Class of '73
February 2004

Dear Classmates and Friends:

Well, our 30th reunion has come and gone.  (I actually started writing this letter in December).  Around 50-60 people attended.  It was an hors d'oeuvres, stand-up, mingle kind of thing, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.  Matt and I had planned two activities, designed to promote involvement and participation.  The activities were not needed, and that's okay with me.  Matt managed to organize a virtual reunion for those unable to attend in person; a first in Gustavus reunion history!!!  I think around 7 people called in (or logged on, or whatever), but I can remember only 3 of them:  Gail Wohlman Ahern, Ed '72 and Janet Hilton Peterson, and Dennis Wellnitz.  I got to talk to Ed and Jan in Raleigh, NC, and that was fun.  Noni Hove Threinen talked to Dennis Wellnitz, but I don't think he ever figured out who she was.

Matt also scanned all the senior pictures from the yearbook into his computer.  I enjoyed watching the picture show and trying to identify the faces.  Cynthia Meyer Swengel attended her very first Gustavus reunion.  She said she had been living in Germany for 20 years, and apparently we lost touch with her.  Now she's back, practicing ENT medicine in Colorado.  For those of you I asked, and who didn't know the answer, yes, Cindy was the Avon lady!  Why am I the only one who remembered that?  I didn't even buy Avon products.  Jean Marvin was there; I hadn't seen her in many years.  I won't tell you what I remember about her 30 years ago.  We discussed it when I called her during Phonorama, and she was appalled.  Many nurses attended.  I was so thrilled.  For our first 10 years or so out of college, the nurses seemed to have their own reunions and write their own letter.  I always felt badly that we only got to know them for two years before they moved up to St. Paul to complete their training.  I give credit to Judy Hafemeyer Johnson for getting the nurses together.  I think she called most of them.  And they responded positively to her call.  It was good to see Marilyn Rochat.  Hadn't seen her since I was in the process of changing careers in 1991.  I think it was Gail Johnson Speckmann who talked Marilyn into coming.  Thanks, Gail!  Phil Bryant appeared as our guest speaker.  He and Matt read a couple of his poems.

Obviously, I didn't know everyone at the reunion.  I didn't know all of us when we were on campus, either.  So, before I get myself in an embarrassing situation here, I'm just going to list the people who were on the list of attendees.  Some of them I talked to and some I didn't, but I was very happy to see all of them.  Ruben Acosta, Doris Herrmann Acton, Erling Anderson, John Apitz, Ivy Schutz Bernhardson and Mark '71, Deb Ellis, Jill Fagerlund, Deb Horne, Kathy Boehmke Janacek, Kathy Wornson Johnson, Sandy Henry Keegan, Julie Lindahl and Phillip Cykana, Doug Linder, Dan and Mary (Holmquist '72) Lundahl, Mark Matuseski and Bonnie, Janet Nietz McCarty, Elaine Sooger McGillivray, Kelvin Miller and Diane (Clark '76), Janet Molde, Genella Mussell, Yvonne Carter Neils, Gary Nelson and Deb (Dorrian '75), Wally and Cindy Strong Obinger, John Otteson and Christy (Norgaard '74), Gary Peterson, Shelby Slick Phillips, Karen Bukosky Snedeker, Linda Nelson Starks, Mark Watson, Jim and Kathy (Orshek) Zils, Jan Cahill Zimdars.  I'm already thinking about our 35th reunion, and I want all of you to be there!!

In September, following the Class Agents' meeting at Gustavus, I stopped in Belle Plaine to see Joanne McConnell.  She's still the band director at New Prague and teaches piano lessons.  Might be moving to Iowa next summer.  Stay tuned for further details.

In October, I attended the Nobel Conference.  I plan to make this an annual event.  It's sort of like being back in the classroom, but instead of a student/teacher ratio of 15/1 it's more like 3000/1.  On Tuesday evening, I met Evie Cieslar Erdman for dinner at Whiskey River.  Whiskey River is a restaurant on Hwy. 99, just across the Minnesota River, next to Mary Lou's Yarn Shop.  Good food, reasonably priced, my kind of place.  On Wednesday, following the last lecture, I stopped to see Renee Reeck Bryant.  Renee and I were music majors together 30 years ago.  Now we both enjoy gardening.  We had a pleasant visit, and I got to meet her three children.

