Class of '79
September 2002


Reid Katzung, our loyal class agent for many years, has passed the torch (this Olympic reference is intentional….hang in there!) on to John and me!  The fact that it’ll take two to do the job he did on his own is quite telling and I know we speak on behalf of many when we say, “Reid, thank you, you’ve done a great job!”  He has done such interesting things since his life at Gustavus.  The Class of ’79 can be so proud of  his participation in the Salt Lake Olympics.  Did you see him in a bobsled? OOPS, that wasn’t him.  Wrong ice sport…He was deeply involved in the organizing committee and the management of the Speedskating Competition Site.

He is moving on to other commitments, so now John and I will try to keep the class of 1979 up to date.  We greet you from sunny Southern California for now, and will send our next letter from the Windy City of Chicago.  After five years of no weather other than 60’s and 70’s in San Diego we long for the “theater of seasons” (DON’T EVEN COMMENT!), so we are heading back to the Midwest.  We will miss the land of OH…MY…GOSH, this is SO, LIKE, TOTALLY, WHATEVER (put the accent on the wrong part of the word), but find that the lure of the Midwest is too strong to ignore.

John got a call from Gustavus mentioning that the Class of ’79 has a twenty-five year reunion in two years.  You know, writing the number out didn’t even really help me get through that sentence.  OK.  TWENTY-FIVE YEARS!  25.  That’s it.  It has now been said.  Does that sort of freak you out?

So much has changed and so much hasn’t.  We know how much hasn’t because our daughter Ashleigh is a sophomore at Gustavus.  Actually, she has met many of your kids there.  (We are feeling that arranged marriages aren’t unthinkable.)  It is remarkable to see the traditions and activities that are unchanged.  It is also scary that people are there that know way too much about John and me.  Well, mostly John.

Anyway, in reference to the t-word reunion in a couple of years, we are going to attempt to have our class be pioneers in a program begun by people WAY older than we!  (They would not like that reference at all, so mum’s the word if you know those people.)  It would be fabulous to have a legacy of giving to commemorate that substantial anniversary.  Dollars are important, but participation is even more important.  John really struggled with the responses of people referencing why they wouldn’t participate.  What it came down to was the realization that the thought of giving TO the college should be viewed as our class’s opportunity to give OF the college.  There are some amazing kids that get to go to a college that their families can’t afford because people have given the gift OF the college through endowments and funds.  You will hear more about what is being planned, but let the seed be planted and see what sprouts!!!!

On to other subjects.  It would be really great if you would email me with news.  You could make stuff up about your classmates and I will print it because I don’t have time to verify the sources and information.  And since you know your classmates can send me stuff about you, maybe you could just send it yourself and I will evaluate which source I think might be the most reliable.  My email is


You may have read in the Quarterly that in May, Kim Amundson Adamsheck, Jeff’s wife, died after a long battle with cancer.  Let our prayers surround their family, praying for their comfort in our Lord’s promise that Kim WON her final battle.

Paul Holmgren lives in Kalispell, Montana and is still teaching 7th grade phy-ed and health and loves every minute of it.  (I HAD three 7th graders, how can that possibly be true?)

Beth Wald Hanzal lives in Shoreview, Minnesota and works in human resources for Land O’ Lakes.

Ann Kilander Werner lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  Hi Annie!!!!

Jim Simpson and his wife, Randa K. Grinolds-Simpson ’78, live in Fairmont, Minnesota.

Karen Jones Wojahn teaches school in Windom, Minnesota and is a very accomplished organist.  (Karen, you never even mentioned you played the organ when we carpooled to Mankato for student teaching everyday for a semester!)

Kristine Westrom, a physician, has been awarded a three-year fellowship from the NIH Center for complementary and alternative medicine to research and write.  Along the way, she is expected to complete a Master’s in Clinical Research in the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and obtain a graduate minor in complementary therapies from the University’s Center for Spirituality and Healing.  Whew!  She is honored to have been chosen for the fellowship,  and we are honored to have a classmate achieving the standards she has.

Writer, actor, and storyteller extraordinaire, Kevin Kling, (He wears a lot of hats, get it?  Kevin, hats….) received a cool honor last spring.  Among his zillions of other accomplishments, he won a Distinguished Alumni Citation from Gustavus for his accomplishments in the field of theatre.  You probably remember that he was also one (the other was Patti Pellikka, M.D.) of our First Decade Award winners way back in 1989.  It is amazing how many recommendations go through the alumni office for consideration each year.  Kevin’s accomplishments put him in a category of some pretty amazing individuals.  There was no question that he should be a recipient and our whole class should be proud of his accomplishments.  (Does one have to be a participant in his growth to be proud?  Nah, we can just be proud that we are in the same class.  That works.)

Some campus happenings of interest:

Welcome Class of 2006

Approximately 690 new students arrived on campus this fall keeping the total student enrollment just over 2500.  There are many interesting opportunities for first year students even before school starts with a community service immersion experience in the Twin Cities, a cultural study in Paris and a wilderness experience in the Boundary Waters.

Gustavus named a “Best Buy”

The Fiske Guide has again named Gustavus one of forty-three “Best Buys” in the country.  This is based on an exceptional investment of tuition money for an exceptional education.

Hello Walk Online Community is featuring several discussions this fall including Nobel Conference Director Tim Robinson discussing nature vs. nurture, and Political Science Professor Don Ostrom discussing the upcoming elections.  Join the conversation by going to <>

Gustie students start new community service initiative called the AMIGOS program.  The 65 Spanish speaking volunteers serve the growing Chicano-Latino population in St. Peter by providing after-school tutoring, teaching ESL classes to adults and serve as big partners.  This program is in addition to the other on-going and one-time service opportunities that 75% of students participate in while at Gustavus.

Building a Great Gustavus Campaign was launched to the public on Saturday, September 7.  Since the tornadoes of 1998, the campaign has raised $77 million toward a $100 million goal.  The focus of the remainder of the campaign is on funding renovations in Old Main, growing endowment, and increasing gifts and participation in the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Your personal financial support  and your leadership are needed and greatly appreciated.

Minnesota Legislature Cuts Financial Aid

Due to cuts with the Minnesota State Legislature, Gustavus lost $400,000 in money for student employment.  The college continues to work hard to meet financial needs of students since nearly 80% of Gustavus students receive financial assistance.  This includes $14 million from the colleges own budget.  Your support of the annual fund goes directly to help these students and is especially needed to help make up the financial gap for these current students.

Upcoming Events

Nobel Conference, The Nature of Nurture is October 1 & 2 focusing on child development.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is December 6 & 7 the theme this year will be songs, stories and legends from Scandinavia.

Bye for now.  Please stay in touch.  Or get in touch!


Paula Larson Penrod  (John Penrod’s clerically-challenged clerical assistant and permanent date)

New 1979 Co-class Agents