Class of '81

October 2011

Dear Classmates,

Your class agents are still on a high from an absolutely incredible 30th reunion weekend.  Thank you to each and every one of you who were able to get to St Peter/Mankato to join the festivities – and thanks to all of you who were with us in spirit but had other commitments which kept you from joining in on the fun and games.  You really were there with us in spirit – classmates were asking about all of you who could not join us.  We’ve promised them we’ll do everything in our power to get all of you at the next reunion!

Classes who have gone before us have told us that there is something magical which happens once a class reaches the milestone of 30 years.  Now, we’ve always thought there was something magical about the Class of ’81 from the moment we set foot on campus together in the Fall of 1977...but, we do have to admit, there has indeed been a transformation into a collection of classmates who truly love to spend time together and who feel a very close bond to one another.  There is no doubt in our mind that every single person (classmates and guests alike) who attended the 30th reunion felt this bond.  But we are even more certain that all the rest of our classmates will feel the same way when they get to the next gathering.  Throughout the reunion weekend, we watched groups of old friends laughing and talking together as if no time had passed since they were studying/partying/playing together as students – and then when we looked at other groups, we saw classmates who had never had the chance to get to know one another while we were on campus connecting and sharing stories of their lives.  The class of ’81 bond seems to be strong between old and new friends alike.

When asked about their favorite memory from the 30th reunion, most classmates responded with a story about the flash mob.  Yes, it was a huge success.   When halftime of the Homecoming football game approached, the Class of ’81 nonchalantly strolled out to a grassy area at the North end of the stadium.  A group of 60-70 of us were mingling and chatting, seemingly enjoying the beautiful autumn day with no dance moves running through our brains.  And then suddenly at the eight minute mark of halftime, Celebration by Kool and the Gang came over the loudspeakers.  Our fearless flash mob leader, Amy Linner Quarberg sprang into action, leading all of us into our choreographed dance.  The students in the stands were yelling their support; other alums stood by, almost speechless, watching us shimmy, do the hustle, jazz hands and more!  Randy Stuckey ’83 was in the stadium, surrounded by students.  He reported that the students became even more supportive of our flash mob efforts when they heard it announced that the performance was done by the 30th reunion class, aka “old people” in their eyes!  We think Neal Hagberg summed the scene up very well when he wrote:  “Great memory, seeing many of us look a bit suspicious, anxious, and wary about the flash mob, checking each other out like school kids (are you going to do it?  I'll do it if you do it), then everyone having a "what the hell" moment simultaneously, and doing it with gusto, (or is that gustie), laughing like - yep -little school kids.  What a blast.”

Although the flash mob will stand out in many of our minds as the most unique part of the weekend, it was only one part of a truly incredible reunion.  More than 130 were in attendance from the Class of ’81 throughout the weekend.  We joined a crowd of approximately 800 Gusties from all classes for a truly lovely dinner in Lund Center.  Lund was so completely transformed with draping, beautiful table décor, trees etc that even Rick Saruna managed to sit through the Sesquicentennial dinner without an urge to put on hockey skates and chase after a puck.  After dinner, we left St. Peter to join even more classmates who had gathered in our hotel lounge.  Although the floor was not sticky from spilled beer, the scene was reminiscent of our evenings at “The Nic” – friends in every corner of the bar – so many to talk to, so little time!

Saturday was a grand day – from start to finish!  We started the day with flash mob practice – the first time for our out-of-state friends to join the group (although they had been practicing at home with Amy’s awesome video!).  You can imagine the laughter…and the amusement of the faces of other hotel guests!

Gustavus set up a tent nice enough to house a circus at the north end of the stadium.  The Class of ’81 dominated the scene – we had by far the greatest numbers of attendees of all the reunion classes so one didn’t have to look far to find a familiar face!  During halftime, we wowed the crowd with our flash mob…there are now two different videos loaded onto our Class ’81 Facebook page/You Tube.  Mark Sandelin filmed us from his vantage point on the ground (thanks, Sandy Baby!) and Gustavus filmed from above – check it out!!! 

