Class of '90
September 2009

Greetings Class of 1990!

Wow…Anne, Dan and I just got back from our Class Agents Meeting on campus and I wish I had enough room on the page to tell you all of the really exciting and inspiring things going on at Gustavus these days.  As Gusties, we have a lot to be proud of these days.  We are in the throes of planning our 20th reunion and are really looking forward to seeing as many of our classmates on campus for our 20th as possible on October 9, 2010 (save the date!)

Here are some of the highlights from our meeting that I thought might be of interest:

  • Gustavus moved up 8 places in the US News and World Report ranking of all U.S. liberal arts colleges.  Gustavus now ranks 80th.
  • Gustavus ranks 8th in the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACAD) Directors Cup, a listing honoring the best broad-based men’s and women’s Division III athletic programs.  This year’s ranking is up from a ranking of 22nd last year.  Additional colleges in the top ten include Amherst, Middlebury, Washington University (St. Louis) and Emory.
  • Gustavus ranks 3rd in the nation behind Stanford and Emory for students receiving NCAA post-graduate awards.
  • The Gustavus forensics team is ranked 18th on a national basis where 14 of the top 20 schools are Division I schools.
  • While many small liberal arts institutions struggled to meet enrollment in the current economic environment, Gustavus exceeded its class of 2013 enrollment goal of 660 by one student bringing the total enrollment to 661.
  • The average ACT score for students enrolling in the class of 2013 increased to 27.
  • The class of 2009 senior class gift participation was 57%!!!  These are people who didn’t even have a job yet when they donated prior to their graduation in June – Wow!  Gives the class of 1990 something to shoot for.
  • The recommendations from the Commission 150 committees are in the process of being submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval.  These recommendations will help the college to improve and remain competitive in all aspects of the college including academics, student life, campus facilities, alumni integration and many, many more areas.

Class News

  • John Sweeney is director of operations for Mainstreet Mechanical in Middleton, WI.
  • Leisha Johnson Olson married Jeff Ronning on June 13, 2009.  Leisha is an assistant supervisor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
  • Brad and Jillayne (Jablonski ’91) Pinchuk have a daughter, Annika who was born February 9, 2003.  The Pinchuk family lives in Dakota Dunes, SD.
  • Julia (Johnson) Danchertsen is an applications developer for Latric Systems.  Husband, John Danchertsen is a compliance specialist for Magellan Midstream Partners.  They live in Owasso, OK.
  • Kim Kraemer Westra was named recipient of the 2009 WEM Outstanding Educator Award for Academic Coach of the Year.  The honor is one of six sponsored annually by the WEM Foundation.  Kim received a $10,000 unrestricted award.  Kim currently teaches fourth grade at the Atheneum Gifted and Talented Program at Salem Hills Elementary.  Husband, Thor Westra, is a global director of support for Lawson Software.
  • Barbara Eckstein recently relocated to Kayenta, AZ where she teaches second grade on a Navajo reservation.
  • Janna Koenig is a data analyst at Optum Health.
  • Jim Roberge has been named CoBank’s head of Minneapolis/Fargo Banking Center in Minneapolis where he will oversee CoBank’s portfolio of agribusiness and finance customers in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

We are still looking for volunteers for the reunion committee.  It really is a whole lot more fun than work so let us know if you’d like to join us!

Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to PLEASE send us some updates!!!  What’s new?  What’s happening in your life?  A new job, a new child, a new spouse, speaking a new language, adopting a new pet, traveling to far off places?  Otherwise, we’ll be forced to find you on Facebook and “paraphrase” your goings on J.

I hope this letter finds you and your families happy, healthy and enjoying the autumn weather wherever you may be.

On behalf of my fellow class agents Dan, Anne and Scott,

Liesl Batz

1990 Co-class Agent

Campus News

GLA Membership

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!!!

Homecoming and Family Weekend – October 9 & 10, 2009

Join us for Homecoming and Family Weekend festivities this year!  Parents, alumni, and friends of the College are invited to return and reconnect on this great weekend.  Check out all the activities on the Gustavus alumni web site (

A Walk in the Arb

As part of Homecoming Weekend, the Linnaeus Arboretum will be hosting its annual Fall Fest on that Saturday, October 10.  Come enjoy a guided hike through the arboretum and browse its many beautiful flower gardens and tree collections.  Maple trees will be in their fall peak this weekend.  Master Gardeners and tree care experts will be available to address your questions and concerns, so bring a branch!  Bring your kids (accompanied by an adult) for a hayride through the arboretum.  Have a look at this year’s scarecrows around the Borgeson cabin!  Enjoy cookies and lemonade, purchase an arboretum t-shirt.  There will be books available for purchasing and signing by two local authors, Jan Dunlap (Birder Murder Mysteries) and Jim Gilbert (Minnesota Nature Notes).  Join Us!

“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.

Upcoming speakers:

President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – Nov. 18

Thomas Young ’88 – Dec. 16

Upcoming Events

  • Nobel Conference:  H²0 Uncertain Resource – October 6-7, 2009
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 9-10, 2009
  • 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

royal affair