Class of '86
November 2006

Dear Class Mates,

After much rest and recuperation, we’re getting around to the infamous post-reunion class letter!

For all of you who ventured down to Gustavus for our 20 year reunion….Thank you!!!  That was a fantastic time!

We want to thank everyone involved in the event planning including the reunion committee of Melinda Moen Batz, Leslie Boyer Dwyer, Ann Wilsey Gesme, Jim Isaak, Dan Murray, Lisa Johnson Wentz, Kristi Youngdahl, and the Gustavus staff (particularly Kathy Erlandsen and Barb Larson Taylor ’93!) that did all the amazing work behind the scenes.

We’d also like to thank Juli Pinomaki and Shawn Spurgin’s brother for their hard work and dedication in developing and hosting Shawn’s art display in Old Main.

For those of you unable to attend, Gustavus and Mother Nature put together a beautiful Minnesota fall day―sunny, a bit breezy, and warm 70 degrees.  We set up a tent next to Old Main and had a pre-game party at 11:00 a.m.  At the tent, classmates could check in, get their registration materials, official 20-year reunion yellow mug and “Class of ’86 Flashback Tunes” CD.  The setting was casual but the energy level was high.  People met with old friends, ate snacks, and drank a beverage or two before heading over to the football game or a long list of other activities that were taking place on campus for Homecoming Weekend (okay, and a few people headed into town for a brief respite).  After a slightly painful loss to Bethel in football, everyone gathered back at the tent for a BBQ dinner, more catching up, and a short program.  A whopping 140 attended the reunion!  Several other classes came by to visit, saying they heard we had quite the party going on.  The Alumni Office confirmed that we had the largest reunion on campus this year.  Way to go class of ’86!  Finally, in true Gustie fashion, we shut down the tent party around 8:30 p.m. and a large number of die-hard classmates headed to the Flame for more refreshments.  As you will see from the pictures, it was a deja vu experience.  If someone had told me it was Homecoming 1985, I would have believed it.  A host of familiar faces…Ace included.  The sounds:  Marvin Gaye’s, Heard it on the Grapevine; Lynyrd Skynyrd’s, Freebird and Don McLean’s, American Pie as well as other familiar tunes, the smell of popcorn and spilt beer…  It just brought back some great memories of the times we had 20 years ago on the hill.


(Once there, click on either “Details” or “Slide Show” to really experience the fun.  You can also add questions or comments to each photo)

As a special treat, we have brought back another Gustie tradition for this post reunion class letter.  Laura Peterson Olson, long known for her insightful observations of her fellow sorority sister’s actions has been kind enough to provide us with her 20th Reunion Pimp Sheet!

Pimp Sheet – GAC 20th Reunion!

Hi Folks, Laura Peterson Olson here, just reporting the Class Reunion facts as I saw them…  If you don’t like or agree with anything included herein, take it up with my boss; he can be reached at:  1-800-I-DON’T-CARE.

Driving down in their “mini-winnie,” Jay and Deb (Sieling) Dittberner had cozy accommodations!  If the Winnebago’s rockin,’ don’t come a’knockin.’

Who was that wandering the halls of the Union?  Keith Nelson and Steve Johnson seemed a bit “lost” (20 years will do that to you!)

Classmate sighting…  Be sure to check out reporter Carla Johnson Conradt on KAAL if you are in the Austin/Albert Lea area!

Most prolific?  We believe Tim Edstrom is the winner of the ‘most kids’ with five at home.  What’s in the water down in the Chicago area??

The party hasn’t started until you spill some wine…  It didn’t take Joel Hansen more than a couple of sips before his party started.  Hope you can get that stain out…

Looking bright and fresh, Mark and Meri (Lapp) Nielsen looked great in their “matching” green outfits!

Our own class agents and reunion planners:  Dave Meyers, Dan Murray, Melinda Moen Batz and Ann Wilsey Gesme, relaxed after hard work organizing this great event with Jell-O shots at the Flame!  First one, then another, then another…amazing how easy they slide down!

Did ANYONE end up staying at the originally sold-out St. Peter Motel once they saw the manager answering the door in PJs and a robe?  I’m told that Drs. Don and Cathy (Service) Davis’ cabin on nearby Lake Washington could have/may have been a far better place to crash…

Dan Murray definitely doesn’t get the award for greatest hair loss in 20 years, but why do others, like Bill Belvedere, shear their hair when they still have lots of it?

Geez, my mind must be going…  I could have sworn Tim Mettler was wearing a red shirt at the tent party, but a blue one at the Flame.  Care to elaborate Tim?

Of course The Flame is an institution for our class, and it was made complete by an appearance from Ace!  After all these years, he’s still going to one of our favorite watering holes and looks pretty much the same (and still happy to drink free beer)…

Overheard…Kristen Nilsson and Charlotte Pratt Nordstrom were heard reminiscing about some “conquests” in Scotland during a study abroad program at Gustavus.  International relations at its best!

Guest appearances…Jeff Krohn x86 and Chris Angelos (crasher from ’87!) joined us on campus then stopped by the Flame.  Chris sent his wife and kids home early and hung out, while Jeff left his family waiting in the car as he did his bar rounds.

Towards closing time, Tracey Anderson and friends left the Flame to search for a trailer party in some RV Park…  I don’t think she was looking for new insect specimens.

Leslie Boyer Dwyer felt so bad about breaking the glass on the Memorial frame prior to the tailgate party that she ran down to Mankato to get it replaced.  What dedication!  Thanks Leslie…

Who was that bellied up to the bar with some of the local boys?  Michelle Gustafson Paule and Leslie Nelson Johnson were spotted knocking a few back with some of the students!

Equal Opportunity Alumni:  John McCally and Joel Hansen were spotted getting friendly with some of the Gustavus coeds!

