Class of '77
October 2001

This is our 25 year reunion year!!!

It’s been a while.  Haven’t sat down to write a class letter for at least a year.  Seems like each time that I did, I never had the time to finish.  Sorry for the lack of communication.  As I write this I’m waiting for “play practice” to begin.  The play I’m of speaking of is a musical review that is put on each year by employees of Wells Fargo (aka Norwest) that are in their 20th year with the company – and this year that includes yours truly. 

Yep, 20 years at the same company, in roughly the same business (securities).  I celebrated a couple of ways.  First of all, in August I took my family to Cannon Beach, OR, where we rented a house on the beach for two weeks….lots of quality time.  During the middle weekend we went inland to Bend, OR and explored the High Mountain Desert Museum, as well as a day on the Dechuetes River doing some white water rafting.  Kids loved it – so did I.  Katie is gung-ho on the white water.

Just for myself, I did another climb this year.  This time it was 8 days in the Wind River range of Wyoming.  Climbed Gannet Peak (13,800’).  The climb was tough and semi-technical, but the toughest part was the 25 mile hike in (up and down about 10,000’).  Very remote and very challenging.  This was the mountain I tried three years ago and missed, so I have a sense of accomplishment about this one.  Found out about the World Trade Center and Pentagon incident(s) a couple of days later….pretty big let down.

All I can say is any belief (religious, political or cultural) held and incubated in its own vacuum to the point of a mission of myopic zealotry will result in very bad things.  History is filled with similar groups and events.  We lost two people we know in the World Trade Center.  Guys I’d traded with in past 20 years.  I guess I’m still processing events…..makes me ask two questions, What’s really important?   Did that really happen?  Each morning I wake up in disbelief.

The kids are great.  Si is a junior at Wayzata, making his own way through that gigantic high school…and doing a good job of it.  Gretchen is finally 13….seems like she’s been 13 for the past 3 years.  She pitches for her fastpitch softball team and did a great job this past summer on the travel team.  Hunter is now in second grade!  What a sweet, lovable, gentle kid he is.

Katie is realizing a dream of hers.  She is working as a nursery school teacher at Wayzata Community Church Nursery School – she loves it!  It’s a great distraction from the news of the world, and provides a partial answer to one of the questions I posed above. 

IT’S OUR REUNION YEAR! Yes, 25 years ago, in June of 1977 we graduated… hard to believe.  That means we have a big job to do for the 2002 Alumni Fund.  Last year we came in at 35% participation in the Alumni Fund with $22,000 in unrestricted gifts.  That’s not very good.  In fact, its bad.  Our goal this year is 60% participation (260 donors) and $50,000 in unrestricted gifts.  Sounds aggressive?  We can do it.  There are new tools to make this easier than ever to make your gift.  You can make your gift over the Internet!  I did it last year and it was great!  If you’re close to an Internet connection, follow these instructions (it’s much easier than it looks):

1.      Go to the Gustavus home page

2.      Click on the “Giving to Gustavus” icon.

3.      Click on the “Making a Gift Online” bar on the left hand side of the screen.

4.      Fill in the information on the form.  Be sure to include all the information.

5.      Press “continue” bar at the bottom of the page.

6.      Click the category you want to be in.  If you don’t see the amount you want to give move down the list to “contributor” and put in the amount.  Remember to check the bottom box if you have a company that matches your gift (double your pleasure, double your fun!).

7.      Click continue at the bottom.

8.      Fill in your credit card information and click “submit donation”

9.      You’ll get a message back saying “your gift has been successfully submitted.”

Next, we need news from you, especially in the REUNION YEAR.  Go back to the home page and click on “Alumni and Friends” in the gray box.  Then click on “Your News.”  Fill out the information, at the bottom of the page is a text field for submitting “stuff” about yourself and your family.  This is all private, secure data.

Al and I are looking for help calling classmates over the next year.  Phonorama is here, if you would like to help make calls call me at 612-667-3880 or e-mail me at  We can really use the help throughout the year.  Our plan is to contact each classmate.  We need help contacting classmates, writing a guest class letter or even planning events for the reunion.

And now some news…..

Jeff Kahl died April 5th in Winona, MN, no details…..Susan Torkelson has taken up dog showing, she has one AKC champion and is headed for the same in Canada...Bruce Peterson is director of planning and development for the city of Willmar….Lois VanValkenburg lives in Tuscon, AZ and is a speech/language pathologist in the public school system….Paul Knautz is teaching elementary school in Colby, WI….Gerald Tucker is still running G.W.Tucker Photographic Studio in Virginia, MN, he reports a great snow season last winter and a five year old grandson…..Dave Moran is chief administrative officer and general counsel at Pro Staff Personnel Services Inc…..Gwen Lindell Glaeser is in commercial real estate with Collett and Associates in Charlotte, NC….Just called Glynda Gustafson who works on the HR side for Wells Fargo and Co – I’m in trouble now, someone who knew me way back when…Geri Linnell Jarrard works as vice president of human resources for Oakbrook Bank in Naperville, IL…Neil Jonason is hosting a foreign exchange student in his home from Finland.  He lives in Detroit Lakes, MN…..Patti Dalen Leisinger was named president of the Roseville Rotary Club, she is director of development for the Indianhead Council of the Boy Scouts….Carol Hande Petersen lives in Ely, MN where she is self-employed.

We need more class news, so get on the web site ( and communicate with us. 

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 give 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 include the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive 10-course banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

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.

One final note…..Hunter (7) and I spent last Sunday afternoon walking through our favorite park in the Twin Cities.  Carver Park Reserve has been a favorite of mine since I visited it in 8th grade and Jim Gilbert ’62 was my science teacher.  Anyway, as we’re completing our hike we came up to the back of the main building and there was a group, using an old fashioned apple press making apple cider.  The leader of the group immediately got Hunter involved washing apples, and sticking them in the press.  Finally, I recognized the leader of the group….Judy Voigt Englund!  She is now head naturalist at Carver Park.  I was immediately struck by the genuine nature of her getting Hunter involved (great apple cider too).  As we left, Hunter was talking about how much he enjoyed the activity.  I thought about how much I enjoyed the thought that this Gustavus class of ’77 graduate was making our day.


Si Matthies

1977 Co-Class Agent