Class of '74
While it does not seem like the Holiday season as we write this letter, we know that Christmas is rapidly approaching. Much has happened in all of our lives since we were together last spring for our twenty-fifth reunion.
First, the results of John Kendall’s survey of the class is included with this letter. He presented his findings at the lunch on campus after our Friday affair at the Hotel Sofitel. The element that sticks with us is that from all of the surveys returned there was no mention of the physical plant of the college. We all spoke of the experiences and most of all the relationships that have come from our four years of Gustavus. Yes we learned, and our liberal arts education is important, but it sounded to us like making friends and learning about relationships had the greatest impact on us now 25 years later. Thanks for your work and sharing with us, John!
Summer went by in a blur. It was action packed and filled with family activities and trips. For many of us it meant working on getting Y2K software to function in our companies and businesses. It is amazing the amount of money and time that is being spent to prepare the operating systems for the 00 date. Our prediction is we will be ready and a ‘non event.’
The fall ended with the Gusties in the hunt for a share of the MIAC football title in a game against the Johnnies at the Metrodome. It was great to be able to see a game in town and see many from GAC at the same time. The outcome … the Johnnies were too much. There is always next year.
November brought on a gala affair. On Saturday the thirteenth, the Radisson South was the sight of the Gustavus Library Associates "Royal Affair." What a night it was. The pocket books were opened for a record setting fund raising event for the college. Our own Jan Michaletz was one of the tri-chairs. Jan, Sue Engelsma Wilcox ’73 and Catherine Asta Black ’75 and many volunteers worked everyday for two years to make this event special. A congratulation to you guys!
Now here we are approaching Christmas. In our surveys we talked of the importance of the relationships we made while at Gustavus. Life is measured in many ways, yet not so powerful as relationships, with our families, friends and those we work with. Clearly as we contemplate the Christmas message God wants to be in relationship with us. He performed the ultimate act of love when he sent his Son Jesus Christ, to enter our world and to live among us. As the angels said to the shepherds in Luke 2:10, "do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
Although not all of us (Rob especially) participated fully in chapel, it is the center of the college. The storm damaged much, but it only strengthened the Gustie spirit. The college is rebuilt. The Evelyn Young dining hall is complete. The grounds are restored and the college is thriving. We can all be proud of our alma mater and the gifts we received there. The gift of an education and of relationships that last a lifetime.
Have a very Merry Christmas. Just think, we get to celebrate our 30th high school reunions this next summer!? It doesn’t seem that long ago.
Thank you for your continued financial support of the college. You guys are the greatest!
Now some news from campus and John Kendall’s report:
The 1999-2000 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,492 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,474 set last year), including 660 first-year students. Students returned to the new Campus Center housing the Evelyn Young Dining Room, the new Book Mark, post office, health service, and printing service. Renovation of the old dining service building will continue with expected completion in February. The renovation project will provide office space for student organizations, Office of Admission, specialty dining areas, Dean of Students office, and a faculty and staff center. Summer construction also included the landscaping of parking lots on the north end of campus. The landscaping provides a welcoming appearance to the College and helps breakup the "frozen tundra" between Norelius Hall and the Campus Center.
Gustavus Adolphus College Ranked Among the Best Liberal Arts Colleges
Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the best of all national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's 13th annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings. Gustavus is again in the top 80 of the overall quality listings for national liberal arts colleges. Ranked again in the second tier in the national liberal arts college category, Gustavus is one of only two Minnesota colleges included in the 38-college tier two listing and one of four Minnesota colleges ranked in the top 80. Gustavus is also included in the Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine list of "100 great values" among the nation's 1,600 private schools. The "Private Colleges Worth the Price" article appears in the September 1999 magazine. Gustavus is one of only four Minnesota colleges named a Top 100 Value in Private Colleges. The list is based on academic and financial measures.
Some exciting changes are in store for class reunions. Starting next year, all class reunions, except for the 50-Year Club and the 50th Anniversary Class will be held in the fall at Homecoming, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 29 & 30, 2000. Classes celebrating reunions at Homecoming will include ’55, ’60, ’65, ’70, ’75, ’80, ’85, ’90 & ’95. Reunion dates for the 50-Year Club and the Class of 1950 are May 26 & 27, 2000, Commencement Weekend.
Alumni Chapters will be meeting again this year so mark your calendars today: Chicago, December 11; Atlanta, January 31; Marco Island, February 5; Tucson, February 7; Phoenix, February 8; Sun City, February 9; Seattle, March 3; Bay Area, March 4; Los Angeles, March 5; San Diego, March 6; Denver, March 7.
ALUMNILLENNIUM 2000 - The Gustavus Artist Series -- For 30 years, the Artist Series has brought world-class artists to campus for performances, exhibitions and residencies. This year the tables turn as the Series features and celebrates the accomplishments of our alumni artists as they enter the new millennium, ALUMNILLENNIUM 2000. Spring semester events include an alumni art exhibition in February; a concert by Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83 on February 19; pianist Stephen Carlson ’92 on March 4; and Peter Krause ’87, better known as Casey McCall on ABC's SPORTS NIGHT, will be in residency in April. Other events may be scheduled through the fall of 2000 as well. Ticket information and complete schedule will be posted to the Fine Arts Calendar on the Gustavus website.
SMARTERsource is a new Web-based resume service exclusively for the students and alumni of Minnesota Private Colleges. The site is a job-searching tool for current students seeking internships or part-time employment, new or recent graduates launching a career, or alumni seeking new positions or career changes. The service lists resumes in more than a dozen categories. Check out this site at www.mn-colleges.org.
