Class of '76
January 2007

Hello Class of ’76,

It’s time for the annual January letter.  2006 was a great year for our class.  We had a wonderful time at our reunion on campus in October.  If you were not able to attend, here is your chance for an update.

We were fortunate to have a beautiful warm day for our visit, so everyone could attend the football game or walk around campus comfortably.  Our party was held in Alumni Hall (no longer a gym, but a beautiful meeting/banquet area.)  We had attendance of over 100 people.  We were blessed with the music of Flood Plain Five, with Bob Douglas, Milt Brostrom ’49 and Tim Robinson ’65 plus two others comprising the group.

Speakers included President Jim Peterson ’64, Dean Wahlund ’72 doing some of his favorite impersonations, and former President Frank Barth.  They were all excellent!!!

We had a beautiful dinner put on by the Gustavus food service, and lots of time for visiting with our favorite Gustie friends.  Having the reunions back on campus proved to be very successful.  No doubt our next one in 2011 will be on campus again.


The following appeared in emails we received from the college shortly after the reunion week-end.  I thought you would enjoy reading what the alumni staff reported.

There was excitement in the air as nearly 1000 alumni came home to campus to celebrate with their classmates this year at homecoming.  A big thank you to all reunion class agents and reunion committees for planning and orchestrating very successful reunions and class gifts announced on Homecoming Weekend.  Attendance for 12 class reunion events totaled 963, up 301 from 2005 and 2004.

Class                Goal                 Total      

2001                None                $ 7,193
1996                $16,000           $18,688
1991                $30,000           $37,161
1986                $25,000           $28,893
1981                $50,000           $58,098
1976                $40,000           $65,095
1971                $71,000           $64,642
1966              $150,000         $158,266
1961                $75,000            $89,373

Total donors from June 1, 2005 - October 5, 2006 - 143 (34.6%)

Total reunion giving (same dates) = $65,095.70
110 attending dinner (83 classmates = 20%)

Here’s something that you may be interested to know, Class of 76!  At our reunion event, 43 bottles of wine were purchased for tables and 57 glasses of beer/wine.  We were second highest alcohol consumption on campus that day.  (1986 beat us in sales)  Whether this is good news or not is left for you to decide!

Here’s the link for more reunion wrap-up information, with lots of photos.  Be sure to check out Rod Baakkonen’s photo album which he put together after visiting the campus for the reunion.  It captures everything beautifully.  Thank you, Rod!


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  Theatre Reunion May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by admission to the cast party on February 10.  The Cherry Orchard will be Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast includes:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance is expected for this unique celebration, so order your tickets soon.  For more information and to order tickets, go to the Cherry Orchard site from <>.

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau, given prior to Phil’s death last April, established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities broker and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, Realtor, or other professional?  Make it a Gustie!  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 at:  <>.

Career Connections with Students

Sign up now for the 2007 Gustavus Career Connections Reception.  The reception will be Monday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.  The gathering allows Gustavus alumni to provide advice, encouragement, and career networking opportunities to Gustavus students seeking internships and career opportunities.  Alumni are invited to attend and assist current students in their career search.  You do not have to be hiring at your company to attend – just willing to share your experience.  E-mail the Career Center at or call 507/933-7586 if you can attend or want more information.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus String Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances are scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra will be in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • The Cherry Orchard Gala Performance – February 10
  • Orlando Gustie Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Gustie Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion – May 11-12


  • Lynne Koester Wathen is living just outside of Kansas City.  Her son is in law school, her daughter is a senior in high school and her guardianship daughter is in 4th grade.  Her husband is a research manager for Sigma Aldrich.
  • Dr. Karl Molenaar sent the following news:  “In March 2006 my son, Michael and I went to Papua, New Guinea with explorer Brian Moon in search of MIA’s.  Missing world War II downed Airmen.  We helped locate a downed aircraft that had five airmen aboard.”
  • Dr. Ted Kunze accepted a call to Christ Lutheran Church in Slayton, which is also in partnership with Faith Lutheran Church in Avoca.  Ted and his wife, Marcia (Skoglund ’77) are the parents of three daughters.
  • Deb Mertesdorf Curran is a director of continuing medical education with Health Partners and lives in Mendota Heights, MN.
  • Warren Neil is retired from Wal-Mart management and is now an accountant at Pepsi MidAmerica in Marion, IL.
  • Gary and Laurie (Larson ’81) Hansen make their home in Deephaven, MN.  They have four children; two girls and two boys; all with Scandinavian names.  All the children are very involved with sporting activities.
  • Deborah Bonnema Perry has taken on the role of vice-principal at Salinas School District in Salinas, CA as of the beginning of the 2006-07 school year.
  • Paul and Nancy (Erickson ’77) Hoffman were unable to attend the reunion because their daughter was getting married the next week.  Their son is engaged and will be married next year.  Nancy has been attending graduate school in Chicago.
  • Sandie Starkey Fish recently quit her job and is taking in her 92 year old aunt.  Her husband, Tom ’75, besides teaching, takes on the task of being food and beverage manager at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival each fall.
  • Terry Pederson wrote:  “My son and I are going skiing in Colorado over President’s Day…Our annual male bonding trip.”
  • Dana Halberg recently wrote:  “I am really glad that Steve Hogberg ’69 visited me in Atlanta.  He reminded me of the ties that I have to Gustavus though I haven’t been back since graduation (and it is so nice to reconnect).  The news I have for the letter spans so many years that it is difficult to know what to say.  All is well in Atlanta.  My husband, Larry Pless and I have three children 21, 16 and yes, 11, though she turns 12 tomorrow.  Our children are the most important parts of our lives and we are grateful for them and spend much time going to sports events!  Our oldest daughter, Anna, is at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (We couldn’t get her to apply to Gustavus!).  Our son, David, is a sophomore and 6'4" (and keeps extremely busy and is a very sweet guy) and our daughter, Deane, is in 6th grade and very happy at a wonderful all girls’ school here in Atlanta that I helped start.  Larry is a business lawyer in a thriving practice and I am an investment advisor for Mellon Private Wealth Management, having sold my business to them three and a half years ago.  I like living in Atlanta but miss the snow.”
  • We are sorry to report that Paul Mason of Burnsville died last January after a long battle with leukemia.

As always, if you have comments or news to share, please email me.  My current email address is

I look forward to hearing from you, and have a great 2007.

Ginny Kirkegaard Leppart

1976 Co-class Agent