Class of '95
September 1998

Fellow Gusties,

With the warm temperatures as of late, it’s hard to believe that the calendar actually says September and that fall is just around the corner. Hopefully many of you were able to make it back to campus for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert and other Homecoming festivities.

Tornado update…….

We attended the annual class agent meeting on campus on September 12 and were greeted with a very different Gustavus than we had seen shortly after the March 29th tornado. As promised by President Steuer last spring, despite the fact that ALL 59 campus buildings were affected by the storm, repairs were made and all were ready for students and classes by September. We walked around campus after our meeting and were glad to see that most things had been restored to their original state¾ the same white and gold sign greets you as you drive up College Avenue, the upholstery on the seats in Bjorling Concert Hall are still purple, and the clock atop Old Main still rings every hour. There have also been some exciting new additions to campus. Twenty-four new units were added to the existing College View 12-plex. The college also purchased some apartment buildings on Jefferson Avenue that will be renamed the Arbor View Apartments and will house approximately 60 students. The official cornerstone laying for the Campus Center will take place on October 19th. With the primary stage to be completed in the fall of 1999, this $18.6 million, 51,000 square foot construction project will double the size of the Dining Service Building and will provide students, faculty, and staff with expanded and improved dining, meeting, and office spaces. An addition to the Melva Lind Interpretive Center is also being built to house the Department of Environmental Studies. Unfortunately, a few Gustavus landmarks were lost during the storm. It was decided during the last few weeks of August that Johnson Hall was beyond repair and has since been taken down (watch for a tribute to what was the oldest dorm on campus in the next issue of the Quarterly). Several campus houses were lost as well ¾ Holly House, Swedish House, Terrace House, Lundgren House, and the Brick House as well as the College View 4-plex. (Rumor has it that Terrace and Lundgren will eventually be rebuilt on the same sight.) The replacement of the Chapel spire, scheduled for on or about October 18 will complete the storm-damage repairs on campus. The storm of course did plenty of damage around the city of St. Peter as well. Of the 300 homes in town that were destroyed during the storm, approximately 55 of those belonged to Gustavus professors and administrators. This of course added new challenges to the recovery effort as many professors and administrators were dealing with the destruction not only on campus, but at their own homes as well. However, as was evident during our visit on the 12th, the Gustie spirit is alive and well! Campus really does look great!

News about our classmates……

Amanda Lyons married Dennis Rutkowski on August 30, 1998. Amanda works for the Winona School District…Brandi Witt is attending medical school at the University of Minnesota…Lisa Corchran Hake is the human resources manager at All Systems Go…Kevin Lund is the proud father of a baby boy, Koleman Thomas Lund, who was born on April 26, 1998…Kari Schlafman is teaching fourth grade at Hudson Elementary in Hudson, Colorado and lives in Northglenn, Colorado…Mandy Hasslen will marry David Gartner ’96 on October 17, 1998…John Goodpaster is in his third year of graduate school at Michigan State and recently published his first research project…Elizabeth Johnson is in her final year of seminary at Luther Seminary in St. Paul…Jeff Christensen is a pharmaceutical sales rep for Janssen Pharmaceutical in Bismarck, North Dakota…Joe Gaugler is a doctoral candidate at Penn State University in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies…Karen Felger McClelland is working as an animal health technician on a corporate dairy farm in Litchfield…Tanya Strom is teaching in southern Japan…Anne Robertson is a graduate student in the Mayo Nurse Anethesia Program in Rochester…Vince Brama works at Honeywell in Coon Rapids and is attending MSU for his degree in mechanical engineering…Rachelle Leach is a fourth year student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine…Jason Mahn is attending Emory University in Atlanta for his PhD…Ben Grimstad is assistant vice president at the Citizens State Bank in St. James…Tracy Loberg is the proud mom of Madeline Rose, who was born on April 2, 1998…Bill Heim is a special education teacher at Sheppard Middle School and is attending grad school at Chapman University. Bill lives in Victorville, California…Nicole Wickman graduated with an M.A. in occupational therapy in May 1998 from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth…Gina Pletan Schield works for Chisago County Public Health.

