Class of '86
Greetings Class of 1986!
Twenty-seven years ago, we graced the sidewalks of Gustavus for the first time as college freshman. What a journey it has been since then! There have been so many changes in our lives and in the life of the Gustavus community as well. As a way of reconnecting, we as class agents want to share a bit about ourselves in our journey since Gustavus.
MELINDA MOEN BATZ
I am now the proud mother of two (yes, two!) Gusties. My son, Ben, is a sophomore and daughter, Katie, is a first-year. One year ago we drove up College Avenue with Ben to the cheers and singing of the Gustie Greeters. I was proud and happy, but at the same time I felt a deep sense of loss. I was really grateful that those same Gustie Greeters stood at the bottom of the hill with Kleenex as we left! During the year we were thrilled to follow Ben through his year in theatre, choir and classes. What we came to realize was that the Gustavus we attended is still vibrant and better than ever. The students are still smart, fun loving and caring. In fact, I believe the students have a broader resume of extra curricular and community outreach than most of us ever did. This year we had the privilege of taking our second to Gustavus. Although there were tears again, we knew that she was in for a profound experience. Our third child, Anna, is in 8th grade and happy to be the “only” child for a while. My husband, Paul ’85, is at MDA Leadership Consulting and loves to golf and work on home projects in his free time. I continue to stay home and volunteer whenever possible, and I squeeze in a round or two of golf when I can as well!
Unlike Melinda, I have a few years before I will be dropping the kids off at Gustavus. Mary and I will be married for 13 years in December. We have four children: Matthew – 10, Elise – 7, Jenna – 5 and Ashlyn - 3. A couple years ago, we decided to try home schooling. Not exactly a project for the weak at heart, but it has been very flexible (vacation any time you want!) and tremendously rewarding. I personally like the field trips!
As some of you know, my Dad died of lung cancer six years ago. Unfortunately, Mom followed in my Dad’s footsteps and we lost her to lung cancer last year. After dealing with the loss and most of the estate issues, Mary and I decided to buy the family house and move from Eden Prairie to Prior Lake in October. It is a nice old ’70s rambler on the lake that my father had built. This was the first summer back at the lake. The kids loved it, and I had quite a few déjà vu experiences from when I grew up in the house.
I still work for supplyFORCE (9 + years) managing a small team that executes national contracts for maintenance supplies. I travel about 40% of the time and get to work out of the house when I am not on the road. As you can imagine, it is a very busy house with me and the kids at home all the time. Poor Mary! I am never bored and really like my job. I have also enjoyed being a class agent. I recently participated in the Commission Gustavus 150, which met 4 times over the past 12 months with the objective to provide input on the vision and direction of the college. The only drawback of the class agent role… I confess that writing (class letters) is not my strong suit. In fact, I can still remember Prof. Mason telling me, freshman year, how surprised he was that I managed to graduate from high school based on my writing abilities! J
SARA FREEMAN REKOW
Like Dave, I have a few years before my kids head to Gustavus and for that I am very happy! My husband John ’87 and I were married at Christ Chapel 16 years ago on a beautiful September afternoon. Our daughter, Emily, turns 13 this month and is in 7th grade. Anna is 9 and in 4th grade. They keep us busy with school, dance, music, friends and making movies.
We live in Chaska, Minnesota, which is John’s hometown. The kids go to the same elementary and middle school that John attended. John is a clinic manager for Allina and is based in Chaska, which we both find very convenient. I work for UnitedHealth Group in the Ingenix division. I work with our data warehouse and find that I am continually learning.
In 2012 Gustavus celebrates its 150th anniversary. Our class reunion in 2011 will be the kickoff for the anniversary celebration. The 100th anniversary was in 1962, the year Christ Chapel was completed. My parents, Gustie grads from the classes of ’61 and ’63, were the first Gustavus couple married in Christ Chapel. This Christ Chapel union produced four Gustie grads (’85, ’86, ’90 and ’92). So, this 150th anniversary of Gustavus and the 50th anniversary of the Chapel have a special meaning to me.
I agree with Dave that writing class letters can be a daunting task. I’m sure you’ve heard enough of our stories over the past 23 years. We welcome guest writers! If you have a story to share or are feeling verbose, let us know and we’ll gladly get you set up to write an upcoming letter. Even if you aren’t feeling overly wordy, please share some news with us to include in a future letter. There are plenty more stories I could tell you about my kids, but I’m sure you’d like to hear about our classmates.
Dan is still working hard on our behalf, but he will catch up with us in the next class letter!
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN!
Please forward updated information to us either through Gustavus or by way of email. By sending news to: firstname.lastname@example.org both your agents and the Alumni Office will receive the news. We will include the bios in upcoming class letters. We get some information from the college, but we thought it would be fun to connect in a broader way over the next year as we lead up to our 25th reunion. We have also set up a Facebook site as well. Look for us at “Gustavus Class of 1986.”
There are so many exciting things happening at Gustavus. This fall there were 661 new students with out-of-state enrollment, up by 3%. Sohre and Pittman (Valley View) Halls have both been updated and the college has made a commitment to continue with the Complex and Co-ed next on the list.
Mark Anderson ’66, Director of Admission, is retiring after this year. In his career he has recruited over half of all active alumni—over 26,000 total! Of course this number includes all of us as well. What a remarkable career.
Athletics have been a shining star for Gustavus in the past few years, with the students shining both on the field and in the classroom. Gustavus recorded national finishes in 12 sports in 2008-2009 and was ranked eighth in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Directors’ Cup competition. Since the start of 2004-2005, Gustavus ranks third for the most postgraduate scholars among all NCAA schools (Division I, II, and III). Only Stanford and Emory have had more.
The most remarkable change that I have seen first-hand is the student’s commitment to community service. There is a community service center that partners the students with over 12 volunteer opportunities throughout St. Peter. These opportunities include working with children of all ages, working with the elderly, walking dogs at the pound or building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Again, the resumes’ the students are building are broader than ever.
Financially, the annual and restricted funds raised exceeded the goal in this very tough year. Thank you for all of your support! As we move toward our 25th reunion year, let’s reconnect. Send us information about yourselves, and please continue to keep Gustavus in your thoughts as you prioritize your charitable contributions for the year. Your money is truly appreciated and well spent.
In Gustie Spirit,
Melinda Moen Batz
Sara Freeman Rekow
Gustavus gets High Rankings
Gustavus Adolphus College is listed as the 33rd best liberal arts college in the country according to a new set of college rankings released on Thursday, September 3, by Washington Monthly magazine. The publication states on its website that schools were ranked based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).
Gustavus once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings. Gustavus moved up eight places from last year’s rankings to 80th on the magazine’s “Best Liberal Arts College’s” list. Gustavus is one of six Minnesota colleges that placed in the top 100 in this year’s rankings. One of the measures used to capture the various dimensions of academic quality at each college is alumni giving percentage; therefore, participating in a giving program at Gustavus, regardless of amount given, is important to the College.
All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library. It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.” But, in the 21st century, it has become much more. It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge. It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education. The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members. Join this year and immediately make a difference. Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget. Join today at www.gustavus.edu/GLA!!!
“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast
Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker. All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard. Cost is $10 at the door.
President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21
Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – Nov. 18
Thomas Young ’88 – Dec. 16
- Athletics Hall of Fame – October 17, 2009
- Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – November 14, 2009
- Farewell for Steve and Barb Wilkinson, Minneapolis Hyatt - December 12