Class of '81
March 2006


Reunion dates ― October 6 & 7, 2006

March 2006

Dear Classmates,

What was I (Barb Nelson Hutson) thinking back in September, when I volunteered to write a class letter?  I even had ideas of what I would write.  I never wrote them down, so I am starting with no idea of what I will write.  I guess that is what I do.  I volunteer a lot.  I volunteer at the kid’s school, at my work, with Boy Scouts and Venturing, at church, in our neighborhood and at home.  I have had a lot more volunteer positions and duties than paid work, and some of it not very glamorous but still work that someone has to do.  So here goes nothing!

When I think of all of the things I have done in the past 25 years, none of them were even in my imagination in March of 1981.  I was thinking of spring break, going to South Carolina to meet Dick’s parents, the Flea spring banquet, and getting a tan.  I was starting to think about jobs, and some of us were interviewing and arranging for our first jobs.  Everything ahead was beyond the imagination, and I don’t think I looked ahead very far.

Where did all of that time go?  What did we accomplish?  Is the world a better place?  Did the Gustavus education continue to help me learn new things?  Is the liberal arts model a good model in the age of personal computers and I-Pods?  I guess I believe in a small, liberal arts school for a comprehensive learning experience.  I am glad that it was not all classes and books, but also a lot of experiences and social learning.  It is amazing to read the Gustavus Quarterly and read about all of these very responsible people, doing very responsible things, leading very responsible lives.  We are the adults now, and many of us are the leaders of groups, companies.  How did that happen?

I was glad to have a reason to call a lot of people.  I still have a lot of people to call, and I promise we will get to everyone.  It is great to catch up, and find out what a huge variety of things we are all involved in!  From travels, to kids, to jobs, to curling and other fun activities― we are doing interesting things.

Now that Dick and I are helping our daughter, Sarah, choose a college, and motivating our son, Doug, to do well in high school, so he can have the same choices his sister has, I really feel like the adult.  We have three years of hands on parenting, before we become consultants to the kids.  Then, our lives will change again, and we will have a great deal of new experiences and we can become responsible to ourselves again.

I hope you will all feel nostalgic enough, and fond enough of the memories of the four years we shared at Gustavus, to come to our reunion on October 6-7.  I also hope you will support the college by sending them gifts each year, even if they are only the amount you put in a high school graduation card many weekends in May.  It would be great if we would all give at least $25 for the 25th reunion.  It would even be better if we were all together in St. Peter to share what incredible people we have grown up to be.

The plan is to have our main party, and pre-parties at the Best Western hotel in Mankato on Friday, October 6th.  We have reserved a banquet room, and will have hors d'oeuvres (why isn’t this word in spell check?) and music, with a cash bar on Friday night.  Banquet rooms and catered food are not cheap, but we will do our best to get the most value.  At the 20-year reunion, I never even saw the food, because I was talking so much.

On Saturday morning, we are planning a Scavenger Hunt on campus, to bring everyone around campus to see the new things, and revisit the old places.  The new apartments are great, and the students are friendly, and enjoy talking to old Gusties!  This is a family friendly day, so bring the kids and the spouse, if they will come.  There is a Homecoming football game and some people have talked about getting a special tent for our class to gather in and around.  After the game, our classmates and families will gather at the Arboretum to have brats, or a pig roast, since they will allow beer and wine on campus for dining events.  We will have a touch football game, bocce ball, and maybe even croquet!  So in other words we will gather for an on-campus party with lots of great conversations!

Saturday evening our classmates Neal Hagberg and Leandra Peak ’83 are performing on campus for a special Homecoming concert.  Many people would like to see them in concert, and Whiskey River or the Flame would welcome any others that are not able to attend.  We can all join together later for a post-party.  All in all, the committee feels it will be fun to get together, see the campus and get reacquainted all over again.  Once again, I hope you will all join us back at Gustavus on October 6th - 7th.

OK, that is enough of the letter part.  Now here is some of the catch up things people have learned in our phone calls:

On March 5th, the committee met to make some more phone calls.  That day, the people who said they planned to come to the reunion are as follows:  Steve  Heim, Leslie Nielsen, Mike Potter, Barb Nelson Hutson, Dick Hutson, Beth Brandsness Johnson, Sue Seiwert Connor, Janet Lawson Carlson, Tammy Olson Flolid and Stu Flolid ’82, Dave and Ruth (Prescott) Petersen, Bob Schnell, Mark Broberg, Deb Hauge Long, Wally Guptill, Arne Kildegaard, Ron S. Johnson, Gretchen E. Johnsen, Barb Gerke Weber.  Please add yourself to the list!


