Class of 1981
30-Year Reunion

April 2011

Reunion Dates September 30-October 1, 2011

Dear Class of ’81:

Hope you are ready for this one−it’s been almost thirty years since we left Gustavus and it’s time we made a name for ourselves.

But first, I have to tell you that this past Friday was a blast.  We had a “gathering” at Joe Senser’s in Bloomington for our class.  It wasn’t the most heavily attended event− maybe 25-30 people.  What was fun was seeing people I wouldn’t have expected to be there.  For starters, BETH ONKKA STUCKEY and husband, Randy ʼ83 drove up from St. Peter−not a total shock, but an hour-long drive.  Then, CURT SHELLUM and spouse Jane were there all the way from Rochester.  Next furthest from home was PAUL BERNHARDSON who drove up from Lincoln, Nebraska (his daughter had an event in the cities, but I’m still impressed).  Finally, SUE SEIWERT CONNER flew up from Chicago.  Wow!  To top that our reunion committee got together Sunday and JANE BRECKNER PEDERSON stopped in−home for Jane is Arizona!  We feel like we have some momentum building toward our reunion this fall.  Our next gathering will be June 29th at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul.  Who knows who will show up there?

OK, I’ll get to the point.  Our reunion committee has come up with an idea to really make this fall memorable.  We want our class to perform a FLASH MOB at our reunion!  If you don’t know what a Flash Mob is, try looking some up on You-tube.  A definition I found goes like this, “A Flash Mob is a large group of people who gather at a public location to perform a pre-defined action, typically a brief dance…”  We are working out the details, but picture alumni and students milling about on Eckman Mall (for example) when all of a sudden music blares (say “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang).  On cue, members of our class come together in a dance that is choreographed so that even we look good.  I am serious.  It’s likely I’m the worst dancer in our class.  Some of you may remember this from Mystery Dates and Delta functions.  Yet, I think we can pull this off.

What we need is a number of people willing to put themselves out there.  We would welcome both classmates and spouses.  We probably need a core of people that would be able to come to a few practice sessions, and we could also fill in some smaller roles for out-of-towners or others who can’t make rehearsals.  We will also need to have someone who would take this on as a director/choreographer.   Any ideas?

So, let us hear from you if you’d like to participate.  Let me know at or LESLIE NIELSEN at  Spread the word, the more who participate the merrier.

Also, very important – IT’S A SECRET!  Part of the fun is in being unexpected.  In fact, we will have to deal with whoever edits this letter in the Alumni Office.

While you’re thinking about watching your classmates dance in public, I’ll pass along some class news.  RICHARD WALLER continues as pastor of a Nazarene church in Maine.  Richard is also working on a master of divinity degree and had an awesome experience working on a short-term mission trip in Haiti.  ED DRENTTEL, of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. has been selected as a Super Lawyer and was listed as such in Twin Cities Business, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine and Minnesota Super Lawyers.  Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

DEAN POSPESEL’S daughters Ava and Blaire were featured in the St. Thomas magazine.  In a touching article, the twins talk about recovering from losing their mother (JEANETTE WAYNE ’82) in a car accident in 2006.  They cite the strength of family and friends as factors that helped them move forward.  No doubt some of the credit goes to dad Dean, who changed jobs after the accident so he could be closer to home.

HEATHER VAN HAAFTEN has a new job with a company based in Connecticut (though I am not sure if Heather has moved to Connecticut or is still in Florida).  She is the new creative director at Ryan Partnerships.  SCOT LARSON is an engineer with St. Jude Medical.  GLEN NORTON has his own law practice.  PETER LUNDELL is an adjunct instructor with Nazarene Bible College in Los Angeles.  BRAD CARLSON lives in Fridley and works as a logistics manager at Bernatellos Foods.

Still mostly thinking about dancing, but I do want to mention that the Gustavus Fund year closes at the end of May.  Look for a mailer soon regarding the class of 1981 Scholarship Endowment Fund.  All contributions to this fund will be counted toward our 30th Reunion Year giving.  Once this fund reaches a total of $25,000, it will start generating an annual scholarship to a Gustavus student.  This will be a great way for our class to help future generations of Gusties!  Thanks for your support!


1981 Co-class Agent

Campus News

Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.  Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award.  Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002.  Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.

Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as unusual honor accorded to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Named as 2011 recipients are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.

The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class.  Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State.  The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.

Sesquicentennial Award

In 2011–2012, Gustavus will celebrate its 150th academic year.  The Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of this Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the College.  The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” will acknowledge and pay tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college;

Have set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the College as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”; and/or

Have brought particular dignity or honor to the College.

Please submit nominations online at  For more information about the Sesquicentennial Awards, visit

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts.  The speaker for April will be Warren Wunderlich, director of the physical plant, in May; it will be Carolyn O’Grady, international education and June, Grady St. Dennis ʼ92, director of church relations.  The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, April 20, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at or by calling 800-487-8437.

The St. Peter breakfast will be Wednesday, May l1, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center.  Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing or by calling 507-933-7512.

Chapter Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have traveled to many parts of the country and made 15 stops in various cities, in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  There is still one more on the calendar, so if you live in the Chicago area, please mark your calendar for – Friday, April 29.

Summer will bring another round of picnic gatherings – so please mark your calendar if you live near one of these locations:

Mankato, MN – May 31

Rochester, MN – June 1

Sioux Falls, SD – June 6

Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN – June 7

St. Cloud, MN – June 8

Apple Valley, MN – July 12

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – July 13

Long Lake, MN – July 14

Duluth, MN – July 26

Grand Rapids, MN – July 27

Brainerd, MN -  July 28

Books in Bloom

“Books in Bloom,” a new initiative hosted by GLA to benefit and celebrate Folke Bernadotte Library, will be held on Honors Weekend, May 6-8, 2011.  Based on the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s “Art in Bloom,” floral arrangements depicting more than 20 different books, films, and periodicals will be placed throughout the library.  Each arrangement is sponsored by a $500 donation with all proceeds going to fund new acquisitions for the library.  Professional floral designers as well as those who simply love plants and flowers will create the arrangements.  The exhibit is free and open to the public.  Hours are Friday 3-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 6p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.  A brochure with a brief description of the materials and a map for self-guided tours will be available.  Also, student led tours are scheduled throughout the weekend.