Class of '84
October 2003

Dear Gustie:

Recently Ken and I were back on campus for the annual meeting of the class agents.  Each fall when I make that drive south on 169 the memories of those first days as a college student just come flooding back.  Meeting my CF Cynthia for the first time, a woman with whom I continue to remain in contact.  She was from Clarissa, Minnesota, a town that up to that moment I had not heard of before.  The square dance in Alumni Hall, where later I would return time and again with a chair and pillow and friends to watch movies on the big screen.  Meeting one of my professors, Roland Thorstensson, who later would become my advisor and friend.  Sitting between my parents in Christ Chapel, hearing Dean Karsten talk about the various hellos and good-byes we would be saying at this important moment in our lives, both of my parents reaching for my hands and squeezing them gently.  It was all so overwhelming, scary, amazing, and emotional, and the beginning of four wonderful years.  I do so love making that drive back down to campus, keeping company with fond memories from the hill.

Class News

Among the news from classmates for this letter are several promotions, a wedding, the earning of an advanced degree, a few births, and an adoption.

  • Denise Williams Becker (Willmar, Minnesota) has joined Meadow Lane Healthcare Center as the new executive director.  The center has been part of the Benson community since 1958 and provides healthcare for up to 77 residents, including those needing skilled nursing, rehabilitative care, respite care, and board and care services.  Denise and her husband are the parents of two sons.
  • Lynda White Czarnetzki (Eagan, Minnesota) and her husband, Dean, celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary back in April.  The couple has three children:  Alison (12), Brian(10), and Lauren (7).  Lynda coaches volleyball in the Eagan Athletic Association and is a member of Easter Lutheran Church.  She works full time at Minnesota Life as a financial planner with Securian Financial Services.
  • Mark Ekman (Albuquerque, New Mexico) was recently promoted to principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories.  Congrats on the promotion!
  • Monica (McGraw) Hammersten (St. Louis Park, MN) owns and operates A La Mode!  Dessert Shop.  In the StarTribune recently I came across an article about Monica and her food business.  In that article, it mentioned that Monica and her sister-in-law, Marilee McGraw, "once sold $81,000 worth of desserts in a little more than seven minutes.  That was the day last November when their A La Mode! Fruit crisps from St. Louis Park won national exposure on cable TV--the QVC shopping channel's live New Product Search."  The two women started their business in the spring of 2001 with the apple crisp recipe Monica's grandmother used in the 1920s.  Here in the Twin Cities you can find their apple, peach, and strawberry-rhubarb crisps (coming soon:  cherry) are sold by Simon Delivers and at Lunds, most Byerly's, Kowalski's, Jerry's, and other local independent food stores.  Bon appetit!
  • Hannah Hawkins-Esther (Dunwoody, Georgia) has joined the ranks of parents sending children off to college.  Her stepson enrolled this fall at the Citadel.
  • Lisa Belin Foecke (Damascus, Maryland) is a stay-at-home mom and is very active in her church, where she is the Sunday school coordinator and performs in the Brass Ensemble.  Her husband, Tim, is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards.
  • David Johnson (Eagan, Minnesota) is an ophthalmologist for HealthPartners in St. Paul.  David is currently serving on the Alumni Board.
  • Kent Johnson (Saint Michael, Minnesota) and his wife, Patty, became parents for the third time to a daughter on January 22, 2003.  Congratulations on the family addition!  Kent has completed his master's degree in science education technology from St. Cloud State University.  Congrats on that accomplishment!  He continues to teach 8th grade science in the Robbinsdale school district.
  • Todd Johnson (Chatfield, Minnesota) continues in his position as advisory software engineer at IBM.  His wife, Brenda (Butturff '83), is the vice-mayor of Chatfield and serves on the Board of Directors of the League of Minnesota Cities.
  • Stephanie Kidder (Minneapolis, MN) is now working for Raymedica as a regulatory affairs associate.
  • Tamera Koeder (Dallas, Texas) and Salvador Macias Salas were married on December 21, 2002.  Congrats on the nuptials!  The couple traveled north for the wedding and held the ceremony at Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.  As Tamera said, "The white weekend made for a beautiful, if cold, wedding day."  Tamera is in private practice as an attorney and Salvador works as a family business manager and general handyman.
  • Tamara Sarrack Koester, her husband, Scott, and their two sons (Austin, 5, and Bjorn, 3 1/2) continue to make their home in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.  She is still working for American Airlines, but has enjoyed taking leaves for most of the past five years.  Tamara ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2001 and participated in the North Shore Inline Marathon in September.  As they say, "You go girl!"
  • Brenda Kolstad (Eagle Lake, Minnesota) passed along the exciting news that she is now the proud mother of a four-year old little girl named Karina.  Karina was born August 25, 1998, and Brenda adopted her on August 16, 2002, when she traveled to Kazakhstan and spent three weeks there completing the adoption.  Congratulations!
  • Meredith Sledd Lindquist (Solna, Sweden) continues to make her home in the Land of the Midnight Sun.  She and her husband, David, are the proud and busy parents of twins, Alexander Carl David and Annie Carola Margareta, born on April 10, 2002.  Belated congrats on their births!
  • John Owens (Manila, Philippines) wrote to share wishes that he'll be able to make our 20-year reunion (in which case he'll probably be a shoe-in for traveling the longest distance to attend!).  In his note, he wrote that he continues to manage a large USAID funded project (Microenterprise Access to Banking Services).  If you're curious about the work they do, you can check out the Web site at
  • Betty Wannarka Ringeisen (Sherburn, Minnesota) was among the 2003 inductees into the Athletics Hall of Fame.  She was inducted for her participation in basketball and track and field.  Congratulations Betty!  The other inductees included Val Flom Ashland '87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman '87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop '86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta '87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson '53 (football), Jim Hearn '81 (tennis), Dave Najarian '82 (football) and Larry Shelhamer '76 (soccer).  The group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet at Homecoming on Saturday, September 27.
  • Allan Shafer (Des Moines, Iowa) has been named president of Citizens Bank in Des Moines.  Congratulations Mr. President!
  • Sue Trachy Sitko (Pinetop, Arizona) is the White Mountain program manager for the Nature Conservancy.

