Class of ’85
September 2010

25-Year Reunion ― September 25, 2010


Class of 1985 –

Cathy Villars Harms’s July 2010 class letter included a fun and humorous comparison of high school graduations and 25 year college class reunions.  Besides being enjoyable, it gave me yet another glimpse of what I have in store for me as my oldest child is entering her senior year of high school.  Of course, at this time, she is in the midst of the college selection process.  Maybe it’s the unique timing of reading the Gustavus admission materials as we prepare for our reunion, but I’ve been particularly captivated by the MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT™ tag line.

Over the past 25 years, each time I read a class letter with news of classmates, reconnect with Gustie friends or meet new Gusties for the first time, I am reminded of the many and various ways Gusties make their lives count.  Whether in large scale, widely publicized endeavors, or small, quiet, less visible touches, our class is making a difference in their families, communities and the broader world.  While many factors contributed to this, it is impossible for me to ignore at least one obvious constant; Gustavus.  Regardless of whether your time at Gustavus was the best time of your life, Gustavus impacted you and contributed to building a foundation that you use every day as a spring board for making your life count.

Which leads me to my “pitch” (I promise I’ll keep it short)─

Please consider attending at least some of our reunion activities on September 25, 2010.  As Leslie Lehnert reminded those of us who may be hesitant, we’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by the experience, both in reconnecting with friends and the campus, and in meeting new friends.

Please consider making a donation in honor of our class.  I encourage you to think of it as an opportunity to celebrate the difference our class is making and an opportunity to give students a starting point for making their lives count.

Happy 25th!

Jann Eichlersmith

1985 Reunion Committee Member

Check out who’s already registered to attend the reunion!

Paige Beutelspacher, Peter Blackstad, Cheryl Brust Buck, Douglas Carlson, James and Kari (Hoffman) Christensen, Susan (Johnson) Chwalek, Scott Croonquist, David and Sarah (Calhoon) Cuthill, Mike and Cindy (Stark) Dysthe, David Eaton, Robyn Gunderson, Matthew Hammerlund, Cathy (Villars) Harms, Marc and Sara (Johnson) Illies, Tom Johnson, Dave Kilgard, Becky (Deters) Kruse, Eric Lande, Wendy Larson-Harris, Leslie Lehnert, Janet Schreiner Mattern, Steve Nasby, Nels Peterson, Kurt Ploeger, Matt Rand, Bret Smith, Jill Costello Suh, Brian and Virginia (Johnson) Thorkelson.

For daily updates on those who are attending, visit:


Saturday, September 25, 2010

 9:00 a.m. –    Come take a Guided Granlund Walking Tour!  Great way to start the day.

10: 00 a.m. –  Morning Praise – another great way to start the day!

11:00 a.m. –   Class Gathering in the Hospitality Tent – free snacks and pop!

11:30 a.m. –   Relive the Homecoming Parade

 1:00 p.m. –    Men’s soccer vs. St. Johns

 1:30 p.m. –    Football vs. St. Olaf

 2:00 p.m. –    Homecoming Seminar (for those of us not into sports!)

 3:30 p.m. –    Class Gathering at 5th Quarter – start out with some Chipotle chips and salsa

                        before heading to Whiskey River

 4:00 p.m. –    Class Gathering at Whiskey River

 7:30 p.m. –    Comedian Scott Novotny ’75 will perform at Bjorling Recital Hall

Register today – you won’t want to miss it!

See you on the 25th!

1985 Reunion Committee


It is with great sadness that I write to you of the death of Kathleen Kating Olson ’86 on August 18, 2010 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Kathleen started at Gustavus in the fall of 1981 with us and graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1986.  She was married to our classmate, Jeff Olson, and they are the parents of three school-aged children.  Kathleen, a life-long non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in August 2009.  Please keep Jeff and his kids in your prayers.

Don Coe has taught middle school science for 20 years in Minneapolis.  Ten years ago, he earned National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification and he will be renewing that certification within the next year.  Don and his partner of nine years, Paul, have been working their way around the National Parks and this summer, they spent a couple of weeks in Australia.  Paul works for Medtronic.

