Class of '81
February 2006


Class of 1981

Reunion dates ― October 6 & 7, 2006

February 2006

Dear Friends:

Mike Potter here.  It has been at least 10 years since I have had the opportunity to write a class letter.  However, I do remember the first class letter that I wrote in 1981.  I asked you to donate your housing deposit as your first gift to the Alumni Fund.  I remember how tight the job market was and how I had to manage every dollar like it was my last.

I certainly remember the interest rate on my first house purchased in 1984 ― 17.75%.  We were all focused on getting married, having a family, getting jobs and building our careers.  For some of you it was going on to graduate school and more challenge and expense.  That first year in 1981 almost 300 of you made the decision to donate your housing deposit.  I felt honored to be a part of a large class that understood it was time to give back to the institution that had taken care of us for four years.  Over the past 25 years I have come up with the following reasons on why I give to this college that almost no one can spell correctly.

Why We Give to Gustavus:

1.  I met my wife at Gustavus and I will always be grateful that there were sororities where beautiful girls had to ask guys out on a date.

2.  I remember Ross Bloomquist ’45 giving me my financial aid package and work-study package so I could afford Gustavus.  I figure I need to return the favor of an Alumni gift that was given in 1976 that allowed me to go to Gustavus.

3.  My wife’s mother and grandmother both went to Gustavus.  So we have that whole family connection thing going on.

4.  Gustavus has been instrumental in my friendships, my career, my mentors, my life.  How could I not give back?  In 1981 each dollar was so hard to come by and you gave.  This year on our 25th year anniversary I am asking you to give again.  Each gift will be joyfully accepted and put to immediate work.  I know there are so many competing organizations for your dollars but make this donation for you.  Remember back through the years, renew the friendships on October 6-7, 2006, remember the folks who supported you back in the late 1970’s.  This year Kris (Samelian) and I increased our yearly pledge 2.5 times to recognize 25 years as a Gustie and to honor Evelyn Young ’33.  Make your gift in some denomination of $25 in celebration of our 25th reunion!  I am looking forward to seeing all of you down in St. Peter in October.  I think we will have one fun weekend!

Class News:

Remember to send in class photos from the class of 1981 to Kathryn Erlandsen, Associate Director of The Gustavus Fund, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN 56082 or at:

Julie Mauston Kemp is teaching high school accounting and marketing classes and her husband, Mike ’75, continues to serve as the head hockey coach, daughter, Emily, is a freshman at Miami-Ohio.

Lisa Knutson Backer is planning on attending the reunion and has a daughter, Megan, who graduated from Gustavus in 2003, daughter, Kim, graduated from Iowa State in 2005, and son, Paul, is a junior in high school.

Susan Bold Schumacher published an article in MEDSURG Nursing and a chapter in a book by the Alzheimer’s association related to care of dementia patients in the hospital.  Her English classes at Gustavus have served her well.  She has a senior in high school considering Gustavus, a sophomore in high school and a daughter in grade school.

Pete Mumford wrote the following:  “25th reunion coming up―wow!  It’s hard to believe, but I guess having two grandsons and having been to Jim ’80 and Twyla (Olson ’79) Peasley’s 25th anniversary reception this past summer should have been a clue.  My wife, Laurie, and I celebrated our 21st anniversary last month.  We met in Sioux Falls, SD and we had lived there until 1997 when we moved to the Cities.  We’re now enjoying the semi-rural life in Dayton, MN.  Laurie just “retired” in April and is now enjoying the life of a semi-retired consultant.  Laurie had three children when we got married so I’ve had a head start.  Daughter, Beth, turns 31 this month and has two sons age 6 and 4.  I think I’m in the running for the oldest grandchildren in the class.  I also have twin sons who are 29 years old.  Nathan graduated from Gustavus in 1999.  I think I am also in the running for the first child of anyone in the class of ’81 to have a child graduate from Gustavus.  I will never forget the call we got the spring of 1998.  He had decided to stay on campus over spring break.  All he said was, “We just had a tornado go through but I’m fine.  Gotta go, others need to use the phone.”  He had been living in Wahlstrom and had been south of the dorm watching the storm come up when someone’s parents yelled at him and got him in the basement of the Swedish House.  Thank God for parents who watch out for other people’s children.  After having spent 20 years developing software for different organizations, I’m a principal test engineer at Secure Computing in Roseville.  My job is to see how badly I can make software fail and then let the developers figure out what’s wrong.  Sure is easier than being the guy who has to fix the problem―wish I’d made this job change years ago, it would have saved a lot of long days.  That's probably a good summary for 25 years.”

