Class of '73
January 2008

Dear Classmates, Spouses & Friends,

Pull out your calendars and reserve the dates – October 3-4, 2008 for the 35th reunion for the Class of 1973.

Maybe there has been a mistake.  It couldn’t possibly be our 35th reunion year.  It doesn’t seem possible that we are thirty-five years past our college days.  How old do you think we look?  I think we should all agree that we look and feel closer to 40 than to 60.  But believe it or not, it is time to get started with the scheduling and planning process for our reunion.

Be sure to hold Saturday, October 4th for a trip to Gustavus.  Our reunion activities will likely span the whole weekend of October 3-5, but Saturday, October 4th will certainly be the key date for reunion events on campus.  The reunion planning committee will be working out the details of our reunion weekend over the next several months and we will keep you posted on the schedule of events.

A reunion organizing committee is in place, but we are seeking a larger group of volunteers to help plan the reunion.  Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the reunion planning committee.  The following folks have volunteered to get things started:

Class of '73 Reunion Start-up Committee

  • Phil Bryant
  • Renee Reeck Bryant
  • Debbie Ellis
  • Steve Ogren
  • John Otteson
  • Matt Peterson
  • Sue Engelsma Wilcox

Some of the reunion planning options that will need to be considered: 

Do we want a Twin Cities reunion location?  A Gustavus location?  Both?

What would be fun and engaging activities that would attract classmates to the event?

Should we invite the neighboring classes of ’72 and ’74 to attend our events?

The Gustavus Alumni Office has assigned Kathy Erlandsen, Associate Director of Reunion Giving, to help us coordinate our reunion events.  Kathy will help us with event communications, and works with the reunion committee to encourage reunion giving goals for our class.

Our next formal reunion committee meeting will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2008 in the Twin Cities.  Here are the details:

Location:  Mount Olivet Lutheran Church

                  5025 Knox Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55419

When:  Saturday, February 23, 8:30 a.m. – noon.  Lunch provided after the meeting.

RSVP:  Gustavus Alumni Office 866-487-3863, or email or contact Matt Peterson at 952-933-3725,

We have had preliminary conversations about what variety of activities would bring our classmates back together for our reunion event.  We’ll see what our time and energy and budget can deliver.

To understand what the 35th reunion is all about, I called Todd Dokken, Class of ’72, who was heading the reunion planning for last year’s 35th reunion class.  Todd’s planning committee decided to have their reunion event coincide with the Gustavus Homecoming, which was Saturday, October 13, 2007.  Todd invited us to stop by any or all of their reunion events.  The Class of ’72 arranged for the following activities for their 35th reunion:

A beautiful shirt-sleeve-sunny, Saturday in St. Peter.

  • 10:30 a.m. - Reunion Breakfast in a tent set up across from the new football stadium.
  • 1:00-3:00 p.m. - Attend the football game, take a campus tour, shop at the Book Mark or hang around the reunion tent
  • 4:00 p.m. - BBQ dinner in the reunion tent
  • 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. - Listen/dance to Billy Steiner’s (GAC ’72 grad) rock band, The Lost Walleye Orchestra (a sub-group of his band – City Mouse)
  • Retire to a downtown St. Peter bar and eating establishments or head home to fall asleep in your own bed.

Deb Ellis from our class also stopped by the ’72 reunion.  She thought The Lost Walleye Orchestra was the best thing happening at any of the reunion tents.  She had talked to Billy Steiner ’72 about the possibility of his band coming back for our reunion event in October ’08 – maybe we can build this into our reunion plans.

Todd reported that the ’72 reunion had about 75 participants (including classmates, spouses, and professors who stopped by).  Not a whopping turnout but they were pleased.  The Class of ’72 did quadruple their annual contributions to the college in their reunion year―hitting $75,000 in reunion year donations and pledges.  There were 376 in the Class of ’72.  Our class of ’73 was 410.

