Class of '83
May 2008

25-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― October 3 & 4, 2008

Dear classmates,

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am very excited about our upcoming reunion.  We all will have the opportunity to gather with old friends, tell self-servingly embellished stories about our school days, and assure one another that we all still look young and beautiful.  Some also will share stories about their own children, some of whom have already graduated from college themselves.  I, personally, would discourage those with older children from sharing these stories, because it makes the illusion of our own youth just that much harder to sustain.  But never fear, if you start feeling old, any story by or about Joe Blake will shake you out of it and right back into the carefree pursuit of youthful folly.

We also will have the opportunity to explore the campus and the town.  For those who have been away from St. Peter for many years, you will notice some changes.  And for those like John Townsend, who are likely to check out the local bars before trying to find campus (hint for when you’re ready to look for campus, John:  head toward the big white tower with the cross on top), here are a few items of note.  Schoop’s is till there, but its called Patrick’s now and it has been prettied up a bit.  It has relatively clean carpeting, a good beer selection, and acceptable bar food.  In short, it’s lost much of its “charm.”  The Flame also still exists, but tragically, the classic wallpaper is gone.  Even so, I return occasionally to visit the spot where in 1983 I spilled blood as a result of an unfortunate encounter between my forehead and a beer bottle.  The Nic is gone.  Whiskey River still exists, but repeated flooding led the owners to replace their old building with a larger one on slightly higher ground.

Up on campus, Wahlstrom Hall, Johnson Hall, Myrum Memorial Field House, the old football stadium and the tall trees are gone.  A new football stadium, several new dorms, Lund Center, a tennis bubble, a new science building (behind Nobel), an expanded language building, and growing but still mid-sized trees have taken their place.  Of course, much of what you see on campus will be familiar to us all, including Christ Chapel, Alumni Hall, Mark Hanson, and Randall Stuckey.  (Mark and Randall both have distinguished themselves in the world of basketball.  As Gustavus’s head men’s basketball coach, Mark has built one of the top Division III programs in the country.  As a player in what he calls the NBA (the “Noon Basketball Association”), Randall suffered a concussion when head butting a young woman during a game.  Details are sketchy, but rumor has it that Randall, who claims not to remember the incident, flew into a rage when the young woman dunked the ball on him.)

Here’s where I transition abruptly to a serious point…

At our reunion, we all will have the opportunity to meet Gustavus’s new president, Jack Ohle (pronounced OH lee, just like the nickname for those who attend St. Olaf), and his wife, Kris.  Jack will succeed Jim Peterson ’64, who is retiring this summer after five years in office.  For the last ten years, Jack has been the president of our sister ELCA school, Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.  Before that, he was the chief development officer at Drake University in Des Moines.  Throughout his career, Jack has helped the schools he’s served build stronger relationships with alumni and other constituency groups.  He also has partnered with the boards of these schools to raise far more money than they ever had.

In the years ahead, Jack will ask us all to consider what dreams we might have for Gustavus.  And he will invite those who are so inclined to help bring those dreams to life.  Not everyone will be interested in participating in this process.  But those who are will find Jack to be an engaging and effective partner.

How do I know so much about Jack Ohle?  As the current chair of the Board of Trustees (believe it or not), I worked extensively with five other trustees, including Karin Stone, as part of a special search committee.  We all got to know Jack and Kris very well, and are extremely excited about the years to come.

More immediately, the reunion planning committee has decided that we should leave something behind for Gustavus (aside from garbage, Mark, and Randall).  Specifically, we will be raising money to fund a scholarship.  Please consider making a generous gift when contacted.  Money is important for Gustavus, but it will not be the principal focus of our reunion.  Instead, we will devote most of our energy to enjoying time together in celebration of our years at Gustavus.

I look forward to seeing you all.

Jim Gale

1983 Guest Letter Writer

Class News

  • Daniel Balach and his partner, Liz (Eckhoff) Lang are franchisees with Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches with four locations in Bloomington, Burnsville and Apple Valley with plans to expand into Edina and Richfield.
  • Lisa Gault is a banker, senior vice president at Nicollet County Bank.  She does much volunteer work with Lions, Hospice, Arts Center, SPRTC Volunteer Council, Gluek Park Board, Chamber Retail Committee, and the Chamber Gov’t Affairs Committee.
  • Kent Haglund plans to attend the reunion.  He is married to Margaret.
  • Craig Jergenson, who is married to Lisa (Peck ’85), has a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.  He plans to attend our reunion.
  • Leandra Peak continues as a musician in duo; Neal (Hagberg ’81) & Leandra and have opened private practice as a professional life coach specializing in creativity.  Neal & Leandra will be performing on campus during our reunion weekend.
  • Scott Perry and his wife, Beth, have three children 19, 17 and 13.

Please continue to share your updates.  It is always nice to read about our classmates and their families.  Additionally, I encourage you all to come on down to Gustavus on October 4.  What a great time of year to be on campus!

If you are wondering who has already committed to joining us, go to: and click on “Who’s Planning on Attending?” to get a list.  Check it out and get your name added to the list!

Best Regards,

Daniel Balach

1983 Communication Co-chair

Campus News

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award

Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College: Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations

Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards

Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations were presented at the Alumni Banquet on May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.

Gusties Gather! Hosts Needed

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, September 28.  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a day to intentionally connect with other Gusties.  Want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Sign up to host a Gusties Gather! event for your neighborhood or with your friends.

Grant Received for Science Education

Gustavus has recently been awarded $1 million for science education over the next four years from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, MD.  The award will support a variety of programs that seek to transform the first-year student experience in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines―particularly through collaboration between the departments of biology and chemistry.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.  Next date:  June 18.


Softball clinched a spot in the MIAC playoffs and Julie Mahre became the Gustavus career hits leader with 207 hits.  The men's tennis team is the MIAC regular season and playoff champions and will be appearing in the NCAA tournament for the 15th consecutive year.  The women's tennis team won its 17th consecutive MIAC Title.  Junior Lisa Brown finished seventh in the javelin at the prestigious Drake Relays with a career best effort 156 feet, 5 inches; she was the only non-Division I competitor to finish in the top ten and broke her own school record by nearly two feet.  Brown's mark of 156-5 is the best mark in Division III so far this outdoor season.