Scott Klein is a full professor and chair of the theatre arts department at Cameron University in Lawton, Okalahoma.  In 2004 Scott was named “Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communications Theatre Educator of the Year!”

Becky Stelljes Huebner is the hospital mycologist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.  She and her husband, David Huebner, have four children and live in Mendota Heights.  “I volunteer as a biology tutor at St. Croix Lutheran High School.  I head the Sponsor a Family program that pathology laboratory participates in every December.  We work with the Lutheran Social Services/Catholic Charities St. Paul branch to provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged families.  It is incredibly rewarding work.  I enjoy my work immensely.  I find it very rewarding to be able to so directly impact patient care.  My areas in micro include mycology, mycobacteriology, and bacteriology.  My next addition will be parasitology.  Regions is a hot bed of diversity―both employees and patients.  We see exotic diseases.  We rub elbows daily with people of many colors, languages, and national origins.  I love that part of working at Regions.”

Campus News:

Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus continues to be a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  Consistent with its mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus was ranked seventh in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of the institute’s "Open Doors 2005" report.  Gustavus was one of four Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20.  The report was based on study abroad statistics from the 2003-04 academic year.  Gustavus students engage in international learning through various programs in more than 100 locations throughout the world, ranging from Australia to India and Ecuador to Sweden.  In recent years, 50 percent of Gustavus graduates have participated in at least one study-abroad experience.

New Carnegie Classification for Colleges and Universities

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a new classification system for institutions of higher education.  Gustavus’ classification is Arts & Sciences plus Professions, indicating that 60 to 80 percent of Gustavus students complete a traditional liberal arts major, such as political science, classics, or biology.  The new classifications describe five aspects of colleges and universities: instructional programs, enrollment profile, undergraduate demographics, size, and setting.  Undergraduate instructional programs are now designated as Arts & Sciences Focus, Arts & Sciences plus Professions, Balanced Arts & Sciences and Professions, Professions plus Arts & Sciences, or Professions Focus. 

Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association, in partnership with Meyer and Associates and Liberty Mutual, offers an insurance program to alumni and their families.  Products include insurance policies for life, short-term medical, auto, home, and renters.  For life and short-term medical insurance call Meyer and Associates at 800-635-7801 or visit  For auto, home, and renters insurance call Liberty Mutual at 800-524-9400 or visit

Gustavus to Perform at Orchestra Hall

The Gustavus Music Showcase will be Sunday, March 12, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  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.  For tickets, call the Orchestra Hall box office at 800/292-4141.  Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students 18 and under.


Two big stories from the fall sports are that Hailey Harren won the national NCAA Division III cross country title and the men’s soccer team became the first MIAC school to play in the national championship game and finished second, losing 1-0 to defending national champion Messiah.  For the second consecutive year, men's soccer coach Larry Zelenz has been named Coach of the Year in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas NCAA Division III West Region.  The men's hockey team is unbeaten in conference play, outscoring their opponents 28-5 in four games.

Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students participated in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra toured Eastern Europe Jan. 14-30.  Performances were scheduled for Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Austria.  The Gustavus Choir toured Jan. 27-Feb. 11 with performances in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel will tour during Spring Semester.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall - March 12
  • Atlanta, GA Gustie Gathering - March 26

Keep the class news coming.  Please be patient and kind to your classmate callers who may have called or are still in the act of calling.  The College makes a huge effort to put on these reunion weekends and our contributions, allows this support to happen.


Mike Potter

1981 Former Class Agent/Guest Writer