Class of '74
October 2001

Dear Classmates,

On Saturday, September 8, 2001 I attended a Building a Greater Gustavus National Leadership Conference.  In attendance were members of the National Campaign Council, Campaign Cabinet Members, Board of Trustees, Class agents, Alumni Board Members and Gustavus Fund Council members.  The purpose of the meeting was to build consensus around a $100M Building A Greater Gustavus Capital Fund Drive.

This is one of the first meetings I have attended in the past few years (I am such a lousy class agent).  Perhaps the added incentive for me is the fact that our oldest daughter Katie is a freshman.  The weekend before we dropped her off with 600+ other incoming freshmen.  As we walked through the new "caf" for lunch I saw many of our class and the ones close to us.  It was like we were back.  Russ, Brick, Jan, Don, Pauline, “R”, Eric, Mac, Bernie, Terry, Curt, Karen, Barry, Mark, Mary, Eric, etc…it was fun.

In the ‘kick off’ session we reviewed the mission of the college which is, “to educate and help students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society.”

This is a good mission.  It causes me to think about my life in relationship to the mission…after all we are products of the college.  Have I attained my full potential as a person?  Do I have a passion for lifelong learning?  Do I live a fulfilling life of leadership and service to society?  Even though I may try, I know I fall short. 

Life is a journey with full potential sought, but not attained.  My passion for lifelong learning seems ‘muted’ with a choking ‘to do’ list.  And even though I subscribe to ‘servant leadership’ I would describe it as fulfilling only some of the time.  Not to say I do not like my life or work, I do, it is just to say fulfillment is not the word I would use.  It is, however, full!

How does this mission relate to me…to us, the class of 1974 and to the goals of our college?  My goal is to be a better class agent.  To give Jan more help, to solicit the help of any and all who want to help and to see our class achieve 50% + participation in giving by 2003.

The alumni fund’s slogan is “50 by 50.”  Our Alumni fund will be 50 years old in ’03-’04 and we seek 50% of all alumni making a financial contribution that year.  Just a little bit about Gustavus Alumni: We are 20,544 strong from 312 countries.  Those of us who graduated in the ’70s are now in the lower half of all alumni.  Said another way, more than half of the alums are from the ’80s, ’90’s and the past two years.  Alumni live in every state in the union including Puerto Rico.  Minnesota is the largest with 12,986, and of those, 8,735 are in the Twin Cities seven county metropolitan area.   

Our class is 320 strong.  Last year 107 of us gave the college $19,265.  That is participation of 33.4%.  The best year we have had was in 1992 when 217 of us participated…that is 53.7%!  By the way our goal is to be able to have 200 of us make a donation in this next year.  So it is possible because we have done it before!

To do this, Jan and I need help.  We need two things:

1.      Who is willing to help contact classmates?  This can be done in a number of ways:

a.       Come to the new phonorama and call classmates.

b.      Make a commitment to contact your friends via phone, email, mail or face to face.

c.       We need someone to write a guest class letter each year.

2.      Make a donation to the college.  The amount does not matter.  The participation is what makes the difference.  Don’t get us wrong, large donations are great!  Just do not hesitate to give because you feel your gift will not make a difference.  That simply is not true!  All donations are important!

I actually got choked up at the close of our session.  Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 (Ma Young) is the chairperson for this year’s alumni fund campaign.  She stood at the podium and spoke to us from her notes, but mostly from her heart.  Now it helps me relate to her in that I worked in the foodservice hauling milk all four years.  Yet she clearly is known by all of us in the class of 1974.

She told us of how Magnus Norelius in 1862 started this college for higher learning.  The tuition was $20 and the solo student stayed in their home as he attended this new college.  She told us how she wants to give of herself and to the college.  She talked of Ren ’34 and Sylvia (Benzon ’36) Anderson who started the Alumni Fund and how Cec Eckhoff ’56 contributed to the success.  She made me realize that participating is an issue of the heart.  Phrases like “I will and I can,” we are "gifted to give" and “giving in living” rang through to me as I listened to Evelyn.  And finally she thanked all of us who do give and try to make Gustavus a better place, our families and work and communities a better place.  She said, “thank you, and please put that in your heart!”

So to pass on Evelyn’s words, thank you to our class of 1974.

If you would like to help please simply contact me via email at or Jan at or Randall Stuckey at the alumni office at

Hope to see you at Phonorama at Radisson South October 22, 23, & 25 from 6-9 pm or Hilton Garden Inn in Shoreview, October 15, 16 & 18 from 6-9 pm.  I am planning to be at the Radisson session.  This is a new format where we will all be in a big room, like a reunion, with cell phones calling classmates.  You can choose the ones you want to contact.  It is fun and really effective, especially when we have a bunch of us there.

Campus News:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who will gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference will included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 13.  Numerous sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country are participating in the event.  Contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or for more information or visit the events section of the alumni page at

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

Wishing you the best,

Rob Linner

1974 Co-class Agent