Stacey Sjoquist Straka was honored in March 2010 as Mankato Area Woman of Distinction for her extensive community and volunteer work.  She was one of three women to be honored.  Stacey is the owner of Red Door Creative which is a creative marketing agency.

Rick Straka is vice president of finance and administration at Minnesota State University - Mankato.

Pam Wollenburg Olson has been a social worker with Anoka County for 21 years.  She works in the child protection unit.

Lisa Dahill teaches Worship and Christian Spirituality at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Ohio.  She has written two books in the last couple of years:  40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich (Augsburg series) and Reading from the Underside of Selfhood:  Bonhoeffer and Spiritual Formation.

Nels Peterson is in business development with Apex.  He and his wife, Colleen, live in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota.

Lisa Hopkins Clow is employed with Cannon Falls Medical.  Her husband, Ron, works for Excel Energy.

Deirdre Dahlstrom Hultgren is a fashion consultant.  She and her husband, Chris, live in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Lori Engelking Huckle is a Realtor working with Edina Realty in residential sales and has done some volunteer work with the Minnesota Lymphoma Association.  Her oldest son, Erik, just graduated from the Naval Academy and has service selected the Marines.  He worked this summer at the Naval Academy and then reports to Quantico, VA.  Her younger son, Stephen, has finished his first year of college.

Dan Beckman and his wife, Caroline, just celebrated their 20th anniversary.  They spend their time chasing around a 10-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.  Dan coaches hockey for his daughter’s team in the winter and baseball for his son’s team in the summer.  He plays golf and just got done with a two year term as president of Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville, MN.

Campus News

Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus will induct new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet at 6 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 9.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1990 women’s tennis team’s national championship.  Team members are invited to return to revisit this memorable sports moment.  Inductees for 2010 are:  Evie Cieslar Erdman ’73, benefactor; Duke Paluch ’84, tennis; Erik Allen ’92, basketball; Peter Anderson ’92, golf; Leigh Stocker Berger ’92, volleyball; Angela White Vick ’92, track and field; Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93, tennis; Erik Hendrikson ’94, hockey, football; Paige Tierney Sullivan ’95, soccer; 1990 Women’s Tennis National Championship―Hall of Fame Moment.

Nobel Conference

What is Good Food?  Join us on October 5 & 6, 2010, for Nobel Conference® 46, Making Food Good, as we explore the many levels of this question and hear answers from our seven distinguished panelists.  We will consider the ways in which varied and various conceptions of goodness intersect with, challenge, and are challenged by each other.  We will consider contemporary food issues like community food security; the local foods movement; food crops as fuel crops; school lunches; genetic modification of food plants and animals; molecular gastronomy; and protecting genetic diversity of plants and animals.  You can order tickets online at

Ad Campaign Launched

Late this summer and into the fall, Gustavus is launching a statewide advertising campaign for recruitment.  Targeted to reach Minnesota high school students and their parents, the ad campaign will include radio, newspaper, magazine, outdoor/billboard, and social media outlets in and around the Twin Cities, Rochester, St. Cloud, Duluth, and Mankato. Some places you will see or hear ads include the Minnesota edition of the U.S. News & World Report‘s annual college ranking guide in September, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Metro Lutheran newspaper, 101.3 FM, some high school newspapers, Facebook, and more.

150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory

The Gustavus Alumni Association is bringing together about 25,000 Gusties to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary.  In partnership with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI), Gustavus will produce the 150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory.  Over the next couple of months, PCI will be contacting Gustavus alumni via phone, mail, and e-mail to request that you update your information.  We know you don’t want to provide your information to just anyone, so we want you to be aware of this project and encourage your participation.  For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-487-8437.

“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.  Speaker for September is President Jack Ohle.  Cost is $10 at the door. 

Upcoming Events

  • Sept. 11 – Volunteer Leadership Day
  • Sept. 15 – Gustie Breakfast – Pres. Jack Ohle, speaker
  • Sept. 25 – Homecoming – St. Olaf
  • Oct. 4-5 – Nobel Conference
  • Oct. 8-9 – Family Weekend
  • Oct. 9 – Hall of Fame