Class of '84
April 2004

Dear Gustie:

Recently I took a look at our 1984 yearbook (now that's a trip down memory lane!) and I came across a page titled "The Year That Was … 1984."  The page shared highlights from that most auspicious year, and I've included the highlights below for your reading pleasure.  Enjoy!


      • Summer renovation brings Old Main's clock tower back to working order

      • Korean commercial airliner downed by Soviets

      • New academic dean, Dr. David Johnson '54, welcomed

      • Sports complex well underway

      • New alcohol policy in effect at Gustavus


      • Flamin' O's rock Myrum Fieldhouse

      • Nobel Conference XIX brings hundreds of visitors to Gustavus

      • Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's Solidarity Union, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

      • Sally Ride is the first American woman in space

      • Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, resigns amid controversy


      • "Terms of Endearment" premieres

      • U.S. Marines sent to Grenada to overcome revolutionary forces

      • 20th anniversary of his death brings reflections from many on the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

      • Suicide bombing of Marine headquarters in Beirut affects many American families


      • New generation hits U.S.―Cabbage Patch Kids!

      • Singer Michael Johnson performs at Gustavus

      • End of semester in sight:  Christmas in Christ Chapel concerts begins

      • Finals crammed into only three days


      • Gusties scatter worldwide for J-Term

      • Los Angeles Raiders defeat Washington Redskins on Super Bowl Sunday

      • Reagan announces plans to seek re-election; Mondale, Hart, Jackson, McGovern, and Glenn seek Democratic nomination


      • Olympic Games in Sarajevo; American skiers Johnson and Armstrong and skater Hamilton bring home gold

      • Soviet leader, Yuri Andropov, is dead, replaced by Konstantin Chernenko

      • Former Minnesota Viking, Alan Page, addressed Gusties in Chapel concerning society's over-emphasis on sports

      • Greek community welcomes new Psi Kappa Chi fraternity


      • Joel Koch '85 and Nels Jacobson '85 elected to Student Senate top offices in close race

      • U.S. Marines deployed from Beirut

      • Duarte elected in first free and fair elections in El Salvador

      • G-Spots and Acid Rain Gustavus broomball champs

      • College mascot, the Gustie lion, is revived


      • Reagans make landmark journey to China

      • Sit-down strike held at Gustavus after denial of off-campus housing for 1984-85

      • Battle for Democratic presidential nomination heats up between Mondale, Hart, and Jackson


      • First President's Ball held at Edina Country Club

      • The Class of 1984 was graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College on May 27

Perhaps, like me, many of those events evoke for you powerful memories from our senior year.  There are moments when I was present for the event, others that mark a significant moment in time - on the hill, in our nation, or in our global society.  As I wrote the words, I found myself transported back in time, to a place I hold dear and to memories that are always close at hand.  It was a noteworthy year and a milestone in our collective lives, something we'll always share in common.  I hope you'll be able to join us this fall as we celebrate our college days and rejoice in the lives we've led since we left the hill on that Sunday in May ready to take life on, on our terms.

Let me also pause a moment to thank Peter Ford for writing the January guest letter.  Ken and I appreciate his willingness to take on the assignment and to share his thoughts with our class.  As I read Peter's letter, it reminded me that I was present on graduation day when he received his commission (I hope I have the terminology correct) in Linner Lounge.  Since that day, Peter has certainly seen many remarkable places around our world.  Thanks again for sharing with us.

Class News

Classmates have been sending in news about their lives; here's the latest.

Gary Distel (Cold Spring, MN) is employed by the Rocori School District where he teaches social studies and coaches baseball.  His wife, Lisa, works in the same district as a piano teacher.  Gary is also a part-time radio broadcaster, providing play-by-play and color commentary for local high school and college sports on KXSS 1390.  Gary and Lisa have two children:  Hudson and Sam.

Jeff Edblad (Cambridge, MN) is in his third term as the Isanti County attorney and still serves as an adjunct faculty member in the history and political science departments at the Cambridge campus of Anoka Ramsey Community College.  On December 17, 2003, he and his wife, Debra, celebrated the birth of their daughter Jillian Linnea.  Jillian was also welcomed by brothers, Clark (12) and Peter (7).  Congrats on the new member of the family!

