Class of '81
February 2007

Dear Class of ’81:

Well, once again, I feel like I’m neglecting you.  I don’t want you to feel like we only care about you during reunion years.  It’s more that I haven’t had the time and/or the inspiration.  Actually I still don’t, but I’m making myself sit down at the computer.  Sometimes when I don’t have an original thought, I just recycle an old one.  What follows is an introduction I wrote for our reunion.  I thought it was kind of clever―I can still chuckle a bit when I reread it.  It maybe didn’t go over exactly as planned.  It was to introduce the Gustavus president, who was to greet our class.  Problem was, the President never made to our gathering.  Not one to adlib, I gave the introduction anyway.  I’ve since heard rumors that not everyone was even listening to me.  Well, Michael LaFountaine, here it is in print: 


Classmates from 1981, it is my pleasure to introduce the President of Gustavus Adolphus College, Jim Peterson.  Before I do, I need to warn you of something he’s going to try to do― he’s going to try to get you to become more “engaged” with the college.  I know this because he and his staff have already been working on me and the rest of the reunion committee.  He wants all of you to be more engaged.  He’s good too.  He makes a compelling case, so beware.

President Peterson, it’s only fair that I warn you, your task may not be easy.  Let me tell you a few things about the class of ’81.  We’re not easily fooled by slick talkers who use fancy “buzz words” and “catch phrases.”  We’re street smart, savvy.  We’ve been out in the world for 25 years now.  Let me explain.

The class of ’81 has yet to experience war.  We have been affected by some of the “operations” our government has conducted―like Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Our class does not have any salespeople, but we do have a large number of marketing reps.  The best of these are good at creating synergies and win-win situations.  After we graduated, we didn’t look for jobs, we networked.  We grew in our careers by team building, exercising good time management, and empowering others, while always being careful to not become users, or enablers.  We’ve found it is good to be proactive, rather than reactive.  We don’t have many problems, but we do have to work at conflict resolution.  We learned to work smarter, not harder.  We’re good at brainstorming and thinking outside the box.  We have experienced paradigm shifts.  We always try to be politically correct, lest we be forced to go through sensitivity training or possibly anger management.  Not many of us have been fired, but some have made lateral moves, been downsized, or even outsourced.  This happens when companies have to deal with an economic bubble.  We’re high tech, but we’ve been googled, spammed and blogged and it’s starting to take its toll on us.

We were proud of our memories when we left college.  Now we’re just happy if our computers have a lot of it.  Many of us had children.  No child left behind was something we practiced when we went to the zoo or the grocery store.  We took our kids to the doctor for wellness checks and had our co-pays reimbursed by our cafeteria 125 plans.  If there was extra money, some of us put it into an IRA, a 401K, or a 529.  We try to spend quality time with those we love.  We had latchkey kids, became soccer moms and now we’re helicopter parents.  When our girls were young, we didn’t think twice about buying them thongs.  Now we have to talk to them about safe sex (which in our day meant a mystery date with someone like, well, me).  We don’t go to church as much as past generations, but most of us are engaged in a faith journey.  Did I just say Engaged?  Maybe we’re not so much savvy as confused.

            PDA used to mean kissing in public

            Blackberry used to be a kind of fruit

            Fantasy football used to involve Ron Straka

            Surfing used to be done on water

            Cut and paste used to involve scissors

            Big boxes were something we used to make forts out of

            Bar codes used to be a kind of drinking etiquette

            Online used to mean not crooked

            CDs used to be savings instruments and… engaged…?

            Engaged was something we became while at Gustavus, but not to Gustavus

Class of ’81, President Peterson would like to say a few words.  President Peterson, Thank you for joining us and good luck!

