Class of '86
October 2005

Dear Gustie:

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in the annual meeting of class agents and reunion year planning committees.  The early fall drive down to campus through the Minnesota River valley brought back great memories of life on the hill while attending Gustavus.  As it happens every September, the campus is abuzz with students and activities.  Though Gustavus has gone through many changes and additions since graduation, it still felt familiar, comfortable and like home again.

Can you believe that it has been 20 years since we called Gustavus home?  Like many of you, the thought is somewhat surreal.  However, over the next 12 months, your friends on the reunion committee are going to try to help you reach back and remember those special memories that connect you to this special place in preparation for our 20 year class reunion on Homecoming Weekend October 6-8, 2006.  Like my recent trip back to campus, I hope you will plan on joining your fellow classmates to reconnect, celebrate and remember our time on the hill.

News From The Hill

Class of 2009

This year’s freshman class is 710 strong, the largest in college history.  They are also one of the brightest and most diverse classes ever.  Sixty-three percent of the class ranked in the top 20% of their class vs. 50% in 2004 with 21.4% coming from outside Minnesota and 61 of the 710 are persons of color.  The class has won awards in music, theater, speech, debate and in athletics.  Sounds like a class that we, and the College, should be very proud of.  Tuition, room and board is up to $30,920 this year, but is still a bargain compared with some other schools within the MIAC:  St. Olaf at $32,800, Macalester at $36,500 and Carleton at $40,467.


The face of Gustavus continues to change and improve.  The renovation of Old Main will be finished as you receive this letter.  Wahlstrom is no longer, and has been cleared to make room for a new dorm.  The Fine Arts building and the Chapel have installed air conditioning and as President Peterson said “It is once again ‘cool’ to attend Chapel.”

New Football Field―projected for the fall of 2007.  Sited to the west of Lund Center, the new synthetic stadium field will be recessed below ground level and feature an earthen berm surrounding the entire field.  Spectators will enter the stadium through an arched entryway and may circle the entire stadium via a concrete walkway located on top of the earthen berm.  The berm will provide ample space for people to be seated informally on grass to watch festivities.


Scholarships go to five 2005 Gustavus student athletes; Pete Schwingler (tennis), Nichole Petersen (track and field), Rachel Batalden (volleyball), Amanda Parker (gymnastics) and Kristi Schneider (track and field) were recently selected to receive postgraduate scholarships from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.  They are among 58 student athletes that competed in a spring sport in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III who will receive a $7,500 postgraduate scholarship. Gustavus was one of only two institutions in the entire NCAA (the other was Willamette University) to have five student athletes receive scholarships this spring. Gustavus is second in the nation for postgraduate scholarships.


Nobel Conference - The College just completed its 41st conference on “The Legacy of Einstein.”  They had a panel consisting of scientists in the areas of statistical physics, relativity, cosmology, and unified theories, who discussed current work in the areas of Einstein's greatest contributions.  In addition, a historian of science explored the impact that Einstein's discoveries and his social and political views have had on science and humanity.

Nurses Reunion - All Gustavus nurses are invited to the 45th anniversary of the nursing program at Gustavus on Saturday, October 8.  Events will include the dedication and tour of Mattson Hall, the facility that houses the nursing and education departments, and a luncheon with keynote speaker Dr. Donald Swenson on "Celebrating Our Roots" and a slide show presentation of the history of the college's nursing program.

Host Student Interns - The Gustavus Internship Program is seeking additional internship opportunities for current students.  There is specific need in the areas of language arts, visual arts, geology, and non-profit organizations.  Participants may choose fall semester, spring semester, and summer internships, or January Term Career Exploration.  This is open to organizations throughout the country.  Students appreciate housing and/or a stipend.  To find out more information, contact the Career Center at

Future Events – Mark your calendars!

  • A Royal Affair, a benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities:  October, 29, 2005
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel, December 2-4, 2005
  • Gustavus Wind Orchestra Companion Tour – Eastern Europe, January 17 – 27, 2006
  • 20 Year Class Reunion Weekend, October 6-8, 2006


The Gustavus community lost one of its very best ambassadors of goodwill, and a great friend of many, many Gusties through the years.  Evelyn Sponberg Young, died at home on September 29, 2005 at the age of 93.  Young graduated from Gustavus with a teaching degree in 1933 and taught English in several schools in southern Minnesota.  She returned to the campus in 1949 and became director of the College's dining service when her late-husband Gus Young was named men's basketball coach.  A memorial service will also be held at Gustavus on the afternoon of December 8.

