Class of '86
August 2006

20-Year Reunion ― October 6 & 7, 2006


20 years!  Wow―I just am amazed whenever I think about this!  It certainly doesn’t feel like it has been that long!  It’s even scarier to think that it was 24 years ago right now that we were packing our bags and getting ready to leave for our first semester at Gustavus.  By now we had been given our room assignments, connected with our new roommate(s) and received a welcome letter from our CF.  We were anxiously awaiting the start of our freshman year!


Earlier this summer my two girls and I were out “playing” for a day.  We happened to be in the area of my first apartment, so I took them by to see it.  I hadn’t been in that parking lot in the 19 years since I moved out.  So, it was pretty strange to sit in the same parking lot, 20 years after I first moved in, with my kids in the backseat asking me questions about things I did “back then.”

We often get so caught up in the here and now that it takes something like revisiting your first apartment to think about what happened 20 years ago.  My days are so filled with family, friends and work that I had to think a bit in order to answer their questions.  “What did you do for fun back then, Mom?” the girls asked.  How do you sum up graduation and the first year out of college?  There was the uncertainty of job hunting and nervousness of the first day on the job, the excitement of signing a lease and decorating my first apartment.  My time was definitely less structured than it is today.  The question I ask myself is, “What did I do with all of that time I had??”

What are your memories of graduation and your first year out of college?


Last fall I had the opportunity to take my niece to Gustavus for a college visit.  The admission office offered her a day of classes with motivating professors, a campus tour with a student tour guide filled with the Gustie spirit, a “teach in” that featured Professor Lammert as one of the speakers and lunch in the caf (a/k/a the Evelyn Young Dining Room).  Note: If you haven’t been on campus lately, plan to schedule some time where you can enjoy lunch or dinner on campus.  As one college employee told me, it’s the nicest restaurant in St. Peter.  I can guarantee you that you won’t find a bagel melt anywhere near a lunch tray in the caf anymore!  I was really proud to show off Gustavus to my niece that day.  Even though much has changed on campus, much has stayed the same.  It’s welcoming and comfortable.

During our visit, I was reminded of the important role we as alumni play in the lives of the students at Gustavus.  Whether they are applying for a scholarship, student loan, internship or first job out of college, they can be assured that they have a network of Gusties there to support them.  With our collective support, we can make the Gustavus experience more affordable, enjoyable and worthwhile for the students.


  • Scott Luhmann, M.D. was promoted to assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery as a pediatric spine surgeon.
  • Mitch Olson and his wife, Jenni have three kids ages 10, 7 and 4.  He has a dental practice in Bloomington, MN.
  • Jody Johnson Leyda is working in the transportation department for the Chrysler Corporation.  Her husband, Butch Leyda, M.D ’87, is in his 11th year of family practice medicine in Hudson, WI.  They have two kids, Savannah (11) and August (7).
  • Lori Gustafson Frisk is working as manager of IT Applications at ALLETE/Minnesota Power.  She has been working there for 17 years!  Her husband is self-employed as a computer trainer/consultant.  They have three kids, ages 12, 9 and 4.
  • Julie Pinomaki and her husband, Daniel Pfarr, had a son, Anton George Pinomaki Pfarr, on August 3, 2005.  Congratulations, Julie!
  • Chris Ziebell is living in Austin, Texas and is the managing partner and board member of Emergency Service Partners.  He is also medical director and chief of staff at Seton Northwest Hospital.  You sound busy, Chris!
  • Lynda Severson Belgum and her husband, Steve, were featured in a National Geographic article in November, 2005.  The article was about letters to soldiers and told their story about how they met through Lynda’s Christmas package to a soldier.  What a great story!
  • Linda Wachter Boettcher lives in Havertown, PA, and is assistant professor at Villanova University.
  • Preston Euerle lives in St. Cloud and is president of R.A. Morton & Associates.
  • John Latusek lives in Dike, IA and was recently promoted to lead engineer for John Deere.
  • Jackie Hunt Christensen continues to do amazing things!  In January, she had an article in the journal San Francisco Medicine regarding Parkinson’s and the environment.  She also received the Paul M. Silverstein Community Service Award from the Struther’s Parkinson’s Center and the “Milly” Award from the Parkinson’s Action Network.
  • Liz Weyhmann Freeberg is a new grandma!  Her grandson, Caden Michael Freeberg, was born on June 27, 2006.  Liz is wondering if she is the first grandmother in our class.
  • Cindy Salmela Reh lives in San Diego, CA, and has two sons, Hunter and Trevo. She is the vice president of Onsite Engineering at Vektrel.
  • Kathy (Larson) and Tom ’83 Bergquist adopted Nathan Jia Chao Bergquist on March 26, 2006.  Nathan was born May 8, 2004 in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.  Congratulations!
  • Babette Gordon married Kevin Kellner on March 26, 2005.  They live in Chesapeake, VA and she is the regional environmental counsel for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Navy.
  • Jennifer (Roble) and John Lammert are sending their oldest daughter, Emily, off to Minnesota Life College in Richfield the end of August.  That leaves only two at home, Annika a junior and Hannah a freshman.  Jenn continues to work in public health in the waiver services area as a case manager.  John continues to teach at Gustavus.  If you get to campus, his office is still in the same place―stop by to say hi!
  • David and Mary Meyers had a baby girl, Anna Elizabeth Meyers, on July 21, 2006.  She joins big brother Matthew (7) and sisters Elise (4) and Jenna (2).  Sounds like you are busy, Dave!


