Class of '79
June 2004


It won’t take you long to notice that this class letter is not as well written, fun or informed as the ones you have been receiving recently.  Those of you that know Paula and me have undoubtedly figured out that Paula was the mastermind behind those great letters and that it is now my turn…sorry.  She makes it look so easy…(painful memories of being the only senior in freshmen English are flooding back to me).

I had a “moment in time” on a recent trip I took to Alaska.  My business meeting was a success (boring), the scenery was beautiful, and as a bonus I got to meet many of the Iditarod sled dog mushers who were getting ready for the race and were staying at my hotel in Anchorage (very cool).  What made the trip truly great, however, was the dinner I had with Bill and Sandy (Wheat) Ingaldson and John and Sue (Gardner) Zager.  It is absolutely amazing how quickly and easily one can jump back twenty-five years by simply getting together with a group of classmates.  Trust me, time travel is indeed possible!  Experience this for yourself by attending our reunion at Homecoming.

Speaking of time, I know you are familiar with the phrase “time is money.”  In the case of our class gift however, “participation is money.”  We need a lot more participation to make this a meaningful gift.  Fortunately, there is still time!  Remember, our plan is to create a Class of ’79 Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide direct support to students.  Think of it this way:  Instead of giving a gift to Gustavus we are “Giving a Gift of Gustavus.”  Both students and the college benefit from this approach, and we will feel great for pooling our resources to create this lasting legacy.  Please dig deeply, and act quickly.  Here’s how: 

1.      Thoughtfully consider what you are able to contribute...$250 represents only $10 per year since you graduated – one movie per year, a couple vente know what I am saying.

2.      Get out your checkbook.

3.      Write a check to Gustavus, noting that is it for the Class of ’79 Scholarship Fund.

4.      Mail it to Gustavus Alumni Fund – Class of ’79, 800 W. College Avenue, St. Peter, MN  56082.

5.      Don’t hesitate.  Make the class look good...I know how many of you contribute so graciously to your communities, your churches, the many worthwhile medical and social causes, your children’s activities and funds, etc.  Our class giving doesn’t represent what the class of ‘79 is “made of.”  PLEASE PARTICIPATE!

Lastly, please come to the class reunion in the fall!  It is a very diverse weekend with many entertaining may attend as few or as many events as you wish.  Many are planning to come from far away.  Especially, to those of you that are within driving range...please, make a special effort to be there.  Kid’s schedules are NO excuse... Cash in those carpool favors.  Or, surely, someone will need to go to a stupid St. Olaf reunion someday and you can pay him or her back.

See you at Homecoming!

Campus News~

President Peterson inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson ’64 was inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18, included a symposium featuring Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, tree dedication, Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, G.I.V.E. community service day in St. Peter, music concert, art exhibition, and an alumni reception preceding the Nobel Symphony Concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus’ annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Alumni survey

An alumni survey was sent to 2,000 members of reunion classes.  Approximately 600 have responded as of April 1.  Questions on the survey consist of how well Gustavus prepared them for employment and graduate education, activities involved in while at Gustavus, personal growth skills, alumni events and services, and overall satisfaction with the College.  Results of the survey will be included in the Fall Quarterly.

Did you know …

●Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.

●There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.

●More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.

●For student safety, the campus is well-lit, there is 24-hour Safety and Security patrol and escort service, residence halls are locked 24 hours a day, and there are blue light emergency phones throughout campus linked directly to Safety and Security.

●And looking back -- during the college’s early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.


John Penrod

1979 Co-class Agent