Class of '77

January 2012

Hey Gusties!  Greetings!

I hope this newsletter finds each of you and your loved ones in good health and doing well in life!  Thank you to everyone who has recently sent news updates for the Quarterly and for this class letter.  It is truly my pleasure to have the privilege of writing to our class to pass on the information that has been sent, so that hopefully we can better keep up with one another.  And, coincidentally, this year is also the 35th anniversary of our graduation, which truly seems like quite a while ago!  For many of us, I suspect the grasp of this much time having passed since our youthful days at dear ol’ Gustavus is kinda hard to believe.  A few minutes ago, I heard one of my new favorite country songs, “My Next Thirty Years” by Tim McGraw.  As I listened, it occurred to me that all of us can probably relate to at least some of the lyrics:

I think I'll take a moment, celebrate my age

The ending of an era and the turning of a page

Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here

Lord have mercy on mynext thirty years

In my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun

Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done

Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears

And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores

Cry a little less, laugh a little more

Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear

Figure out just what I’m doing here In my next thirty years

In my next thirty years, I’m gonna watch my weight

Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late

Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers, ha!

Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years!

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life

Raise a little family and hang out with my wife

Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear

Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years, In my next thirty years

Wow, a lot to reflect on with these lyrics, right?  How can you relate to these lyrics?  As for me...I am immensely appreciative of the years I’ve lived and have accepted the aging process that necessarily comes with living.  Some of it is not so bad, like the changing physical appearance that comes to all of us with time, but the greater struggle by far has to be the physical aging of our bodies as we notice changes in functioning, more aches and pains, and a variety of illnesses and medical conditions that we have to contend with and sometimes succumb to.  In addition, there is the loss of loved ones, both family members and friends that we dearly miss and grieve.  For me, it seems like I go to one funeral after another, each of them painful and difficult as I say goodbye to someone I cared about that is now gone from this earth.

Though far from life-threatening, over the last roughly 8-10 years for me, I have had four rather painful and inconvenient sports/adventure-related injuries and subsequent surgeries (meniscus, Achilles tendon, rotator cuff, and most recently ACL) that I continue to recover from to some degree in everything I do.  I am still reasonably active, running with our dog Lucky 2-3 miles daily, cycling most Saturdays (8 degrees and above), skating in/outdoors, and doing Holy Yoga at church, all of which I enjoy and am grateful to once again be able to do (though in the adventurous quiet of my mind, I visualize future trail runs and marathons, cycling tours in the mountains out west, and getting back into playing hockey again, all of which I used to do with relative ease years ago).  I’ve also come to appreciate more lifelong activities like summer canoe trips annually in the BWCA, sailing on Lake Minnetonka and Lake Superior, fishing various lakes and rivers, gardening and woodworking, and mission trips with the church.  Naps are good year-round.  I also enjoy the occasional motorcycle rides, and winter getaway trips to Mexico to scuba dive, sail, and explore ruins.  I frequent coffee shops and ethnic or health food joints with friends.  Like Tim McGraw, my dietary habits have changed a lot.  Now I mostly shop at the co-op, purchase organic and fair trade items, and eat a lot more oatmeal, salads and legumes, wild salmon, and drink various teas and red wine, rather than fast food anymore, or greasy pizza and beer(s).  And I’m regularly helping out at church early Sunday morning and not out nearly so often these days as I used to be (or so late) at concerts or pubs for live music on Fri/Sat nights.  More often too, I enjoy just being around the house enjoying the company of my wife and spending time with our young adult children.  Thank you all for indulging some reflections about how these lyrics really resonate with me!

My primary motivation for volunteering my time as a class officer is my sincere desire to help us as classmates and Gusties to connect and reconnect, hopefully at the 35th reunion, but really in whatever manner possible, whether in person somewhere, via e-mail or facebook, or by whatever means works.  Renewing friendships and maybe even forming some new ones would be rewarding for all of us in some way, wouldn't it?  And (as a side note) the more updates I hear from y’all, the less compelled I will feel in future class letters to drone on about my news!  At this time there is a reunion planning committee forming and I hope all of you will consider being a part of the planning, if only to e-mail ideas or send missing classmate addresses.  My request is that each of us is generous in some way with our ideas, talents, time, or financial resources as Gusties, not only for our class communication and gatherings, but even more importantly to the College of which we are all alumni.

