Class of '84
October 2005

Dear Gustie:

This fall the 144th academic year began on the hill.  That fact in and of itself isn’t amazing, but it takes on new significance when you think about the fact that we began college 25 years ago.  Now that is startling! 

Gustavus welcomed approximately 710 new students as the new semester began, making this the largest class in college history.  Some changes in the general education curriculum were also implemented this year, including the addition of a foreign language requirement for graduation.

This fall is memorable for another reason as well.  Our Gustavus family has lost a grand dame and someone who figured prominently in our college years—Ma Young.  Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 died at her home on the morning of September 29.  She loved so many and was loved by so many more.  She possessed the Gustavus spirit tenfold.  For those of us blessed to know and love her, she made us feel uniquely loved—we always parted the better for the time we had spent with her.  Below is the obituary that ran in the Star Tribune on Sunday, October 2:

Evelyn (Ma) Young, the Gustavus super cook, dies

Trudi Hahn, Star Tribune

Ma Young

Evelyn (Ma) Young, who nurtured decades’ worth of students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., as food service director, sports fan and mom away from home, died Thursday at her home in Edina.  She was 93.

Her crowning achievement may have come in April 1976, when she directed a banquet during a visit to the college by Sweden’s King Carl Gustav.  On the menu were Cornish game hens à l’orange and Chippewa wild rice and dressing.

“We made it all from scratch,” she told the Minneapolis Star.  “And we got 2,000 people served in 19 minutes flat.”

But because it was close to Easter, the king was served hot cross buns instead of her famous rye bread, a recipe that Evelyn Sponberg Young learned from her mother, who baked without recipes on the family farm near New Richland, Minn.

“She’d say, ‘Evelyn, you have to feel your way.’  But I couldn’t.  I had to cut her recipes down to cups and spoons.”

Young earned a teaching degree from Gustavus in 1933 and quit teaching in 1941 when she married Verl (Gus) Young.  They ran a bowling alley in Northfield and added a restaurant when he came back from Navy service in World War II.

In 1949 they accepted posts at Gustavus, he as basketball coach and she as food service director.

She became famous for more than cookies as the Gusties’ chief basketball fan.  She was known to holler, leap and kneel at the edge of the court and beat the floor with her hands when things were tense.

The hockey team wasn’t spared her attention, either.  After a loss, she served the players meatballs, not steaks.  The coach complained.

“Just win,” she told him.

Her husband left the basketball staff in 1957, and they eventually moved to Edina.  She continued at Gustavus, commuting the 70 miles to school daily.

She continued her philosophy of personal touches, such as the birthday cake project, in which parents could order their students’ favorite cake for pick-up on their special day.

Her husband died in 1977.  She retired from Gustavus in 1981, but didn’t stop baking.  When the college called in 1999 asking her to make cookies for a benefit for the college library, she started three weeks ahead and turned out more than 4,000 spritzes, ginger snaps and Swedish sugar cookies.

Survivors include daughters Margie Sampsell and Allie Young, two granddaughters, one great-granddaughter and a sister, Ruth Cook.

Gustavus will hold a memorial service on Dec. 8.

As Evelyn would always say, with great enthusiasm and a twinkle in her eye, “You’re the greatest and you’re terrific.  I love you, I love you, I love you—bye bye!”

Class News

A few classmates have passed along news of their professional lives, honors, and even a marriage.  Here’s the latest:

