Class of '87
Greetings Class of ’87
An interesting thing happened to me a while back. I looked in the mirror and saw a middle-aged guy. He looked a little like my father. The skin looked far older than the body felt. Forty-one years old! Twenty Year College Reunion next year! The mid-life phase has begun.
My life, and I assume yours, has been comprised of a series of phases. I’m not certain how many phases I have lived―or how to clearly define them. The obvious: elementary; junior high; senior high; Gustavus; post-college single (for me defined as the Jeff Van Meter ’88 roommate years); first couple jobs; starting my career; building my career; finally meeting Miss Right; marriage; children and mid-life.
The phases sort of blur together having been filled with everything from idealistic hope to hard work; success; good decisions; bad decisions; true love; adversity; sickness; sudden death, and ultimately continued hope and optimism.
Admittedly, I haven’t stayed in contact with many of you: I don’t have that “look at all my Gustie friends” type of life. But I am routinely reminded what a wonderful institution Gustavus is and the high caliber of its students/alumni.
The recent golf tournament organized by Steve and Terry (Haley) Bloom to raise money for Charlie Parnell’s children’s education re-connected me with numerous people. Seeing Tim Keran, Dave Dronen, Tom Alexander, Paul Halgren and Jeff Soderstrom and witnessing Mike O’Borsky’s generosity reminded me why I volunteered to become a Class Agent a few years back.
A number of distractions (life is that way) kept me from fulfilling my duties. But now, finally, I am committed to my role as Class Agent. So, as we begin our 20th Anniversary year, let me begin my Class Agent phase by sharing an update of my post-Gustavus life.
After spending one year selling insurance and three years as a business manager in the car business, I embarked on my career in 1991 when I joined Piper Jaffray as an Investment Associate (stockbroker). After a couple of good and bad decisions to change firms, I thankfully landed at Citigroup Smith Barney and have been there five+ years.
I am presently a senior vice president of Wealth Management in the Wayzata, MN office. The plan is to keep grinding it out for another ten to fifteen years to someday be an overnight sensation. I primarily consult to high-net-worth investors, family foundations and small operating foundations. I am very fortunate to love my profession.
In 1996, long before there was a Monica Lewinski, I started to “like” my college intern. When it became evident she liked me too, she stopped being my intern and became the woman I would marry. Michelle Neumann became Michelle Koch in May 1999.
Michelle shares my passion for sports. She was an all-region soccer player at St. Thomas. We have been long-time supporters of the University of Minnesota Men’s Basketball team. I am a past president and standing treasurer of the Golden Dunkers, the booster club benefiting the program. We are also football season ticket holders. We play golf at Medina Golf and Country Club and Naples National Golf Club. Our golf phase is continuous.
In November 2001 we were blessed with the arrival of our son Henry William and the family phase began. Aside from the fact the doctors misdiagnosed Michelle’s burst appendix for three days and almost killed her, Henry was and is healthy.
In September 2003 our second son, James Ronald (Jimmy), was born. For the first hour everything was great. Then, he was found to have immature lungs. Eight long and stressful days in the neo-natal intensive care unit with Jimmy hooked up to breathing tubes ended with a healthy boy.
During a post-delivery CT scan the doctors noticed some enlarged lymph nodes on Michelle’s upper chest and performed a biopsy. The day we were able to bring Jimmy home from the hospital Michelle was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Michelle underwent five cycles of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation treatment. It’s a phase of life we don’t really remember…….very blurry.
We are indebted to a great number of family, friends and neighbors who provided food and helped care for the kids during chemo weeks. As Michelle eventually recovered and re-gained her strength we hoped the medical phase was over.
Tragically, my active, fit, extremely healthy 65 year-old father died of a heart attack in November 2004. My dad, Ron Koch ’61, had just finished serving ten years as a Trustee on Gustavus’ Board. He loved the school. His retirement phase was cut far too short.
Michelle received her two-year “all clear” early this year, giving us the green light to continue our family phase. By the time you read this letter I will hopefully be the proud father of Koch child #3. We have the girl named picked out, but Michelle is predicting another boy. We live in Plymouth, MN and spend as much time as possible at our Naples, FL home.
I’m not certain why I felt compelled to share my story. I think its part of what being a Class Agent is about. Please let me know if you would like to write a class letter this year. My hope is we will use our 20th Anniversary year to re-connect and re-commit to Gustavus.
Our reunion is scheduled for Saturday October 13, 2007 on campus at Gustavus. The new football stadium will be finished by then. If you haven’t visited the campus recently, this Homecoming weekend will be a great opportunity to experience all of the changes. Please contact me (W: 952-475-4341 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to serve on our reunion committee. I imagine a number of festive food and drink-filled meetings.
In the meantime, please complete and return the Alumni Information Form you should have recently received. This will allow us to collect updated information. Future letters will feature all of our class updates.
So, our goal is to make our 20th Anniversary reunion and reunion year class giving a success. Please plan on attending the reunion.
In addition, please make a financial gift to Gustavus this year or next. The college fiscal year runs until May 31, 2007 and our reunion giving will be counted until our reunion time in October. Almost everyone in our class has made a gift at some time since graduation. We are seeking 100% participation this year.
If you routinely give to Gustavus, please consider a larger one-time gift or a three-year pledge.
If you have consistently made substantial gifts, please consider becoming a major donor. We are seeking multiple $25,000 pledges (over three years) from our class this year. Our class has been extremely successful since graduation. We look forward to leading in giving as well.
Annual Fund giving is a direct way to help provide the Gustavus experience to as many current and future students as possible.
Honor Roll of Donors
If you haven’t had a chance to find yourself online, please go to: gustavus.edu/giving/honorroll 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
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. According to a recent national survey, 68 million Americans have no life insurance. Fortunately, 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, www.meyerandassoc.com/ma/gustavus or call 800-635-7801 for more information about this and other sponsored insurance.
Omega Kappa Fraternity Celebrates 100 Years
The OKs celebrated 100 years of Modesty, Diversity, and Brotherhood on Saturday, October 21, at the Science Museum on Minnesota in St. Paul. The evening was filled with stories, photos, shared memories, artifacts, histories, and singing.
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 www.bookmark.gustavus.edu/.
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.
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 <email@example.com>.
Thank you for indulging me. I look forward to great reunion!
1987 Co-class Agent