Judy Rydland Fleming (Eden Prairie, MN) wrote to share that her husband, Robert, a pilot for Northwest Airlines and a major in the Air Force, was activated by the Air Force Reserves and is serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  His tour has been extended until September 3, 2004, and could continue through March 3, 2005.  Robert is an aircraft commander for the Air Force flying C130s; his unit was deployed to Masirah Island Air Base, Sultanate of Oman, supporting America's war on terrorism.  As Judy wrote, "It takes the entire family/community to support the men/women while they are serving and recognizing them is important.  I am very proud of my husband and all the others who are dedicating their entire life to the service of our country."  Thank you for your words and for your family's commitment.

Robert Gamm (Woodbury, MN) is a director with Thomson Legal & Regulatory Group.  His wife, Morli (Johnson '87) is a certified registered nurse anesthetist.  They have three children:  Kathryn, Emily, and Max.

On a recent morning as I was getting ready for work I happened to catch a segment on KARE-11 and there, to my delight, was Todd Gillingham.  He looked great and did a nice job on camera.  What a fun way to start the day!

Scott and Laurie (Berge) Hagen (Faribault, MN) wrote to tell us that Scott reported to active duty as a chaplain for the Army reserve on February 11.  He is Battallian Chaplain for the 367th Engineer Battalion, headquarters company, St. Cloud.  He was at Ft. McCoy, WI, for training and will be deployed to Afghanistan sometime in April.  The 367th has companies in Mankato, Brainerd, and Duluth.  There are just under 600 soldiers in all.  The major TV channels covered some of the events because the call-up of the 367th is the largest Minnesota mobilization since 9/11.  Scott will be gone anywhere from14-18 months.

Damon Larson (Centennial, CO) was one of 10 finalists for NFL Teacher of the Year, and was named Teacher of the Month for October 2003.  Congrats!  (The big award was to be announced in January.)  Being modest, Damon said, "It's all simply good fortune, I believe.  I had a terrific young man, a great student-athlete, Trent Gamble, who now plays for the Miami Dolphins.  Everything started with his nomination, then an application process, etc."

Edward Lewandowski (Chardon, OH) is employed by NASA's Glenn Research Center where he develops radioisotope power systems for deep space exploration.

Nancy (Countryman) Lindberg (Lakeville, MN) is a first grade tutor and kindergarten assistant at Lakeview Elementary.  Her husband, Randy, is a project manager at Shavlik Technologies.  Nancy and Randy '81 have three children:  Katie, Alexander, and Erik.

Ruth Ann (Henry) Lund (Chatfield, MN) and her husband, Bob, opened a bed & breakfast in her mother-in-law's beautiful Victorian home last August; the B&B is called Oakenwald Terrace.  Two other Gusties (Todd Johnson and Brenda (Butturff '83)) live two doors down from the B&B.  You can visit the B&B online at   Ruth Ann and Bob have two children:  Tyler and Payton.

Kathryn (Sutherland) Lutes is a very busy woman.  She is teaching art classes at the New Life Academy, is substitute teaching in South Washington County, and is a consultant for Creative Memories.  She and Ron '83 have three children:  Jennifer (18 and a student at St. Olaf), Steven (16), and Cara (11).

Lisa Milbrath (Westfield, IN) was tracked down and wrote to tell us that she was married on September 14, 2003, at Hazeltine Golf Club and is now living in Indianapolis.  Belated congrats on the nuptials!  Lisa sent along some lovely photos from her wedding, and they're included below.

Text Box:  MilbrathText Box:  Milbrath







Steve Musser (Marshall, MN) is an environmental consultant for AirTech Environmental, Inc.

Pete and Cassandra (Weltsch) Nelson now make their home in St. Peter.  Pete is a financial consultant with Wells Fargo Investments, and Cassandra works in the Student Activities Office on our beloved Hill.

