Class of '93
April 2008

15-Year Reunion ― October 3 & 4, 2008

Dear Classmates,

I hope you are enjoying the spring months.  By now, many of you will have heard from some of our Reunion planning team.  We hope you will think about joining us in some way this fall.


Friday, October 3, 2008

            Class Party at the Open Book in Minneapolis

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A full schedule of activities on campus including:

·        Reunion Seminar on the presidential election by Political Science Professor, Chris Gilbert

·        Morning Praise Chapel Service

·        Parade around Ring Road

·        Class gathering by the football field pre-game

Let us know what you’ve been doing in the past fifteen years.  Here’s what a few of our classmates have been up to:

Timothy Johnson - For the past 15 years two things have dominated my life―family and political science.  I have been married to Julie Maynard-Johnson ’91 for the entire 15 years, and we have three wonderful boys―Alexi (13), Aidan (6), and Satchel (2).  They are the focus of our lives.  I also continue to be a political scientist at the University of Minnesota.  I have been lucky enough to have my research funded on several occasions by the National Science Foundation, and to have my teaching rewarded by my college and by the University at large.  Today I am an associate professor with tenure, and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University.

Beth Robelia Napton - What a ride 15 years can be!  Lot’s of growing up, but many blessings along the way.  I married a fellow Gustie from the class of 1992, Darin Napton.  I was blessed with a teaching job in Racine, WI, after graduating.  When Darin finished nursing school, we moved up on the lifestyle scale when he got a nursing job with Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  From bartender and private school teacher salaries, this was a wonderful move!  While in Rochester for 13 years, Darin has held his Cardiac/Surgical nursing position for 13 years and I teach a multi-age grades 4/5 classroom at Lincoln K-8 Choice School.  We have two beautiful daughters, Ella and Celia.  My siblings, spouses, and I have been running races for 10 years together.  All our children are beginning to ask, “Can we go to Gustavus?”  They hear us talk about it since we are all graduates.  We better start saving now!  Gustavus sure was a strong base for my career in education.  I continued on to get my master’s with St. Mary’s University in 2002.  Teaching has changed since I was taught my initial skills, but Gustavus gave me the understanding that education is always changing to benefit the child.  Go Gusties!

Barb Larson Taylor - Over my time working in the Alumni Office at Gustavus, I realized that class reunions for some can be stressful.  There is some notion that it is about comparing yourself to others or comparing yourself to the expectations that you and others had about you when you graduated.  One thing I value about my job in the Alumni Office is meeting Gusties of all ages― simply enjoying another person, learning of their life journey, with a common connection of Gustavus.  No comparing or judging.  It seems for almost everyone that life has taken unexpected turns, some joyful and some challenging.  There is no need to mask the challenges. 

So a bit about Barb Larson Taylor.  The Taylor implies that I am married to Jaime.  Which has had moments of feeling like soul mates and moments when we didn’t think we could even be roommates.  We have two boys, Kirby and Anders who bring much joy to me daily.  But also who bring much testing of my patience or questioning my own ability to parent the best.  We live on campus in Pittman as head residents.  We actually love it on campus, which is good since this has kept us barely financially above water when my husband had to close his company.  I am blessed to have my extended family close.  But at times have been in conflict with my brother over the care of our aging parents.  I love being a part of the Gustavus community, but also have learned that Gustavus is not a perfect place and even though people here have good intentions and work towards a common mission, we are all just people and not perfect.  Although I would not have chosen the challenges, I have come to see a depth of soul that I didn’t know I had.  So no need to put on a mask when coming to the reunion.  Just come with your joys and challenges.

Finally, a word about the current life of our alma mater.  You should feel proud to be a Gustie.  Although we are up on the hill and can feel a bit isolated and insulated from the world, ultimately we are not.  Gustavus is a place where student, faculty, and staff grapple with tough questions and controversies.  It is a place where students are still friendly and have fun.  The students tend to worry way too much about things that seem way too small (like how to get a five-page paper done by Monday).  Many also have worries far beyond what seems fair for this age like deep depression, financial struggles, the loss of a parent or sibling, just to name a few.  Many are way more mature than I was at 18.  Many have lots of opportunity for growth in this area.  Gustavus continues to be a place to provide amazing opportunities for students to grow in a challenging, yet nurturing environment.

I hope over the next months and years you will find ways to connect with the Gustavus of now, not just our memories that grow more distant.  The campus is actively thinking about creating more intention around teaching leadership, service-learning, environmental impact, and more.  The conversations are bold and exciting.  Most of them involve ways to actively engage alumni with the life of the campus now.  I am eagerly working to make the active engagement of alumni a reality for more and more graduates.  See you back on campus soon!

Rachel Vagts – I’ve been living in Decorah, Iowa and working at Luther College for the past ten years.  I’m the college archivist, helping to maintain the Luther history and tradition.  I love being on a college campus and living close enough to get back to Gustavus every once in a while and also to see friends and family in Minnesota.

Reunion Giving

Wouldn’t this be a great year to get everyone’s name from our class included in the Honor Roll of Donors?  Those gifts made between June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2008 will be included in the Honor Roll of Donors released in August.  What a great way to celebrate our 15 years!  It’s easy to do!  Just log on to !

So remember, SAVE THE DATES:  Mark October 3rd and 4th on your calendars for the reunion.  Coming in May, the specifics of our fundraising goals and requests for some musical highlights of our years at Gustavus.

Campus News

World Renowned Primate Expert Speaks in the Twin Cities

Frans B.M. de Waal, a Dutch psychologist, primatologist, and animal behavior expert, presented two public lectures as part of a residency through the Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College funded by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell.  De Waal spoke on “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy” and “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist.”  DeWaal’s research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing.  In 2007, de Waal was named to the “TIME 100”—a list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world according to Time magazine.  As part of his residency at Gustavus, de Waal is also co-teaching the course “Neuroscience Capstone” with Gustavus Professor of Psychology Janine Wotton.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson '55 at 763-533-9083.  Upcoming dates:

  • April 16 - featuring Linnaeus Arboretum Director, Cindy Johnson-Groh
  • May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

  • Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

  • Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
  • Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

  • Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.
  • Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.


The women’s hockey team became the first team to finish the MIAC women’s hockey season undefeated.  The team is currently ranked #3 in the country going into the playoffs.  The men’s tennis team claimed its fourth ITA Division III Team Indoor Title in the eight year history of the tournament.  The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the MIAC Championship.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Seattle Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Austin, TX Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31

’Til next time,

Paul Schiminsky

1993 Reunion Committee Member