Class of ’93

January 2013

20-Year Reunion ― September 28, 2013

January was always about focusing on ONE thing – something experimental… experiential…outside of your major…outside of the country… unique!   Doesn’t matter if you were taking a course, a trip, a job or getting that requirement out of the way; J-Term was a welcome curveball in to our normal activities.  A few of our classmates shared some of their thoughts on J-Term:

Molly Dueber:  Admittedly, I checked off a requirement one term; Music Appreciation.  Most of our time was spent in the library, listening to everything from Phillip Glass to Three Dog Night.  Yet, I also had a “Women in Politics” class and an internship that led me to my current career…didn’t know it at the time.

Shari Tyree Howell:  Without a doubt, my favorite J-term memories were on G-Band tours!  Mara Johnson and I were band assistants and our main job on tour was to get into our performance site before the rest of the rabble rousers and figure out how to squeeze and contort 60+ bodies, chairs and instruments into spaces that were more ready for 30!  Of course, eating the endless hot dishes that made Subway look heavenly was followed with singing the Swedish "thank you" song, the performance and then all of us linking arms after each performance singing the "Remember" song.  Great times!

Kristina Nordstrom:  Iʼll have to second Shari about band tours!  But also had awesome memories from junior year "sights & sounds of Europe" with 25 other MIAC students!  Opera, ballet, art museums, chamber music concerts in five European cities in four weeks!  Was a blast and I met great people from other Minnesota colleges.

Beth Robelia Napton:  My favorite J-term memories include sitting around campus my freshman year watching people for my "Nonverbal Communication" class.  Yes, my assignment was really to sit and watch people!  I, also, traveled to England to help in a classroom in Leicester.  That was very eye opening.  In my third grade classroom, students were already being tracked for their careers.  Wow!  Experiencing the culture in England was also a great benefit for me as a 20-year-old!)

Barb Larson Taylor:  What is amazing about J-term is that it is an opportunity to move outside your comfort zone.  Sometimes seeds of learning are planted and you never know how they will grow.  I draw on what I learned in J-term often, even though I may not directly think about it.  For example, freshman year I took beginning guitar.  Who knew that 20 years later I would be strumming guitar at church as part of the children’s Sunday School Christmas program.  Sophomore year I went to Europe.  The Gulf War started when we were there and I remember calling home.  I wanted to say to my mom and dad, “I love you.”  However, our family never said that to each other, so I didn’t.  When my first son was born I thought I am not going to create a family that doesn’t say I love you.  So my sons and I say it all the time.  I even started saying it to my mom and dad.  When my mom died this spring, I was so thankful that the last words I said to her were, “I love you mom.”  Senior year, I went dog sledding and winter camping.  I now wear long underwear every day from October to April because I learned that if you dress right, you don’t have to be cold.  I don’t always think about these parts of my life that have roots at Gustavus and in J-Term, yet many seeds were planted in me.  What seeds were planted for you?

Per Berger:  My favorite J-Term experience actually started before J-Term officially began.  I always enjoyed most reuniting with friends at Gustavus after the winter break.  It was fun to catch up on our Christmases.  I remember a few of those meetings taking place at the Flame over darts and pitchers.  Good times.

Kris Robelia Oppegard:  After my freshman J-Term experience, I knew that I wanted to do something - ANYTHING - during my sophomore J-Term.  It was so quiet and calm around campus that I knew that I could find something better and more exciting to do the next January.  J-Term 1991, I did a college student exchange to Augsburg College in Minneapolis.  I wanted to see how similar or different the two ELCA colleges were.  Of course, I found that the academics and people were very much the same - challenging and very friendly!  However, living in a big city for four weeks challenged me to learn how to stay safe and try the amazing things that were available nearby.  I enjoyed time at the Ordway and Institute of Arts, as well as trying so much new food.  It was an experience that I needed and helped shape me for my final years at Gustavus.  From that J-Term experience, it challenged me to try new things and meet new people at Gustavus and that is what I did.  I chose different elective courses, changed my major and met some amazing new people on campus, whom I still call friends today!  I am very glad that I chose to do a nearby and inexpensive student exchange program because it didn’t put me in debt and it gave me a larger perspective on the world which I carried back to good 'ol GAC.