  • In October of 2004, Shari McKenzie Black (Wadsworth, OH) accepted a new position with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation as a nurse practitioner in the Leukemia Program.  Her husband continues in his role as a regional manager with the Ford Meter Box Company.  Shari’s oldest son, Rayn, is a freshman at Wadsworth High School, and her youngest, Rhys, is a seventh grader at Wadsworth Middle School.
  • Karen Clodfelter Blandford, her husband, Mark, and their two daughters (Lauren, 13; Kristen, 10) continue to make their home in Round Park, TX.  Karen continues as unit leader with Creative Memories and also coaches her daughters’ softball team. 
  • Mark Ekman (Albuquerque, NM) has been traveling the world this past year, particularly Europe and Russia, through business trips with Sandia National Laboratory.  Given that those travels have been work-related, there’s probably been little time to see the sights.  Still, overseas travel can be exciting no matter what the reason.
  • Chris Erikstrup (Woodbury, MN) is an enterprise sales representative for EMC Software Group.  His wife, Brenda ’86, is a homemaker.
  • Andrea Estrem (St. Anthony, MN) works as a software tester for Accenture.
  • Tina (Strandvold) and Ross Gustafson continue to make their home in Golden, CO, where Tina is a volunteer fire fighter and was named Fire Fighter of the Year in 2004.  Congrats!  Both of them continue to work at Coors Brewing Company:  Tina as an electrician/instrumentation apprentice and Ross as a lab tech.
  • Susan Astrup Lundquist (Edina, MN) transferred to Target Headquarters from Marshall Field’s last October where she continues in her position as executive recruiter (she’s been with Target Corp. for 18 years).  Her husband, Erik ’88, is financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in downtown Minneapolis.  Their children—Anna, 11; John, 9; and Peter, 5—are busy and active, which means mom and dad are both busy and active.
  • Keith McConnell (Foster City, CA) recently accepted a new position as senior computer engineer with C2 Microsystems, a San Jose, California-based maker of video chips.  Prior to accepting this position, he worked for Transmeta Corp. for five years.  Keith and his wife, Jennie Floyd, continue to enjoy their bayfront home in the San Francisco area.
  • Elizabeth Zahradka Miller (Stacy, MN) is an RN employed as a critical care float nurse at United Hospital in St. Paul.  Her husband, Doug, is employed by Roseville Auto Service.
  • Ranel (Voss) Nordstrom (East Bethel, MN) is also an RN; she works at Methodist Hospital.
  • Daina Ogrins and Dimitri Sivanich were married on May 14, 2005.  Congratulations on the nuptials!  After honeymooning in Kauai and Maui, they settled into their home in St. Louis Park, MN.  Daina continues to work at Martin/Williams Advertising as associate media director, and Dimitri is employed at SGI (Silicon Graphics) in Eagan.
  • Duke Paluch, director of tennis at the Millennium Harvest House in Boulder, CO, received the 2004 Shope Award for outstanding tennis teaching and meritorious service to the tennis community.  Congrats!  The presentation was made on October 9 at a dinner on the Gustavus campus.  On your next trip to campus, check out Duke’s picture and list of accomplishments, which are on permanent display in the Swanson Tennis Center along with those of the eight previous winners.  The award is named after Len Shope, an avid tennis player, patron, and booster of many-related causes.  Duke was a two-time All American and has worked in Boulder in 1985.  In his role as director of the Harvest House Sporting Association, which has about 1,000 members, he has supervised the second largest tennis league in Colorado.  Duke continues to excel on the court:  he has won the Boulder Open men’s doubles championship four times.
  • Betty Wannarka Ringeisen (Sherburn, MN) teaches K-6 physical education with Jackson Co. Center Schools.

Got news to share?  You can e-mail us at:

News From the Hill

Wind Orchestra Tour

Join Gustavus alumni and parents on a companion tour with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra to Eastern Europe January 17-27, 2006.  The trip includes visits to the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria and will be hosted by Tom Emmert, professor of history, and Jon and Anita (Thomsen) Young ’77 ’77.

Announcing the Gustavus 2006 Alumni Fund Campaign

“When you get your invitation in the mail or receive a call from a Gustie student or classmate, commit to making your gift to the Alumni Fund this year,” encourages Jan Michaletz ’74, alumni board member, class agent, and 2006 Alumni Fund Chair.  The Michaletz family―Russ ’74, Mara ’02, Annie ’05, and John ’08―have agreed to chair this year’s alumni fund drive.  The 2006 Alumni Fund goals are to achieve 9,000 donors and $1,185,000 dollars in alumni giving.  The 2006 fiscal year began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund will immediately support current Gusties in the classroom, in labs, on the playing field, in the library, and more.  Tuition does not cover the real cost of educating students today, nor did it when you were a student at Gustavus.  Since its inception in 1954, the goal of the Alumni Fund has been to help keep the Gustavus educational experience accessible for current students.  Give the gift of Gustavus to a current Gustie by making your Alumni Fund gift this year.

The 2004-2005 Honor Roll of Donors is now available online at:  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who have made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2004 and May 31, 2005.  To find your name or to check out your class results, point and click from your home or office computer.  To have your name included in the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors, go to to make a gift online.

Nobel Conference

The College’s 41st Nobel Conference, The Legacy of Einstein, was held September 27-28.  The panel consisted of scientists in the areas of statistical physics, relativity, cosmology, and unified theories, who discussed current work in the areas of Einstein’s greatest contributions.  In addition, a historian of science explored the impact that Einstein’s discoveries and his social and political views have had on science and humanity.  Also, a play, Clockworks:  Einstein Time, was premiered, the Physics Force group performed, and a symphony orchestra concert celebrated Einstein through music.

Alumni Directory

In partnership with Publishing Concepts (PCI), a comprehensive alumni directory is being produced and will be released in 2006.  PCI will be contacting alumni to get current information.

First Frost * A Royal Affair

Since 1977 Gustavus Library Associates has helped raise funds for the endowment of Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library located at Gustavus.  Over 1,000 guests will attend First Frost * A Royal Affair, the biennial gala dinner/auction benefit at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington on Saturday, October 29.  This year Evelyn Young ’33, a long-time GLA supporter, is being honored.  The program will feature tenor Mark Thomsen ’78 and will be hosted by former Miss America Gretchen Carlson and physician and Gustavus parent John Najarian.