Facebook page:  Gustavus Class of 1981      or:

Approximately 100 of us spent Saturday evening sharing stories and laughter.  Joy Folkvord told about her work in biomedical research in a way that even the least scientific in the crowd were fascinated.  We heard groups of teachers comparing notes on great new classroom ideas.  Robin Wood Virostek gained our respect with her determination to return to campus and swim with the Gustavus Swim Team (she missed the football game to swim laps with her much younger counterparts!).  Greg Langmo has offered to share the perfect turkey recipe – as soon as he sends it to us, we’ll get it to you!  Joan McKearnan exclaimed over the joys of raising a 5th grade daughter.  Deb Baker and Heather Van Haaften showed us their LA style!  Paul “Bernie” Bernhardson and Dave Jaeger were overheard discussing politics.  Dan Akins and Dean Pospesel put forth an impressive effort to keep Rick Saruna under control – they’re looking for recruits to join their efforts next time around.  Tommy Opsahl did exactly what he did when we were in college – went from table to table, letting every single one of us know we made his day, just by showing up!

We could tell more stories, but we live by the code, “What happens at Class of 1981 Reunions STAYS at Class of 1981 Reunions!”

The weekend ended with a brunch – and a lot of hugs with promises to keep in touch.  All around us, there was a sense of joy in belonging to a group of people who feel such a deep connection to one another.  Every person we spoke with expressed to us how glad they are they took time out of their busy lives to join the festivities – and they again asked us to beg all the rest of our classmates to join the party next time!

The reunion is now history – but it seems to have left a very strong effect on most of us.  We have a feeling that whenever the Class of ’81 hears the song ‘Celebrate’, we will have overwhelming urges to throw those jazz hands up into the air!  Martha Risendal McCartney found herself in Menards shortly after the reunion when “our” song started spewing from the PA system.  She says she resisted the urge to break into dance, but we’re not so sure….  One of your class agents, no names will be mentioned, but perhaps you can figure it out when we tell you HE was in a dermatologist’s office this morning, lying face down on an exam table with a flimsy paper gown and HIS skivvies on.  You guessed it – the clinic music system thought that was the perfect time to pipe in his new favorite song.  The dermatologist is now considering joining us at the next reunion to see what we come up with next!

In closing, there are two groups of people we want to rave about:  First, the OUTSTANDING Reunion Committee, comprised of Lori Rutter Anderson, Linda Norman Reding, Betsy Schaller, Barb Nelson Hutson, Dick Hutson, Denise Connly Fleming, Jane Breckner Pederson, Jacque Schwartz Brunsberg, Amy Linner Quarberg, Allison McCormack Lee, Jeanne Peterman Anderson, Darcy Winter, Marcia Bloom Bodnar and Kathy Hoff Rehwaldt.  What a group – there was nothing they were not willing to do to make this reunion perfect.  Your efforts were appreciated by everyone!

The second group we want to thank is the entire Class of 1981.  We were awarded with beautiful Gustavus clocks and the title “Class Agents of the Year.”  We are thrilled with the award, but deep down we know that the award was really for our whole class – “The Class of the Year.”  You all came together to give generously to the Annual Fund, we successfully endowed a scholarship which will be given annually on behalf of our class to a deserving first year student, we wowed the Alumni Office with our enthusiastic attendance at our 30th reunion and we continue to volunteer eagerly when Gustavus asks for our help.  We were both a little envious over the years when other Class Agents of the Year were announced and given those stunning Gustavus clocks.  Little did we know that the clocks would pale in comparison to our reaction to your incredibly generous ovation, letting us know you are happy to be part of such a great class and affirming our continued efforts to keep the momentum going!  Our hearts were bursting and we were humbled….and now when we look at our Gustavus clocks what we really see is all of you standing before us cheering us on!

In keeping with our promise to continue to strengthen our Class of ’81 bonds, we’ve set a date for our first mini-reunion of next year.  Please save the date of Friday, January 20, 2012.  Plan to meet at Cowboy Jacks (494 Strip-Bloomington – former Steak and Ale location) at 6:30 p.m.  We will also be inviting the Gustavus Class of 1982 to join us to help them get their reunion year kicked off to a great start.  Heck, we may even invite a few more classes while we’re at it and make this a real party!  Watch for more information about this and other upcoming mini-reunions.

Heimer −  jumping in to add a few thoughts.

