Class of '77
February 2006

Greetings, Class of ’77!

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on,

And our little lives are rounded with a sleep.”

Ha!  That’s what you get when you have an English major for a co-class agent:  annoying bits of randomly-quoted Shakespeare.  But there’s reason to my rhyme:  the other night I had one of those classic “college-anxiety” dreams.  Don’t you still have that dream once in awhile?  The one where you forgot to go to a class and suddenly it’s time for the final―and you know nothing?  It surfaces for me when I’m under some kind of performance or deadline pressure.  It usually means I’ve procrastinated or am unprepared for something, and my lack of follow-through has me backed into a corner.  In this most recent dream, I’d neglected to attend Professor Alexis’ freshman English class―just didn’t go, all semester.  And suddenly it was time for the final test on the conventions of the epic.  In my dream I’m thinking, you know, I really should have attended this class once or twice

I woke up in a cold sweat, and as I lay there marveling that college anxieties could still haunt me after all these years, I recalled actually going to Alexis’ class in the fall of 1973 and listening to him revel in his favorite part of The Odyssey.  The scene he loved goes like this:  Odysseus’ son Telemachus has just mercilessly executed all the maids of the house, in retribution for their twenty years of lascivious partying with the suitors.  The women have been hanged from a horizontal “group” rope, lined up like dead geese on a string.  The narrator notes that they dangled there for a bit; and then, typical of the epic writer exulting in gruesome revenge writes, “…for a little while their feet twitched―but not for very long.”  Alexis would quote that line with intense relish.  Then he’d say, “Aaahh.  Great stuff.  Great stuff!”  Scared the hell out of us freshmen.

I had that anxiety dream for a reason.  Class letters were supposed to be out in January.  Classmates were supposed to be called for the annual fund.  I had yet to RSVP for an upcoming class agent gathering in Eden Prairie.  And, having fine-tuned the procrastination skills we all developed in college, I’d managed to put all this off beyond any reasonably acceptable time frame.

So, better late than never, and lest I be hanged by the Alumni Squad (just kidding; they are always very patient and understanding), let us proceed with some news.  First, if you live in the Twin Cities area, I encourage you to attend the upcoming Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall on March 12 at 2 P.M.  It’s a great chance to hear three premier Gustavus performing ensembles in one concert:  the Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Symphonic Orchestra, and the Gustavus Wind Ensemble.  Tickets are available through the Orchestra Hall box office, either online, by phone, or in person ($20 general admission, $10 for students under 18).  I am dragging the Menendez, I mean, Delebo brothers to this, if I can pry them off of and the PS II.  Though I don’t go very regularly, whenever I do attend a Gustavus concert― whether Christmas in Christ Chapel or a choir performance in the metro area―I’m always really glad I went.  This one promises to be outstanding.

A bit of class news: 

  • Sue Semple-Rowland, Gainesville, Florida, received one of this year’s Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citations for her work as professor of neuroscience at the University of Florida and director of the Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program.  Wow!  I’m always amazed at classmates who have such outstanding accomplishments to their credit.  (I bet Sue never bothered with the one science class I took at Gustavus―the one where you had to memorize the rocks...)  Congratulations, Sue, on this great honor!
  • John Edson (attended GAC 1973-75) was named Chair of the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.  He’s a partner in Blanski, Peter, Kronlage, and Zoch Certified Public Accountants in Minneapolis.  In addition to his MNSCPA service, John is a frequent speaker to industry groups on the topics of growing businesses and business valuation.
  • Gary Pihlstrom of Mendota Heights is an attorney in Golden Valley, specializing in representation of financial institutions in documentation and collecting of commercial credits, and in regulatory issues.  He was elected Chairman of the Board of Maple Bank in 2003. 
  • Craig and Deb (Wagner) Maki’s son, Brooks ’04, was married last fall to Christina Johnson, Gustavus class of ’05. 
  • Cynthia Johnson teaches physical education at Winterquist Elementary School in Esko, MN―the same district where she began her teaching career in 1977.  Cynthia was named Minnesota Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2004, which Al Behrends noted in our October 2005 class letter, but the Alumni office sent me a cool newspaper article, which noted some other accomplishments in recent years.  In addition to the Teacher of the Year award, Cynthia was named United States Curling Association Coach of the Year.  She has coached the Duluth Curling Club’s Junior Women’s Curling Team for several years, taking the team to Junior Nationals and making it to the final four each time.  In 2004, Christina’s team went on to the Junior World Championship, finishing 4th.

OK, here are some really old items from a stack of class news I found in a file folder under a pile of People magazines in my attic office (OK, time for a hostile takeover of one of the class agent positions…).  Who knows if these were already written up in some past letter, or if they are even still accurate, but here goes:

Karen Heule Hall continues to work as a social worker for Common Bond Communities, the largest non-profit provider of affordable housing in Minnesota.

