Class of ’75

September 2012

Dear Class of 1975,

This is Kristin M. Peterson, writing my first letter to you as your class president.  Who would have guessed when we graduated 37 years ago that I would one day hold this position?  Certainly not I.  I am honored and a little nervous about assuming this responsibility.  The good news is that the position is only mine until the next reunion in 2015.  With the reorganization of class officers one only commits to the position for the five years between reunion years.  I am hopeful that knowing this, two of you will be willing to step up and assume either the position of Vice-President/Reunion chair or Recruitment chair.  Co-chairs are also an option.  (Please send me an e-mail if you would like more information about what each position involves or to volunteer.)  I would also like to thank Phil Richardson for being willing to assume the offices of both Annual Fund and Communication Chair.

I will be sending out a class letter in the fall and spring of each year.  If you have news you would like to share with the rest of the class please send it to me and/or Phil.  We are being limited to the amount of space we have in the Quarterly—seems like many classes have a lot to share, but we are not limited in these letters, so pass on information about significant events in your lives or in the lives of our class mates or just update us on your work and family.  Please send pictures as well as text, particularly if you are gathering with other Gusties.  (Include the names of those pictured.)  Also, as we look forward to our 40th reunion year I thought it might be fun if we shared some of our favorite moments as students at Gustavus.  I have reached that stage in my life when I enjoy thinking back to those days and all of the wonderful experiences I had as a student at Gustavus.  So in addition to what is happening in your life, please send your reminiscences and I will include them in the spring and future class letters.

At the annual Class Officers’ meeting, held at the American Swedish Institute in August, I had the occasion to meet with class officers from other classes that graduated in the ʼ70s.  There was some discussion of holding some gatherings in the Twin Cities for all graduates from that decade.  This might also be an option in other communities.  It seems that all of us know individuals that graduated before and after us and we thought this might be a fun way to reconnect.  If you have suggestions of places to meet, the type of activity that should be sponsored, or are willing to help co-ordinate an event please let me know.

Gustavus is a busy place this fall.  I continue to be amazed at the number of first year students that enter each year.  Also if you haven’t been back to campus for a while you will be impressed by the new buildings and the ongoing landscaping that is taking place on campus.  I expect the campus will have a little extra polish as preparations are made for the arrival of the King and Queen of Sweden as well as the upcoming Nobel Conference.  I am planning on being on campus for Homecoming and singing with the Gustavus choir and alumni for Sunday worship.  It was a thrilling experience to be part of over 100 voices singing “Praise to the Lord” at last year’s Homecoming and I can’t wait to do it again this year.  Let me know if you are also planning to be on campus, maybe we can have a mini-gathering at some point during the weekend.

Class News

Here is a sampling of the news that we have received.  To find all of the recent happenings check out the winter Gustavus Quarterly:

Betsy Barnes Cochrane and daughter, Megan, visited Gustavus campus and Coach Koehler.  Betsy was a member of the 1975 national volleyball team.

Debbie Kauppinen Esselstrom is working as a hospice clinical supervisor for Marian Hospice in Santa Maria, CA and living in Avila Beach, CA.

Philip Richardson lives in Chicago, IL, and is president of Aspen Venture Group, Inc., a real estate development and investment company.  He recently completed his 32nd marathon.

Lynn Kopesky Schurrer lives in Stillwater and is involved in Restorative Justice with Community Circles of Washington County.  She is also an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church.

William Skoog is Chair of music, director of choral activities, and full professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.  He conducts the Rhodes Singers, Rhodes Men’s Chorus, and the Master Singers who perform with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

This is a brief synopsis of my current life.  I live in Duluth with my husband of four years, Tracy, and am entering my 23rd year of teaching music and philosophy as well as a comparative mythology class at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, MN.  The college is celebrating its 25th year.  I am also the faculty president.  (I guess it is my time for being president.)  My oldest son Brian ’01 and his wife Erin ’02 live in Rosemount with three cats.  Nathan lives in Duluth.  Laura and husband, Jim, are parents to my two beautiful grand-daughters; Mabel and Indie and have recently moved to Duluth so I spend much of my free time playing with the girls.  Jenelle ’07 is teaching kindergarten in Prior Lake/Savage school district.  I get back to Gustavus frequently because my father, Ellery ʼ49 (some of you may have taken accounting classes from him) still lives there.

I ventured into new ground last year singing in the chorus of the Lyric Opera of the North’s (LOON) production of Cavalleria Rusticana.  I also discovered that memorizing lyrics in Italian is more challenging than it used to be.  I live two blocks from Lake Superior and am continuously amazed at the spectacular environment Duluth inhabits.

Please take a look at Phil’s information about the Annual Fund.  And don’t forget to send in your news!  Send news on job changes, retirement, grandchildren, trips, awards, etc. to both the Alumni Office and to your Class Officers by emailing:

I will conclude with my best wishes as you work, recreate, and enjoy the fall days that will all too soon turn to winter.  The leaves are turning here in Northeastern Minnesota making my commute from Duluth to Cloquet even more pleasant.  I look forward to communicating with you in the spring.

Kristin M. Peterson

1975 Class President


I have been asked to serve as the Annual Fund Chair for our class.  Thank you to all who have made a gift.  The Annual Fund is made up of unrestricted and restricted funds given annually and used by the College during the College fiscal year, June 1 – May 31.  Unrestricted gifts are used by the college where funding is most needed.  Restricted gifts are given for a specific area of the College.