Test-Optional Admission Policy

Continuing their tradition of innovative and competitive admission policies and practices, the Gustavus Admission Office announced this spring that applicants for the Class of 2011 can choose whether or not to submit their standardized test scores for consideration in the admission process.  Gustavus’ high admission standards have not changed; this policy emphasizes that the College’s application-review process focuses on the abilities and experiences of the whole person, not just one number.  As the first MIAC college and Phi Beta Kappa institution in Minnesota to allow this option, Gustavus is receiving very positive feedback from prospective students and has received excellent coverage in local and national media. 

Gustavus Legacy Award

New Gusties enrolling next fall have a new financial aid opportunity.  Awards of $2,500 are given to students whose siblings are current Gustavus students or graduates or whose parents or grandparents are Gustavus alumni.  Scholarship recipients must have a grade point average of at least 3.5, or an ACT of 26, or an 1170 on the SAT.  The Gustavus Legacy Award expands upon the previous Alumni Scholarship by recognizing and awarding students who have Gustie siblings.  By applying for admission, students are automatically considered for this scholarship and awarded if they qualify.

Summer Reading

Each summer, incoming Gustavus students are asked to complete a “Reading in Common” that will be discussed during New Student Orientation and, for some students, during their First Term Seminar course.  The Reading in Common selection for 2006-07 is Honky by Dalton Conley.  This intensely personal and engaging memoir is the coming-of-age story of a white boy growing up in a neighborhood of predominantly African American and Latino housing projects on New York’s Lower East Side.  Dalton Conley will give a campus lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Christ Chapel.  Feel free to join us in this common Gustavus experience.

Extraordinary Athletics

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the United States Sports Academy have announced the final totals for the 2005-06 Directors’ Cup and Gustavus finished 10th out of 435 competing NCAA Division III institutions.  The Directors’ Cup, which is the only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, is awarded to four-year institutions in the NCAA and NAIA with the best overall athletic programs.  In Division III, standings are based on national tournament finishes in 25 sports with points awarded based on the number of teams participating in each specific national championship.  Gustavus is one of only seven institutions in Division III to have posted top 10 finishes in four of the past five years and is the only school from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to place in the top 20 this year.

Upcoming Events:

  • Nobel Conference: “Medicine: Prescription for Tomorrow” - October 3 - 4
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend - October 7 - 8


One recent morning, the local radio morning show team was talking about their natural “affinity” to people who drive the same cars as they do.  One of the DJs said that she waves to people in cars that are driving the same model as her car.  Her reasoning was that they have something in common in that they have chosen the same car.  They have a “oneness” in owning the same vehicle.

She is describing an experience similar to the Gustie connection.  Haven’t you found that if you wear your Gustavus sweatshirt or someone notices your alumni sticker, they ask you with a smile, “Did you go to Gustavus?” and you find a connection?  For whatever reason, we all chose Gustavus for our college experience and it will forever be a part of us.  Wherever we go, we are bound to find another “lusty Gustie” in our midst.

I hope you will be able to join us on October 6-7 for our 20th reunion!  We will have time to reminisce about our past, catch up on our present, admire the wonderful changes made to campus, appreciate those things that have stayed the same and renew our Gustie connections.

I’ll see you at Homecoming!

Sara Freeman Rekow

1986 Reunion Committee Member