  • Steve Briggs of Eagan works in downtown St. Paul at the corporate headquarters of St. Paul Traveler’s Insurance Company.  His wife, Becky Lund Briggs ’76 works at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan.
  • Nancy Benjamin Belpedio of Coon Rapids, MN, continues to work on the Special Education Evaluation Team in Anoka-Hennepin School district.  At the time of her news note a year ago, she was working on Volume 3 of Touched by Cancer, a book of inspiring stories of people impacted by cancer.
  • Lois Van Valkenberg lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she works as a speech/language pathologist with the Tanque Verde Unified School District.
  • Terri Novak Delebo, Minneapolis, just completed her doctoral thesis entitled Raising Young Barbarians and Picking Crap Up Off the Floor of a Household Teeming with Adolescent Testosterone.  (Just kidding.  But I really am too old to be on this battlefront.  Why did I wait until I was nearly on Medicare to spawn these children?  All of you whose kids are long out of college were smart to get it all done before all the life was sucked out of you and you were too fried to enjoy the empty nest.  By the time my boys are out of the house (and living under their respective bridges, from all indications), I will be parked in my Gustavus rocker in the nursing home, swatting imaginary flies, repeating random lines of Shakespeare, and correcting the attendants’ grammar with a whack of my cane.  (“You!  You there!  That’s ‘He and I already gave the old bat her Prozac,’ not ‘Him and I!’”  Whack.)  Perhaps we all should pool our resources and open a Gustie wing of Augustana Home.  I’ll man the bar; Mr. and Mrs. Behrends can man the karaoke machine and the geriatric hot tub.

Speaking of using your hard-earned cash for a noble purpose (I know:  feeble segue), our annual fund comes to a close at the end of May.  I encourage you to donate when a student caller or class agent (hmmm…guess that would be me, or shall I make Al do it all again this year?) calls you in the next few weeks.  Give a little, give a lot, but help us make the Class of ’77 high on the list of percentage of participating donors.  Currently we are at 19% participation, with 82 of 440 classmates giving.  Help us double that number of contributors in the next two months!  You may earmark your donation to a specific fund or just give to the general fund.  Every contribution is appreciated.

Finally, remember that our reunion year is fast approaching!  2007 means thirty years, doesn’t it?  (Not only did I avoid real science by taking Wimp Rock Analysis at Gustavus, but I also managed to avoid any math classes.  I don’t think you can get away with that nowadays, can you?)  Your class agents and the Alumni staff will be planning a gathering of ’77-ers.  I’ll man the bar, so I can practice up for that nursing home gig.  J

Wishing you a pleasant spring, free of test-anxiety dreams!

Terri Novak Delebo

1977 Co-Class Agent

P. S.  The Alumni Office will add some campus news here:

Campus News

The Alumni Board met on campus the weekend of February 10 and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards.  They are as follows:

Greater Gustavus Award:  Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations:  Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards:  Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Checks

Show your Gustavus pride every time your write a check.  You can now order checks with Old Main, Three Crowns, or the Gustavus football helmet at:

Fine Arts Events

Bat Boy, The Musical, written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and directed by Gustavus’ Amy Seham, opened in Anderson Theatre February 17.  The American Horn Quartet, recognized as the premier horn quartet in the world, performs on campus on February 26.  And acclaimed pianist, Teresa Walters, performs on campus on March 3.

Gusties Helping Hurricane Victims

A group of 23 students spent three weeks during January in Mississippi aiding in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts of a town hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.  The group was student-led and sponsored by Men’s Christian Fellowship at Gustavus and coordinated through Lutheran Disaster Response.  While there the students provided many services, including clearing houses to the bare structure, rebuilding homes, working in kitchens, distributing supplies, and working in pastoral care, child care, and medical clinics.  The group was housed and fed in a “tent city” on the grounds of Christus Victor Lutheran Church.  This was one of the several vocation month experiences from which Gustavus students had the opportunity to choose.


Nordic Ski Team senior Erich Ziegler had a first-place finish among collegiate skiers in the15K freestyle at the NorAm SuperTour stop at Telemark Resort in Cable, Wisconsin.  Ziegler’s win was the first by a Gustavus skier in an NCAA/CCSA qualifier.  Men’s hockey continues to win, with a 7-1 record in the MIAC.  Men's swimming is 7-0 on the season and recently set two Lund Center pool record times.  Brad Hanson ’08 was victorious in the 1000 freestyle in a pool-record time of 9:51.46, and Matt Stewart ’09 posted a pool-record time of 1:44.49 to win the 200-freestyle. 

Gustavus Music Showcase Tickets On Sale

Order your tickets now for the Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on Sunday, March 12.  The Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Gustavus Wind Orchestra will perform.  This is a unique opportunity to hear three premier ensembles from Gustavus in one concert.  This showcase also allows prospective students, parents, and alumni from the area to meet and connect.  Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students 18 and under.  Tickets are on sale through the Orchestra Hall Box Office — in person, via phone, or online at:

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis - March 12
  • Gustavus Library Associates’ “Breakfast with the Easter Bunny” at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis - March 25
  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference on AIDS - April 19
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations Meeting - April 22
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) Day of Community Service in Minneapolis - April 29