My apologies for not getting a fall letter to you.  I don't even have a good excuse; I just didn't feel like writing a letter.  Thank you so much to Gail Johnson Speckmann for picking up the slack.  She wrote a wonderful letter, and I hope some of you have provided her with some well-deserved positive feedback.

Now, here's the news:

  • Noni Hove Threinen (email) -- Thanks for the update info on Gusties.  I never knew that Neal and Leandra were Gustavus grads.  (Neal Hagberg '81 and Leandra Peak '83 singer/songwriters.)  I am still at Northwestern Health Sciences University [previously NWCC, of course].  I closed my private practice in 1999 and I've been there five years this fall.  I am an associate professor teaching in clinical internship and also the director of the University Center for Teaching, Learning and Assessment [i.e., faculty development and the university assessment program].  Also moved to a new loft style condo near St. Anthony falls in March and love it.
  • Deborah Jean Templin -- On March 15, 2003, (on the same weekend as the Building Bridges Conference) I performed at Gustavus as part of the artist series.  I was especially moved to have many members from my farming community of Glencoe at the performance.  Darrol Bussler '62 (Gustavus alumnus) who was my high school English teacher and is now on the faculty at Minnesota State University, Mankato, my high school German and math teachers, my piano teacher and of course my professor, Robert Gardner, and his wife, Judy.  It meant a great deal to me that my first musical director, Elsa Cornell '61, attended the performance along with Mary (Moore) and Byron '70 Schwab from the production of The Fantasticks (January 1973).  I know Cecil and my father Henry, were there in spirit.  The Gustavus students who made the choice to attend were inspired.  Education has always been important to my family.  The Templin daughters are all five years apart so my parents could handle the finances for a college education.  My father passed away just before Christmas of 2002.  I was to be with my family during December 21-30.  That is between my 11-month run in the musical MAMMA MIA! and the 13-week, 60-city tour of the one woman show, UNSINKABLE WOMEN, Stories and Songs from the Titanic.  Christmas became a time for a community to say goodbye to a farmer who loved to sing, visit with people and tell stories.  I performed at the Fairmont Opera House, Gustavus Adolphus, the Paramount in St. Cloud and the Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls.  I hope to do another tour of the show in the spring of 2004.
  • Dennis Wellnitz, Derwood, MD -- I am currently working on the NASA Discovery Mission "Deep Impact," which is scheduled to launch in December 2004 and impact comet Temple 1 in July 2005.  We have just finished the instruments and are now integrating them into the spacecraft.
  • Lars and Susan (Borden) Lagerman, Phoenix, AZ - Susan continues to work part-time at the Arizona Attorney General's office as the senior attorney for the Arizona Department of Real Estate.  She is also a full-time mom to our daughters Ellen (freshman at North High School) and Sarah Sofia (6th grade at All-Saints Episcopal School).  Lars continues his private law practice as a partner with the firm of Bryan Cave LLP (St. Louis-based with offices in US, London, China and Middle East).  He also serves as Honorary Consul of Sweden for Arizona.
  • John Apitz, St. Paul, MN, recently lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to balance the state budget with proceeds from slot machines at a Shakopee horse racetrack.  Hey, wasn't this idea originally proposed by a Republican?  Not to worry, Democrats, I think John just knows a popular idea when he sees one.
  • Bob Moilanen, Esq., in March of 2003, joined Zimmerman Reed, P.L.L.P. as senior trial counsel (Minneapolis) working in the area of class action securities litigation.
  • Karen Bukosky Snedeker, Woodbury MN - I'm looking at a really old (August 2002) press release, announcing that Karen has been named the president and CEO of Bluefire Partners, where she has served as a managing director and a member of the board of directors since 1996.  I say this is old news because Karen laid off herself, and four others, last summer.  That gave her the time she needed to host our book group's December meeting.  But it doesn't seem to have given her time for much else, as I haven't seen her since then.  I think she's still on the board and doing some projects.  If you know Karen, you know she's not the kind of person to just sit around doing nothing.
  • Steven King, South St. Paul - In March 2003, Steven was chosen to fill the vacant city administrator's position.  He has 20 years of experience working as part of the city administrations in Burnsville, Montevideo and Savage.
  • Lynn Sunde Gostomczik, Waldorf MN - 2002 Teacher of the Year for Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District.  She teaches language arts to grades 6, 7, and 8.  I think relating to students of that age requires a very special person.  Here are two of Lynn's philosophies:  Each step along the way is the goal, not just the top.  Treat students as individuals and recognize every tiny gain.  Although it's a little late, it's never too late to say "Congratulations on a job well done!!"