Kim Colburn Olson's (Lake City, IA) first book, a picture book for preschoolers titled Construction Countdown, will be published this year and is expected to be released in May.  Congrats Kim, that is very exciting!

Leisel Hedlund Pfleghaar, her husband, Mark, and their daughter, Maya Lee, make their home in Wayzata, MN.  Leisel owns her own business.

Jeanne Schultz Schimmels (Miamisburg, OH) and her husband, Scott, have three children:  Jennifer (13), Ethan (10), and Brian (7).

Teri Moody Stark (Minnetonka, MN) is a stay-at-home mom and is happy to spend her days with her two children:  Sara (7) and Jack (5).

Ellen Lund Strom (Minneapolis, MN) welcomed son Michael Wayne on July 1, 2003 (Michael was born March 29, 2003, in Bogota, Colombia).  Congrats!

Sheri Lohrenz Zastrow (Rochester, MN) is getting a nursing degree from the University of Phoenix in 2004.  She is a neurosurgery nursing clinical educator at the Mayo Clinic.  Her husband, Gregg, is an electrician with Adair Electric.

If you have news to share, please pass it along to us.  You can e-mail us at:

Lost Alumni Update

Thanks to all who responded to our previous requests.  We were very successful in finding our lost classmates!!  As of April 1, here is the updated list of missing Class of '84 Gusties:

Per Ekstam

Rebecca Helgeson Grassau

Yumi Inoue

Kathryn C. Johnson

If you know how we can get a hold of these classmates, let us know by contacting the Alumni Office at or 1-800-GUSTIES.

News From the Hill

Inauguration of Gustavus President Jim Peterson

The inauguration of Jim Peterson '64 as president of Gustavus was celebrated April 15-18.  Events included a symposium featuring the Rev. Dr. Martin E. Marty, the investiture service, the Association of Congregations meeting, the G.I.V.E. day of community service, Twin Cities reception, and concerts by the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra.

Finding Meaning in Life

"Stirring the Water:  Faith, Community, and Social Justice" is the title of the third annual Lilly Conference on Vocation sponsored by the Center for Vocational Reflection, April 19-22.  Events will include a keynote address by Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners and author of Faith Works, and Claudia Horwitz, author of The Spiritual Activist:  Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work, and Your World, and a concert by singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer. For more information go to:

Gusties Giving

In conjunction with the Presidential inaugural festivities on April 17, Gustavus held its annual Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E) Day.  This year several hundred alumni, students and friends worked in the St. Peter/Mankato area doing projects such as cleaning parks and streets, sorting food and supplies, and sewing clothes for premature babies.

Relay for Life

Gustavus will host its first Relay for Life, a nationwide event to raise awareness and resources to fight cancer.  Currently there are 356 people registered on 28 teams to walk all night.

Greeks Giving Back

April is also Greeks Giving Back, a competition among the organizations for planning social, educational and campus/community interaction activities.  Events include drunk driving prevention, suicide awareness and sexual assault education, a clothing drive, tree planting, providing a sock hop for local elementary children, and in conjunction with G.I.V.E. Day they will be painting houses in St. Peter.

Study Abroad

Gustavus ranks among the top 20 U.S. undergraduate institutions in number of students studying abroad according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Currently just over 50% of a graduating class has studied abroad while at Gustavus.

MAYDAY! and the United Nations

The 2004 MAYDAY! Peace Conference will address the topic "The United Nations at the Crossroads."  The conference features a keynote address by Dawn Calabia, former deputy director of the U.N. Informational Center in Washington, D.C. and a panel discussion on "What Role for the United Nations:  Humanitarian Agency or Global Police Force?" For more information go to


Senior Jackie Luehmann placed third in the shot put and broke a school record in the 2004 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.  The softball team is 8-0 in the MIAC and pitcher, Molly Biehn, has thrown 28 consecutive scoreless innings.  For more information on Gustavus athletics go to

Fine Arts

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, formerly called the Gustavus Band toured during Spring Break in the Midwest.  The Choir of Christ Chapel will tour April 22-25 in the Seattle, WA, area.  The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra presented the The Nobel Symphony with VocalEssence at Orchestra Hall on April 18 in conjunction with the inauguration of President Peterson.  For more information on fine arts programs go to

New Residence Hall

In January the Board of Trustees approved construction of a new residence hall at Gustavus to be ready in June 2005.  Construction of the new facility, to be located to the west and south of the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, is scheduled to begin in May.  The residence hall will house approximately 200 students in suites and apartments, as well as provide a hostel space for off-campus groups and summer programs.

