Class of '84
January 2010

Dear Friends,

Greetings from “not-quite-the-hill” (also known as Golden Valley, MN) from which vantage point I, Jim Vos, have hijacked the January class letter.  (Actually, Carole and Ken are happy to have guest writers, and I think the only qualification is, that you have friended one of them on Facebook!)  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are eager to embrace the new year –even if that seems to require a couple extra blankets this January!

It’s early January 2010, and another decade has begun.  We’ve left behind what Time Magazine called the “Decade from Hell” – what with a Dot.Com collapse, the tragedy of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, eight years of war in Iraq, the melt-down of the financial markets, and finally the Recession of 2008-09.  We’ve left even farther behind the “Clinton Era” (could that really be so long ago?).  Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing (1994)?  Or the first computers in your home─or getting email (probably early ’90s for most).  How ’bout the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)?  Maybe you even remember the broadcast of the LIVE AID concerts (1985)?  Many of us have (or might soon be) be hitting a 25th wedding anniversary.  Many have already enrolled kids in college─with many at Gustavus (and the recruiting office wants to hear from you if that is a possibility in your family’s future.)  A few classmates are already grandparents!

Times have changed─and those of us who attended the 25th Class Reunion back in October got to see just how kind those changes were to so many of our classmates.  See last October’s class letter for a full report─or go to the “Gustavus Class of ’84” group page on Facebook to see pictures.  A huge THANKS to the organizing committee for making that event so much fun (Gregg Backstrom, Judy Rydland Fleming, Randy Lee, Sue Astrup Lundquist, Kathy Sutherland Lutes, Gordy Mansergh, Lynn Lutz McGinty, Kathy Metcalf, Cassandra Weltsch Nelson, Pete Nelson, Dave Torgerson and of course … Ken Ericson and Carole Arwidson).

So the big question might be “What’s Next?”

A good friend invited us to copy his family tradition of creating a time capsule on January 1 of 2010 that would be sealed for a decade.  He told great stories of the fun they have at the turn of each decade pulling out the old box and laughing at the surprises that lay inside.  We’ve already begun assembling a few things that will go in our 2010 box.  What would you include?  What predictions might you make for the next 10 years?

If we had that time capsule from our graduation days, I suspect we’d all be amused at the surprises that would have been laying there awaiting us, but I also suspect we’d be amazed at what we’ve accomplished, at the changes we never expected, and at the experiences we’ve had.  (See John Owen’s note below in the class updates!)  I know for Ruthanne (Hedstrom ’83) and I, and our two girls, the predictions we might have made would never have measured up to the life we’ve known─and I hope, in the best possible ways, that this is true for you as well.

We do have a few bits of class news (and we’re all encouraged to submit notes whenever we get a chance):

Michael Bishop (Plymouth, MN) is insurance manager with The Mosaic Company.  He is also the president of the Minnesota Risk and Insurance Society.  His wife, Kelly, is a business analyst in Target’s IT Department.  The couple has two boys—Tyler (16) and Timothy (13)—who attend Maple Grove Senior and Junior High Schools.

Pete Ford (Arlington, VA) has finished his tour in Iraq.  This past fall he attended the National Defense Intelligence College to pursue a graduate degree.

John Owens responded to a query from the Philosophy Department, asking for items to include in a newsletter.  In his reflection, he wrote the following:

“… my philosophy degree really helped me look at the world and my life in a completely different way than I would ever have imagined.  Over the past 22 years, I have dedicated my career to development work overseas.  I remember being fascinated by a J-Term philosophy course on artificial intelligence, which really made me look at technology and how it affects our lives in a new light.  Five years ago this month, I started work on mobile phone banking and this work has been truly rewarding and revolutionary.  Check our web site at for more info.  I joined the international advisory board of Mobile Money Transfer and just came back from presenting at the MMT Summit in Dubai and will chair the Asia Pacific MMT event in December in Manila.”