Other cool stuff…

Brad Olson was recently transferred from Houston, Texas to Maui to become the director of tennis at the Maui Prince Hotel/Makena Resort. Rumor has it that he played tennis earlier this summer with someone that most of us know as Hans Solo, Indiana Jones, and Jack Ryan. However, for a week in July he was known to Brad as just plain old "Harry." Brad welcomes any Gusties who want to visit him in beautiful Hawaii!

Campus News…

The 1998-99 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,470 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,389 set in 1988), including a record 700 incoming students (compared to 648 of 1987). Contributing to the record enrollment is the stable 94 percent full-time student retention rate. Students returned to a campus that has been newly landscaped with 400 trees planted last spring and nurtured over the summer. They also discovered that 95% of all repairs made necessary by the tornado of March 29 are now completed. They returned to find Johnson Hall gone as it proved to be "beyond repair," but they also were greeted by a new College View Apartment addition, which houses 92 upper-class students, and the recently purchased Jefferson Avenue apartments (now known as Arbor View), which houses 60 upper-class students. In addition to new carpeting, painting, and furnishings, the campus is sporting 300 new state of the art computers for students and faculty, 28 new Steinway pianos (making us a member of a very elite circle of "All Steinway" campuses), 13 new high-tech multimedia systems for classrooms, new and upgraded outdoor and indoor athletic facilities, and new scientific equipment.

What remains to be done? The Prairie View Residence Hall, to be in place and opened in October, will house 60 students. It will be located west of Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Physically and symbolically the repair/restoration era will end with the placement of the spire and the cross back on the top of Christ Chapel. The spire will go up in sections over a two-day period and the cross is scheduled to be set on Thursday, October 22, weather permitting.

Students also noted the beginning stages of construction on the new Campus Center. This project, part of our strategic plan, was accelerated by the storm. The official groundbreaking ceremony will take place Monday, October 19. This $18.6 million, 51,000 square foot construction project will double the size of the Dining Service Building, providing students, faculty and staff with expanded and improved dining, meeting and office spaces. The Dining Room will, appropriately, be named for Evelyn Young ’33, longtime director of the Dining Service at Gustavus. In progress also is an addition to the Melva Lind Interpretive Center to house the Department of Environmental Studies.

National Rankings

US News and World Report continues to give Gustavus high ranking. This fall’s issue again placed Gustavus in the top half of the 162 national liberal arts colleges in the country. Gustavus is one of four colleges in Minnesota to be in this category. The others are Carleton, Macalester and St. Olaf. The other ELCA schools in addition to Gustavus and St. Olaf are Gettysburg, Muhlenberg and Augustana (IL). Many of the schools with which you are familiar are classified as either a "national" or a "regional" college. National liberal arts colleges have the most selective admission policy, recruit nationally and offer most of their degrees in the liberal arts. Regional liberal arts colleges are less selective in admitting students and grant fewer than 40% of their degrees in the liberal arts.

US News further honored Gustavus by ranking the College third nationally (out of 90 schools) in operating efficiency. This ranking measures academic quality and dollars spent to deliver that quality. Gustavus was the only Minnesota college ranked in this comparison of national liberal arts colleges.

Newsweek magazine’s college publication again listed Gustavus as a "buried treasure." These are colleges that are known as "Hot Schools, Cool Spots." The magazine describes Gustavus as a place where "Personal attention rules--can’t slide by here." Other buried treasures include: Davidson College, Davidson, NC; Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA; Pomona College, Claremont, CA; Trinity University, San Antonio, TX; and College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Good company, indeed.

Children of alumni continue to be honored for their academic achievement and potential when they enroll at Gustavus. The Alumni Scholarship of $2,500 (renewable to $10,000 over four years) is awarded to children and grandchildren of alumni with high school grade point averages of 3.5 or better, or SAT scores of 1170 or an ACT of 26. This fall Gustavus welcomed to campus 70 new entering students who are children of alumni. Sixty-seven legacy students were awarded an Alumni Scholarship. This number includes 54 children of alumni and 13 grandchildren of alumni.

Nobel Conference XXXIV, Virus: The Human Connection is October 6 & 7. The Nobel Conference magazine was again inserted in the August Minnesota Monthly magazine and sent to the entire Gustavus mailing list.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is December 4, 5 & 6. The theme this year is The Holy Family. A ticket order form was inserted in the center of the Summer Quarterly and another form is enclosed with this class letter.

The Gustavus Orchestra will perform its Autumn Concert at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. The featured violin soloist is Siqing Lu, one of the most important Chinese violinists of his generation. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call the University of Minnesota Arts Ticket Office (612-624-2345) or Gustavus Ticket Center at (507-933-7598).

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 3. Thirty-four sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in 10 other cities around the country are participating in the event. A registration form was inserted into the center of the Summer Quarterly and a flyer was sent to all Twin City area alumni.

Recycle your Quarterly – after reading each issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we encourage you to "recycle" the magazine by taking it to your place of business or worship and sharing it with others. Spread the good word about Gustavus!

Alumni Chapters will be meeting in cities around the country near you! Mark your calendars today for the following Alumni Association chapter visits: Chicago, November 14; Atlanta, November 19; Washington, DC, November 20; Boston, November 21; Denver, February 1 (Gustavus Band concert); Fargo, Feb. 20; Seattle, March 5; San Francisco, March 6; Los Angeles, March 7; Phoenix, March 8; and Sun City, March 9.

Forever indebted to…

Our THANKS to Mark Nechanicky who continues to maintain our Class of 1995 web page that can be accessed through the Gustie Home Page at Check out old class letters, a full list of our classmates and their email addresses, and other cool stuff. Mark recently graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Master’s Degree in materials science and engineering.

On a sadder note…..

Ron Christenson, Gustavus Professor of Political Science, died on Friday, September 4, 1998. He had suffered for two years with bone cancer. Professor Christenson enlightened students at Gustavus for almost 30 years and was honored with every major teaching award granted by Gustavus including the 1993 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching. Memorials are suggested to the First Lutheran Church of St. Peter or to the Ron and Rolf Christenson Award for Excellence in Writing by Political Science Students at Gustavus.

Phonorama update…

Yes, another year of fundraising is upon us. We will be contacting as many of you as humanly possible during the last few weeks of October and early November. This is a VERY important year for the Gustavus Fund. Gustavus was fortunate to have a very good insurance policy to cover storm damage, however there are always exclusions and caps. Landscaping was one of the major items that was not covered by insurance. New buildings and projects around campus are very ambitious and require funding. Just think, no college in history has ever suffered a disaster of this magnitude. YOUR COLLEGE needs you this year like never before! Here are a couple of opportunities to make the dollars you pledge count even more:

Lutheran Brotherhood Tornado Challenge Grant

Lutheran Brotherhood will match all gifts to rebuilding given between April 15, 1998 and April 15, 2000 with one dollar for every two dollars given. Our goal is to raise $4 million dollars in order to receive the maximum $2 million in matching funds.

Aid Association for Lutherans Matching Gift Program

Beginning July 1, 1998 and running through January 31, 1999, AAL will match all gifts to Gustavus rebuilding programs between $50 and $1,000 made by any of AAL’s members. Nonmembers may have gifts matched by becoming an associate member of AAL for one year.

The Amys’ Challenge

YOUR class agents are committing to give $1 for each member of the Class or 1995 that gives to the annual fund this year. Our goal is to increase the number of people who give from our class from 31% to 50%. That is a lofty goal (and it might make your class agents poor), but we know it can be done!

Mark your calendars….

  • October 3rd – G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors)
  • October 6th and 7th – Nobel Conference
  • November 13th – Football Game at the Dome vs. St. Johns
  • December 4th, 5th, and 6th – Christmas in Christ Chapel, "The Holy Family"

(Check out the most recent issue of the Gustavus Quarterly for more info about any of the above!)

Hope to talk to many of you during phonorama. Until then…..

Yours truly,

Amy Haberman and Amy Seidel

P.S. Don’t forget to let the alumni office know if you move, get married, have a baby, get a new job, etc. They can be contacted any of the following ways:


800 West College Avenue,
St. Peter, MN 56082