As of June 1, 2000, the Career Center will destroy all credential files created on or before June 1, 1974. Credential files include letters of recommendation and/or student teacher evaluations. If you do not wish your file to be destroyed, please contact the Career Center by May 1, 2000, at 507-933-7586; fax 507-933-6277, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Linner and Jan Ledin Michaletz
1974 Co-Class Agents
John S. Kendall
1666 Coffman, #106
Falcon Heights, MN 55108
To: The Class of 1974―A Report
I recently read the annual report of a private college president. He spent some time defining the characteristics of a high quality liberal arts institution. He mentioned several things, but then concluded―
"In the final analysis, the quality of a college is measured by the achievements and service of its graduates." I can only add "Amen!"
I have read and re-read your responses to the brief questionnaire sent to you by the Alumni Office before the 25th anniversary gathering of your class in May. I also had a chance to visit with some of you when you gathered in "The Dive" on commencement weekend. I remembered faces from our journey together through Psychology 101. Reading your responses and talking with you reaffirmed my conviction that my college president friend was indeed correct.
Space and time do not allow a complete listing of all your comments and observations, but I can provide a sampler. So here goes!
Question 1) As you look back over 25 years, what people and/or events were most memorable during your time at Gustavus?
You talked about your first impressions of the campus and positive contacts with the admissions staff. You appreciated some of the facilities (Fine Arts, Nobel Hall, Christ Chapel) and bemoaned others (Myron, the old gym). Most of your memories, however, had to do with people―school friends, professors, and staff members. Here are some of your responses:
"It was my coach and my teammates that were especially important to me, and the trips we took together."
"Prof ___________ was very demanding and sometimes intimidating, but he always showed respect and concern for the students."
" The faculty in the Dept. of ___________, with one possible exception, were always available and ready to help me."
"Prof __________and Prof ___________ changed my life and set me on a career path that has been amazing and fulfilling."
"Prof ___________peaked my interest and whole new worlds appeared."
"I think of Prof ____________ who always remembered my name and greeted me on the sidewalk. I only had one class from him during my freshman year."
"I remember J-Terms. I wish I had worked harder, but it was a marvelous opportunity to explore one topic in a small group."
"My coach, ____________, and teammates. Who could ask for anything more?"
"My dorm mates and roommates―friendships that have lasted through 25 years.”
"There was ____________, down the hall. At first I thought she was really strange (and she probably thought the same of me) but we became the best of friends."
“Gustavus was and is a nice place―beautiful campus and all―but it was the other students and faculty that were and are really important.”
Question 2) "From your current perspective, are there things you wish you had done differently during your college years?"
"I worked very hard on academic stuff, and that is fine, but I wish I had taken more time to get to know people and have more fun. That’s part of life too!"
"I wish I had worked harder and not spent so much time ‘socializing’ and doing extra-curricular things."
" It was great, and I wouldn’t change a thing."
"I was locked into my major and I should have gotten much more involved in theater, music, and the fine arts."
"I wish I had taken more math and computer courses and stayed on the campus every weekend."
"I should have consumed less beer, taken a sculpture class, and included my parents in more campus activities."
"I wish I had known what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t have a clue that I would be unemployed with my liberal arts degree. However, everything has turned out just fine. I love my life and cherish my Gustavus years."
"I think I found a balance between work and play and treasure the great friendships that I made."
"I wish I had traveled more, both nationally and internationally, but my maturity level was not ready for that at the time."
"Worried less. Had more fun."
“I might have chosen a different major―maybe!”
"I enjoyed my college years immensely, but I could have worked harder and screwed around less during my first two years."
Question 3) "What other special memories do you have of your Gustavus years?"
"Snow falling and the illuminated spire on Christ Chapel."
"Friendships that continue over 25 years." ( A common theme)
"The Beach Boys in the Field House."
"Good concerts, football games, beer busts."
"The incredibly cold parking lot in winter, and the wind!"
"A beautiful campus that could not be destroyed by a tornado."
"Was it really 25 years ago?"
"How unreal I felt for weeks after studying existentialism during…J-Term."
"Being able to direct my own play in 1974."
"Moving books into the new library."
"I loved my Gustavus time. Chapel a quiet place in a busy day."
"The dorms going co-ed."
"Candle light protests against the war in Viet Nam."
"Ice Cream Socials and studying all night―but not often.”
"Bus trips with the team
"Christmas in Christ Chapel."
Question 4) "Is there personal information that would be of interest to your classmates."
"There is too much to include in this letter, so let me summarize."
You are teachers, programmers, sales persons, homemakers, nurses, lawyers, physicians, counselors, college professors, pastors, managers, business executives, directors, and much more.
Many of you are married. Some are not. Many of you have children. Some do not. (One reported of a child at Gustavus). You are active in community service, volunteer work, and in your churches. You have taken leadership roles in professional organizations and many other things.
Final Editorial Comments―
So, that is a brief review of what you said about your time on the Gustavus hill, what you have done, and what you are doing now. The overall tone of your comments was very positive. Most of all you remembered people―fellow students, professors, coaches and staff.
Of course not everyone responded to the questionnaire. I suspect that there are some who have negative memories of their college years, but their number is not large.
On the weekend of your 25th reunion I was on campus to join the class of 1949 for our 50th. We are part of a different time and Gustavus was a different place, but the memories we shared were much the same as yours. During my years as president, I was often asked by those from other colleges "What is it about Gustavus graduates―this thing called ‘the Gustie spirit?’”
I would respond "I can’t define it, but I can assure you it is real!"
Best wishes to all of you, now and during the years ahead.
John Kendall ’49
Former President, Gustavus Adolphus College