Class of 1981

March 2014

Dear Classmates,

Well, it’s about time that I write another class letter.  I always feel bad because I don’t feel like I write them as often as I used to.  One thing that is great about our class is that we have so many people who help out, so I don’t feel like too much falls on me.  I do like to write a letter from time to time, but it sure is nice to have Leslie and others write them too.

This is my third time to sit down and try to crank a letter out.  I have a reason for the letter, which I’ll get to in a minute.  What I can’t seem to find is my sense of humor.  Susie (spouse – Bjorling ’83) claims I’m not as funny as I used to be.  I think I’ve just lost my consistency.  It kind of comes and goes.  Oh well, not sure if this letter will be funny or not.

Signs of aging:  Lately it’s getting harder for me to go to the barber.  I’ve known my hair has been thinning and graying for a while and I am mostly okay with it.  The problem comes in when Fotis (barber) makes me approve his work by using a mirror to look at the back of my head—like he’s proud of the hole of shiny skin he has uncovered.  The last two or three times I’ve sat there feeling good (I always arrive happy for my haircuts)—we chat and talk about our families and jobs, etc.  Partway through, I can’t help but notice the accumulating pile of hair in my lap.  At first I wonder, “How is it that he can just cut out the gray hairs, and leave the dark ones?”  Then, “Wait a minute…”

Other than getting older, life is good.  Susie and I are completely enjoying being grandparents to 16-month old Layla.  Our two sons live close by, both in their 20s and getting going with their adult life.  Many of our good friends happen to be Gustavus graduates, and we are appreciative of the connections we have had with the college throughout the years.  Of course, my years as class agent (I think this is year 30!) have been a big part of that.

Time to move on to a class event announcement (the key element to this letter).  We are planning to produce a Class of ’81 Cookbook in time for our next reunion!  We have formed a committee and are getting ready to kick things off.  One of the benefits of this idea is that we are planning to have a number of gatherings.  The gatherings will be “potluck” and we are encouraging people to bring their favorite food/recipes.  Not exactly a flash mob, but a good excuse to get together!  If you have interest in joining our committee, let us know (, or Leslie at  You do not have to be on the committee to come to the get-togethers.  The first gathering is set for Wednesday, June 18th, at the home of Lori (Rutter) and J.C. ʼ82 Anderson.  Mark your calendars—more to follow.

Despite being a top class, we are frequently short of class news.  This is it for now - our own, Dr. Michael Granaas, faculty at the University of South Dakota, served on the dissertation committee as another Gustie, Kendra Ratliffe, class of ’06 completed her Ph. D. in clinical psychology.  As always, we don’t just want your donations, we want to share what you are up to.  Keep the class news coming!

Finally, some breaking news.  Gustavus has just announced the appointment of its next president – Becky Bergman.  Susie has known Becky during her years on the Gustavus Board of Trustees, and I have gotten to know her a little too.  I won’t say much here, other than we think this will be a great move for Gustavus.  Becky has had a long and successful career as an executive at Medtronic.  She is a Gustie parent and long-time board member.  As a board member, she has been very active and has displayed great leadership.  At the same time she is very “down-to-earth” and is very caring and committed.  I am optimistic that Becky will soon be leading an important chapter in the college’s history.

I hope this finds you well.  It has been a long, long winter in Minnesota, and not so great in many other parts of the country.  Bring on spring!!!


1981 Co-class President

Campus News

Rebecca M. Bergman Named 17th President of Gustavus Adolphus College

The Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College has elected Rebecca M. Bergman to be the College’s 17th president.  Bergman is the first woman in the 152-year history of the College to be named president and will succeed Jack R. Ohle, who is retiring after serving as president of the College since July 2008.  Bergman will officially take office July 1, 2014.

Bergman, who has served on the College’s Board of Trustees since 2007, has spent the past 26 years at Medtronic, Inc., including the last 14 years as a senior executive.  She currently serves as Vice President of Research, Technology, and Therapy Delivery Systems for the company’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management (CRDM) business, where she leads a research and development team of scientists and engineers.  She previously served as Vice President, CRDM New Therapies & Diagnostics as well as Vice President, Corporate Science and Technology, where she directed biomaterials and biosciences R&D, new therapy development, and information management initiatives.

Gustavus Networking Event

All alumni and current students are invited to the third Gustavus Networking Event on Thursday, March 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis - Park Place (1500 Park Place Blvd., Mpls.).  Starting at 5:30 the evening will include networking, a light meal and dessert, and a short program.  Registrants will be asked to select a career area from business, finance, marketing/communications, public service, law or technology.  Register online at

Gustavus Passion for Life Long Learning Series

The Offices of the Provost and Alumni and Parent Engagement are pleased to partner and present a series for lifelong learners titled Gustavus Passion for Lifelong Learning held twice yearly, each spring and fall.  Dr. Kathy Lund Dean, Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Ethics in Economics and Management will be the featured speaker at the next event, to be held Thursday, March 20 at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

Dr. Lund Dean teaches courses in Organizational Behavior, Strategic Management, and Conflict Management at Gustavus.  At this event, you will hear about her research on how religious accommodation and discrimination disputes in the workplace are being resolved by the courts. Cost is $10 per person and registration is online, by email or by calling 800-487-8437.

Travel with Gustavus - Exploring Luther’s Reformation – Oct. 4-16

Journey on an educational tour focused on Luther’s Reformation with prominent Lutheran scholar, Gustavus professor emeritus of Religion Rev. Dr. Darrell Jodock.  Travel to Germany and Poland from October 4 to 16, 2014 to learn about the life and teachings of Martin Luther, along with the ongoing significance of his theology.  The trip is open to Gustavus alumni, parents, friends, and non-Gusties.  For more information, please visit or email Professor Jodock at  Registration deadline is May 31.

Upcoming Events

March 13 - Gustavus Networking Event @ Doubletree at Park Place

March 19 - Gustie Breakfast @ ASI Chris Johnson ʼ85, Director, Center for Servant Leadership

March 20 – Passion for Life Long Learning Series @ ASI

April 29 - Chicago Chapter Gathering