Class of '77
November 2004

To:  The Class of ’77

It's been over 30 years since most of us began our Gustavus experience.  That provides perspective as we think about how that has influenced the years since.

Perhaps the primary thing that should come to mind is “getting a job.”  When in retrospect I may not have had an appropriate sense of urgency about employment (considerable loans to repay), a former Gustie, Art Adamson ’51, got me started on a career with Federated Insurance, a place I remain today.  Art is a great guy, and our classmate, Paul Adamson’s father.  Somehow, the graduation party he attended at our house did not dissuade him from offering me a job.

However, my primary thoughts about Gustavus jump to lifelong friendships that are still very active today.  July of 2005 will be the 30th consecutive year a number of friends (a.k.a. Tanks) congregate for a weekend of fun in my hometown, Litchfield.  What began as a summer gathering to connect between our junior and senior years continues to this day.

Whenever I describe to other people these “Tanks weekends,” they comment on how unique it is that people who met over 30 years ago, and who live in many places, make the effort to reconnect each year.  Lifelong friendships and the assurance of fun together is the "driver," as it is for countless similar occurrences experienced by many.  And while there can always be instances to be critical of our alma mater, the thing I credit Gustavus most with is being the birthplace of these lifelong friendships.

My wife, Meg, is not a Gustie.  Yet, along with our two children, John (15) and Lauren (12), they have shared many events and trips with Gustie friends and their families, and witness these special friendships.  This is a good thing.  It also reinforces that the place that spawned those friendships is special, too.

For years, Si Mathies and Pete Bissonette worked hard to keep our class connected and the percentage of classmates contributing to the annual fund reflected that.  It took a lot of their time and energy to do that.  More recently, Al Behrends and Teri Novak Delebo have assumed this responsibility.  Al asked if I would offer thoughts to potentially re-energize our class to a higher number of contributors.  Here goes:

            Class size                                 440

            Contributions (’92-’93)            277  (60%)

            Two years ago                          160

            Last year                                  130

            Goal this year                           220

Understandably many things compete for our attention and financial support.  Reminders can help prioritize things that deserve our support.  A contribution of any size signals an appreciation for the impact Gustavus has had on us.


Mark Scharmer

(a.k.a., Ray/Sherm)

1977 Guest Letter Writer

P. S.  The class news will appear in the January class letter. 

Class News:

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 657 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President’s Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

Nobel Conference, The Science of Aging

The 40th Anniversary of the Nobel Conference was on the Science of Aging.  The campus hosted over 6,000 guests October 5-6 to learn about the research molecular biologist are conducting on longevity, Alzheimer’s, and delaying debilitating disease and how this impacts life expectancy, the economy, and the health-care system.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field, will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is 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 be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” – December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival – December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005