The college of course hopes that our reunion year will create an extra push and yield extra results in our class donations for the year.  Donations from alumni usually get directed to the College’s Alumni Fund.  We do have the opportunity to select specific giving opportunities for our class in our reunion year.  A student scholarship funded by the class is an option.  It takes $25,000 to endow a scholarship.  The college is also encouraging contributions to the development of a new 70-acre prairie on the west side of Linnaeus Arboretum (see  We can also make three-year pledges during our reunion year, to increase the amount we celebrate at the reunion!

We will need to set up the options for donations from our class in the next several months.  I have encountered a couple of ideas for “projects” which can’t really be funded by our class, but could be sponsored by one or more individuals.  An example:  On a recent trip to Gustavus to see my daughter in a dance recital (Britta, ’08) I walked through Nobel Hall and found Bob Moline, mostly retired professor of geography, in his office.  We had a wonderful conversation, including a discussion of how he needs to digitize his/the department’s photo collection of 60,000 slides on the urbanization of the American West.  Bob Douglas, professor of geology, echoed the value the photos could be to future geographic historians.  Not sure what the project would entail―just an idea on a project that deserves funding.

Here are a few of my favorite stories with Gustavus connections:

Tim Robinson, Gustavus professor of psychology, reported that he had a ‘drive-through-heart-attack’ while passing though Bloomington, IL at spring-break ’07 on the way to their vacation spot in Sarasota.  Quite a tale of getting to the hospital when neither he nor his wife, Sharon (Peterson ’64), felt able to drive.  After a quick triple by-pass, they were back in route to Florida after a few weeks recuperation.  Tim wanted to say thanks to Marcus Gustafson ’73 for making a donation to the college in Tim’s honor.  Tim was very flattered to have been so remembered by a former student.

When our son was singing on the Gustavus Choir tour a couple of years back, we decided to connect with the tour at its stop in Washington, D.C. where they sang in the National Cathedral.  The event brought in alumni from around the region.  There I ran into my freshman roommate, Steve Balach from Duluth (now lives in Virginia).  We met again later for coffee.  Steve casually mentioned that now that he was retired, he wanted to explain that all those years he reported being part of the US Foreign Service where he was posted in embassies around the globe; he was really in the CIA.  I think we should have Steve give us the whole story of his clandestine operations as part of a set of classmate presentations at our reunion―as long as he wouldn’t have to kill us afterwards.

Whenever in New York, I try to arrange a visit with classmate Lynn Dale.  Her life story should become a novella.  She drove handsome cabs (horse drawn carriage) around Central Park for a period.  Some great stories from that brief career.  Following that, she has been an employee of a famous Irish bar, PJ Carneys; across the street from Carnegie Hall―for more than 20 years (see  Her then boyfriend, Kenny, gave us a wonderful backstage tour of Carnegie Hall.  Her business acumen showed when I asked about how her retirement plans were coming along.  She reported her real estate acquisitions in the hot New York City housing market were appreciating very nicely.  I wish she was my financial planner.

Adrian Sola, hometown Cherry or Embarrass―if I remember, has moved back to Minnesota where he is the psychologist on the other end of a crisis call-in number for a Twin Cities health provider.  Adrian and I drove out to Glencoe, MN to watch our classmate Debbie Templin deliver her one-woman show, Unsinkable Women, in her hometown.  The whole town packed into the high school auditorium.  It was a great creative performance by Debbie.  Her mother and sisters were thrilled.  The whole community was proud of their successful New York actress.  The standing ovation was very moving.  On the drive back to Minneapolis, Adrian told his story of bureaucratic nightmares, a frightening orphanage and narrow escape from Romania carrying their adopted daughter, Rosie.  A story with many chapters―and more to go.  Another possible presentation for our reunion.

If you have never attended a Gustavus Library Associates “Royal Affair” event, you need to plan to go.  Next one will be in November, 2009.  Our classmate, Sue Engelsma Wilcox chaired this year’s Royal Affair which had the theme “Razzle Dazzle”.  See photos of the grand party at  It is a spectacular gala.  Over a 1000 attend.  The events have raised over 2.5 million dollars for Gustavus.  This year we were invited to join Ivy (Shutz) and Mark ’71 Bernhardson at the table they sponsored.  It was a highlight of the year.  Ivy and Mark have cornered the market on family success―their daughter, Jenna, (attending Carleton College) was Svenskarnas Dag Queen―and deservedly so.  Their son is back in town in medical school for the Navy.  The Governor appointed Ivy to be a Hennepin County District Court Judge.  (Avoid committing any crimes in Hennepin County from here on out.)  Mark reports that he’s thinking about becoming a professional wine taster.

