Class of '84
April 2009


Dear Gustie:

Spring is in the air, and I do so love this time of year.  I was on the Gustavus campus last night and, as always when I visit, so many memories come flooding back.  Perhaps because it’s our reunion year, I found myself thinking about those last few weeks of our senior year.  Those weeks were filled with late-night study sessions, term papers, finals, good-byes, packing, and planning for the next phase of life.  They were stressful, joyful, and emotional weeks.  It will be fun to gather this fall and reflect on all that’s happened in our lives since we drove off the hill for the last time on graduation day.

News from classmates has been pouring in, which is great.  Here’s what several classmates wanted to share about their lives:

  • Kim Beckendorf (Minneapolis, MN) continues to serve as a specialist leader in the Human Capital Group at Deloitte.
  • Mike Bishop (Plymouth, MN) works at the Mosaic Company as an insurance manager and is the current president of the Minnesota Chapter of Risk and Insurance Management Society.  His wife, Kelly, is a business analyst in the IT department at Torset.  The Bishops have twin boys:  Timmy (12) and Tyler (15).
  • Karen (Clodfelter) Blandford (Round Rock, TX) is now working as an art teacher at the Leander School.
  • Gigi Rudquist Boman (Schulenburg, TX) continues to work as a special education counselor in the Columbus school district.  Her husband, Brian, is a maintenance supervisor at Dairy Farmers of America.
  • Mark Ekman (Albuquerque, NM) was promoted to division manager at Sandia National Laboratories.  Congrats!
  • Steve Erickson (Portland, OR) is working as a sales representative with LifeVest.  Like others, he too is busy with his kids’ sports teams.
  • Kim Zieseman Ewen (Eden Prairie, MN) continues to teach fourth grade in Minnetonka.  Kim has a son who is a sophomore at Gustavus.
  • Jan Sonnek Green lives in England and runs a business called All About Natural Health.
  • The Hagens, Scott and Laurie (Berge) have been on the move.  They now make their home in Tampa, Florida, where Laurie teaches pre-school at the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Scott is a chaplain recruiter at Great Lakes Naval.
  • Laura Tinklenberg Halter (Bellevue, WA) is the boys and girls swimming coach at Issaquah High School in Washington; she is also an aquatics instructor at a private swim club.  Randy is CFO for Odom Corp., a family-owned beverage distribution company.
  • Robert Helgeson (Valparaiso, IN) is now the director of financial aid at Valparaiso University in Indiana.
  • Jim Herbers continues in his work as an unemployment tax auditor for the State of Minnesota.
  • David Huls is a math teacher at Lakeville South High School.
  • Karla Johnson Beck (St. James, MN) has two sons in college:  one who is a first-year student at Gustavus and another who is a sophomore at Purdue.  Her third son is 13 years old.
  • Kelly Rome Johnson’s daughter, Katelyn, is a junior at Gustavus (and “she loves it!).  Kelly and her husband have another daughter who is a college sophomore in Oklahoma and two daughters (in 6th and 7th grade) still at home.
  • Kent Johnson (St. Michael, MN) continues to teach 8th grade earth science at Plymouth Middle School.  And his three girls (ages 10, 8, and 6) are keeping him very busy at home.
  • Brenda Kolstad Kafka (Ortonville, MN) and her husband continue to run their business, ProImage Partners, which does embroidery, digital ink jet printing, customized design, etc. for schools, corporations, organizations, etc.
  • Uwe Kausch was named marketing and international sales manager, responsible for all marketing efforts and developing overseas business opportunities, for North Shore Manufacturing in Two Harbors, Minnesota.
  • Stephanie Kidder King (Bloomington, MN) is a regulatory affairs consultant with Alquest Inc.  Her husband, Scott, is the owner of Lion Engineering Plastics.
  • Edward Lewandowski (Chagrin Falls, OH) is presently working as a lab manager with NASA Glenn Research Center.  His wife, Theresa, is a front-end supervisor for Michael’s Crafts.
  • Robyn Loewen (Chatfield, MN) continues to work as a pediatric dentist in Rochester.
  • Steve Mattson (Corcoran, MN) continues in his position as vice president/general manager of Target Center.
  • Connie Sackett McGinty (Chanhassen, MN) continues to serve as a nurse in family medicine and pediatrics at Park Nicollet Clinic in Chanhassen.
  • Dan McGinty (Shoreview, MN) has been appointed president/CEO of Essentia Community Hospitals and Clinics, a not-for-profit system of 11 hospitals and 22 clinics in rural Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana.  Congratulations on the job change!  Lynn (Lutz) has taken a new part-time job as an assistant teacher for a three to four-year-old class at the Incarnation Lutheran Preschool in Shoreview.  Their children, Ryan (a junior) and Alyssa (a first-year student) are both Gusties—and are loving it.  Their youngest, Kyle, is a freshman at Mounds View High School.
  • Heather McQueen (St. Louis Park, MN) continues to serve as senior vice president and director of accounting policy at U.S. Bank.
  • John Owens (Makati City, Philippines) and his wife, Pam, adopted their second child, Catherine Angelica.  Catherine was born last April and was almost six months old when they brought her home in September.  They have just received approval from the Department of Social Welfare and Development to approve the adoption this month.  Catherine is surely being taken good care of by big sister Brianna.  Congratulations! The new Microenterprise Access to Banking Services contract was awarded to John’s company, Chemonics International, for another four and a half years, so he continues to oversee the MABS program in the Philippines and, based on their unique success in mobile phone banking and mobile money, John has joined the International Advisory Board of the Mobile Money Transfer Group.  With the continued growth and interest in John’s team’s pioneering work in mobile phone banking for low-income households, he had the opportunity last year to travel around the world to lecture in Egypt, Singapore, Nepal, and Italy
  • Jeff Pedersen (Lake Elmo, MN) is a manager for State Farm Insurance Companies.  His wife, Sherry (Keran ’86), is a sales representative with Western Graphics.
  • Jill Mauston Petersen (Albert Lea, MN) continues to teach 4th grade at Hawthorne Elementary School in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
  • Jean Brinkman Reynolds lives in Marquette, Michigan with her husband, Davis, and daughters Abby and Caroline.  Jean is a nurse with the Marquette County Health Department.
  • Jana Liupakka Richardson and her husband, Kevin ’82, recently moved to Danville, California where Kevin is in multinational sales for Kaiser Permanente.
  • Jo Barthel Rimmereid (Plymouth, MN) is program director for the Wayzata/Plymouth Meals on Wheels program.  She has a daughter who is a sophomore at Concordia in Moorhead.
  • Susan Sandberg (St. Paul, MN) has opened an antique and gift shop called Almelund Mercantile in Almelund.  It’s open on weekends, so if you’re in the area, check it out.
  • Daina Ogrins Sivanich (Bloomington, MN) wrote to tell us the exciting news that she and her husband welcomed first son, Teodore (Teo), on November 26, 2008.  As Daina noted, “While others from our class have kids in high school and college, our journey is just beginning!”  Congratulations and enjoy the ride.
  • Ellen Lund Strom (Minneapolis, MN) has her own consultancy practice.  Her husband, Wayne, is a quality engineer with Donaldson Company, Inc.