Athletics Hall of Fame

On Saturday, September 24, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletics Hall of Fame:  Holly Brodmarkle Cervin ’87, track and field; Marc Illies ’85, baseball and football; Marc Iverson ’89, football; Gretchen Koehler, coach; soccer; Rich Skanse ’84, tennis; and Dick Walters ’75, hockey.  Jay Rooker ’85 and Mary Mansour ’85, softball, have also been selected but will be inducted Fall 2006.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • New York Chapter gathering ― October 21
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter gathering — October 23
  • A Royal Affair * First Frost — October 29
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel ― December 2-4
  • St. Lucia Day ― December 8
  • Wind Orchestra Companion Tour to Eastern Europe — January 17-27

If you have a chance to visit campus in the near future, you’ll find a big gaping hole where Wahlstrom Hall once stood.  When I was on campus in September, there was nothing but a dirt-covered hill where I once lived.  On the College Web site, you can find information about changes to campus including future plans for the new football stadium.  Check it out at:

Class Reunion Survey:  1980-1984 Results

In the last class letter, I shared with you the results of a class reunion survey that had been sent to 10,900 alumni from the classes of 1960-1999.  As promised, at the end of this class letter I have additional results to share with you; these are from the 1980-1984 classes.

Financial Matters

Recently I saw a table showing the Class of ’84’s giving history since 1995.  I thought you too might find this interesting:

Fund Year

Total Class

% Participation

Total Class Credit
































As I think back to us all taking our first steps on the hill back in 1980, I’m reminded that Gustie grads just like us had given gifts to help make our education possible.  For some of us, that meant scholarships, for others lab equipment, and for all of us new books in the library.  Now it is our time to do what we can to make that difference in a current Gustie’s life.  If you’ve already made a gift, thank you.  If you’ve found other ways to support the College, thank you for that effort, too.  And, if you haven’t had a chance yet to take action, there is still time to do what you feel you can.  Go Gusties!

It’s time to bring this letter to a close.  As I think about us taking our first steps on the hill 25 years ago, about to begin a college education that would set us each on the path of our life’s journey, it brings to mind the words of Dag Hammarskjold, the Swedish diplomat who served as Secretary General of the United Nations and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961, who said, “We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny.  But what we put into it is ours.” 

Carole Arwidson

1984 Class Agent

1980-1984 Reunion Survey Summary

112 Attended last reunion

138 did not attend, but will in future

21 did not attend, and do not plan to in future

70% very satisfied or satisfied with cost, 7% not satisfied

Ranking of factors in decision to attend (very important and important)

Day of the week – 81%

Feeling connected to Gustavus – 81%

Location – 74%

Who was attending – 69%

Date – 65%

Personal/social commitments – 60%

Reunion events – 57%

Professional commitments – 47%

Other Homecoming events – 28%

Activities for family – 25%

Cost/time to return to Gustavus – 24%

Cost – 23%

Securing child care – 15%

Factors in NOT attending (very important and important)

Personal/social commitments – 64%

Date – 57%

Professional commitments – 57%

Location – 49%

Day of the week – 42%

Feeling connected to Gustavus – 40%

Cost/time of returning to Gustavus – 38%

Who was attending – 33%

Reunion events – 24%

Homecoming events – 19%

Activities for family – 12%

Cost – 11%

Securing child care – 9%

What is important when attending a reunion? (very important and important)

Those who attended                                                     Those who did not attend

Talking with classmates – 100%                                    Talking with classmates – 92%

Class social with no program – 71%                             Seeing campus – 71%

Seeing campus – 41%                                                  Hearing an update about Gustavus – 54%

Hearing and update about Gustavus – 37%                   Class social with short program – 52%

Class social with short program – 37%              Class social with no program – 43%

Meeting former faculty – 28%                           Meeting former faculty – 38%

Musical entertainment – 14%                                        Musical entertainment – 20%

Sit-down dinner - 9%                                                   Sit-down dinner – 8%

What other activities are important when attending Homecoming (very important and important)

Athletic event – 69% those who attended, 49% those who did not attend

Concert by Gustavus musical group – 41%

Chapel service – 38% those who attended, 46% those who did not attend

Activities for children – 31%

Concert by fine arts performers – 22%

Educational seminars – 13%

Memorial service – 10%

Day of the week preference (most preferred and preferred)

Those who attended                                                     Those who did not attend

Friday through Saturday afternoon – 47%                     Saturday only – 56%

Friday  - 44%                                                              Friday through Saturday night – 44%   

Friday through Saturday night – 40%                            Friday through Saturday afternoon – 41%

Saturday – 38%                                                           Saturday and Sunday – 27%

Saturday and Sunday – 16%                                         Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 16%

Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 10%                                  Friday – 12%

Friday location

Those who attended                                                     Those who did not attend

Twin Cities – 60%                                                        Twin Cities – 37%

St. Peter – 18%                                                            St. Peter - 29%

Either – 20%                                                                Either – 29%

If Friday night in Twin Cities, would they come to Gustavus on…?

Saturday or either day – 76%

If Friday night in St. Peter would they come to Gustavus on…?

Saturday or either day – 76% those who attended, 87% those who did not attend

Preferred place to stay

Hotel with room block – 46%

Drive home – 38%

Hotel I choose – 19% those who attended, 29% those who did not attend

Friends/family – 12%