Class of '84
January 2000

Greetings Fellow Classmates!!

I come to you as part of the "Guest Class Letter" writer. My guess is that Ken and Carole would like a small vacation from time to time. From my point of view they deserve it! Having witnessed this duo in action, I can say that their dedication to the "Class of 84" is incredible!

When accepting this task I must admit that I didn’t realize that I would be the author of the first class letter of the Millennium!! Imagine my surprise when I was informed that the start of the Millennium might technically start next year. In my search to end this quandary, I quickly determined that I should conduct a scientific poll. After many hours interviewing experts, gathering, and interpreting the data, I have come to the conclusion that… quite frankly, people don’t really care!

Well I better get back to work…

I now understand that the purpose of this letter is to let everyone know what’s up on campus, as well as periodically update the gossip mill with the happenings of fellow classmates. I used to think it was to keep tabs on which roller derby team Tom Kleist ran with.

With that said, here’s the latest campus action:

The Gustavus campus is in the midst of 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 are 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. Even though there is little snow at Gustavus the new Nordic Ski Team is preparing for competition. The band and choir are preparing for 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 27-28

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.

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.)

Speaking of classmates, did you know?:

  • Susan Astrup Lundquist, is employed by Dayton Hudson Corporation, and has not been seen at many T-Wolves games this year.
  • Tom Dahl, when not singing Edelweiss, is a manager for a Healthsouth outpatient clinic. Tom, wife Kelly, and their two boys have recently settled in Farmington, New Mexico.
  • Sherry Fischer Eliason and husband Steve ’83 have recently moved. They now live in Raleigh, NC
  • Susan Holmes is employed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Sue will be the hospitality manager for the Amsterdam 2000 Conference.
  • Damon Larson is a teacher at Chaparral High School in Denver, CO
  • Gordon Mansergh is a behavioral scientist for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA
  • Dawn McDougal Miller and Mike Miller live in Plymouth. Dawn is employed as a therapist, and Mike was recently promoted to manager of the Web Solutions Group at Lutheran Brotherhood.
  • Shari McKenzie Campbell is a nurse practitioner at Mayo. She works with lung cancer patients.
  • Jeff and Julie (Haen) Morton live in Edina. Jeff has decided that he would like to stay home with their three children. He spends a great deal of time doing volunteer work at their church. Julie has been promoted to vice president of advice and retail distribution at American Express Financial Advisers.
  • Brad Sahr lives with his wife, Barbara, in Oakdale, and is employed by Imation.
  • Meredith Sledd is a marketing manager for Front Capital Systems in Stockholm Sweden.
  • Brett Smith was named a finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Way to go Brett!!
  • Kathy Sutherland Lutes is a phy-ed teacher and coach, and resides with husband Ron ’83 and kids in Woodbury.

As for me, I’ve been married to my darling bride, Mary, for over 15 years. We have two very lovely daughters by the names of Stacy and Megan. Stacy is just about ten, and going on 18, and Megan is 8 going on 16. Lord, please give me the strength! If any of you folks have any advice, please send it my way. Mary is employed by American Express Financial Advisors, and I work as a manufacturer’s representative in the potable water, and wastewater treatment industry. We have made our home in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

That pretty much raps it up. It was great seeing all you guys at the reunion. While the planning of the reunion was an effort of many, I think the team of Arwidson and Ericson deserve a hearty "well done!" I am sure if you would like to get involved in the future; they would welcome your assistance.

To quote Garrison Keillor : "Be well, do good works, and keep in touch"

Gregg Backstrom

1984 Guest Letter Writer