Class of '81
March 2008

Let’s see, write a class letter…do the taxes…write a class letter…do the taxes..class letter was due in January…taxes due sometime in April.  Am I more afraid of classmates or the IRS?  Could scrap the whole conflict and watch “Deal or No Deal” again.  Nope―class letter it is!

First a little about me―the Heims anyway.  Gustavus seems to be a big part of our lives these days.  As I write this, Susie (Bjorling) ’83, my wife, is hosting a calling party for her class contacting classmates to hype their 25th reunion.  That brings back some good memories for me.  Seems like just yesterday I was doing the same and of course that means we’re about to be celebrating our 27th.  Ouch!  Speaking of time flying, the Heims will have a Gustie graduating this year.  Our oldest, Peter, graduates with a K-8 teaching degree.  He’ll be student teaching in the fall, then off to the real world.  Our other son, Erik, is a senior in high school.  We’re anxiously awaiting his college decision, which is down to Gustavus, Hamline and the University of Minnesota (not necessarily in that order).  Though we want him to decide on a school that will be best for him and we are not the type of people to use our parental roles to influence his decision, we do however want him to GET OVER IT AND GO TO GUSTAVUS!!! (if he so chooses).

We lost Susie’s mother, Janet Neidt Bjorling, class of ’58, in January after a long battle with cancer.  With husband Anders ’58, she owned and managed Swedish Kontur in downtown St. Peter.  Her final months meant a lot of time spent in St. Peter for our family and ultimately a funeral in Christ Chapel.  It was a horrible time, but also a time for family togetherness and we experienced this with our Gustavus family too.

Have I ever given myself a plug for my job?  Well, I need some help here.  I lease and manage real estate in the Twin Cities.  My primary assignment is leasing an office building near the Southtown Shopping Center in Bloomington.  I think I’m good at what I do, but my owners believe we have too much vacant space.  So…if by chance anyone has a business (or knows of someone) looking for space, I can help!

OK, now for the rest of the class.  Laurie Mueser Goodwater is a social worker at Burns Manor in Hutchinson.  She reports that her daughter attends Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN and her sons (16 and 12) are both into hockey, hockey, hockey.  Laurice Anderson has a lot to share.  She is active at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Richfield and sings with the Blue Moon Singers, a group that originates out of this church.  They are available for business luncheons, afternoon teas, weddings, funerals and other parties.  Laurice has also taken vows for a religious order for laity called the Order of the Daughters of the King.  She works as senior certified pharmacy technician at Walgreens in the Twin Cities and is also finishing up a master’s of biological sciences degree to go with her life sciences teaching degree for middle and high school.  She also has a son at Gustavus who is a sophomore.  Just writing about this makes me feel like I need to take a nap.

Sue Seiwert Conner lives in Riverside, Illinois and is a lawyer with Cassidy & Schade LLP.  Kathy Erickson Anderson is a homemaker in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Twila Brase is president of Citizen’s Council on Health Care (CCHC), an independent non-profit free-market, national health care policy organization.  She also represents citizens as a board member of the Patient Safety Institute and is an advisor to LifeSharers, an organ donation initiative based in Missouri.  Twila has been active in supporting patients’ rights and has had articles published, has provided testimony before the Minnesota legislature presented to a wide variety of medical groups and has given several interviews for the news media.

John Hogenson is lead pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.  John also serves on the boards of Inter-Faith Outreach Community Partners, Putting Family First and the Wayzata Teen Clinic.  He leads workshops on Spiritual Well, Physically Fit for Ministry; Creating a Mission Minded, Permission Giving Culture; and Hiring, Building a Healthy Effective Staff Team.  Sharon Pridal Hunt lives in Sioux Falls, SD and is employed at Sanford Women’s Health.  Michael Leither, who I didn’t recognize right away at the reunion, lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan and is employed by Michigan Manual Physical Therapy.

Jim Hartmann lives in Minneapolis and is a software engineer with Wardrop Inc.  Rebecca Wolf Everett is vice president of training and development for Bachrach and Associates, Inc. in San Diego.  Mark Allen is executive vice president and CFO at Ziegler.  Dean Stambaugh is director of information technology at Merrill Communications and is also head girls basketball coach at Breck.  Sandi Samuelson Thompson is living in Tucson and is a school psychologist in the Vail (AZ) school district.  Sandi and her husband, Joel, have two boxers, Gracie and Ruben.  They manage and sponsor a cycling team and also love to scuba dive.  In 2007 they took a trip to the Solomon Islands.

I’m back after looking up the Solomon Islands―they’re by New Guinea!  I’ve never been there, but I went to Nebraska a lot when I was a kid (my cousins had a cabin on a lake).  I’m just proud to say that soon we’ll have graduated two kids from Edina High School and none of us have ever been to Cancun for spring break.  Believe it or not, this spring break we will be going to Disney World.  Our son plays on the high school baseball team and their spring trip will be playing baseball at Disney World.

What would a class letter be without a plea for your annual donation to Gustavus?  Not sure I have a new angle this time, just keep dear old Gustavus in mind with your giving.  Having children going through the college years only reinforces my feelings for the value of education.

Happy Spring!


1981 Co-class Agent

Campus News

World Renowned Primate Expert Speaks in the Twin Cities

Frans B.M. de Waal, a Dutch psychologist, primatologist, and animal behavior expert, will present two public lectures as part of a residency through the Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College funded by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell.  De Waal will present “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in Alumni Hall on campus and “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist” at 7 p.m. April 8 at the Great Clips IMAX Theater at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.  DeWaal’s research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing.  In 2007, de Waal was named to the “TIME 100”—a list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world according to Time magazine.  As part of his residency at Gustavus, de Waal is also co-teaching the course “Neuroscience Capstone” with Gustavus Professor of Psychology Janine Wotton.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson '55 at 763-533-9083.  Upcoming dates:

  • April 16 - featuring Linnaeus Arboretum Director, Cindy Johnson-Groh
  • May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.


The women’s hockey team became the first team to finish the MIAC women’s hockey season undefeated.  The team is currently ranked #3 in the country going into the playoffs.  The men’s tennis team claimed its fourth ITA Division III Team Indoor Title in the eight year history of the tournament.  The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the MIAC Championship.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Naples, FL Chapter Gathering – March 29
  • “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy,” Rydell Lecture - April 3 on campus
  • “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist,” Rydell Lecture - April 8 at Minnesota Zoo
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Austin, TX Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31