Here’s a fun gem that Janet Christensen Basballe passed along.  Her mom passed away last year and during the difficult process of going through her belongings, Janet came across an old bill (fee schedule) from Gustavus.  (The total amount was $5,755.)  As Janet exclaimed, “How many parents would like to have this fee schedule now?”  Those of you who are Gustie parents are probably wishing you did.


Janet said she also found the six-page letter she had written to her parents trying to convince them to let her study overseas her senior year.  She outlined all of the reasons why she wanted to go and the benefits of how it would be a good thing to do.  Janet said, “I didn’t remember I had done that—much less go on for that many pages!  In the end, I did end up going and having a great time and experience.”  Today, Janet lives in St. Peter and works for AgStar Financial Services.

It is with a heavy heart that I close this part of the class letter with some sad news about one our classmates.  I recently learned that Rick Spitzack passed away on February 3.  Rick lived in Owatonna and was a husband and father (he leaves behind wife, Mary, sons, Carson Spitzack and Ryan Schwab, and daughter Briana Schwab, and many other family members).  Rick was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where he was active on many committees.  He was also a board member for the Express Hockey Team and coached basketball and baseball teams for both of his sons.  Rick established a NASCAR Fantasy League and was a NASCAR enthusiast.  It makes me sad that he won’t be able to attend our 25th reunion, but he’ll be there with us all in spirit, as will the others we’ve lost along the way.

Campus News

It’s no surprise that the College has some news from the hill to pass along, as well:

Update on Commission Gustavus 150

Recently posted to the Commission website is a summary of the common issues and “big ideas” discussed at the first nine National Summit meetings regarding the College’s five core values (Excellence, Faith, Justice, Service, and Community).  The participants were asked how the College might ensure that the core values would be lived out in the lives of alumni, faculty, staff, and students.  The summary is being shared with all members of the eight task forces of Commission Gustavus 150.  The common issues and big ideas will help shape the recommendations made by the Task Forces to the Gustavus Board of Trustees and ultimately form the basis for the College’s long-range strategic plan.

Congratulations to the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team, which won its second straight Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Championship on Sunday, Feb. 22.  Gustavus finished with 446 points to beat out Minnesota State University, Mankato (408 points) and Concordia College, Moorhead (213 points).  Gustavus placed first in 6 of 13 events and placed four individuals in the top seven of the individual sweepstakes standings.  First-year student, Chloe Radcliffe, placed first in the individual sweepstakes and senior, Tasha Carlson, will represent Minnesota at the 2009 Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest―the oldest speaking competition in the country―on April 25 in Oxford, Mississippi.

Hockey Finals

The men’s hockey team made its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship game at Herb Brooks Ice Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Saturday, March 21.  They lost a great game to Neumann College, 4-1.  The women’s hockey team lost 2-1 to UW-River Falls in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Gustavus’s Day at the Capitol

Hundreds of students and financial aid supporters from Gustavus Adolphus College and other Minnesota private colleges and universities gathered on various days at the state Capitol this spring to advocate for need-based student financial aid.  Gustavus’s Day at the Capitol was March 5, shared with Hamline University and St. Mary’s University.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Join us for a cup of coffee, breakfast, and great conversation.  Our featured presenter for May will be Kathi Tunheim, assistant professor for economics and management.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, Wednesday, May 20, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.

On the fundraising front, we’re making progress.  If you’ve already made a gift this year, thank you very much.  If not, there is still time to have a financial gift counted toward our reunion goals.  Participation is definitely the key this year.  To have your gift recognized with those from other classmates, the gift needs to be made by May 31, 2009.  (Any gift or pledge, including three-year pledges received by October 9, 2009, will also be recognized in the reunion gift from the class at the reunion.)

One more thing:  We are starting the Class of 1984 Endowed Scholarship this year.  When the fund hits $25,000, the Class of 1984 will begin sponsoring a Gustavus student via a scholarship fund every year!  Please consider this gift opportunity individually or in addition to your gift to the Annual Fund.

With that, I leave you now.  Watch for more reunion information to come your way, and I hope to see you at the 25th reunion this fall.

Carole Arwidson

1984 Co-class Agent

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