Class of '85

October 2011

Dear Classmates,

Have you ever been asked to do something that you really were not too sure of?  In September I received a note from Gustavus asking me if I would consider becoming President of the Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 1985.  I am not even president of my home.

This is Tom Johnson, by the way, your new Class President−business cards are on the way.

Please take a minute to read this−I will be brief and to the point:

In January, 2011, the Alumni Board formally adopted a new class leadership structure to build on the class agent program that has served the college for 56 years.  This program will engage more alumni with the College, develop class identity, educate and solicit gifts for the Gustavus Annual Fund, provide for special recognition on class performance, help identify alumni for professional recognition and leadership gifts, and help identify and recruit students.

What this all means is that we want to get more people involved with the future of Gustavus.  What great memories of Gustavus can you think of right now??!!  Can we all put our efforts together and make sure that we help give these same great memories to new Gustavus students for years to come?  I think we can.

Tasked with gathering a team to help this process, let me introduce you to the new team:

  • Communication Chair- Susan Johnson Chwalek
  • VP/Reunion Chair-TBD
  • Annual Fund Chair-TBD
  • Student Recruitment Chair-TBD

Just a little over a year ago, we had our 25th Reunion at Gustavus.  I think we had a great turnout and we also still know how to have a great time!  Thanks to all who were able to make it to St. Peter and I hope you all successfully navigated your way home that Sunday, as the flooding from the Minnesota River was historic.  In 2010-2011, we grew our total class giving from 2009-2010 − thank you!  As we move forward, we are going to work on an objective to become even more impactful.  As a class, we rank about #8 of 10 in total giving for classes in the 1980’s.  I think some friendly competition with these other classes is in order−let’s show them what we can do!

When was the last time you attended a Gustavus Adolphus College event on or off campus?  I encourage you to look at the Gustavus website and locate a function that you think would be fun to attend.  Maybe it is a play or a concert on campus.  Maybe it is Christmas in Christ Chapel.  Maybe you want to see the Gustie hockey or basketball teams open up a can of whoop *** on some other MIAC school this winter.  There are many great options to consider!

One of the things I have always enjoyed about being part of a class is simply connecting with people.  Have you ever thought about how fast time flies?  Of course.  We will all look back at different things with different feelings.  There is a book out there that references coming to “half time” of our lives.  It talks about some of the things we “accomplish” in the first half of our lives−we graduate, we get a job, we work, we marry, we raise a family, we travel, we write, etc…  It is consuming.  At “halftime,” we are called to reflect not only on where we are going in life, but why.  What are you going to do with the second half?  What am I good at?  What do you want to do that you have not had a chance to do?  What is important to me−WHO is important to me?  Who would you like to see?  Do you ever wonder what happened to your old roommate from North Hall?  Why not give him a buzz and go see a Gustavus game?  There is no reason that the years ahead cannot be the best years of our life!

Part of this new alumni initiative involves reacquainting ourselves with our classmates.  One new part of this initiative is that The Gustavus Quarterly class notes are now to include anything of interest you wish your classmates to know about you−not only where you live and what you do.  What are you doing for fun?  What exciting adventure are your kids on?  Is your kid at Gustavus now, or planning to go there?  Are they going to Olaf??  Bummer!  (Just kidding−St Olaf is a pretty good establishment.)  What are you doing TO MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT?  I love that Gustavus tag line−MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT.

So, as I end this initial class letter, please take some time to reflect on what Gustavus Adolphus College means to you.  Did you marry a Gustie?  How many great friends do you still have that are Gusties?  What did Gustavus do to help you prepare for a life of adventure, relationships, work, and service to others?  When the new committees reach out to you with announcements, activities, reunions, giving, etc.., please take the time to reflect.  Your actions will certainly help give future generations of Gusties some of the same great memories and life experiences!  Send news and reflections to:

Tom Johnson

1985 Class President

P. S.  To keep up with Gustie news, log into: or go on Facebook and search “Gustavus Adolphus College−Class of 1985” and join the rest of us.

Campus News

Campaign Gustavus Announcement

At the Sesquicentennial and Campaign Kickoff Dinner held on campus on Friday Sept. 30, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bernhardson announced the official kickoff a comprehensive fundraising campaign, Campaign Gustavus.  The financial goal of the campaign is to raise $150 million by the end of 2015 to fund the strategic initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150.  The focus of Campaign Gustavus is to ensure the College has the resources to continue providing opportunities for teaching and learning in a caring community.  To find out more about Campaign Gustavus and how you can be involved, visit:

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on October 15.  Inductees for 2011 are Owen Sammelson ’58, benefactor; Amanda Murdock Diehl ’92, gymnastics; Jay Klagge ’92, basketball; Bryan Ripken ’94, swimming; Todd Anderson ’95, soccer; Tracy Erickson McMorrow ’95, tennis; Scott Moe ’95, golf; Laura LeVander Peters ’96, softball; and Colleen Barland Sherman ’96, soccer.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1991 Women’s Gymnastics National Championship, won with the final routine of the meet.  

Christmas in Christ Chapel

As the College’s Sesquicentennial Christmas in Christ Chapel, Julljus:  Light from the Old World, Light to the New brings us to the celebration of Christ’s light—to Sweden in the Middle Ages; to Minnesota in the 19th century; and to our fractured and darkened world today.  At the center of the 39th annual community celebration is Julotta, the traditional Christmas matins service brought by Swedish immigrants to the New World.  Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2011 go on sale online on October 17 at noon at  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call 507-933-7520 after noon on October 17 to place your credit card order.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  November speaker will be Rob Gardner, interim artistic coordinator for Christmas in Christ Chapel.  The St. Peter Breakfast will be held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, and the Twin Cities Breakfast will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail Hope to see you bright and early!