Class of ’81

October 2013

Hello Classmates!

Several of our class officers (Steve Heim, Linda Norman Reding, Betsy Schaller and I) spent a great day at Gustavus on Saturday, September 14th.  As always, we reconnected with friends from other classes and were reenergized to help our classmates remain engaged with one another and with our Alma Mater.  We have some changes in the Class Officer roster.  Barb Nelson Hutson is retiring from her work with the Annual Fund.  Thanks, Barb, for all your efforts to connect with classmates and to help us all understand the importance of giving back to Gustavus!  Betsy Schaller is continuing her work on the Annual Fund and class giving and we are happily welcoming Jane Breckner Pederson to not only help her, but also help Lori Rutter Anderson on communications.  Linda Norman Reding and Denise Connly Fleming are joining forces in student recruitment and mentoring.  Heimer and I are continuing to do whatever it is we do—a little of this, a little of that....

The search process continues to find a new Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement.  Randall Stuckey ʼ83 did a phenomenal job of keeping 27,000 Gustie alums in touch with each other and all things Gustavus.  I suspect many of our classmates will still get to hear from Randy as he works with development projects in the Athletic Office.  We were all delighted to see Randy and Beth (Onkka ʼ81) at our Class Officers luncheon where Randy received heartfelt thanks from the Alumni Board, as well as a very large box filled to the brim with golf balls, all bearing personal messages.  I am already missing Randy in his role with the Alumni Office.  But I have found one silver lining to the whole thing—now he won't have to duck out of our reunions to check in with all the other classes!  We'll get to enjoy Randy and Beth's company throughout our reunion weekends!

The search process for the new president of Gustavus has also started.  The board has welcomed all alumni and members of the Gustavus community to encourage strong candidates we may know to apply.  The board of trustees seems very interested in our thoughts regarding the next president and is open to communication from all of us.  Last evening, I took part in the Gustavus Town Hall meeting by phone to learn more about the search process and to get an update on what's new on campus.  This town hall meeting concept is great.  Gustavus is on the cutting edge of this sort of communication in the world of college communities.  A source tells me we are the first college to implement this software in such a manner and have done so after a recent hire came on board who had used it in the political realm.  It works!  There were many great questions last night and the answers from President Ohle, Warren Beck ʼ67 and George Hicks ʼ75 left us much more knowledgeable about the future of Gustavus.

The Class of 1981 has won the Cec Eckhoff Decade Award (where we are compared with all other classes in the 1980's) for the second year in a row!  This award goes to the classes with the highest percentage of donors.  Way to go, everyone!  Let’s keep the momentum going...please consider sending a gift to Gustavus (and, while you're at it, please include some news for upcoming class letters and the Quarterly!).  More good news—our scholarship is currently endowed at $32,582.00 and growing!

We also won a second award at the Class Officer's meeting—for our enthusiasm in planning mini reunions.  They called it "The Big Chill Award" in reference to our time on the ice at the St Paul Curling Club.  Thanks to Jon ʼ79 and Jacque (Schwartz) Brunsberg, Bruce and Kathy (Hoff) Rehwaldt for organizing another great evening for our class and many other Gusties and friends.  If anyone has a fun idea for a mini-reunion, we are always up for almost anything.  Just say the word!

1981 to Celebrate at A Royal Affair – November 16, 2013

Are you wondering if we have any more fun and games up our sleeves?  The answer is YES!  The Gustavus Library Associates are back in action, planning another Royal Affair - November 16, 2013.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Kim Marie Fragodt Quintet.  Kim (Beyer ʼ83) is married to our classmate, Brian Fragodt.  Brian will be emceeing the evening.  The Royal Affair is always a fabulous evening.  It's the perfect place to see Gusties of all eras.  With the Fragodt’s generously offering their services to make the evening even more special, we thought it would be appropriate for the Class of ʼ81 to show up in full force.  Please watch for your invitation in the mail or check out the information on-line at:  When you sign up for the event, simply note "please seat me with the Class of '81" and we'll have our own island of tables there to cheer the Fragodt’s on.  You can purchase tickets or donate online at:

To get the evening off to a fun start, we are putting together a pre-party (an activity the Class of '81 has always been really good at).  Everyone is welcome—we'll get more information out as the Royal Affair invitations are mailed.  I encourage all classmates to consider joining us for this wonderful evening.  If you are interested but not sure your spouse or a friend wants to venture into a room full of this many Gusties, no worries...the Class of ‘81 will be seated together so you’ll have more than enough friends to laugh and enjoy the evening with!  On the other hand, if your spouse/partner/friend feels like dipping their toes into the black and gold waters, they will be welcomed with open arms—that is, until the live auction starts.  Then we're going to try to keep our arms under control so we only throw them up into the air if we really want to buy that darling puppy they’re selling!  I have it on good authority there’s going to be another great auction item in the mix—Steve and Susie (Bjorling '83) Heim and J.C. (ʼ82) and Lori (Rutter) Anderson are donating a wine tasting party.  Sounds like a lot of fun—for the winning bidder AND all their friends!  If you’re interested in attending the Royal Affair, but have questions, please call either Heimer or me.  Steve Heim 952-884-2709 (day), 612-716-2411 cell or Leslie Nielsen 651-437-3184 (day) and 651-437-6156 (evening).

The Class of ʼ81 is also in the very beginning stages of publishing our very own cookbook.  Our goal is to have the book published and ready by our next reunion (yes, we’re on our way to our 35th reunion!).  We'll have lots more information on this in the months to come, but we wanted to throw out the idea now to invite anyone who is interested in helping with the project to let us know—we’d love to have your energy and enthusiasm to create the best cookbook ever!  If you’re interested in helping, please send an email to  The meetings will be lots of fun—and will probably involve trying new recipes before we publish them!

I would love to include class news in this letter, but unfortunately, none has been turned in.  Please send in any newsy tidbits you might have.  We’re interested in hearing about your work, house projects, kids, grandkids, travels, hobbies—anything!

Leslie Nielsen

1981 Co-class President

Campus News

Gustavus Networking Event

Register now for our second Gustavus Networking Event on Wednesday, Oct. 23.  All alumni and current students are invited to the Westin Galleria Edina from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. for networking, appetizers, a seated dessert and short program.  Registrants will be asked to select a career area from business, finance, marketing/communications, public service, law, technology, and biology.  Cost is $15 for alumni, $10 for students.  For more information and to register, visit

President Ohle Announces Retirement

Jack R. Ohle, the 16th President of Gustavus Adolphus College, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2013-14 academic year when he will complete his sixth year as president of the College.  He began his service to Gustavus on July 1, 2008, and will officially retire on June 30, 2014.

Upcoming Events

Networking Event – Westin Galleria, Edina – Oct. 23

Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet – November 2

Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – Radisson Blu, Bloomington – Nov. 16

Lifelong Learning Event – JFK Assassination by David Jones ʼ83 – Nov. 19

Christmas in Christ Chapel – Dec. 6, 7 and 8.