If you have any stories with interesting links to Gustavus, send them along―this is our year to reminisce and draw on our college connections.  Better yet, contact me to arrange to write a class letter.  Maybe we should make up for the dearth of letter writing, on my part, by trying to get a series of class letters out between now and reunion time next fall.  Maybe we can make arrangements for classmates to post videos and/or photos to a website.  People who can’t attend the event could still be there in spirit with their virtual reports.

Class News

Dorinne Hangas Kitch reports in Geislingen/Steige that their lives in Germany have the same twists and turns as here―lose a job/find a job, kids finishing college/kids going back to college.  Dorinne is a nurse, so is her youngest daughter.  Son just finished a BA in industrial business administration.  Oldest daughter headed back to school for teaching degree.  Dorinne―we need our international classmates to show up at the reunion so we can have vicarious travel adventures―hope you might make it back.  Her email:

Debbie Templin (, who does a wonderful job of reporting in, says that she has an acting gig in New York on our reunion weekend.  (We’ll have to get her to attend by video update!)  She was back for the Gustavus Theatre 75th anniversary events last spring semester.  She is back in Minnesota every other month to help her mother in Glencoe.  Debbie reports the best coffee stop in town is after Sunday school, noon -1 p.m., at Grace and St. Paul’s Church at 123 W. 71st St, New York.  Gusties are invited for coffee and Sunday school.  Debbie senses the next big acting gig is just around the corner―she’s ready.

Lars and Susan (Borden) Lagerman are our class representatives in Phoenix.  Their daughter, Ellen, chose Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff (also a great college).  Their daughter, Sarah, may consider Gustavus as she plots her college options from Xavier High School in Phoenix.  Lars and Sue can direct you if you need legal counsel in sunny Arizona.

Do you shop at Trader Joe’s in St. Louis Park?  Maybe you saw a familiar face―it was classmate, Anne Johanson Ingold.  Anne lives in Geneva, IL but works opening Trader Joe’s Stores.  News in the Twin Cities reports that Trader Joe’s working on several additional locations in the Twin Cities.  (Don’t know what we would do without Wasabi peanuts and Greek yogurt from TJ’s.  The one pound semi-sweet chocolate bar is an inexpensive vice.)

Flipping through some clippings―I see that Mary Christensen Matter taught 26 years at Franklin Jr High in Mankato―alma mater to John Aptiz, myself and other Mankatoans.  Think my initials are carved in a seat somewhere in the old auditorium.  Mary has moved to Eagle Lake Elementary.  Nice article and photo in the Madison Lake Weekly.  Wonder what Smart Board technology is―whatever it is, it’s in her classroom.

Whenever you fly Southwest Airlines, see if Greg Quist is your pilot.  He lives in Spring, TX and flies out of Houston’s Hobby Airport.

We need to encourage more classmate news during our reunion year.  What we really need is your updated email addresses.  Go to to add or update your email address―submit a news update while you are at it.

To close, my inspiration to push all other excuses aside and get rolling on our reunion year communications actually came over the weekend.  For our 30th wedding anniversary, Joy (CU, Boulder ’69, but proud parent of three Gusties) and I (Minnesota) retraced the route of our inept honeymoon when our car broke down multiple times and stranded us at -30 degrees, in the dark, in front of a closed ma & pa resort on the shores of frozen lake Mille Lacs.  We spent our honeymoon in a 10’ x 15’ “rustic” cabin, with marginal heat, without a car, with little to eat, but plenty to drink.  30 years later we found the little cabin still exists but is now part of a private lake home.  We pushed on last Saturday, past the ice houses on frozen Mille Lacs to stay at John ’49 and Joann Kendall’s log cabin near Moose Lake, MN.  We try to help Joann out with cabin maintenance and winter checks when she is traveling.  To sit in their cabin with the dozens of items of Gustavus memorabilia and hundreds of John Kendall’s books made me reflect on all the personal events and experiences I can attribute to the college.  My resolution is to try to do a better job as an ambassador of our class of ’73 and to try to get more classmates involved in supporting the college.  A reunion year seems like a good time to stoke-the-fire.

