to Minnesota to see “her” Lake Superior, with its strength and beauty.  I can relate to that sentiment.  Husband, Neil Ames, runs Neil Ames’ Horticulture Service.
  • Evie (Cieslar) Erdman, Mankato, MN, is a program manager for Citizens Scholarship Foundation of America, based in St. Peter.  Husband, Steve, is employed by Immanual-St Joseph’s Mayo Health System.
  • Patty (Keys) Spahn, St Paul, MN, teaches math to 7th grade boys at St Thomas Academy.  Husband, Mike, is a pharmacist.  All three daughters are in college.
  • Lois (Olson) and Gary (’72) Sater, Middleton WI, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in Christ Chapel on May 27th.
  • Bruce Boyce, Waseca, MN, has been Waseca County’s coordinator for 23 years and ran for re-election in June.
  • Mike Steinbring, Brooklyn Park, MN, works at the Hennepin County Juvenile Court, where he has been for 17 years.  He lives with his wife, Elisabeth, their son, Joshua, three cats, a dog and Elisabeth’s mother.  In June, Mike gave an organ concert in his hometown of Grand Meadow, including two of his own compositions.
  • Mary (Frey) Sauter, Eau Claire, WI, is an elementary art specialist for the Eau Claire Area School District.  Husband, James, is an administrator for the Chippewa Falls Public Schools.  They have two daughters at UW-Madison.  One is a senior, studying business, accounting, and health careers certification.  The freshman is thinking about medical engineering.  I’m reading my notes from April, so I’m guessing the senior has now graduated and the freshman is a sophomore. 
  • Charles Ortloff is pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Mankato MN.  In June, he preached the first of the 125th anniversary services at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Glencoe, his hometown.  He and his wife, Karen (Lomen ’75), live in Mankato and have three adult children.
  • Niels and Bonnie (Hawkinson’75) Henriksen live in Grand Rapids MN, where Niels is production manager for Arrowhead Promotion & Fulfillment Company.  His employer is facing its third expansion in the past 7 years.  Bonnie is community services director at Itasca Community College.
  • Sue (Engelsma) Wilcox was co-chair of the thirteenth “A Royal Affair” last November.  Gustie alums and supporters donated $192,000 to the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library Endowment Fund.
  • Karen (Bukosky) Snedeker, Woodbury MN,  was spotlighted in the Business Section of the StarTribune, 8/25/02.  She is now president and CEO of BlueFire Partners Inc., Minneapolis. 

Not to be outdone by my classmates, I just want everyone to know that my picture was also in the StarTribune.  Okay, so I wasn’t promoted to anything, and my hand is in front of my face, and my name isn’t mentioned and the most prominent feature of the photo is a dairy cow, but hey, we gotta take our 15 minutes of fame wherever we can get it.  I go to the State Fair almost every year, and I’ve decided to do or try at least one new thing each year.  This year, my husband and I went on the first day, and went on the first Barn Tour of the day (and, therefore, of the fair).  When I saw two women in the group, one with pencil and steno pad and one with a camera, I knew it was my time for fame.  I got really excited when the tour was over and the photographer asked for my name, with correct spelling.  But she must have lost it or something.  Maybe I’ll send the photo to the Quarterly and try for a few more minutes of fame.

Welcome Class of 2006

Approximately 700 new students arrived on campus this fall keeping the total student enrollment just over 2500.  Almost 40% of the new class were in the top 10% of their high school class.  There are many interesting opportunities for first year students even before school starts with a community service immersion experience in Twin Cities, a cultural study in Paris and a wilderness experience in the Boundary Waters.

Gustavus name a “Best Buy”

The Fiske Guide has again named Gustavus one of forty-three “Best Buys” in the country.  This is based on an exceptional investment of tuition money for an exceptional education.

Hello Walk Online Community is featuring several a discussion with Political Science Professor Don Ostrom discussing the upcoming elections.  Join the conversation by going to <>

Gustie students start new community service initiative called the AMIGOS program.  The 65 Spanish speaking volunteers serve the growing Chicano-Latino population in St. Peter by providing after-school tutoring, teaching ESL classes to adults and serve as big partners.  This program is in addition to the other on-going and one-time service opportunities that 75% of students participate in while at Gustavus.

Building a Great Gustavus Campaign was launched to the public on Saturday, September 7.  Since the tornadoes of 1998, the campaign has raised $77 million toward a $100 million goal.  The focus of the remainder of the campaign is on funding renovations in Old Main, growing endowment, and increasing gifts and participation in the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Your personal financial support  and your leadership are needed and greatly appreciated.

Minnesota Legislature Cuts Financial Aid

Due to cuts with the Minnesota State Legislature, Gustavus lost $400,000 in money for student employment.  The college continues to work hard to meet financial needs of students since nearly 80% of Gustavus students receive financial assistance.  This includes $14 million from the colleges own budget.  Your support of the annual fund goes directly to help these students and is especially needed to help make up the financial gap for these current students.

E-Mail addresses:

Many other e-mail addresses are available online at and friends.

Diane Retzlaff                 

Matt Peterson                 

Trudy Severson               

Barry Lane                     

Kelvin Miller                   

Deb Weissenborn            

Patty Keys Spahn            

Mary Frey Sauter            

Phonorama is scheduled for Oct 7-17.  It may surprise you to know that even students who pay full tuition do not cover the cost of their Gustavus education.  Just as those who came before us provided money for our scholarships and tuition grants, so we need to do the same for current and future Gusties.  Your support is important.  Please respond positively when we call.

Happy Fall!