How did our class do for the fiscal year that ended May 31, 2012?  We have a total of 375 classmates that either started with us or graduated in 1975, of which 118 (31%) of have made a contribution to the Annual Fund, with a total of $56,787.60 contributed.  The class of 1962 led all classes with 71% of the class making a contribution.  Many classes had more than 50% of their classmates make a contribution.  The Class of 1955 led all classes with a total contribution of $126,299.11.

Having reviewed what each of the other classes have contributed this past year, I believe our class can do much better than what we have done in the past.  I would like to set a goal to have a minimum of a 45% participation rate, and a total contribution of $70,000.

Did you know or remember that we started a class endowed scholarship a few years ago?  This is a great gift to the college that we can be proud of as a class.  In order for it to start generating financial support to the students though, we need to increase the level we are at ($2,800) to the minimum level ($25,000).  If you’d like to support the 1975 Class Endowed Scholarship, just put a note in with your gift.

If you have already made a gift to the Annual Fund, please consider increasing your annual gift.  If you haven’t made a gift yet, please make a contribution today.  There is no gift considered too small nor too great.  To make your 2012-13 contribution, go online to or call 866-487-3863.

Campus News

Alumni Career Exploration

Where Dreams Meet Reality: Alumni Networking and Transition” will be offered again with support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Catherine Beyer Breet (  This program is designed for anyone who is unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed.  It takes participants through the process of naming gifts, talents, and passions and finding where to use them in the world.  This event is scheduled at St. Mary’s University this fall on Tuesdays Sept. 25, Oct. 9 and 23, and Nov. 6, from 6–8 p.m.  This four-part classroom series includes full access to the Online Job Hunt Coaching System.  The series is being offered for $199 (Gustavus alumni $149).  Live outside the Twin Cities metro area?  The series will be offered in webinar format for $149 (Gustavus alumni $99).  Register at:

Nobel Conference – “Our Global Ocean”

October 2-3 – Nobel Conference 48 examines, “Our Global Ocean” as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  The conference will examine our oceans as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  We know less about our own oceans than we do about the surfaces of other planets hundreds of millions of miles away.  Top researchers in biogeochemistry, oceanography, deep-sea biology, molecular genetics, and coral ecology will discuss the most relevant topics concerning our mysterious oceans.  Tickets for this year’s Nobel Conference are available at:

The Royal Visit

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will visit Gustavus in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the College by Swedish immigrants in 1862.  The Royal Visit to Gustavus will be Friday, October 5, 2012.  For the full schedule of the day’s events, visit visit.  Many events require tickets.

Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has selected nine individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2012 class of inductees include Rhonda Gorseth Alberts ’93 (Gymnastics), Brian Brekke ’95 (Football),Kara Bloomquist Drekonja ’96 (Cross Country),Brett Gross ’96 (Track & Field),Brock Guettler ’92 (Basketball),Mark Kruger ’86 (Tennis),Jason Lesteberg ’96 (Hockey),Scott Stoneking ’96 (Soccer), and Donald Swanson ’55 (Benefactor).  This group will be honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be held in Alumni Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, following the Hall of Fame football game between the Gusties and Hamline University, which is set to take place at 1 p.m. at Hollingsworth Field.

Homecoming 2012

October 12-14 – Homecoming 2012 will include the Sesquicentennial Closing Dinner, reunions, a football game, a performance by The Bend of the River Big Band, and more.  For information on reunion registration and the entire homecoming schedule, visit

Alumni Travel Opportunities

2013 Friends of Music Salzburg choral Tour

Gustavus Friends of Music has arranged for a Gustavus Alumni choir tour to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague June 23 – July 5, 2013.  Singers and non-singers alike are welcome.  Once in Salzburg, the singers will join the Mozart International Choral Festival and perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass in the Salzburg Cathedral on June 29.  Not a singer?  There is space available for non-performers as well.  For more information contact Jackie Neeck Peterson ’77 at or 800-726-6192.

2013 Pearls of Central Europe

Experience Central Europe with Gustavus professor emeritus of history Dr. Tom Emmert from September 10—21, 2013.  This 12-day Gustavus study tour combines learning, exploring, leisure, lecture, food, and arts with special touches, all led by a faculty expert.  The journey is focused around three showpiece cities of Central Europe:  Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.  For more information, contact Tom Emmert at

Gustie Breakfasts - Twin Cities – New time and place

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Twin Cities Gustavus alumni breakfast.  Please join us at the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis), on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 a.m.  Cost is $10.  Gustie breakfasts are also being held on campus the second Wednesday of each month.

October 17 – Nobel Conference Recap

November 21 – Donald Ostrom – November elections

December 19 – Terry Morrow – Minnesota Vikings stadium

Upcoming Chapter Gatherings

National Chapter events for alumni, parents and friends are scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year and will focus on the College’s pillar of “Teaching and Learning.”  Please save the date for the event in your area.  Time and location details will be forthcoming

Nov. 8 – New York City

Nov. 10 – Boston

Nov. 10 – Dallas

Nov. 11 – Houston

Nov. 13 – Washington, DC

Jan. 29 – Phoenix

Jan. 31 – Tucson

Feb. 3 – Los Angeles

Feb. 4 - Palm Springs

Feb 13 – Tampa

Feb. 15 – Naples

Feb. 28 – Seattle

Mar. 2 – San Francisco

Mar. 9 – Madison

Mar. 12 – Denver

Mar. 14 – Chicago

Apr. 11 – Atlanta