  • Barb Gerke Weber promoted to assistant vice president at Scholarship America
  • Jonathan Granlund is a project manager for residential construction for Shaw Street Lumber Co.
  • Jeri Bedient Buchholz is the director of Human Resources for the U.S. International Trade Commission, and lives in Silver Springs, MD.
  • Nancy Fleming Nelson is vice president and chief actuary at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
  • Bob Schnell works for Center Insurance Agency, Inc.
  • Mark Broberg is with the Department of Human Services at the State of Minnesota.
  • Beth Brandsness Johnson still works as a dentist sometimes, but mostly is a hockey mom.
  • Sue Seiwert Conner was named “Super Lawyer” for Medical Malpractice Defense Litigation in Chicago.
  • Tammy Olson Flolid is a paraprofessional with the Minnetonka school district, and also works at Lifetime Fitness.
  • Barb Nelson Hutson is working at Augsburg College, in Advancement Services, taking care of stock, insurance, annuity and planned gifts, and administering the scholarship program.
  • Janet Lawson and is working on two more children’s books.
  • Ed Drenttel is an attorney at Minneapolis based, Winthrop & Weinstine, and was featured in an article in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal February 3, 2006.
  • Tony Randgaard of Minneapolis, MN, is still at Northwest Airlines, managing the Cargo Call Center.
  • Denise Connly Fleming teaches undergraduate and graduate level classes at Bethel University.
  • Julie Altman Simacek is a teacher in the Rosemount/Apple Valley/Eagan school district for elementary children with autism.

Wally Guptill and his wife, Yvonne, live in Lino Lakes, MN.  Their son, David, is a freshman at Gustavus this year.  Wally and his two brothers, Bill and Gary, allow my son and husband to join them each year for deer hunting.  They will be visiting colleges during spring break, to help their daughter, Rachel, make a decision.  They will come to the reunion unless there is an activity with their German exchange students that same weekend.


Gail Throckmorton Mayer retired from the workforce a couple of years ago, and is now a full-time nursing student!  She is enjoying going to school with very young kids who think she is 35 years old.  She is living in Overland Park, KS and will come to the reunion unless she is scheduled that weekend for her clinical rotations for the nursing program. 


Campus News:

The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award:  Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations:  Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards:  Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Checks

Show your Gustavus pride every time your write a check.  You can now order checks with Old Main, Three Crowns, or the Gustavus football helmet at:

Gusties Helping Hurricane Victims

A group of 23 students spent three weeks during January in Mississippi aiding in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts of a town hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.  The group was student-led and sponsored by Men’s Christian Fellowship at Gustavus and coordinated through Lutheran Disaster Response.  While there the students provided many services, including clearing houses to the bare structure, rebuilding homes, working in kitchens, distributing supplies, and working in pastoral care, child care, and medical clinics.  The group was housed and fed in a “tent city” on the grounds of Christus Victor Lutheran Church.  This was one of the several vocation month experiences from which Gustavus students had the opportunity to choose.


Nordic Ski Team senior Erich Ziegler had a first-place finish among collegiate skiers in the15K freestyle at the NorAm SuperTour stop at Telemark Resort in Cable, Wisconsin.  Ziegler’s win was the first by a Gustavus skier in an NCAA/CCSA qualifier.  Men’s hockey continues to win, with a 7-1 record in the MIAC.  Men's swimming is 7-0 on the season and recently set two Lund Center pool record times.  Brad Hanson ’08 was victorious in the 1000 freestyle in a pool-record time of 9:51.46, and Matt Stewart ’09 posted a pool-record time of 1:44.49 to win the 200-freestyle. 

Upcoming Alumni Events

Gustavus Library Associates’ “Breakfast with the Easter Bunny” at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis — March 25

MAYDAY! Peace Conference on AIDS — April 19

Gustavus Association of Congregations Meeting — April 22

Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) Day of Community Service in Minneapolis — April 29

Please send pictures for a multi-media slide show we will have running on Friday night.  Kathy Rehwaldt will create this with pictures of you and your classmates, any time in the past 29 years!  Please send these by e-mail -

or send them directly to Kathy Rehwaldt at:  5815 Dunkirk Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55446.  She has promised to get them all back to us.


Barb Nelson Hutson

1981 Reunion Committee Member