As you’re thinking about your J-Term experiences, consider how much fun we’ll have when we’re together again on the hill!  Please add the 20 Year Reunion, September 28, 2013 to your calendar!

Reunion Planning Team

Craig Anderson, Tammy Betzing-Vossen, Molly Dueber, Laura Grow, Beth Robelia Napton, Kris Robelia Oppegard, Paul Schiminsky, Brad and Chris Gomez Schmidt, Stacy Schrock Simonett, Barb Larson Taylor and Rachel Vagts.

If you’d like to join in the planning, contact the college at

Text Box: Reunion Weekend Info  Various group-specific events will also be scheduled during the weekend.  We’re aware of things such as the multi-year choir performance during Sunday chapel.  As these are usually organized by the department, you’re encouraged to touch base with your areas of interest.

Stay Connected!

Follow our Facebook Group:  GAC Class of 1993

Visit the alumni site:

Subscribe to:  @Gustavus Newsletter


We are intentionally sticking to electronic communication to bring folks back together.  Some “snail mail” notifications will also be sent, to make sure we get as many people as possible.  Help us make sure we are sharing communications with all of our classmates and encourage them to update Gustavus with their address or send the information to: and the information will be updated.

Making our Mark

Think about making a gift in honor of our reunion this year.  Give what you can, give to where your passion is and think of the difference our cumulative gift makes to the current students at Gustavus!  Together we can make a difference for the students at Gustavus today.  It’s something we can be proud of!

Campus News

Upcoming Chapter Gatherings

National Chapter events for alumni, parents and friends are scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year and will focus on the College’s pillar of “Teaching and Learning.”  Please save the date for the event in your area.

Jan. 31 – Tucson – 5:30 p.m., home of Warren and Donna Gabbert Beck ’67 ʼ66

Feb. 3 – Los Angeles – 12 p.m., FIG Restaurant

Feb. 4 - Palm Springs – 6 p.m., Escena Golf Club

Feb 13 – Tampa – 6 p.m., home of Neil ʼ69 and Robyn Fenske

Feb. 15 – Naples – 6 p.m., Flemings Steakhouse

Feb. 28 – Seattle – 7 p.m., JM Cellars Winery

Mar. 2 – San Francisco – 2 p.m., Rock Wall Winery

Center for Servant Leadership - Dream Job Workshop

Learn how to get more than a job, but the career you crave with this “Dream Job Workshop” sponsored by Gustavus, Thrivant Financial for Lutherans, and Saint Mary’s University.  This course is designed for anyone who is:  unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed.  It takes participants from naming gifts, talents, and passions to finding a dream job.  There are two ways to join in this workshop – in the classroom (at Saint Mary’s University, 2540 Park Avenue South) four Tuesday’s in February and March from 6-8 p.m. or online through a webinar.  Be sure to sign up now because seats are limited.  Learn more at, email or call 507-933-7272.

Music Tours – February 2 - 10

The Gustavus Choir will be on tour in the Southwestern United States, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will be traveling the Midwest:

The Gustavus Choir will have concerts and/or worship services in the following cities:  San Diego and Riverside (California); Green Valley, Sun City West, and Phoenix (Arizona); Santa Fe and Albuquerque (New Mexico).

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will have concerts and clinics in the following cities:  Excelsior, Rochester, Winona, and Plymouth (Minnesota), Mason City (Iowa), Lake Forest and Chicago (Illinois), Germantown and Wausau (Wisconsin).

Both ensembles will have their home concerts in Christ Chapel on Feb. 16.  Details are still being worked out, so please continue to check: for more information.

Christ Chapel Cited as One of the Most Beautiful

Here is a link that includes the Gustavus Chapel as one of the thirty most beautiful college chapels in a survey of schools across the country.  Take a look at some of these beautiful chapels including our own Christ Chapel by going to

Gustie Breakfasts - Twin Cities – New time and place

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Twin Cities Gustavus alumni breakfast.  Please join us at the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis), on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 a.m.  Cost is $10.  Gustie breakfasts are also being held on campus the second Wednesday of each month.  February’s speaker is Philip Brunelle, artistic director, VocalEssence.