Class of '73
May 2003

Dear Classmates and Friends:

Wow!!  Doug’s letter certainly was a big hit!  I got more e-mails from classmates than ever before.  Could also be that an e-mail address was included in the Quarterly.  Whatever.  It’s been really fun!

Talked to Elaine Sooger McGillivray recently.  She told me that Rick Webb was named “Restaurateur of the Year” in the Mpls./ St Paul Magazine, March 2003 issue.  Attended Gail Johnson Speckmann’s annual art show in her home in April.  Karen Bukosky Snedeker and her husband joined us there; they even bought a painting.  Gail had more pictures than ever!!  Lots of tulips, the result of her trip to Holland.  Good reason for Karen to buy a painting, as she and her husband were on their way to Holland the following week.  I’ll see Gail and Karen again on May 10th, when we motor on down to St. Peter for the 10th birthday party of community service (G.I.V.E.).  If you have an opportunity to participate in your city, I urge you to do so.  The work isn’t very hard, it’s greatly appreciated, and you get a free T-shirt.  I know, I know, we all have plenty of free T-shirts, but you can always use them for gardening, for working out or for nightshirts; or you can give them away.  I’ll be all decked out in my Gustavus T-shirt, Gustavus shirt, and Gustavus cap!

First quarter 2003 was kind of a tough time for me, and that’s part of the reason this letter is late.  I’m having some difficulty sitting down and applying myself to the task of writing this letter.  In addition to two surgeries, I had to have, Phoebe, my furry feline friend of almost 17 years, was put down.  So there is emptiness inside me.  Oh sure, I’ll recover; but not this week, or even next.

Phoned a few classmates last week during Phonorama.  Matt Peterson and Sue Engelsma Wilcox were there with me.  Spoke to many fewer than I phoned.  Could be that everyone is really busy and isn’t home when we call―that could sum up my life fairly accurately.  Could be that some of you have caller ID and don’t really want to talk to us.  If that’s the case, I would really like to know that.  I enjoy my annual chats with my friends, but I don’t want to be a nuisance.  So if you really don’t want a classmate to call you, please let me know that in an email.  Don’t worry about hurting my feelings.  I want to contact you in the way you want to be contacted.

Well, here’s the pitch you’ve all been waiting for.  Gustavus needs your help.  I know, some of you may be unemployed, some hours may have been cut, some bonuses have been reduced or eliminated, sales commissions are down.  Even so, our children need an education, and we all know that Gustavus is a good place for that.  Practically speaking, we need our youth to be well educated so they can get good jobs, pay big bucks into Social Security, and support us in our approaching old age.  Philosophically, it’s just the right thing to do.  So if, after you’ve paid your bills and funded your retirement plan, you can find a few dollars to send to Gustavus, please do so.  We need only 48 more contributors to reach our goal this year.  Will you be one of them?  I hope so.  And I thank you.

Now, here's the news:

  • Cyndi Meyer Swengel -- I am just now retiring from the military.  I trained in my specialty, otolaryngology (or nose picking as my friends call us "ENT folk") at Walter Reed in DC.  I met my husband, a neurosurgeon, while I was working in Germany.  Uncle Sam kept us happy with wonderful duty assignments all over Germany.  We were fortunate and able to practice 10 years in Europe and then be sent to Denver, where I taught my specialty in a combined residency program with the University of Colorado Medical School.  The past few years I have been practicing in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  We fell in love with the Rockies and I was lucky to be able to stay in Colorado for more than eight years.  I have 2 children ages 13 and 11, who keep me busy juggling the mom and the doctor roles.  I look forward to working only part time after I retire so I can have more time for them.  (Thank you, Cyndi, for sending this e-mail).
  • Joanne McConnell -- Hi from New Prague, MN.  I wanted to pass along to you that my fiancé, Phil Christenson, passed away on October 1, 2002.  We were best friends and companions for over 10 years and FINALLY became engaged in July 2002.  The wedding date was set for October 19, 2002.  We had a wonderful 10 years and I miss him dearly.  This is my third year teaching K-6 classroom music at St. Wenceslaus School in New Prague.  I have the music classes, plus I rehearse with student cantors and play the piano for Wednesday student masses.  I am still a Lutheran, although they are working on me to convert (in jest) to becoming a Catholic.  I am intending to hold out!!!!  It is a great job and a wonderful place to work.  By the way, my 2 sons are married and I have 7 beautiful grandchildren!!!  Is there anyone with more than 7 grandchildren in the class of ’73????  (I started out young!!!!)
  • Anne Schilling Hann and husband David, class of ’79, live in Eden Prairie, MN.  David was recently elected state senator of District 42.
  • Konnie Kube O’Neil is living in Cambridge, MN.
  • Mike Menning, Geneva, Switzerland.  After tours as chief of mission in Syria, Cyprus and Bosnia, he is now the UNHCR regional coordinator for the Balkans region, based in Geneva.
  • Rebby Bowman, Plymouth, MN.  Just began his 29th year of teaching at Wayzata West Middle School.  July 2002 marked 20 years as a member of the Wayzata Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Marta Carlson Gisselquist is still enjoying her job as a school psychologist at Anoka-Hennepin School District.  Both of her sons are sophomores this year, one in high school and one at college in Pennsylvania.  She’s enjoying the changing face of parenting with less day-to-day monitoring, more looking on as they are launched into adulthood.
  • John Apitz was named a “Super Lawyer” for 2002 by Minnesota Law & Politics magazine.  He received the same recognition by a vote of his colleagues in 2001.
  • Tom Witty, Mt. Iron, MN.  His son, Scott, graduates this year, allowing John and his wife, Jackie, to look at donating from a different perspective!  His daughter, Jennie, is a sophomore at St. Scholastica in nursing.  John and Jackie report that they are doing fine with their empty nest.
  • Tim and Marsha Anderson Berg, Mankato, MN.  Vacationed last year in Charleston, SC, and loved the beauty and history of the city.  Marsha, after 11-1/2 years at Wolf Etter and Co., became the practice manager at the new oral surgery clinic in Mankato in January.  Time continues with full time campus ministry at MSU; he also teaches 3 sections (two of philosophy/ethics).
  • Gregg and Betsy (Lee) Duncan, Mt. Prospect, IL, liquidated their business in March of 2002.  When I spoke with Betsy last fall, Gregg was working as a consultant for a Canadian firm.
  • Kathleen Boehmke Janacek is still with Health Partners and living in Lake Elmo, MN.  Her daughter, Stephanie (1st of 5 children) has decided to attend Gustavus.  Good for her!! 
  • Pam Strandlund Colter, Forest Lake, MN, is an RN for Fairview Lakes Regional Medical Center.  She works full-time in the emergency room as a certified ER nurse.  She does most of the nursing staff ongoing education.  A wedding is planned for September.  Her oldest daughter, Jackie, will graduate from the University of Minnesota.  Angie is a sophomore at Augsburg, and Becky is graduating from high school.
  • Dave and Trudy (Thomas) Severson live in Owatonna, MN.  Dave is county administrator for Steele County.  Trudy teaches English/Language Arts.  Both of their children are at Gustavus this year.

Did you notice that some people got more space than others?  That’s because those people emailed their news to me.  Just want you to know that you can determine how much space you get  J

Call me any time with questions or news, 952-836-2648.

Email addresses:

Many email addresses can be found at  Look for the Alumni page.

Konnie Kube O’Neil                  

Kathy Boehmke Janacek            

Spring is here! 


Marcia L Stephens

Campus News:

Dr. James Peterson Named 14th Gustavus President

James Peterson ’64, president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, was selected as the next Gustavus president.  Peterson is married to Rev. M. Susan Pepin Peterson ’65, senior pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul.  They have two married children including Erika Peterson Eklund ’94.  Jim will start his official responsibilities at Gustavus in July 2003.

Alumni Fund Closes May 31 – 1000 new donors needed

The Alumni Fund closes May 31.  Gustavus alumni are trying to again be the best Lutheran college in percentage of alumni annual giving.  The goal is to reach 45% participation this year.  If you have already given, THANK YOU!  If you have given in the past and not yet this year, Gustavus students need your support again.  If you have missed giving, Gustavus needs only 1,000 new donors to reach the goal.  Give online at <> or call 800/487-8437.

Campus Focuses on Peace

Three annual conferences this spring discuss peace.  Conflict Resolution: International, National, and Local was the theme of the annual student-run “Building Bridges” Conference in March featuring Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica. The Association of Congregations Meeting featured Protestant leader Lyle Schaller who talked about the future of the church and the changing role of laity and church staff.  And the annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference in April was titled, “World Religions:  Waging War or Promoting Peace?” featuring keynote speaker Krister Stendahl, emeritus professor of divinity, Harvard University, and former bishop of Stockholm, Sweden.

Gustavus Band 125 Year Celebration

What started as 13 silver instruments in 1878 has evolved into the Gustavus Band, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in May.  Highlights for the weekend included the performance of the 100+ member alumni band and the commissioned work, Of Wind and Wood, by composer Steve Heitzeg ’82 that was premiered by the current Gustavus Band.

Men’s Basketball Team National Runner-up

The men’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker in the NCAA Division III championship game 67-65 to Williams, on two game-winning free throws in the final seconds of play.  Gustavus was the first MIAC team to ever make it to the championship game.

Celebration of Community Service

The Community Service Center at Gustavus is ten years old.  Since its creation, students participating in community service and service learning in the classroom has dramatically increased.  Currently 60% of the student population participates in some sort of community service program while at Gustavus.  The annual G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors) day of community service was held on May 10.

Upcoming Events

  • 1953 and 50 Year Club Reunion – May 30 & 31
  • Alumni Fund Fiscal Year Closes – May 31
  • Commencement – June 1