Class of '85
February 2007

Happy New Year Class of 1985!

My daughter is enjoying everything about sixth grade and middle school.  This week it’s Spirit Week.  Her line tonight went something like this:  “Mom, since you were alive in the ’80s, can you help me figure out something to wear for ’80s Day?”  I was rendered temporarily thoughtless so I sent her to her dad for ideas while I took a moment to digest that!  I instantly understood what my parents must have thought watching “Happy Days” and helping me find something ’50s to wear during more than one high school Homecoming week.  We decided that BIG hair would be fun, but not feasible without a wig, on 10 hours notice.  I knew that box of clothes I’ve saved since Gustavus days would come in handy some day.  Who knew I spent so much at the Book Mark on sweatshirts?  Ultimately, she decided on a 1987 Twins World Series t-shirt, but it was fun thinking about my time at Gustavus and memories associated with a box of old clothes.

The academic year at Gustavus is half over and that means only four more months to make your gift to the Alumni Fund for 2006-07.  Your gift of any size is important and put to good use for today’s students.  Together with them, we are the future of Gustavus.


  • Rick Straka was named vice president for finance and administration at Minnesota State University - Mankato in July 2006.  He advises the president and other senior administrators on budget issues and also oversees the offices of Facilities Management and Budget and Contracts, Student Financial Services, Intercollegiate Athletics and the Comptroller’s Office.
  • Laurie Lindemeier is still singing in the chorus of the Dallas Opera and teaching voice and piano lessons.  She’ll perform in four of the five operas this season.
  • Jill Vegoe Baltrusch and her husband, Gerald, launched a new business in November 2006 called On-Line Builder.  Their children, ages 7 and 9, attend Christian Heritage Academy where Jill has subbed for the music teacher, helped with the Christmas musical, helps in the classrooms and is on the parent/focus group.  Jill sings on the worship team and helps in the children’s ministries at their church while Gerald teaches adult Bible classes.  They are also involved with Inner City Christian Ministries.
  • Elizabeth Hultberg Jaeger continues as the solo pastor at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.  She was able to take a 12-week sabbatical last year the highlight of which was a three-week partnership trip to their sister diocese in the Meru Diocese of Tanzania.  She and her daughter, Rebecca, stayed in a host home in Nkoaranga Parish and had the opportunity to experience the ministries of the parish including a primary and secondary school, a hospital and an orphanage.  Worship and visiting people in their homes to do parish evangelism was also a part of the trip.  The trip ended with a group safari to Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater.  Husband, John ’88, has been promoted from associate chemist to the position of chemist at Aldrich Chemical.
  • Kristina Marie was born November 3, 2006 to James and Claire (Serrano) Rauls.
  • It is with deep sadness that I report the death of one of our classmate’s children.  Jacob Sundblad, son of Allen ’82 and Carla (Kamrath) Sundblad was killed in a single engine plane crash near Crookston, Minnesota on December 1, 2006.  Jacob was a freshman at the University of North Dakota and was enrolled in the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences as a preflight education major.  He was also a member of the University’s ROTC program and had hoped to fly helicopters for the U.S. Army.  Carla and Allen, our prayers are with you.


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  Theatre Reunion May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by admission to the cast party on February 10.  The Cherry Orchard will be Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast includes:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance is expected for this unique celebration, so order your tickets soon.  For more information and to order tickets, go to the Cherry Orchard site from <>.

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau, given prior to Phil’s death last April, established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities broker and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Career Connections with Students

Sign up now for the 2007 Gustavus Career Connections Reception.  The reception will be Monday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.  The gathering allows Gustavus alumni to provide advice, encouragement, and career networking opportunities to Gustavus students seeking internships and career opportunities.  Alumni are invited to attend and assist current students in their career search.  You do not have to be hiring at your company to attend – just willing to share your experience.  E-mail the Career Center at or call 507/933-7586 if you can attend or want more information.

Summer Sport Camps at Gustavus

Gustavus’ strong athletic tradition is evident with numerous summer sports camps featuring knowledgeable coaching staffs, acclaimed athletic facilities, and quality dining service and housing accommodations.  Camps offered this year include: golf, hockey, basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, throwing, and swimming.  For more information go to <> or contact the Athletic Department at


Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus String Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances are scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra will be in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • The Cherry Orchard Gala Performance – February 10
  • Orlando Gustie Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Gustie Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion – May 11-12


Susan Johnson Chwalek

1985 Class Agent