If you have news to share, you can pass it along to us in the enclosed envelope or by e-mailing us at:  For those who know how to make and send jpegs, we can take those too and include them in the class letters.  We'd love to hear from you!!!

Campus News

Gustavus has lost one of its treasures 

Paul Granlund '52.  I had the good fortune to spend some time with Paul when I worked in the Admission Office at Gustavus following graduation.  There is one particular conversation that I recall vividly, and his words come back to me from time to time.  It was the end of a long workday and a prospective student (Jim Van Dusen '90 from Howard Lake, Minnesota) from my territory showed up at 5:00.  Since there were no tour guides on hand to show him around, I gave him a campus tour and spent the next hour or so telling him about all that Gustavus had to offer.  Jim was interested in business, but hadn't firmly settled on his major, and he wanted to play football for the Gusties.  He was a confident but somewhat quiet young man, bright and eager, and ready to go to college.  While on our tour we came upon Paul Granlund working in his studio, and I invited Jim to follow me in to meet him.  As he always did, Paul stopped what he was doing and gave his full attention to the visitor.  He asked Jim questions about his aspirations and his college search.  When he asked Jim what he was interested in, he listened carefully to Jim's response, and then said in his wistful way, "You know, if I had it to do all over again, I'd major in wonder."  A simple statement to be true, but it struck both me and Jim--he spoke of it as we left the studio.  I'll never forget Paul's words, and from time to time I try to live that sentiment out loud.  Like last October when I certainly majored in wonder and awe every day as I traveled about the Galapagos Islands.

• A few weeks ago the College also said good-bye to a professor many of us knew:  English professor Elmer Suderman.  I'm sorry that I don't have specific details about his death, though I suspect some information will be forthcoming in the next Quarterly.

Jim Peterson '64 began his tenure as 14th president of Gustavus in July. 

"The invitation to serve as the president of Gustavus Adolphus College, my alma mater and a model of excellence in higher education, is an honor, a privilege, and in many ways, a new vocational calling," Peterson said.  "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to combine my personal affection for this amazing institution with my professional interest and history in lifelong learning.  I look forward to working with an outstanding faculty, staff, and student body to sustain the College's unique traditions and promote its bright future."

Over 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,500. 

The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90%--which is very high.  These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty.  Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News & World Report.

The Admission Office is well into recruiting the Class of 2008. 

If you know of an outstanding high school student who may be interested in Gustavus, you can send their name to the Admission Office at the following URL:

A review of the experience of first-year students at Gustavus will shape ongoing intentional programs, communication, and living arrangements for first-year students and parents in the future. 

Some familiar transition issues still exist, like students exploring new freedoms.  But increasingly students need guidance on such issues as financial and mental health.  One of the biggest changes next year will be placing first-year students together by residence hall. Norelius, Pittman, Gibbs (formerly Link), and Wahlstrom Center stairwell will house all first-year students.

