Class of '87
Greetings one and all and Happy New Year!
What is it about Gustavus that makes us so proud? There is an experience that we had being down there and a feeling about Gustavus that other people don’t quite understand. At least the people that I have met. Most of them think its some sort of strange cult. Have you noticed this? I recently worked with a guy who went to St. Olaf. He doesn’t feel nearly as strong about St. Olaf as I feel about Gustavus, and he said that he has noticed the people that he has met from Gustavus all have this same feeling and enthusiasm. So what the heck is it about?
I have been trying to understand that myself recently. I have been trying to figure out what it was about this school that compels me to participate in GIVE, that compelled me to be on the first bus of volunteers to head down for the tornado cleanup, that made me want to serve on the Alumni board. (I serve on the board not only as a representative of our class, but also as a representative of those of us who attended Gustavus, but didn’t get our diploma from Gustavus.) So what’s even more amazing for me is why I am so attached to this school that I only went for my freshmen and sophomore years?
So here’s what I have come up with: The experiences I had in my two years down there were some of the most powerful experiences of my life, emotionally and spiritually (physically I still haven’t managed to get back to the weight I was when I started there!). I met some of my best friends down there. I felt welcomed, respected and loved by people there. Everyone from the administration to the coaching staff to all of you. The staff knew who I was by name and many still do! All of the people I met were so genuine, intelligent, and a lot of fun to hang out around! When I would return from a weekend away, I would come back and get this feeling that I was home. Gustavus is in my heart; being a Gustie is a part of the person I am today.
When I go to class reunions as a host, as part of being on the board, I meet more and more Gusties who share this same excitement and passion for our school. They love to share their stories of what it was like when they were there, and love to ask what it was like when I was there. We all had this really warm, wonderful experience down there that only our fellow Gusties can understand.
I was first introduced to Gustavus by Stan Waldhauser ’71, younger brother of Steve "Waldo" Waldhauser ’70. Stan’s enthusiasm about Gustavus was contagious. He was my softball coach in 9th grade, and taught me how to pitch fast pitch. Stan was working for the Office of Admission, and I knew that there must be something really special about Gustavus that would compel him to drive over an hour just to get to work every day. He suggested that I would be a good fit down there, especially with softball, because I could go there and actually play. Some older friends of mine went down there after graduating from Edina, and Stan suggested that I go down for a weekend and visit. So there I was, this Catholic girl, with a grandfather that loved St. John's, a cousin attending St. Ben’s, and I was down at this Lutheran college. From that weekend on, I knew that I wanted to go to Gustavus. It felt like home to me then, and still feels the same today.
It’s that feeling that keeps me coming back, that makes me want to be on the Board, and that makes me want to tell all of you how lucky you are to have a diploma that reads Gustavus Adolphus College. What I have is the feeling in my heart, the knowledge that I am a Gustie and my membership on the Alumni Board representing our class. I have a diploma from a place that has millions of alumni, and I knew no one in my graduating class. You have a diploma from a place that has thousands of alumni, has a rich family heritage and traditions, and where you knew most of the people with whom you graduated. Please don’t take that diploma for granted.
My educational experience after Gustavus is what made me realize just how special Gustavus really was. I had to leave after our sophomore year because I realized that I was spending a lot of money, I didn’t freeze my tuition, and I didn’t have ANY clue what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t doing well academically either, and figured that everyone I knew who had a job was working in a field that had nothing to do with their major, so I thought I could just go out and get a job. I soon realized that wasn’t going to work and the next year decided I wanted to return to school, and hopefully to Gustavus. I really wanted to rejoin you guys, at least to walk through commencement with you, even if it meant that I would have to come back for a semester after you had all graduated to make it happen. I came up with this great plan that involved a combination of taking classes at the University of Minnesota as well as back at Gustavus. After my first few weeks at the U of M, I realized that my plan was not going to work out for me personally. The adjustments required for switching from the U of M to Gustavus and back were going to be more difficult than I had thought, so I had to abandon my plan, and eventually got my degree from the U of M.