OK, here’s some class news.  Some of it is getting to be old news, but here goes…

SUE MILLER SKINNER lives in Brainerd and is operations director for Minneapolis Heart Institute.  SHARON MALMER THOMAS lives in New York State.  She has a son at Southern New Hampshire College and another at James Madison University.  DEAN STAMBAUGH is employed at Merrill Communications and is on the high school basketball coaching staff at Irondale High School.  TOM SKOLD received a bachelor’s degree in food science from University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2006.  NAOMI HOKANSON PALMQUIST of Cloquet has a daughter attending Concordia/Moorhead.  PAUL BERNHARDSON lives in Lincoln, Nebraska and is a pediatrician with Complete Children’s Health.  JOAN McKEARNAN adopted a daughter on June 12, 2006 (DOB September 13, 2000).  Her name is Eyerusalem Alemu McKearnan.  DEAN LUNDGREN, Cannon Falls, is pastor at Urland Lutheran Church.  STEVE HOSTAGER, Iowa City, Iowa, is an accountant with River Products Company.

DR. DIANE BERGMAN PETERSEN, is a physician with Women’s Health Consultants.  She has also traveled to Bangladesh annually since 2003 to provide medical care and physician training.  She has also been the president of the board of directors of Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh since December, 2004.  JEAN WEISS MELTON-KOCH was married in 2005 after being widowed for six years.  Her household now contains four teenagers (WOW!).  Jean is a technology education teacher in Annapolis, Maryland.  LAURIE LARSON HANSEN is a homemaker with two girls and two boys.  Her days revolve around her kids sporting activities such as hockey, figure skating and golf.  JACQUE SCHWARTZ BRUNSBERG has a son who is a sophomore at Madison studying engineering and she has a seventeen-year-old daughter.  SALLY LENZ TOLLY, Neenah, Wisconsin has a daughter who is a senior at NYU, a son who is a freshman at St. Olaf and a son who is a freshman in high school.  SARAH McGOON LUND is a teacher in the Edina School District specializing in autism.  She has three daughters.  JULIE MORRIS BETCHWARS, Prior Lake is a financial planner with Boleen and Associates.  She has a daughter at St. Thomas and another daughter in high school.

JULIE BROWN HARTMANN has a son at California Lutheran.  She couldn’t make the reunion but plans to travel to Minnesota for Edina West’s 30th class reunion this summer (I didn’t volunteer for that committee, but I’ll look forward to seeing you at the reunion).  REBECCA WOLF EVERETT, San Diego, California, has a new position as senior director of instructional design for a training company, Bachrach and Associates.


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  theatre reunion to be held May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by a cast party which was held on February 10.  This was Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast included:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Alisa Pritchett ’85, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance was given for this unique celebration.

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau, given prior to Phil’s death last April, established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities broker and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, Realtor, or other professional?  Make it a Gustie!  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website at:  <>.

Career Connections with Students

Sign up now for the 2007 Gustavus Career Connections Reception.  The reception will be Monday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.  The gathering allows Gustavus alumni to provide advice, encouragement, and career networking opportunities to Gustavus students seeking internships and career opportunities.  Alumni are invited to attend and assist current students in their career search.  You do not have to be hiring at your company to attend – just willing to share your experience.  E-mail the Career Center at or call 507/933-7586 if you can attend or want more information.

Give Every Year to Gustavus?

Do you give to Gustavus every year and plan to give every year in the future?  Then you should become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Members of the Cec Eckhoff Society simply make the public commitment that they plan to give financially to Gustavus every year.  It does not matter how much you give and this is not a formal pledge for a certain amount of money.  Cec Eckhoff ’56 led the alumni office from 1963-1994.  Cec believed that part of being an alum of Gustavus was to give monetarily each year to the College.  To become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society, please call The Gustavus Fund office toll-free at 866/487-3863 or e-mail <>.  Thank you for your support of Gustavus!

Summer Sport Camps at Gustavus

Gustavus’ strong athletic tradition is evident with numerous summer sports camps featuring knowledgeable coaching staffs, acclaimed athletic facilities, and quality dining service and housing accommodations.  Camps offered this year include: golf, hockey, basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, throwing, and swimming.  For more information go to <> or contact the Athletic Department at


Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students participated in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir and the Gustavus String Orchestra.  The Gustavus Choir toured Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances were scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra toured Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra toured Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion – May 11-12

That’s all for now.  It was fun to see many of you at the reunion.  Thanks for all your support.  You make your class agents look good.

Steve Heim

1981 Class Agent