Class of '81
May 2006


Class of 1981

Reunion dates ― October 6 & 7, 2006

May 2006

Greetings, fellow classmates, in this 25th reunion year!

I succumbed to a little pressure from those persuasive class agents of ours, Leslie Nielsen and Steve Heim, and agreed to fill you in on classmate and campus news as well as do my best to persuade you to head to St. Peter this fall for our reunion.  So, here goes!

First, I, Denise Connly Fleming, must share a story.  In 1998, my husband, Joe (University of Iowa alum), children (Katie and Emily, joined by little sister Libby in 1999) and I moved back to the Twin Cities after spending 11 great years in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We settled in North Oaks, a small north metro community.  At a neighborhood gathering several weeks later, we met our next-door neighbors.  Something was really familiar about the man, but I couldn’t quite place it.  I asked about his hometown, where he worked, etc. trying to find any connection that we might have.  Then I asked where he went to school. 

“A small school in southern Minnesota called Gustavus,” was his reply.

“SO DID I!” was my response.  “What year?”


“ME TOO!!”  Now the clincher.  “What was your major?” I asked.



I don’t recall meeting any other neighbors that evening, as I reconnected with a fellow Gustie!

Now, think about it.  I imagine we had about 30 accounting major grads in 1981.  What are the odds that we’d end up as next-door neighbors 17 years later?  My neighbor is Mike Gustafson.  By the way, we figured out that we probably didn’t get to know each other in class because I was a “front row” kind of gal and he preferred the back of the room…

In my early career years I tried to deny my accounting roots (does anyone else have visions of Ellery Peterson ’49, Charlie Wagner, and Lorna Bungum carved in their brains?  If not, maybe that’s what happens to you when you sit in the front row.)  Ultimately, however, I learned that my liberal arts background as well as my accounting degree provided me with wonderful stepping-stones to go many different directions, both personally and professionally.  (Aside:  I currently teach accounting and finance classes at Bethel University.  Sometimes we cannot escape our roots!)

So, when was the last time you went back to campus?  I imagine for some, it’s been a while.  Here is your chance to see what’s changed (and what’s stayed very much the same) at Gustavus.  Please come to our reunion weekend, October 6-8, 2006.  Your class reunion planning committee is putting together a fun-filled, variety-filled weekend of reconnecting with classmates and reminiscing about those years we shared together.

A sneak peek at what’s on tap:

Friday, October 6

Gather in Mankato at the Best Western (we have a block of rooms reserved for our class).  Join one (or more!) of several pre-parties prior to re-grouping for the all-class reunion party in the banquet room.  Enjoy music, conversation, and many photos from our past!

Saturday, October 7

In the morning, head to campus for several optional group activities, including campus tours, scavenger hunts, Bookmark shopping and dining opportunities (by the way, you must try out the food service in the new Evelyn Young dining room.  Really!!).  This year’s homecoming game should be a good one, too:  Gustavus vs. Bethel at 1:00 p.m.  Following the game, we’ll gather at the Linnaeus Arboretum for conversation, outdoor activities and games, and a casual dinner.  The Arb wasn’t much when we were students, but you’re sure to be impressed now.  You won’t want to miss the after dinner activities either:  our very own 1981 classmate, Neal Hagberg and his soul mate Leandra Peak (’83), will be performing on campus Saturday evening.  We’ll then head to the local establishments in St. Peter for old time’s sake.

Again, this schedule isn’t completely finalized; more information will be coming your way in the next few months.  Your class reunion committee is hard at work to ensure our 25th reunion is one to remember, so please plan to join us!  Contact your 1981 classmates and get them to come as well.

One more request:  the reunion committee is looking for fun photos from your years at Gustavus.  Special events, barn busts, concerts, graduation...or just goofing around in the dorm...we want to include them all!  If you have any photos you would be willing to share during our reunion gathering, they can be submitted one of two ways:


Scan your photo and email to:  kathy@hoffmktg.com_

If you don't have access to a scanner, please mail your photos to:

Kathy Rehwaldt

5815 Dunkirk Lane North

Plymouth, Minnesota 55446

We will scan your photos and return them to remember to include a return address.