Please connect if you are interested in:

  • writing a class letter
  • working on reunion planning
  • hosting a reunion party
  • working on a reunion website
  • helping with reunion fund raising
  • stopping by for a drink

Fight on for dear old GAC,

Matthew Peterson

H.  952-933-3725

Campus News

Forensics Team Continues Excellence

The Gustavus forensics team continues the tradition of excellence, with major team and individual wins this season.  Last season the team ranked in the top 20, which is impressive since 14 of the top 20 schools are “Division I” schools that have more funding and more coaching staff.  While many schools have several full-time forensics coaches, the Gustavus coach also is a full-time professor.  So a unique aspect of the Gustavus program is the team meets weekly for peer coaching, a technique the team has found to be very successful. 

Gustavus Dancing With the Profs

Inspired by the popular television show Dancing with the Stars, a standing room only crowd of students, faculty, and St. Peter community members filled Alumni Hall on November 2 to watch Gustavus students and faculty/staff members swing dance to raise money for the St. Peter United Way.  The event, “Dancing with the Profs 2,” featured six teams of one Gustavus student and one faculty/staff member.  In preparation for the evening competition, the Gustavus Swing Club gave the teams dance lessons, while members of GAC-TV documented the learning to provide a video showcase on each couple.

Alumni Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association sponsors insurance products for alumni, spouses, children, and parents.  Products include life insurance, auto, home and renters insurance, and short-term medical insurance to fill temporary needs of new alumni without insurance after graduation and others who may have gaps due to unemployment.  For information about life and short-term medical insurance, call 800-635-7801.  For information about auto, home, and renters insurance, call:  800-524-9400, (800-328-0705, ext. 552 in the Greater Twin Cities area).

Gustavus Music Showcase

The three international touring music ensembles at Gustavus Adolphus College — The Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra —  will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 9 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  Tickets for the concert are on sale through the Orchestra Hall box office and may be purchased in-person, online at:, and via fax or phone at 612-371-5656.  Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for children ages 6-18 and current Gustavus students with a valid I.D.

College Relations blog

Gustavus College Relations staff has introduced a new blog that will offer commentary and news on a variety of topics pertinent to the campus community as well as some photography, video, and audio content.  During the month of January the blog will feature the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra’s China tour and observations on several January Interim classes.  The new blog can be read at:


Men's tennis coach Steve Wilkinson has been named the national winner of the United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Campus Recreation Award.  This awards program, which began in 2003, was open to more than 2,000 ITA head and assistant coaches at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, NAIA and junior/community college levels.  Senior goaltender Trevor Brown became the first men's soccer player in Gustavus history to be named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men’s Soccer Team as released by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Fine Arts Events

“Destination Anywhere:  A Juried Exhibit of 15 Award-Winning Young Artists With Disabilities,” is now on display at the Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus.  The exhibit, a product of a partnership between VSA arts (formerly Very Special Arts) and Volkswagen of America, Inc., strives to recognize and showcase young artists with disabilities, ages 16-25, who are living in the United States.  In November the Department of Theatre and Dance presented a Festival of Student Work.  A miniature “Fringe Festival” in its own right, this collaboration of more than 60 actors, dancers, designers, and technicians, operating on 10 different production schedules, filled Anderson Theatre, the Black Box, and the Schaefer Fine Arts Center for four days of artistic celebration.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustavus Gathering in Phoenix/Sun City, AZ - Jan. 20
  • Gustavus Gathering in Tucson, AZ - Jan 22.
  • Reunion Planning Winter Retreat at Mt. Olivet – Feb. 23 (8:30 a.m.)
  • For more information on alumni events, go to: