Class of '83
January 2000

Dear Classmates,

            Our esteemed classmate, Randall Stuckey, is a close friend. As I suspect you all know, he also is the college’s director of alumni affairs. In the latter capacity, he sometimes begins a conversation with "I’ve got a favor to ask." So it was when I returned to campus in December for Christmas in Christ Chapel, my first visit to St. Peter since the tornado. The favor he asked was that I write a "guest" class letter. He suggested specifically that I write about the impressions from my short visit to the college. Obviously, I consented, and this is the letter.

            Literally the first thing I noticed when I got close to campus was the absence of the tall trees that used to populate the campus and the valley below. I don’t think that I ever had paid much attention to those old trees during our school days or on the few trips back to town since then. I had taken them for granted. But their absence last month was jarring. I was much more aware of their absence than I ever had been of their presence.

            From Main Street, the college buildings on the ridge of the hill are completely visible from downtown. The inconsistency (and in some cases—well—ugliness) of the architecture of the buildings on campus that used to be masked somewhat by the trees is more apparent than ever. The canopy formed by the rows of tall trees that used to line the path leading downhill from Old Main was gone. New trees are there, but they will not be mature for a long, long time.

            Down in St. Peter, some of the houses and other buildings were gone; the lots where they once stood are vacant. Other buildings, notably the courthouse, are still being renovated.

            For those interested in ecumenism, some good did come from the disaster. The Catholic Church downtown is gone. The diocese is rebuilding at a new location. In the meantime, the Catholic parish is sharing the First Lutheran Church facilities. The sign out front reads "First Lutheran Catholic Church." I was told that sometimes the two groups worship together.

            Given all the destruction, I fully expected the house at 422 West Elm Street to be gone. A long line of students, including Joe Blake, Jerry Bren, Paul Pettersen, Randall Stuckey and me, had lived there during our student days. That house had not been anywhere close to being fit for habitation back in 1983. (We made frequent trips to the back yard and down an unlit, rotting stairway to the basement (with a dirt floor) to reset tripped circuit breakers. In the winter, we literally had to wear our coats inside to keep warm. But the beer was cheap, and the company was good.) I think a family lives there now. I hope at the very least that they have installed insulation, and rewired the place to eliminate some of the fire risk.

            I’m not sure whether the other old student houses survived the tornado or not. I can tell you, though, that St. Peter’s attitude toward parties off campus has stiffened. I understand that the police last fall ringed a house with a party going on inside, and ticketed everyone who lived there, everyone at the party who was under 21 and perhaps some others. The standard applied in deciding whether to raid and break up a party apparently is whether it can be heard from the street. Times change.

Campus News:

The Gustavus campus finished January term with over 20% of the student body away from campus this month participating in internships, study abroad programs, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions. On campus there were many unique classes being offered such as Archeology and the Bible and Analyzing Japan in addition to numerous classes and programs around a J-Term 2000 theme - Focus on Women's Studies. Next year January Term will focus on environmental studies. Winter sports, fine arts and extra-curricular activities are also in full swing. The new Nordic Ski Team is in mid-season. The band and choir had southern tour destinations—the band to Florida and the choir to Texas.

Construction on campus continues as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will then move to their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

  • Naples gathering February 5 (Marco Island gathering cancelled)
  • Tucson Chapter gathering February 7
  • Phoenix Chapter gathering February 8
  • Sun City Chapter gathering February 9
  • Seattle G.I.V.E. project February 19 and Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2
  • Bay Chapter gathering March 4
  • Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 5
  • San Diego Chapter gathering March 6
  • Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church and on April 9, 10:00 a.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center.

50th Anniversary Class and 50 Year Club reunions - May 26-27

A reminder that all other reunion classes (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 29-30.

Gustavus War Years Reunion For classes of 1944-’47 and Navy V-12

May 26 & 27, 2000. You are invited to return to campus this spring as guests of the Alumni Association for a special reunion of the Gustavus War Years classes. Social events, seminars, concerts and other activities are planned for an exciting weekend. Navy V-12 members are also invited to share in the reunion activities. Registration material will be sent in early April, but mark your calendars and encourage your Gustavus friends to attend today

A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at to request more information.

Complimentary Life Insurance Offer for Gustavus Alumni

The Gustavus Alumni Association has sponsored group life and short-term medical insurance as a service to alumni for many years. Now the Alumni Association will provide complimentary life insurance as an introduction to this program.

Through a mailing in January, the Alumni Association is offering alumni ages 28 through 49 the opportunity to enroll for $10,000 term life insurance underwritten by New York Life. Coverage is at no cost to them for one year, if they can complete an enrollment card that includes a statement of good health. A year later, those who enrolled will be eligible to convert to $25,000 of paid coverage through the Gustavus Alumni Insurance Program, with no further evidence of insurability.

This "no strings attached" introductory offer, available for a very limited period, is designed exclusively for alumni not currently covered for life insurance through this Alumni Association program. For further information, please contact Meyer and Associates at 800-635-7801. Life insurance underwritten by New York Life Ins. Co., NY, NY 10010.

Members of the New Millenium

Knowing that we are in a technological age, we want to encourage all alumni to get involved and get online. If you have access to a computer and the internet, we hope you will check out the Gustavus Alumni Association homepage regularly. We publish information about upcoming events, post class letters, provide information about the Alumni Office, list e-mail addresses of alumni and more. Check us out under the alumni section at

We are planning on corresponding on a regular basis with all alumni who have e-mail addresses. Please send a message to so we can get you on the list. (Be sure to keep us posted on any e-mail address changes, also.)

Class Web Site

Please note that classmate, Cheryl Mindestrom Ostor is keeping a class web site. You can find it at: She would like to get people to sign the guest book to start some interaction between classmates. If the response is good she would try starting an interactive bulletin board so people can post notices and maybe a chat room.

Getting back to campus, Randall treated me to lunch in the new food service facility called the Market Place. It is located in a new addition to the Student Union. At the risk of overstating things, the food there is, well, good. I suspect that it might get old if you ate there everyday. What doesn’t? But it is unquestionably a big improvement over the cafeteria we came to know so well. The place is open from early morning until late evening. And it serves a wide variety of foods.

  • They are building a courtyard between the new addition to the Student Union and the Lund Center. I believe that they will have an outside café there in the warm months. And I think that they are going to build a covered walk between the two buildings.
  • A new outdoor track is on the way in the field north of the Lund Center. It will surround the soccer field. For the first time in many years (maybe ever), Gustavus will be able to host an outdoor track meet.
  • Perhaps the biggest change to campus is coming next year, and it has nothing to do with trees or buildings. Chaplain Elvee is retiring. In December, he presided at his last Christmas in Christ Chapel. His clogs will be tough to fill.
  •  Now for a little class news passed on to me from the folks at the Alumni Office. If I screwed anything up, please call Randall at 1-800-487-8437 and let him know. We’ll fix it next time.

First, a couple of our classmates got married.

  • Carla Colburn married Jim Tollefsrud on September 19. I understand that Carla has worked as a paralegal at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis for 15 years. I don’t know how she has been able to tolerate hanging out with lawyers for so long.
  • Karl Noot married Sherri Lynn Lamberta on January 23, 1999. Karl is working as an investigator in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Next, I have a couple of births to report. These date back a while, but may not have been reported previously in any class letter or the Quarterly.

  • Maura Karen Swan was born to Michelle (Larsen) Swan and her husband, Brian, on July 13, 1999.
  • Alec Taylor Kaselnak was born to Michelle Taylor and her husband, Michael Kaselnak, on December 28, 1998.
  • Samuel Micah Steinberg Malmquist was born to David Malmquist and his wife, Deborah Steinberg, on December 8, 1998.
  •             Kristen Leigh Erickson was born to Sheryl (Nielsen) Erickson and her husband, David, on September 6, 1998.
  •  John Townsend and his wife, Sylvia, welcomed a son, Dylan, into the world about a year ago. I don’t have the exact date.

Finally, I have a couple of address updates.

  • John Martin is a lawyer at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder in Boston. You can reach him at work at: 28 State Street, Boston, MA 02109. His phone number is 617-345-9000, and his e-mail address is
  • Steve and Sherry (Fisher ‘84) Eliason have moved to a new home in Raleigh, NC, where Steve is working for AT&T. Their address is: 2121-12 Stonehenge Drive, Raleigh, NC 27615. Their e-mail address is

            Oh, and as for me, I have practiced law with Kirkland & Ellis since graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987. My office is in New York, although I have been spending most of my time over the last year in Dallas. I’ll be back in New York full time by the end of February. Generally, I am still trying to figure out what to do with my life when I grow up. I suppose that this goes for many of us.

I hope you all are well,

            Jim Gale

                        1983 Guest Letter Writer