Gustavus finished 6th out of 424 competing Division III institutions in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) 2002-2003 Director's Cup. 

The Director's Cup, the only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, is awarded by NACDA to four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  In Division III, standings are based on national tournament finishes in 18 sports with points awarded based on the number of teams participating in each specific national championship.  Gymnast Amanda Parker has been named to the 2003 Verizon Academic All-America College Division Women's At-Large Second Team.  To keep up on all the standings and schedules go to

Fund-Raising News

The annual Alumni Fund for gifts that support the operating budget of Gustavus closed May 31 on a positive note. 

Just over $2,000,000 was raised from alumni, exceeding the goal, and the percentage of participation rose to 38%.  The focus remains to sustain 50% participation from alumni and again be the top Lutheran college in participation.  Gustavus spent less to raise a dollar than most other Minnesota private colleges.  In a tough economic time, the final results leave much to celebrate.

I thought you might be curious how Gustavus compares to other ELCA peer institutions when looking at alumni participation rates in annual giving.  The percentage of alumni who give annually to their alma maters is one of the many factors taken into consideration by many agencies, organizations, and publications (such as U.S. News & World Report's annual college rankings guide) when ranking colleges and universities.


2000-01 Alumni Participation

2002-03 Alumni Participation

Gustavus Adolphus



Augustana College, IL



Gettysburg College



St. Olaf College



Wartburg College



Muhlenberg College



Wittenburg University



Augustana College, SD



Carthage College



Luther College



Roanoke College



Concordia College, Moorhead



Dana College



Wagner College



Susquehanna University



Below is another chart that shows the alumni participation rates for the top 10 national liberal arts colleges in the country.  As you can see, these colleges far outpace Gustavus in this category.

Alumni Participation Rates for the

Top 10 National Liberal Arts College


1. William College, MA                        60%

6. Wellesley College, MA                     54%

2. Amherst College, MA                       64%

7. Davidson College, NC                      53%

3. Swarthmore College, PA                   54%

8. Middlebury College, VT                   47%

4. Carleton College, MN                       65%

9. Haverford College, PA                      50%

5. Pomona College, CA                         51%

10. Bowdoin College, ME                    57%

Every gift does make a difference.  For most of us, attending Gustavus was possible because of the generosity of those who came before us.  Please consider making a gift to the Alumni Fund and helping us achieve our class goal for our reunion year.  You may make your gift online at

Upcoming Events:  Mark Your Calendar

  • Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering:  October 18, 2003
  • Phonorama:  October 12-16 & 19-23, 2003
  • Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community, at Gustavus:  October 24-25, 2003
  • Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis:  October 25, 2003
  • "JFK Assassination 40 Years Later," presented by David Jones '83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington:  November 4, 2003
  • A Royal Affair, a benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities:  November 15, 2003
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel:  December 5-7, 2003
  • President Peterson's Inauguration:  April 16-17, 2004
  • Reunion Weekend (Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club):  May 28-29, 2004
  • Close of the Fund Year:  May 31, 2004
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend, Reunions(1999, 1994, 1989, 1984, 1979, 1974, 1969, 1964, and 1959) October 1-3, 2004


Over the coming months, you'll be receiving a lot of mail from me, Ken, and Gustavus--all in anticipation of our 20-year reunion.  We hope you'll mark the dates above on your calendar and plan to attend the reunion.  If you're interested in joining the reunion planning committee, just let me or Ken know.  We'd be happy to have you join us and the others who have already signed on.

You may recall that I work as a higher education marketing consultant.  I was at one of our clients recently (one of the ELCA colleges) and as part of our work we were interviewing current students about their experience.  We asked one group of students to tell us about a peak experience they'd had, an a-ha moment, or something memorable they'd never forget.  One young man offered his response, which came as quite a surprise to me and my colleague.  Without hesitation he said, "The most memorable experience I've had was the J-Term I spent at Gustavus."  That response caught me and my colleague completely off guard; in our 14+ years in this business no student has ever said their peak college experience happened at another college.  No sooner had he said that, than another young man chimed in about what he liked about Gustavus, and they proceeded to compare notes.  We quickly steered the conversation back to the college in question.  That was definitely a first!

It's time to bring this to a close.  As the fall settles in with its blanket of color, I wish you moments to remember your college days.  We were so full of promise then, and we continue to fulfill that promise each and every day.  For that, we can give thanks.  We'll be in touch again soon.

Carole Arwidson

1984 Co-class Agent