Leslie covered the reunion well, so I’ll just add a before and an after.  I drove down to St. Peter by myself prior to the reunion.  On the way I had a conversation with myself on the topic of why I’ve been a class agent for the past 27 years.  I got to thinking about the first job I had after leaving the alumni office at Gustavus.  I was an insurance claims adjustor.  It wasn’t terrible, but the biggest negative was the group of people that I dealt with – people who had just been involved in a car accident, or had damage to their home, or had a theft, etc.  In general, these people were not in a good place, and over time they brought me down.  As a class agent, the people I get to interact with are Gusties from the class of ’81!  Not that we are always in a good place, but I have to say that the vast majority of the time, you pick me up.  Thank you!

One quick comment about the reunion – I have never felt so appreciated in my life!  Whenever you plan an event you worry about how it will go over.  Different people have different thoughts about what should be done.  It was great to have such a phenomenal turnout and to really feel like everyone enjoyed being there.  We hope this will only lead to even greater reunions in the future.  I am grateful for the many, many positive comments I got from classmates.

OK, a little on our class officer structure.  At the request of the alumni office, we have set up class officers to assist our class.  Leslie and I are now Co-Class Presidents.  To be clear, we don’t like being presidents or even presiding over anything, so we will probably keep calling ourselves class agents.  Our new officers are as follows:

Communications Chair: Lori Rutter Anderson

Fundraising Chairs: Barb Nelson Hutson and Betsy Schaller

Student Recruitment Chair: Denise Connly Fleming

Reunion Chairs: Leslie Nielsen and Steve Heim

In reality we look at ourselves as one big group working together (along with everyone else who worked on our reunion committee).  So….many of you are probably asking yourself, how could I help be a part of this winning team?  Seriously, if you have any interest in joining us, just let us know.

Thanks again for a great reunion and hope to see many at Cowboy Jack’s in January!

Please keep in touch – we love to hear from you!  Fill us in on news in your lives and also let us know if you have a great idea for a mini-reunion!  We’re all ears….

Steve Heim

Leslie Nielsen

P.S.  Here is a list of our unlocated classmates.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of any of these folks, please let the Alumni Office know ( or 800-487-8437).

Linda Dolven Anthony

Kathleen Blair Beers

Eric Berglund

Mary Kaye Cadalbert

Timothy Caufield

John W. Crissman

David M. Firl

Susan Gambill-Read

Paul Halfpop

John P. Johnsen

Allison M. Johnson

Nancy Johnson

Joyce Detlefsen Komorouski

Janet Comfort Lee

Lisa Mundstock Mansell

Brian Marquardt

Bruce Norelius

Becky Nothnagel

Merry Lane Ross

Jennifer Savage

Doug B. Schmidt

Susan Bradley Skov

Christopher Stolee

Kenneth E. Streiff

Jim Swanson

Kathy Leibbrand Swanson

Lisa M. Thompson

Campus News

Campaign Gustavus Announcement

At the Sesquicentennial and Campaign Kickoff Dinner held on campus on Friday Sept. 30, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bernhardson announced the official kickoff a comprehensive fundraising campaign, Campaign Gustavus.  The financial goal of the campaign is to raise $150 million by the end of 2015 to fund the strategic initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150.  The focus of Campaign Gustavus is to ensure the College has the resources to continue providing opportunities for teaching and learning in a caring community.  To find out more about Campaign Gustavus and how you can be involved, visit:

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on October 15.  Inductees for 2011 are Owen Sammelson ’58, benefactor; Amanda Murdock Diehl ’92, gymnastics; Jay Klagge ’92, basketball; Bryan Ripken ’94, swimming; Todd Anderson ’95, soccer; Tracy Erickson McMorrow ’95, tennis; Scott Moe ’95, golf; Laura LeVander Peters ’96, softball; and Colleen Barland Sherman ’96, soccer.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1991 Women’s Gymnastics National Championship, won with the final routine of the meet. 

Christmas in Christ Chapel

As the College’s Sesquicentennial Christmas in Christ Chapel, Julljus:  Light from the Old World, Light to the New brings us to the celebration of Christ’s light—to Sweden in the Middle Ages; to Minnesota in the 19th century; and to our fractured and darkened world today.  At the center of the 39th annual community celebration is Julotta, the traditional Christmas matins service brought by Swedish immigrants to the New World.  Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2011 go on sale online on October 17 at noon at  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call 507-933-7520 after noon on October 17 to place your credit card order.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  November speaker will be Rob Gardner, interim artistic coordinator for Christmas in Christ Chapel.  The St. Peter Breakfast will be held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, and the Twin Cities Breakfast will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail Hope to see you bright and early!