There are also the regular bits of news that really do come from “the hill.”  The Alumni Office asked us to mention:

Campus News

Gustavus gets High Rankings

Gustavus Adolphus College is listed as the 33rd best liberal arts college in the country according to a new set of college rankings released on Thursday, September 3, by Washington Monthly magazine.  The publication states on its website that schools were ranked based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories:  social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Gustavus once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings.  Gustavus moved up eight places from last year’s rankings to 80th on the magazine’s “Best Liberal Arts College’s” list.  Gustavus is one of six Minnesota colleges that placed in the top 100 in this year’s rankings.  One of the measures used to capture the various dimensions of academic quality at each college is alumni giving percentage; therefore, participating in a giving program at Gustavus, regardless of amount given, is important to the College.

Health Insurance Available through Alumni Association

During this time of economic uncertainty, many of our alumni, new graduates, and their family members are in need of health insurance.  Short-term and permanent health insurance options are available through the alumni insurance program.  The program is typically promoted to new grads just before and after graduation, but in response to the rising unemployment rate and in an effort to help all of those in need, we’re spreading the word more broadly this year.  This is also perfect for children of alums who are graduating (even if they did not attend Gustavus Adolphus College) and aren’t yet covered under an employer’s health plan.  For more information, individuals can contact the alumni office or contact the program manager directly or 800-635-7801.

Martin Luther King Day Events

The Diversity Center is sponsoring two events in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaking at Chapel on Monday, Jan. 18 will be C. T. Vivian, a minister, author, and close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement. Daily chapel will begin at 10 a.m., with Rev. Vivian speaking from 10:20-11 a.m. and answering questions from 11-11:15 a.m. Also on Jan. 18, Mixed Blood Theatre will be presenting the play “Daughters of Africa” at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.

New “Make Your Life Count” Website and Facebook Page

Gustavus has created a new “Make Your Life Count” website that includes a variety of feature stories exemplifying the College’s new brand position launched last month.  The stories celebrate Gustavus students, alumni, faculty, staff, programs, events, and organizations.  The website may be accessed from the Gustavus homepage by clicking on the “Make Your Life Count” brand line (in the upper right hand corner) or by visiting  The “Make Your Life Count” stories are also posted on a new Facebook page.  Become a fan and share your own Gustavus story.  When new feature stories are published, they will be communicated on the Gustavus News Twitter, and you may also subscribe (on the Make Your Life Count website) to receive e-mail updates.  To submit a “Make Your Life Count” story suggestion, click on the “Submit your story” link or e-mail the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speakers:  Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives – Jan. 20; Doug Minter ’79 Director of Student Financial Aid and Kirk Carlson ’95, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid – Feb. 17.

Upcoming Events

  • Jan. 14 – Atlanta Chapter Event – Linda Bailey Keefe ’69 residence
  • Jan. 20 – Twin Cities Breakfast, guest speaker - Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90
  • Jan. 26 – Job Transition Workshop – Transfiguration Lutheran Church
  • Feb. 9 – Destin, Florida brunch – Another Broken Egg Cafe
  • Feb. 17 – Twin Cities Breakfast – Gustavus Financial Officers
  • Feb. 19 – Tucson Chapter Event – Warren and Donna (Gabbert) Beck ’67 ’66 residence
  • Feb. 20 – Phoenix Chapter Event – Larry and Deone (Nordquist) Cartford ’59 ’59 residence

As you and your family and friends launch into this new decade, feel free to create your own time capsule.  Maybe some treasured photos or music (will we have iPods in 10 years?).  Maybe a newspaper or magazine from year-end, and the list of everyone who was at Christmas dinner with you, your 12/31 paystub, a movie ticket from whatever you saw over the holidays, and the family Christmas letter/card that you just sent out.  But then think about your goals and dreams.  What predictions might you make?  What do you hope will happen in the next 10 years?  What changes in the world can you make happen?

Don’t think you can get there?  Just look back and see how far we’ve come!

Congrats to the Class of ’84.  It’s an honor to be among you.

God’s Blessings on all your adventures in the days ahead!

Jim Vos

1984 Guest Letter Writer