Dancing machines…Jeff Elder and Michelle Gustafson Paule and Sherry Keran Pedersen and Doug Rogers were tearing it up at The Flame.  Joel Hansen had some of his own fancy moves as well!  (In fact, I don’t think Sherry Keran Pedersen stopped dancing until they kicked her out at closing time…)

Pool sharks … Phil ’87 and Laura (Peterson) Olson and Joel Hansen and Chris Erikstrup ’84 dominated the pool table at the Flame!

When you gotta go…Anne Wilsey Gesme was spotted in the ladies room all unbuttoned and ready to go―once you break the seal you gotta move fast!  At least twice Dave Meyers and Dan Murray played bathroom guard while females used the men’s bathroom.  That was a trick first championed by Katy Reckdahl ’87 back in the day…

If he didn’t connect with you, it wasn’t for lack of trying.  Our class social butterfly, Warren Bailey, really made the rounds!  I also hear that Warren missed Jenny and Joan Wood so much that he recently rented the Redwood Falls house where they were raised…

Karen Westlund Kirby got so worked up over some people’s lack of participation in the Cec Eckhoff Society that she ran around the bar forcing people to fill out the form on the spot.  Watch for Karen’s Guest Writer piece in an upcoming class letter.

Eager to win something during the Class Awards, Michelle Gustafson Paule acknowledged to everyone that, while she never lived in a foreign country, she deserved something for maintaining “foreign relations!”

First to the Flame?  Can anyone beat Kristi Youngdahl, Michele Vossen Martin and Joy Danielson Crump who made it there before noon?  (Yes, they returned to campus for the dinner event).

Several people ran into former Dean Bruce Gray ’61―who looks exactly the same―and he remembered the Class of ’86 as his guinea pig for developing the J-Board…  Is that an honor??

Honorary Gusties…  Although they didn’t attend Gustavus, these spouses certainly participated as if they did!  Linda (Dan) Murray, Gene (Leslie Boyer) Dwyer and Debra (Doc) Hanson partied it up in true Gustie style!

Respectfully submitted by:

Laura “I’m Watching You Still” Peterson Olson

Well, this officially wraps up festivities surrounding the Class of ’86, 20th Reunion.  Mark your calendars for October, 2011 for an even bigger 25th reunion bash…folks have already contacted us to participate in the plan for our next gathering.

Also, for your edification some additional news of happenings and events going on at Gustavus.

Gustavus Designated an “All Steinway School”

Steinway and Sons, makers of what many would say are the best pianos, has added Gustavus to its “All Steinway Schools” list.  This is an exclusive list of just 66 colleges, universities, or conservatories in the world.  To be considered for the Steinway designation, a school must first have at least 90 percent of its performance, practice, and teaching pianos be Steinways.

Gustavus Excels in Fitness and Dining

Men’s Fitness magazine has named Gustavus as one of the top 10 colleges in America for fitness.  Among the things considered in the rankings were nutrition and dining choices, whether physical fitness is included in the curriculum, and availability of workout equipment.  They also examined individual student responses to questions on topics such as alcohol consumption, tobacco use, fast-food indulgence, and exercise habits.  On a related note, the Gustavus Dining Service was listed in the top 10 in a U.S. News and World Report survey on the best campus food in America.

Gustavus Alumni Professional Apparel

Check out the two new oxfords on sale online through the Gustavus Book Mark.  The Book Mark is offering a women’s and men’s long sleeve shirt in a variety of colors and sizes.  The shirt features an embroidered three crowns and Gustavus.  A great idea for holiday shopping for your favorite Gustie.  Check them out online only at

Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

On Saturday, September 30, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletic Hall of Fame:  Deborah Jungwirth Borman ’87 - Volleyball, Tina Pulido Draper ’87 - Gymnastics, John Huepenbecker ’80 - Football, John Jambeck ’62 - Swimming, Deanne Sand Johnson ’89 - Tennis, Dick Kumlin ’55 (posthumously) – Basketball, Dan Prochnow ’78 - Golf, Jerilyn Ree ’88 - Basketball, and Stacey Rodman ’89 - Swimming.

Honor Roll of Donors

If you haven’t had a chance to find yourself online, please go to to check out the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors.  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006.  To find your name or check your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer.  For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866/487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Obtain Life Insurance at Group Rates

The Alumni Association sponsors a life insurance plan, Life for Life, with exceptional features and low initial rates.  Maximum coverage is $2 million and insurance can increase repeatedly even if your health fails and you become uninsurable.  Obtain information online with the Alumni Association partner, or call 800-635-7801 for more information about this and other sponsored insurance.

Gustavus Legacy Award for Gustavus Admission

Mark Anderson, Vice President of Admission and Student Financial Assistance, is pleased to announce the Gustavus Legacy Award for new students beginning with the incoming class of 2007.  Renewable awards of $2,500 per year are given to new students whose siblings are current Gustavus students or graduates or whose parents or grandparents are Gustavus alumni.  Scholarship recipients must have a high school grade point average of at least 3.5 or an ACT of 26 or an 1170 (Critical Reading + Math) on the SAT.  For more information contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S) or email <>.

Upcoming Gustavus Events

  • Washington DC Area Gustie Gathering – December 3 to watch the Vikings
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel “An American Odyssey” – December 1-3
  • Jacksonville Chapter Gathering – February 11
  • Orlando Chapter Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Chapter Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Chapter Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Chapter Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Chapter Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Chapter Gathering – March 18

Finally, as we enter the holiday season, with all the parties, shopping and rushing around.  I wish for you the time to sit back and enjoy family and friends and to take a moment to count our many blessings.  Happy Holidays!!!

Respectfully submitted,

David Meyers

1986 Co-Class Agent