Class of '88
February 2008

20-Year Reunion ― October 3 & 4, 2008

Dear Friends and Classmates,

It’s a perfect day to write a class letter.  It’s one of the rare occasions here in England when it’s actually snowing, so it looks a bit like Minnesota.  Our children were optimistically talking about building a snowman earlier, but that would be rarer still.

January seems a good time to reminisce.  We moved into our home 10 years ago next week.  It just felt like home the moment we found it.  As a couple, we appreciated the good commuting connections into London.  Now, with a young family, we value the good schools, scenic countryside, and great friends that are all in walking distance.  Our home (or what it offers us) seems to have evolved over time.

Likewise, Gustavus felt like home as soon as I found it.  From meeting fellow 3E/3H freshmen to working with a talented team of CFs, there were countless memories and experiences that shaped my life and who I am today.  Gustavus (or at least my view of it) was always evolving.

There were also life-changing moments, like when I discovered the International Management major or when I first heard of the graduate school I was to later attend.  These were the first steps in a professional and personal journey that has led me around the world and on numerous memorable adventures.  (In fact, I moved to Japan 14 years ago today and Andrew, my English husband, and I had our first date in Tokyo 13 years ago later this month!)

A few months ago, we returned to Minnesota to see family and friends.  I don’t get many opportunities to provide our children with a bit of “Americana” (they call me “mummy,” pronounce all of their vowels with a distinctly British accent and would chose marmite over peanut butter any day), so I cram as much as I can into our visits to Minnesota and a trip to Gustavus was obligatory.

I don’t have the voice to teach the children the “Star Spangled Banner,” but the “Gustie Rouser” is within my range, so we practiced this on the way down to St. Peter.  Characteristically, Peter (4) was only interested in the “Beat ’em, Bust ’em” line, but Katie (7) seemed to enjoy it all.

It was October term break, so the campus was fairly quiet, but we were warmly greeted by those we did see including Mark Anderson ’66 (Vice President of Admission), who has now played a key role in admitting over 50% of the living Gustavus alumni, and Randall Stuckey ’83 (Director of Alumni Relations), who was a fantastic head resident when I was a CF.

Things look a bit different these days, but it still felt like home and our children must have felt a connection as well, as they suggested naming our new puppy “Gus” when we collected him the following week back in England!

While the young age of the trees leading up to Old Main are a reminder of the ’98 tornado, I’m proud of the Gustie spirit, resilience and commitment that helped re-build and create an even better, stronger school in the years since then.

Having taken the whole family to Gustavus in 2007, I’ll be traveling on my own in October this year for the reunion.  Living so far away, I truly value reunions.  They are one of the rare occasions I get these days to connect with special people from those important years.

So, whether you live in Le Sueur, Lakeville or Los Angeles…commute in and around Coon Rapids, Chisago Lakes or Chicago…hang out in Orono, Ohio or Osaka…or spend your days in St. Paul, Seattle, or Stockholm, I hope you can make it too. It will be so much better if you’re there!

I’ll be traveling 4,139 miles to see everyone―how about you?

Warm wishes for 2008,

Ann DeLaHunt Burniston ’88

Writing from the slightly snowy, southeast of England!


Reunion Planning

Committee Reports:

Special Events:  The Events Planning committee has started to make a lot of great plans for the reunion.  We will have a tent designated for our class on the north end of the new football field.  This will be our area where we can gather before, during and after the football game.  There will be activities starting with a painting session at “the Rock” and the parade through campus, food, drinks, games, tours, seminars, lunch, ’80s music, reminiscing, possible live music from classmates, a casual dinner inside and post dinner parties.  I am very excited about this day on campus and look forward to seeing and talking to many of you.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please send them my way:  If you would like to join us to finish our planning, we will be meeting at Mt. Olivet Church in Minneapolis on Saturday, February 23, at 8:30 a.m.  I would love to have anyone join us for some laughs and brainstorming.  More details of events will come after our next meeting.

Gail Chase Ericson

1988 Events Coordinator

CommunicationsThanks to the web, our committee has been…

  • Gathering class letter information―including a block of booked hotel rooms, committee updates, etc.
  • Determining postcard ideas for next summer (I know it seems early, but Gustavus is working now on next summer publications so….)
  • Working with Gustavus staff to develop a “Who’s Who” of classmates.  We’d like it to be accessible either on-line (via the Gustavus website) or in paper form (that will be made into a booklet for you at the Reunion).
  • Our goal is to:  keep everyone informed, gather information from classmates via emails/calls to peers/etc., and encourage everyone to attend the fun weekend that Gail and the special events committee are planning.

Email me anytime with your thoughts and ideas,

Jamin Johnson-Schneider

1988 Communications Coordinator

Scholarships and Support R Us, or the Fundraising Team:

Please see Tom’s letter below.  I hope you will join me in supporting our school.  Your gift will help students now and it will help our children in the future.

Luther Hagen

1988 Fundraising Coordinator

The Yale of Nicollet County?

Or Why Your Gift Matters…

I often joke that Gustavus is the “Yale of Nicollet County,” but I wonder what it would take to make Gustavus an institution with a national/international reputation for excellence like a Yale or Harvard pie in the sky, not at all.  Many of the pieces are in place and we are well positioned to move forward.

We have a wonderful educational mandate as a Lutheran school founded by the Augustana Synod.  This tradition celebrates and promotes an education that demands rational and clearly articulated thinking, a questioning mind, and ethics and service that raise the level of humanity in our areas of influence; and throughout, taking our work, and not ourselves, seriously.  This is, for me, what makes us special.

It is vitally important that Gustavus has the resources needed to continue graduating 600+ students each year to serve our communities in a uniquely Gustavus manner.  It will do so, only with your help.

Every Gustavus graduate benefited from the philanthropic support given to the College―even those who paid full price.  Without philanthropic support, the College would not exist as we know it.  For instance, the annual proceeds from the endowment (the money we have saved in the bank) support the budget of the College―in essence $4.5 million a year we don’t have to charge students.  Philanthropy built the buildings, the new football stadium, and secured additional lands for the campus―what a tremendous legacy.

The College’s endowment has surpassed $110 million (folding money by any standard), but a quick and dirty rule of thumb is that 2 ½ times one’s operating budget is a minimum for a College like Gustavus.  That suggests a target of $225‐$250 million.  How quickly we get there will strongly influence our future.  Our current undercapitalization affects every aspect of the College’s life, but most directly the scholarship support available.

Options for bringing additional resources to Gustavus:

  • Cut costs.  Having been on campus for two years now, I am confident in saying that our alma mater is not suffering from annual budgets that are too large.  The faculty and staff are fiscally prudent with the resources at hand and are good stewards of the resource entrusted to them.
  • Raise tuition―well no not really.  Tuition is being held down as much as absolutely possible.  Everyone will be aware of this as our children begin looking at schools.
  • Increase philanthropic support―and here is the largest potential pool that will determine the future of our College.

For four years, we were privileged to be students at Gustavus.  Now that we can step back above the trees and see more clearly the larger picture of this rich 150 year legacy of something much bigger.  What our alma mater looks like in 25 years will be largely determined by the priority we give Gustavus as a place for our philanthropy.  Will you help make our alma mater stronger?  Will you help the College, and the students who need scholarship support to be there, reach new heights?  Will you join the ranks of alumni philanthropists?

We are all still a part of the Gustavus family, only now we play a different role; a joyful philanthropic role―played by others for us.  Please join me and our Reunion leadership team in making a donation or pledge this year.


1988 Reunion Committee Member

along with:  Luther Hagen, Gail Chase Ericson and Jamin Johnson-Schneider