Class of '74
February 2009

35-Year Reunion - October 9-10, 2009

Hello from Rob and Jan, your (AWOL) class agents!

We hope you’re doing well.  This letter signals the beginning of our reunion year.  To find out WHICH reunion, use your Gustavus math skills to subtract 1974 from 2009.  Just looking at those two numbers in print is pretty startling.

The plan is to have several short letters this year.  And in a perfect world, all the organization and communication could be done electronically.  Most of us are slaves to our e-mails, and several of us have connected through Facebook.  (New Facebook group:  1974 Gusties).  Anything we can do to save a few trees is a good plan!

Jack Ohle (pronounced OH-lee) is the new president of the college as of July 1.  He and his wife, Kris, came to Gustavus from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.  Jack brings an extensive background of development and advancement (=fundraising) to a school whose endowment is in great need of help.  He literally “hit the ground running” in terms of helping the college focus on needs and dreams.  There have been a series of national summit meetings consisting of alumni and friends of the school.  At these meetings, the participants have been engaged in some creative problem solving that has carried all the way to the Board of Trustees, President Ohle has also started a process (Commission Gustavus 150) using eight groups meeting all during the school year.  These groups, which consist of students, faculty, staff and alumni are charged with examining various aspects of the school (academics, facilities, community service, etc.) without regard to cost.  In May, the groups will submit their suggestions to the Board, who will sort out the suggestions and determine feasibility.  After a summer of filtering and vetting, the college will announce the results of the project at Homecoming.  These results will inform and help shape the school’s next capital campaign.  The 150 in the committee title comes from the 150th anniversary of the college’s beginning.  BIG party at school in 2012.

Speaking of the Board of the Trustees, there are a few mid-’70s kids in the group.  Dan Zismer ’75, George Hicks ’75, Susan Engelsma Wilcox ’73 and I (Jan) are in the group that closely resembles high school student council without the dance planning.

The students have just returned from touring week to begin second semester.  The school only requires that students participate in two J-terms during their four years on campus.  Is my memory failing me (well, that’s a given…) or did we have to do four?  January is probably not the best time for prospective students to tour the campus.  That wind coming across the Norelius (=Co-Ed) parking lot feels colder every year.

Prospective students are in high demand at all Minnesota private colleges.  The baby-boomlet has peaked, so future high school graduating classes are starting to decline.  There is an increase in students who are/will be first-generation college attendees.  Eric Norelius founded Gustavus to educate the Swedish immigrants who were first-generation college attendees.  There’s a science to creating a balanced freshman class.  After the applications are in and the acceptance letters go out, everything is up in the air until May 1st.  That’s the national deadline for prospective students to notify their “winning” schools.

Here’s a “help wanted” notification from your class agents.  We’re looking for a few good―or bad―people to work with us on reaching everyone in the class between now and early summer.  In a perfect world, we would have a band member to contact the band members, an Eppie to call the Eppies, a German major to call the German majors, etc.  The reason for the contact?  To find everyone before our reunion.  We’d like to get everyone on e-mail so we can stay in touch and save paper.  If you can help us, please contact one of us and tell us who you’d like you to contact or track down.  And if your inner party planner wants to help put together a piece of the reunion, we’d love to hear from you.

SAVE THE DATE: Our reunion is set for October 9-10, 2009.  On campus or in the Twin Cities?  Want a former professor or staff member to attend?  Let us know.  There are a couple of professors around from our day—Wilk and Horst, for example, but most of them are retired.

Take a few seconds to reach back to GAC.  E-mail, write or call the college to let them/us know that you’re:  1) alive, 2) alive and 3) alive.  There’s a good chance that sometime between here and eternity, we’ll do something crass like mention a donation.  But that’s still in the distant future.

Hoping for success,

Jan Ledin Michaletz and Rob Linner

1974 Co-class Agents

Campus News

Haugen Named Head Football Coach

Peter Haugen was named the new head football coach in mid-December.  Haugen posted a 111-44 record in 15 years at Washburn High School.  He is the 17th head coach in the 93-year history of Gustavus football and started his new position the second week of January.  A Twin Cities reception to meet Coach Haugen will be held on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Please reserve by calling the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437.

President Ohle is on the road!

Please join President Ohle, his wife Kris, and other Gustavus staff at a chapter dessert reception near you.  President Ohle will be visiting 11 cities around the country in the coming months and all alumni, parents, and friends of the College are invited to attend a reception.  Dates are listed below or check out the Alumni website to find out more details.

Mustaphi Named Michelle Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary

Semonti Mustaphi ’03 was recently named Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama.  Mustaphi worked on the Obama campaign, and has also held communications positions for three senators.  Mustaphi graduated with a political science and communication studies double major, danced in the Gustavus Dance Company, and was an Anderson Scholar.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join us for the “Come on You Gustie” Breakfasts.  The breakfasts are held the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy 394 and Hwy 100).  The breakfast runs from 8-9:30 and is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at (763) 533-9083. 

Gustie Pages

Want to support Gustie professionals?  In need of a doctor, pastor, or financial adviser?  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website,

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Los Angeles Chapter Gathering - Feb. 28, Art Director's Guild, Studio City
  • Boston Chapter Gathering - March 14, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
  • New York Chapter Gathering - March 16, New York Marriott East Side
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - March 18
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering - March 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, WA
  • San Francisco Chapter Gathering - March 23, Hotel Vitale
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, retiring men's tennis coach - April 15