Computer Science Reunion

Gustavus will celebrate 25 Years of Computer Science this summer with a gathering on campus July 16-18.  All alumni, whether you graduated with a major or minor in computer science or are just interest in computing, are invited to the celebration.  The event will offer continuing education workshops on hot computing topics, fun activities for the whole family, networking opportunities, and catching up with changes in the department.  For more information, go to

Refer a Student

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

Sad News:  A Name From Our Past

Ann Lydecker, who was an assistant and associate professor in education at Gustavus between 1980 and 1988, was killed in a motor vehicle accident on March 25, 2004.  Since August 2000 she had been serving as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Fund-Raising Update

The financial situation has both good news and bad news.  Here are the details from co-agent, Ken Ericson:

Good news:  As of March 31, we are leading ALL classes with 190 donors.

Bad news:  We are far short of our goal of 300 donors.

Good news:  We have 35 people who have pledged to donate, but have not yet done so.  If you are one of them, please send in your donation.

Bad news:  We only have two months left to reach our goal.

Good news:  We are the Class of '84 and we can do it.

Great news:  You don't need to donate big bucks.  We NEED participation.   A $5 or $10 donation (heck even a buck if it's all you can send) goes a long way in the participation category!  Please - I only get this "pushy" once every five years.

Greater news:  We already hold the class record for the most donors in a year (292 in 1993-94, our 10th reunion year) and we can hold onto that record and surpass it if we reach our goal of 300. 

From a participation standpoint, I put a challenge to Randall Stuckey '83 & Barb Larson Taylor '93 in the Alumni Office.  If the Class of 1984 goes over 300 participants we will get to spend an additional $300 on raffle prizes.  One raffle will be for those who submit their Alumni Office Update Forms and one raffle will be for those who attend reunion.  If you have already submitted your form, you are already entered.  If you haven't submitted your form, you still have time.  If you submit your form AND attend reunion you will be eligible for both raffles.  Drawings will take place at reunion, and you need not be present to win.  Prizes will be determined once we make our participation goal.

PLEASE NOTE:  EVEN THOUGH OUR REUNION IS IN OCTOBER, DONATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY MAY 31, 2004, TO BE COUNTED IN OUR REUNION YEAR.  You can send in your gift (and any news) in the enclosed envelope or you can make a gift online at:

Upcoming Events:  Mark Your Calendar

  • Phonorama                                                                 April 25-29
  • MAYDAY! Conference                                                 April 28
  • Arbor Day Celebration at Gustavus                               April 30
  • Gustavus Library Associates Author Day
  • with Thomas Friedman in St. Paul, MN                         May 22
  • 1954 and 50-Year-Club Reunions                                 May 28 & 29
  • Commencement                                                         May 30
  • Close of the Fund Year                                                May 31
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend, Reunions (1999, 1994,
  • 1989, 1984, 1979, 1974, 1969, 1964, and 1959)             October 1-3

For more information on alumni events, go to

Admission College Fairs and Special Visit Days

  • Twin Cities, MN - April 25
  • St. Louis, MO - April 25
  • Rochester, MN - April 26
  • Fargo, ND - April 27
  • Sioux Falls, SD - April 28

For more information contact the Admission Office at 800-487-8288 or

It's time to bring this letter to a close.  I leave you with a thought from Woodrow Wilson that reminds me of the sense of boundless possibilities that awaited us beyond the hill as we made our way down it for the final time that May afternoon in 1984:

........... "You are not here merely to make a living.  You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.  You are here to enrich the world."

For all the ways in which you have enriched the world, I say thanks.  Go Gusties!

Carole Arwidson

1984 Co-class Agent