Class of '86
March 2008

Dear Classmates,

Warm spring greetings from Minnesota!  Well, at least I’m thinking warm―it is still very cold here even in early March.  It has been a terribly cold winter here and we are all ready for a warm up.  There were times this winter when it was so bitterly cold that it was difficult to go from the car into the store and back out to the car (I’m not alone in this, other Minnesotans, am I?).  At times I thought about how we handled this at Gustavus, when we had to walk across the Tundra (the co-ed parking lot) just to get to the Union or even all the way across campus in the bitter cold wind.  I remember discussions we had on those cold days about the underground tunnels and why on earth they didn’t open them up to students!  The good news is that by the time you get this, the tundra should be warming up and we’ll be seeing the first signs of spring!

Spring was my favorite time on campus.  The rest of the year was beautiful, too―the heat of summer still upon us as we unloaded our belongings on campus in September, the crisp autumn air during Nobel conference in October or the serenity of Christ Chapel on a snowy winter night.  But there was an excitement―a buzz―in the spring as we all emerged from the dorms and the classrooms and breathed in a little springtime.  It was fun to see the tennis players back out on the courts, hear the crack of bats on the baseball and softball fields and see the people soaking up some sun on the hill outside Uhler.

From a practical standpoint, spring was a time for uncertainty for most students as we attempted to line up jobs and internships for the summer.  At least for me, these summer jobs were critical to have the money for my portion of tuition and my spending money for the next year.

This rush for summer employment must be compounded now due to the increase in college tuitions.  Think about it―students at Gustavus this past year paid more for one year of education ($34,900) than we did for all four years put together.  A recent Star Tribune article ( highlighted changes some private colleges are making to provide more financial aid to their students.  The key to this assistance lies in the endowment funds at the institutions.

Endowment funds are built by the gifts of alumni, family and friends.  These gifts to our college are a way for us to say thank you for the education we received and to show our belief in creating exceptional people in the future.  Gustavus makes it easy to give.  You don’t need to wait for a Phonorama call or a letter to donate.  You can simply go online to: and make your contribution.  It couldn’t be easier!  Any dollar amount makes a difference and, after that final click of ‘OK’ you will know that you are making a difference for the future of Gustavus.  Do it today!

Class News:

We have a few updates on some of our classmates.  Get your old Grib out so you can Grib’em as they are mentioned!

  • Libby Copeman Gould teaches vocal music in Sioux Falls.  Husband, Jeff, and four kids:  college freshman, 11th grade, 7th grade, 4th grade.
  • Mike Bryant, owner of Bradshaw & Bryant law firm, was listed in the 2007 Minnesota Super Lawyers edition.  His wife, Beth Beach Bryant ’87 is a well known attorney who has also received a number of Top Lawyer recognitions.
  • Hugh Haman lives in Edina with his wife, Ella, and works for Pressworks as their sales representative.
  • Cindy Salmela Reh and hubby, Bill, live in sunny San Diego.  Cindy is vice president of on-site engineering for Vektrel.
  • Laurie Schrupp Noennig lives in Norwood, Minnesota with Joel...  She works at the Ridgeview Medical Center as their special care unit/healthcare coordinator.
  • Diana Psihos Choles is a physician at Dean Medical Center, and lives in Oregon, Wisconsin with Constantine and family.
  • James and Amy LeClaire-Sachs live in Minneapolis.  If our info is correct, Amy works at Global Citizens Network, and James works at the University of St. Thomas.
  • Joyce Evans Burke lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with husband, Gary.
  • Patience paid off for Amy Sommers Buck and her husband...  After a two-year wait on licenses and other issues, they happily adopted a new daughter, Subashri Jean, from India.  Congrats!!!
  • Anders Johansson lives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and works for the Chamberlain Group as an artist.
  • Daren LaVoi recently assisted his 95-year old grandmother by illustrating her first published children’s book, “The Runaway Little Red Lawn Mower!”  You’re never too old to write...or illustrate.
  • Andrea Sjogren was named community education coordinator for a new community education venture between three school districts in the southeastern Twin Cities.  Congratulations, Andrea and good luck with the new program!
  • Michael Miller is an assistant professor in the department of radiology at Indiana School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
  • Ehsan Khaleel is working as an information system support engineer for Pulte Homes in San Diego.  I bet you don’t miss the cold days of winter in Minnesota!
  • Steve Graff is the new vice president of Lending at First National Bank of Waseca.
  • Janice Berkness Laven lives in Chanhassen, MN, and is a fifth grade teacher in Edina.
  • Carla Johnson Conradt lives in Austin, MN and is a success coach at the Austin School District.
  • Jay Knaak lives in International Falls, MN, and is an emergency room physician at Falls Memorial Hospital.  I bet you are ready for spring, too, aren’t you, Jay?
  • Debbie Ostling Keifer lives in New Richmond, WI, and is an accountant for US Bank.
  • Stephanie Spitzack Hennings and husband, Mark ’85, live in Minnetrista, MN.  Stephanie is vice president of investments for RBC Dain Rauscher.
  • Scott Shekels reports that he recently joined a troop of Ukrainian mambo dancers and is touring Manchuria promoting the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  In reality, I know that he is living in Orono with his wife, Laurie Chinander Shekels and two daughters, working when he has to and playing as much as he can.
  • Sara Hansen is living in Fort Collins, Colorado and is the senior content editor for the Fort Collins Coloradoan.  It sounds like life is good in Colorado!
  • Joyce Evans Burke is living in North Carolina with her husband, Bud, and their two girls.  They own a small business called Lake Breezes, LLC and she is also working remotely for NBC News in NYC reviewing their digital assets.

When I receive class letters or the Quarterly in the mail, the first thing I do is turn to the class news page.  It’s fun to see what everyone is up to!  Want to share your current story?  Send it to:

Are you looking for another way to keep in touch?  If you live in the Twin Cities area, join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis – Park Place in St. Louis Park.

Have a wonderful spring!  Enjoy the sunshine!

Sara Freeman Rekow

1986 Co-class Agent

P.S.  Now for some news from campus:

Campus News

World Renowned Primate Expert Speaks in the Twin Cities

Frans B.M. de Waal, a Dutch psychologist, primatologist, and animal behavior expert, will present two public lectures as part of a residency through the Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College funded by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell.  De Waal will present “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in Alumni Hall on campus and “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist” at 7 p.m. April 8 at the Great Clips IMAX Theater at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.  DeWaal’s research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing.  In 2007, de Waal was named to the “TIME 100”—a list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world according to Time magazine.  As part of his residency at Gustavus, de Waal is also co-teaching the course “Neuroscience Capstone” with Gustavus Professor of Psychology Janine Wotton

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson '55 at 763-533-9083. Upcoming dates:

April 16 - featuring Linnaeus Arboretum Director, Cindy Johnson-Groh

May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

  • Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

  • Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
  • Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

  • Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.
  • Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.


The women’s hockey team became the first team to finish the MIAC women’s hockey season undefeated.  The team is currently ranked #3 in the country going into the playoffs.  The men’s tennis team claimed its fourth ITA Division III Team Indoor Title in the eight year history of the tournament.  The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the MIAC Championship.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Naples, FL Chapter Gathering – March 29
  • “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy,” Rydell Lecture - April 3 on campus
  • “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist,” Rydell Lecture - April 8 at Minnesota Zoo
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Austin, TX Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31