Okay, on to some Gustie News/Updates:

Briefly starting with myself, the past 35 years have been blessed by 30 years of marriage to spouse Kit (Stoutenburgh), and the pleasure of two wonderful children, Bethany (23), St. Olaf grad, and Chris (19), freshman at Gustavus, but also the agony of having another son, Sammy, pass away 14 years ago.  After graduating from Gustavus, I was in a couple different graduate school programs at the University of Minnesota (a Master’s program in recreation and outdoor education and then dentistry) before eventually completing my doctorate in clinical psychology in 1997.  For the past 30 years (since 1981) I have been working in the mental health field, in settings that have varied from inpatient locked psychiatric units to outpatient group practices.  In 2002, I incorporated and now have a private practice, New Day Counseling Clinic in Edina.  Spouse, Kit, has been teaching with the Edina Public Schools for the past 25 plus years and currently serves as the gifted resource teacher for Valley View Middle School.

Brian Asleson is chief deputy attorney in Wright County.  His daughter, Sara ʼ12, is finishing her studies at Gustavus a semester early! (nice!)

Al Behrends is in his 35th year on staff at Gustavus and his 26th year as the college’s director of fine arts.  In his free time he can be found playing bass in the Echoes Big Band, Rabbit Road Jazz or at the annual St. Peter High School musical.  Mary Pederson Behrends is in her 25th year teaching French and coaching the St. Peter High School academic decathlon team.  In April 2011, the team represented Minnesota as the state’s champion team at the National Decathlon Tournament in Charlotte, NC.  This was the 4th state championship for one of “Madame’s” academic decathlon teams.  Al and Mary have two children, Kari who is an associate at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) in St. Paul, working with college students and professors to plan study abroad programs.  Christian is in his third year at Macalester College studying religious theory and art.  He just finished studying in Norway in HECUA’s Scandinavian Urban Studies term.

Patti Dalen Leisinger is the executive director for Hope for the City.  Hope for the City is a $35 million non-profit organization.  Their mission is to improve lives of others by distributing corporate surplus to organizations serving those in need in the metro area and around the world.  Primarily, Hope for the City provides food and basic needs supplies to local non-profit organizations and gently used medical equipment and supplies to developing countries.  The organization’s website is  Patti has been married to Gene Leisinger for 21 years.  She has two step-children, Brittany Metzig and Blake Leisinger.  Brittany is married to Charlie Metzig and they have three sons.  Their son, Blake, married spouse Stephanie in October 2011.  Patti and Gene enjoy spending time on their boat on the St. Croix River in the summer, traveling internationally, and spending time in Arizona during the winter.

Scott “Gis” Gislason continues as a financial advisor with North Star Resource Group in Minneapolis.  He has been married to spouse, Candace, for 20 years, they have a son, Will (19) that is a freshman at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and a daughter, Anna (17) that is a junior at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul.

Craig and Bette (Ostlund) Miller have been living in the Brainerd lakes area for seven years.  Bette has retired from teaching and is pursuing her hobbies of grandchildren, sewing/quilting, knitting, agate hunting and fishing.  Craig has been with Federated Insurance since graduation, currently working in Agency Operations.  Craig is enjoying grandchildren, golfing, and fishing.

Dave Mohn is involved with Flower Valley Vineyard, which produced over 1000 gallons of red and white wine last season. Cheers!

Teri Morton Heil, MD is an anesthesiologist with Midwest Anesthesiologists, PA and works at Mercy Medical Center and Unity Hospital in the Twin Cities.  She lives in Stillwater and has three daughters, Julianne at St. Olaf, Andrea at Augsburg, and Mollie at Mounds Park Academy.

David Linnes-Bagley has retired as a manager with Delta/Northwest Airlines.

Sanford “Sandy” Nelson is the principal of Rossman Elementary School in the Detroit Lakes School District since 1999.  He was selected as Minnesota's National Distinguished Principal in 2010!  (Major congrats!).  Sandy has been a leader in the Minnesota education community for 21 years.  He received his Specialist Type D Certificate of Elementary and Secondary School Administration from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO and his master’s of science in curriculum and instruction from St. Cloud State University.