  • Has there been a class letter in the last 25 years when we weren’t wowed by the accomplishments of Dr. Scott Dee?  This edition is no exception.  Dr. Dee’s latest honor is that he has been installed as the president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.   Congratulations, Scott!  He also currently is a professor in the Swine Disease Eradication Center at the University of Minnesota.
  • Nanci Olesen, a.k.a. the MOMbo podcaster, recently switched formats of her syndicated radio show MOMbo so that it can be heard in podcast form.  MOMbo features interviews with childcare experts and commentaries from writers around the country.  Intrigued?  Tune in to to learn more.
  • Brian Marquardt is serving our country as an active duty officer in the Army in Germany.
  • Lia Andreassen Ferrell is a legal secretary and works for the Legal Aid Society.
  • Sandy Lewis is employed as a manager with the U.S. State Department.
  • Jean Andreasen, general manager for Pastureland, an organic dairy cooperative, reports that the cooperative has taken top honors for butter at the American Cheese Society judging and competition for two consecutive years.
  • Mary Holte Bauer is a student at Luther Seminary.
  • Carrie Armstrong was awarded the Ecolab National Sales Achievement Award for 2005.
  • Scott and Kathy Carson Klug headed out of the big city and recently moved to Spring Valley, Wisconsin.
  • Next time you’re antiquing on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park, you might run into Lori Rutter Anderson.  Lori recently bought Europine Imports, a vintage and antique import store specializing in goods from Belgium, Holland, Amsterdam, and United Kingdom.
  • Steve Heim and Susie (Bjorling ’83) are proud to announce that oldest son, Peter, is following in his dad’s footprints and will be a collegiate fellow at Gustavus this fall.
  • Bruce and Kathy Hoff Rehwaldt reside on a lovely hobby farm (horses in the pasture and everything) and are keeping tabs on daughter, Molly, an engineering sophomore at Michigan Technological University, and son, Tommy, a junior at Wayzata High School who lives for hockey.
  • And while Patrick Boline is celebrating the birth of his son, Aidan Matthew, this past year, Tom Opsahl welcomed his first grandson, Caleb, born to oldest daughter Alicia in March 2006.  By the way, those of you with teenage girls might find it fascinating to note that Tom’s daughter Alicia starred as “Laney” in the recently released movie Stick It.
  • And finally, some very sad news to report:  Some of you may not have heard that classmate Eric Lund passed away on April 4 this year after suffering from meningioma.  We will miss his adventurous spirit at the reunion.


Fine Arts

“Photographs and Stories of Refugee Women: Perseverance, Dignity, Strength, Hope, and Peace” will be on display until June 29 in Linner Lounge.  Jane (Koch) Kramer, an English as a Second Language instructor in a nursing assistant training program for new Americans in St. Paul, met the five women featured in the display as they trained in the program.  This exhibit illustrates the difficulties of being a refugee and adapting to American culture.  Kramer dedicates this exhibit to the memory of her father, the Rev. Ronald Koch ’61.  He served on the Gustavus Board of Trustees for 10 years and coordinated Pastor-to-Pastor, a pastoral support program co-sponsored by Gustavus and the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA.

Electra will be performed in Anderson Theatre, May 11-14.  Written by Sophocles, and newly translated by classics professor Eric Dugdale, this is a superb ancient drama with modern questions.  It is directed by Rob Gardner and choreographed by Maria Gomez Tierney.


The softball team ended St. Thomas’ 49-game winning streak against Division III opponents and 28 consecutive games against MIAC opposition.  Gustavus has won 23 of 26 games this season.  The baseball team is on a 7-game winning steak.  The Gustavus men's golf team finished 3 shots ahead of region rivals St. John’s and UW-Eau Claire to claim first place honors at its own Bobby Krig Invitational.  Women's tennis won its 21st MIAC championship and the men's tennis team won its 18th consecutive MIAC championship.  The men's and women's golf teams will compete next week in the NCAA Division III national tournament.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Reunion for Class of 1956 and 50-Year Club — May 26-27
  • Commencement — May 28
  • Gustavus Alumni Fund closes for fiscal year — May 31
  • Gusties Gather! — August 6
  • Nobel Conference on Medicine — October 3 & 4
  • Reunions for classes:  1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 — October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend — October 7 & 8

One final reminder:  please join your 1981 classmates in giving to the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  We’d love to report a record number of participants in our reunion year.  We’re currently at 30% with a goal to reach 50% participation!

That’s it for now.  I’m looking forward to lots of hugs in October!

Until then,

Denise Connly Fleming

1981 Reunion Committee