To this day I wish that I had toughed it out and followed my plan, because I would love for nothing more than to have a diploma that reads Gustavus. The U of M is a great school, but compared to my experience at Gustavus, didn’t even come close. It was physically big, it was crowded, it was impersonal. I went from Gustavus where everyone said hello, and you saw people you know on a regular basis, to a school where no one said anything to anyone, and the only way you could possibly see someone you knew on a regular basis was to have previous arrangements! I knew ONE person that I walked through commencement with when I finally graduated. ONE. There was no personal champagne party for my classmates, and me, there were no beers to be had with professors; in fact, I rarely spoke to any of them outside of the classroom. Not that I didn’t meet people, but the people I knew didn’t go through commencement at the same time I did; we all finished at different times during the year. The school didn’t know I had completed my work; I had to tell them, so my diploma reads a different year than when I actually finished my credits! So I have on my wall a diploma from this really big, impersonal place. (But, I do have one.)
Maybe all of you don’t have this feeling about our school, but I know that every one of you has some sort of memory about being there, and everyone who went there is touched with the same spirit. Our experience there was made possible because of the efforts of a number of people, including our families, our friends, the Gustavus faculty and staff, and also because of other Alumni that were there before us. What we paid in tuition didn’t cover all of the costs of our education and doesn’t cover it today either. Alumni before us donated to the school to help fund our experience, and now it’s our turn to do the same for today’s students. Look at where you are professionally and personally and ask yourself if you would be where you are today without the experience you had at Gustavus. When you get that mailing for the Gustavus Fund don’t look at it as the college that still has you in debt wants more of your money. Look at it as that the college that got you where you are today now needs your support to provide experiences for new Gusties.
You may be wondering how I got on the Alumni Board in the first place. I was nominated by my good friend Kerstin Hammarberg ’88. She and I share a very similar feeling about Gustavus, and while I lack the deep family ties to the place that she has, she knows my feelings about Gustavus. She called and asked if I would be interested because she knew I was a Gustie at heart, and thought I would be a great addition to the board. The board then voted on the nominees, and I was selected. It’s a great time, really, and it’s a great experience. If any of you are interested in being a member, let me know! Also, if you have any feedback that you would like me to bring to a Board meeting, or questions about being on the board, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As for me, on a more personal level, I am currently employed by Rainier Technology in St. Louis Park as a Senior Consultant, and am a Microsoft certified systems engineer. I have also taken up a career in officiating hockey, and work for USA Hockey, the Minnesota State High School League, the Women’s WCHA, and the Women’s NCHA. Last Spring I accomplished my original officiating dream by being part of the Girls State High School hockey tournament officiating crew. In 1998 I was fortunate enough to spend a week out in Lake Placid at the Olympic Training Center for a Regional camp, and got to skate in the arena where the USA won the 1980 Gold Medal.
This winter I am on a leave of absence from my job and from officiating for the most part so that I could help out my brother in Dixon, IL. He was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 1999, and received a bone marrow transplant in July of 1999. He is still recovering, and his wife has been working full time, taking care of him, and managing their adopted family of five kids that they adopted in 1992 from Columbia. This past fall God tapped me in the heart and asked me to take time off and give them a break for a while. Their house was in great disrepair, and in need of lots of TLC. So, I am down here until the end of March at least, possibly longer, taking up duties as nanny, handyman, sister, and tutor. It’s quite interesting actually, and very exhausting most of the time. To those of you teachers and parents, God Bless you, it’s quite a task!
So there you have it classmates. Be proud of being a Gustie. Be proud of your Gustavus diploma; you are fortunate. Go GUSTIES!
Here’s what people have reported as news updates for the class:
- Dave Spiegler got married on July 14, 2000 to Annette Careb. He is living in Evanston, IL and working for Pfizer as a professional health care representative.
- Annie Ellenberger Hamilton was married to Christopher July 19th, 1999. They currently live in San Francisco
- Brian and Cynthia (Anderson ’86) Wicklund had a boy, Benjamin, January 17th last year…Happy Birthday Benjamin!
- Heidi Jo Wilking Pearse and husband, Dan, greeted their new baby girl, Ana Rose, on May 16, 2000.
- Marian Oswald Delaney greeted son, Kevin, on June 23.
- Cynthia Javoroski and husband, Francisco Pinel, had twin daughters Andrea and Cristina November 25, 1999. She is living in Madrid, Spain.
- Jon Bode greeted his third child, Claire, on August 11, 2000.
- Greg Cunningham and wife, Kim (Barron ’88), greeted their daughter Kaitlin, June 6, 2000.
- Cheri Bishop O’Hagan and husband, Tim, greeted baby girl, Ruby, on September 6, 2000.
- Thor Bolstad and wife, Beth, greeted Greta Brynn on August 6, 2000.
