Class of '81
April 2004

Dear Classmates,

Spring is here!  It's wonderful to hear those birds singing and see the sun shining everywhere around us after such an unrelenting winter.  I hope this fresh new season finds all of you full of energy and enjoying life.

I have just returned from a delightful trip to San Francisco with my 10-year-old niece.  I have always loved that city, but now seeing it through a child's eyes, I found it even more special.  I highly recommend it, as a perfect destination with children - don't miss the Exploratorium if you have kids under 12!  We learned fun magic tricks and all sorts of card tricks that will certainly come in handy the next time I find myself at a stuffy gathering that needs a little excitement thrown in.  While climbing those steep and unending hills I could not help but think of Sara Sandvig Ljungman who navigated them expertly during her years living there.  Sara clearly did not learn how to park on those hills while living in South Minneapolis!

Traveling with nieces and nephews is the perfect escape from the stress of work and everyday life - with them in tow, I have no time to worry about anything other than keeping smiles on their faces!  I recently spent an exhausting four days in Disney World with TWO nephews!   After my fourth ride on Buzz Lightyear in one day, I took over managing the control stick so as to save myself from the embarrassment of collapsing in a dizzy stupor upon disembarking.

Other than aging quickly with the help of my niece and nephews, things have remained unchanged in my life.  I am still busy at work but enjoying being a florist and interacting with interesting people.  I am very much enjoying my volunteer activities both with the Gustavus Linneaus Arboretum board and with the Hastings Public Schools Foundation.  The Arboretum continues to offer great learning opportunities to all volunteers and visitors and has connected me with wonderful friends from decades before and after our time.  The Foundation keeps me very busy here.  We are creating an endowed fund to augment educational opportunities for students and better prepare them for the next chapter in their lives as they graduate from our schools.  In addition to enjoying working to better something I have such a passion for - education - this endeavor has afforded me the opportunity to do what I really love doing…planning parties!  The only difference, of course, is that these parties are fund-raisers.  When I have the chance to chat with Gustie classmates, I find that most of you are also involved in volunteering in a wide variety of causes.  Somehow those four years we spent on the hill in St. Peter seemed to instill in us a strong sense of community and willingness to give to others.  I often notice how many Gusties show up in magazines around the area for their efforts on behalf of others.


  • Sara Sandvig Ljungman (in Ann Arbor now, where the hills are significantly reduced!) recently spent six months in Stockholm, Sweden where her husband, Mats, was on sabbatical. 
  • Jane Strom Taylor, Plymouth, is in the Wayzata office of ReMax Results.
  •   Karl and Sue Ruchotzke Self, Karl continues to head the Community-University Health Care Center. 
  • Laurie Meuser Goodwater is currently working as a licensed social worker at Burns Manor Nursing Home in Hutchinson. 
  • Bryan D. Johnson is self-employed as a dentist and owner of Family Dental Care in North Mankato. 
  • Shelley Swanson Dreibelbeis is a physical therapist and lives in Johnston, Iowa. 
  • Susan Bold Schumacher, Plymouth, is a geriatric clinical nurse specialist (she is working with patients not much older than we are now!!!).
  •   Julie Wiggins Nadeau, Universal City, TX, is an adjunct faculty member in the nursing department of the University of the Incarnate Word.
  • Dean Stambaugh is director of information technology at Merrill Communications and still involved in Exalt Music Ministry. 
  • Martha Risendal McCartney is now working at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St Paul, as an accountant.
  •   Barb Gerke Weber, St Peter, was recently promoted to the director of operations at Scholarship America.
  •   Scott and Katherine Carson Klug,  Scott is a feeder driver with UPS and Kathy is an attorney with Melon Financial Services. 
  • Beth Onkka Stuckey, St. Peter, is a nursing instructor at South Central Technical College in Mankato and also picks-up a few shifts in the critical care unit at Immanuel St. Joseph Hospital also in Mankato.  Her husband, Randall '81, is director of alumni relations at Gustavus.
  • Karen Scharmer Hendrickson is a teacher in the Albert Lea School District. 
  • Teri Smith Deetz is a pension consultant at Invesmart. 
  • Shelley Simmering is the owner of Interia.
  • Peggy Johnson Aanonson, is teaching music at North Polk West Elementary School. 
  • Jennifer Berg Spellman, Westminster, CO, is employed at Requisite Technology.
  •   Becky Redepenning Diekmann is a self-employed beautician and Mary Kay consultant.
  •   Jean Andreasen, St Paul, is a marketing coordinator for Midwest Food Alliance.
  •   Julie Videen Finch is an attorney and just made partner - on a unanimous vote - at Rider Bennett Egan and Arundel.
  •  Sandy Hiniker Ammentorp and her husband, Matt, Matt is a sales manager at Network Appliance in Bloomington.
  • Sharon Bartelt Bridges is continuing her work in therapeutic horseback riding.
  • Ann Bergstrom is a chaplain at Walker Methodist Health Center. 
  • Nathan Sager, Virginia, MN, is serving as senior pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church and teaches classes in philosophy and religion at Mesabi Range Community College. 
  • Jerry and Carol Robinson Nettleton.  One of them has just been elected Cubmaster - it is just not clear to me which one!  Carol is busy keeping the house running and Jerry is a software engineer with ACUO Technologies.
  • Gary and Heather Fawkes Braun, he is working as a principle scientist at Tetra Tech FW working on cleaning up contaminated sediment. 
  • Mary Rolf Bodin is continuing her work at Fairview University as a kidney transplant coordinator.
  • Jon Rudberg, he and his wife, Sue, are both physicians at Mesaba Clinic and live in Hibbing.
  • Terry Meyer manages research for seed companies. 

Rolf Carlson, Duluth, is finishing his dissertation in political science.

Sandy Nieland completed her master's of education degree from Winona State University in December.

Susan Bradley Skov married Robert Bradley Skov on August 2, 2003.

Please also consider joining Heimer and me for Phonorama on April 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  You can register on-line at or call toll free:  866-487-3863.   We will again be using cell phones donated by Sprint PCS.   This is a great time to connect with fellow Gusties.  Call your friends and get a group together to attend!  We are so close to achieving 50% participation in this, our 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.  With your help at Phonorama and gifts to the Alumni Fund, we can achieve our goals.  Remember, May 31 is the close of the Alumni Fund so please send your gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope.  Or you can drop us an e-mail by going to the Gustavus web site and clicking on class agent, you will find both Heimer and me.  We love to hear from classmates!

Wishing all of you a glorious spring,

Leslie Nielsen

1981 Co-class Agent

Campus News

President Peterson to be inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson '64 will be inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18 include 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.  A complete schedule of events is posted on the Gustavus web site.

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven't given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

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.

Winter sports summary

Women's basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men's basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men's hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women's hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men's swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women's swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men's nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women's nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6-1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women's indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships. 

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.

Upcoming events

President Jim Peterson '64 Inauguration - April 16

Association of Congregations Meeting - April 17

G.I.V.E Community Service Day - April 17

Reception for President Peterson and Nobel Symphony Concert in Minneapolis - April 18

Phonorama - April 25-29, Central Lutheran Church

Cec Eckhoff Society Reception - May 1

Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club Reunions - May 28 & 29

Commencement - May 30

Alumni Fund closes - May 31