Congratulations to Kay Nord Hunt, who was elected to a two-year term on the Board of Directors of Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A., a trial, business, and entertainment law firm with offices in Minneapolis, Hudson,WI and New York City.  Kay is a new member to the Board.  Also Best Lawyers has named Kay as the “Minneapolis Best Lawyers Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year” for 2012!  Best Lawyers is one of the oldest and most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession.  Having handled more than 500 appeals in state and federal courts, Kay has managed appeals in virtually every area of law.  Among the areas she represents are clients in disputes involving securities, liens, insurance, employment, contracts, bankruptcy, family law, and medical malpractice.  Kay is also a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, is in the list of Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers and included in the Super Lawyers list in the area of appellate advocacy.  She is also an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Bruce “Pete” Peterson has been the director of planning and development services for the City of Willmar for 26 years.  He has been married to spouse Karla for almost 34 years.  Their children Theo and Mallory are both married.  Theo is a computer engineer living in Bozeman, MT.  Mallory and her husband, Jay Cronen, own and operate a custom cabinet and flooring business in Kandiyohi, MN.  Bruce and Karla have a yellow lab named Gustavus Adolphus (Gus for short).

Deborah (Thorset) Ronglien is a self-employed artist of Deborah Ronglien Fine Art.  She has a new line of watercolor holiday greeting cards on her website: and facebook at:  Deborah Ronglien Fine Art.

Okay, so hopefully this update about everyone is accurate...please e-mail corrections or additions.  If anyone sent information and was not included in this letter, I apologize and please resend!  Updates from all of you are requested please!  Those who have expressed interest thus far in helping plan the reunion will be having a conference call with Kathy Erlandsen this week to begin planning the event for October 12 - 13, 2012.  Please contact me ( or Kathy Erlandsen in the Alumni Office ( or 507/933-6514) ASAP to volunteer some of your time and ideas.

Preliminary information about the reunion will be sent out to everyone sometime in March.  Finally, at this time, I am the only class officer for our class!  (Which is a little frightening, don’t you think?).  Anyone else having interest in helping out in some capacity is sincerely being requested, particularly as the old Class Agent model has been expanded to five Class Officers now, including Class President, VP/Reunion Chair, Communication Chair, Annual Fund Chair and Student Recruitment Chair (with each of those chairs intended to oversee a committee of volunteers).  So...our class is a bit “understaffed” with only me stepping up at this point and obviously there are plenty of areas for others to get involved in some capacity to help make good things happen!  Please contact me or the Alumni Office for more information, questions, or to volunteer your time and talents!  Sincere thanks!

In the meantime, live well, make a difference, and Make Your Life Count!  Go Gusties!

All the best,

Dave “Ole” Olson

1977 Class President


Campus News

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  Here is a list of some upcoming chapter events.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Naples - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - Naples Beach Club and Hotel

Tampa - Thursday, February 9, 2012 - Malio’s Prime

San Francisco - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Hs Lordship

Los Angeles - Sunday, February 19, 2012 – The Paley Center

Palm Springs - Monday, February 20, 2012 - Escena Golf Club

Sun City - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Briarwood Country Club

Phoenix - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Rita’s Kitchen

Tucson - Friday, February 24, 2012 - Warren and Donna Beck’s Residence

Seattle - Friday, March 16, 2012 - The Swedish Cultural Center

Denver - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Three Tomatoes Steakhouse and Club at Fossil Trace

Gustavus Music Showcase in the Twin Cities

Tickets are now on sale for the Music Showcase!  The Music Showcase will be taking place on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis.  The Showcase will feature the Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band.  This is a great opportunity to hear four major touring ensembles, showcasing the excellent music program at Gustavus.  Each ensemble will perform a piece commissioned for the concert and in honor of the College’s Sesquicentennial.  Tickets are $17.50 for general admission and $10 for students.  For more information or to order tickets visit:

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  February will feature JoNes Van Hecke ʼ88, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and speaker for March will be Jeff Owen ʼ92, Assistant Professor in Economics/Management and Environmental Studies.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Join Gustavus Library Associates

“Whether you went to the college library to study, do research, meet a hot date, or create (or look for) a library prank, the library was an almost daily stop during our college years.  What better way to acknowledge that important relationship than by joining the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA)?  GLA's mission is to promote literature, learning, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College.  All of its membership dues go directly to the annual acquisitions budget of the Library; income from the Royal Affair, Books and Bloom, and other major fundraisers goes to the Library’s endowment.

With this in mind, I encourage you all to become GLA members.  You can find the application form on the web at:  You’ll find all the news about the organization’s events and the membership forms along with a list of membership options.