- Mary Overgaard Pauley and husband, Tim, greeted baby girl, Alyssa Diane, on April 13, 2000.
- Steve Sutherland and his wife, Peg, greeted Isabella, on July 21, 2000.
- Pat Swatela and his wife, Kaia, greeted son, Thor Jonah, on October 14, 2000.
- Dr. David Flaten is residing in Plymouth, New Hampshire and teaches European history at Plymouth State College.
- Elizabeth Bryant is practicing law for Zalk and Bryant in Minneapolis.
- Brad Johnson has moved to Singapore and is now a vice president, Asia Pacific region, for the Financial Times.
- Lee Glenna is vice president, institutional equity sales for Merrill Lynch in Minneapolis.
- Peter Stapay is vice president of sales with OAO Healthcare Solutions.
- Chad Kelly is managing director, head of marketing for US Bancorp Piper Jaffrey in Minneapolis.
- Annie Ellenberger Hamilton is brand manager for Petopia.com. She gets to bring her dog, Fresca, to work with her!
- Randy Merideth is working as a foreign service officer for the Department of State posted in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. Anyone interested in foreign service can contact him via email at email@example.com
- Lynn Anderson is living in Minneapolis, and is one of the top amateur golfers in Minnesota, is a director of fitness at the Decathalon Club, teaches tennis and is a personal trainer. There is an article about her and her golf accomplishments in the St. Paul Pioneer Press from July 26th. The title of the article is Fresh Approach, and you can download a copy of it for a fee from pioneerpress.com if you go to the News Archives section and look for the article on July 26, 2000. Or if you want, I have a copy of it, and you can send me an email and I will send you a copy of it.
- Kelly Opheim Gordon is living in Salem, OR with husband, Sean. They were married in 1998. She achieved a master's degree in Public Policy from Duke University in 1996 and is a project manager for Pacific NW National Laboratory.
The Gustavus campus is enjoying another busy and exciting January Term with 2300-plus students enrolled for credit! We are offering over 100 January Term courses, including 16 travel courses (plus 36 international courses through our UMAIE consortium). There are also 15 courses on the special Environmental Studies theme for J-Term 2001. Some of these courses include, Chemistry in the Environment, The Literature of Winter, Geographical Issues in the Third World, Global Environmental Change, Amazonia: An Eco-Historical Perspective, GIS in Environmental Analysis, The Changing Face of Agriculture, and Environmental Journalism. Next year (2002) the January Term theme will be "Global Village" and will feature both international and domestic diversity focused courses. After that J-Term themes are planned for "Service-Learning" (2003) and "Undergraduate Research" (2004).
You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming national chapter alumni events. Invitations are sent to alumni in chapters. For more information, please call the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or look on the web at gustavus.edu.
- Seattle Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, January 13
- Portland Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, January 15
- Bay Area Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concerts, January 17-19
- San Diego Chapter, pre-concert dinner and Gustavus Choir Concert, January 21
- Los Angeles Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concerts, January 22 & 24
- Sun City Chapter, pre-concert dinner and Gustavus Choir Concert, January 25
- Phoenix Chapter, pre-concert dinner and Gustavus Choir Concert, January 26
- Tucson Chapter gathering on January 27
- Albuquerque Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, January 28
- Santa Fe Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, January 29
- Denver Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concerts, January 30 & 31
- Rapid City Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, February 1
- Sioux Falls Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, February 2
- Twin Cities Chapter, Gustavus Choir Concert, February 4, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650 Johnny Cake Road, Apple Valley, 3:30 p.m.
- Gustavus Band Home Concert, February 4, Christ Chapel, 7:30 p.m.
- Gustavus Choir Home Concert, February 10, Christ Chapel, 7:30 p.m.
- Marco Island gathering February 24
- Vero Beach gathering February 25
- Reunions 2001
50th Anniversary Class and 50 Year Club reunions will take place on campus, May 25-26 for the Class of 1951 and the 50 Year Club. Registration material will be mailed in April.
A reminder that all other reunion classes (1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991 and 1996) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 21-22. Class gatherings will take place in the Twin Cities at the DoubleTree Hotel, Minneapolis Airport at the Mall, on Friday, September 21. Homecoming activities will take place on campus on Saturday, September 22.
Will you help Gustavus remain strongly church related? Encourage your ELCA congregation to join the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations. There is no cost. For more information, call the Office of Church Relations at 800-726-6194 or e-mail Craig Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1987 Guest Letter Writer