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:

Wally & Cindy (Strong) Obinger 

Gus Gustafson                            

Lars & Susan Lagerman             

Many email addresses can be found at  Look for the Alumni page.  However, some of them are incorrect, as I found out when I tried to email some of you about our reunion.  If you have recently changed your email address, please check the Gustavus website to see that your current address is listed there.


Marcia L Stephens

Campus News:

Building a Greater Gustavus Reaches Target

Gustavus celebrates reaching the $100 million target for the Building a Greater Gustavus capital campaign.  The campaign includes reconstruction projects following the 1998 tornados, the creation of the Center for Vocational Reflection, growth of the Christ Chapel Endowment, the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center, the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, the Barbro Osher Svenska Huset (Swedish House), the new soccer and track complex, and more than 100 new scholarships.  Efforts continue to raise funds for campaign projects, such as Old Main renovation, Gustavus Alumni Fund, and further endowment growth.  Special thanks! goes to the volunteers and donors who contributed their resources to assist current and future Gusties. 

New Gustavus Video

Have you been to campus lately?  Can you remember your first time seeing Gustavus? The Admission Office has created a new video/DVD for prospective students to take a look at the College. Take a look online if you wish at <>.

Fine Arts

The Gustavus Symphonic Orchestra took a 16-day concert tour to China performing in such places as Beijing, the Great Wall, and Tianjin.  The Gustavus Choir took a 10-day concert tour to selected cities in North Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, and Minnesota and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, formerly the Gustavus Band, also toured during Spring Break.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is among leaders in Academic All-Americans.  The College Sports Information Directors of America have recently released a list of institutions with the highest number of Academic All-Americans over the past three years. Gustavus ranks 14th out of all programs competing at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, and NAIA levels.

Extraordinary People

Peter Krause '87 returned to Gustavus in November to meet and conduct workshops with students.  Krause has been nominated for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy awards for his role as Nate Fisher in the critically and commercially acclaimed HBO drama, "Six Feet Under."  With the hope that the day would focus more on the students than on his newfound fame, Krause spent the afternoon doing acting work with classes and theatre and dance majors.

Great Teaching

In case you missed the note in the Fall 2003 issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we are asking alumni to send in short reminiscences, tributes, and anecdotes about professors who made a difference in their education -"the teachers and mentors who have made a lasting impression, who have imparted life lessons, whom you remember for their wit, or their mastery, or their encouragement, or their exacting standards . . . or their idiosyncrasies." We are planning to focus an upcoming issue of the Quarterly on "great teaching" and would like to hear from those who experienced the classes of those great professors.  Send your paragraphs and stories to either Randall Stuckey '83, director of alumni relations (, or Steve Waldhauser '70 (, managing editor of the Quarterly, or in the mail to the College.

Upcoming Chapter Events

  • Atlanta, Georgia, Gustavus gathering - February 26
  • Tampa Bay, Florida, Gustavus gathering - February 27
  • Naples, Florida, Gustavus gathering - February 28
  • Vero Beach, Florida, Gustavus gathering - February 29
  • Sun City, Arizona, Gustavus gathering - March 19
  • Phoenix, Arizona, Gustavus gathering - March 20
  • Tucson, Arizona, Gustavus gathering - March 21