New Interim Deans - As you may know, John Mosbo, Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs resigned.  President Peterson has installed 3 new interim deans:  Eric Eliason – humanities and social sciences, Cindy Johnson Groh – natural sciences and education, and Mariangela Maguire – communication studies.  Their mission is to provide smooth functioning of regular activities and to develop an academic plan to help set priorities for the future.


Gustavus 2006 Alumni Fund Campaign - The Michaletz family - Russ ’74 and Jan (Ledin ’74), Mara ’02, Annie ’05, and John ’08 have agreed to chair this year's alumni fund drive.  The 2006 Alumni Fund goal is to achieve 9,000 donors and $1,185,000 dollars in alumni giving.  The 2006 fiscal year began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund will immediately support current Gusties in the classroom, in labs, on the playing field, in the library, and more.  Tuition does not cover the real cost of educating students today, nor did it when you were a student at Gustavus.  Since its inception in 1954, the Alumni Fund is intended to help keep the Gustavus educational experience accessible for current students.  Give the gift of Gustavus to a current Gustie by making your Alumni Fund gift this year.  "When you get your invitation in the mail or receive a call from a Gustie student or classmate, commit to making your gift to the Alumni Fund this year," encourages Jan Michaletz ’74, alumni board member and 2006 Alumni Fund Chair.

Cec Eckhoff Society - Most alumni believe in contributing to the Alumni Fund.  To honor the former vice president of alumni relations, Cec Eckhoff ’56, who built the tradition of alumni giving, the Cec Eckhoff Society was established.  This society recognizes individuals who make an ongoing annual pledge of commitment to the Alumni Fund and is tied solely to continuous annual support and not to any specific giving level.  To give your gift go to and mark the Cec Eckhoff Society box to join.

This is a great time for all of us to consider giving a first time or special gift in honor of our class and our 20-year reunion!!

1986 Class News

  • Jeffrey Elder, Chanhassen, MN - recently completed his 10th year as an emergency medicine physician at North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis.  Congratulations Jeff!
  • Eva Ekola, Shoreview, MN - and her husband John had a baby boy on October 27, 2004 named Jonas Jeffery Ekola Ojanen.  Happy 1st birthday this month Jonas!
  • Brenda Frisk Erikstrup, Woodbury, MN – is a homemaker.  She is married to Chris Erikstrup ’84) who is an enterprise sales representative for EMC Software Group.
  • David Meyers, Eden Prairie, MN – wife – Mary, three children – Matthew, Elise and Jenna.  David is vice president, strategic account for SupplyFORCE and is the guest writer for this month’s class letter.
  • Marsha Olson, Solvang, CA – Opened a Cupids Hot Dogs franchise.
  • Susan Schumacher Hilgenkamp, Eden Prairie, MN - Works for her husband who is a marketing representative for Federated Insurance.
  • Linda Wachter Boettcher, Havertown, PA – Is teaching full-time at Villanova and finishing her Ph.D. at Boston College.  Linda also had a baby boy on March 16, 2005 named Eliott James.
  • Doug Williams, Plymouth, MN - is married to Sue; they have two children, Jenny and Matthew.  Doug is the assistant group controller for Alliant Techsystems in Edina, MN.
  • Jackie Hunt Christensen is thrilled to report that her book, The First Year:  Parkinson's Disease, An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, is finished and will be released by Marlowe & Co., a division of Avalon Publishing, on October 18, 2005.  Congratulations Jackie!

In closing, it has been a pleasure to connect with you again and to share what is going on at Gustavus and with some of your classmates.  The 20-year reunion planning committee will be hard at work shortly to begin preparation for what I know will be a memorable event.  Over the next several months we hope to have the opportunity to reach out to everyone in the class personally to tell you more about the reunion plans and to catch up on what has been going on with you since graduation.  Your 20-year reunion committee is:

Melinda Moen Batz                  Catherine Service Davis                        Scott Dingman

Leslie Boyer Dwyer                  Craig Engwall                                       Ann Wilsey Gesme

Jim Isaak                                  Steve Kjellgren                                     David Meyers

Andy Miller                              Dan Murray                                          Sara Freemen Rekow

Sandra Setter Larsen                Lisa Johnson Wentz                              Kristi Youngdahl

I hope to talk with you soon.

David Meyers