Class of '98
October 1998

Dear Classmates,

Students are away on fall break, and what a fall it is! The past week’s weather has been flawless in St. Peter, which was especially helpful considering the event that took place. To be more specific, the Chapel spire was raised! Let me tell you about it. The spire arrived on trucks in four separate pieces. On Monday, it was too windy to do anything, but certain college personnel used the delay to record magic-markered messages inside the spire’s panels. On Tuesday, the weather was clear and still, and so the engineers decided to put the whole thing up, minus the cross. A massive crane lifted each piece up over the Chapel, and workmen guided the sections into place with ropes. One man stood inside the spire, balanced on its steel framework, and the other pieces were lowered over him. He secured them from the inside, then climbed the framework to fasten the next piece as soon as it was raised. When the pieces became too narrow for him to climb up the inside, they switched to raising him up on the outside in a bucket cabled to the crane. It was quite a process! Check the next Quarterly for some photos. On Thursday during chapel, the eternal flame was restored to its place over Christ Chapel’s chancel, and the cross was afixed atop the spire. There was standing room only as the whole community gathered for the event. Chaplains Elvee and Johnson passed the eternal flame to students who then spread it to the entire congregation until over 800 candles were lit. We all processed outside to see the cross raised, and Chaplain Johnson led a special litany from the chapel roof. The spire has been lit for the past four nights now, and it is a welcome, welcome sight. I don’t think many of us realized how much we missed it until we saw it restored. See what you think next time you’re in St. Peter.

In other 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 the 648 of 1987). Contributing to the record enrollment is the stable 94 percent full-time student retention rate. Students returned to a newly-landscaped campus, with the 400 trees planted last spring and nurtured all summer being joined by fresh sod (forget the hydroseeds!) and lush flowerbeds. They also discovered that 95% of all repairs made necessary by the March 29th tornado had been completed. Johnson Hall, as I mentioned in the last letter, had to come down, but a new College View apartment addition which houses 92 upper-class students greeted them, as did the recently purchased Jefferson Avenue apartments (now known as Arbor View) which house 60 upper-class students. Prairie View, the temporary residence hall which opened last week, houses 60 students as well, and the Guest House, Retreat Center, and various assorted lounges are now free for their primary uses again.

In addition to the new carpeting, painting, landscaping 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.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Campus Center occurred on Monday, October 19, though construction has been happening since summer. 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 be named for Evelyn Young ‘33, longtime director of the Dining Service at Gustavus. Also in progress is an addition to the Melva Lind Interpretive Center, which will house the Department of Environmental Studies.

And now, some other campus news, compliments of the Alumni Office:

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 was 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, was a huge success for another year. Alumni, parents and friends gathered on Saturday, October 3 to work together in the spirit of service to better their communities. An impact was made around the country as nearly 1,000 Gusties worked in nine cities including: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Duluth, MN; Fargo, ND; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Orlando, FL; Saint Peter, MN; Seattle, WA and Washington, DC. The five hundred Gusties who worked in St. Peter concentrated on helping the city recover from the tornado as much as possible before winter sets in. They helped 30 private homeowners with painting, scraping, caulking, building and yard-work projects. They cleaned up seven city-owned properties and took down an unsafe jungle gym. They built food shelves and cleaned up cemeteries for area churches. They took care of children so parents could spend the day working. And they helped four rural families continue massive clean-up of downed trees and other damage.

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.

If you’ve lost touch with some friends already, here’s the part of the class letter where you can catch up with them and let them catch up with you. Keep sending your news to the Alumni Office! Here’s what we know so far:

  • Sarah Meyer is an assistant international marketing manager for Neil Enterprises in Vernon Hills, IL.
  • Raphaela E. Dohm is a graduate student in international business management at Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.
  • Christine Nelson will play one of the Doowop girls in a Halloween production of "Little Shop of Horrors" and is nannying in Brooklyn Park, MN. She’s also teaching something, somewhere, but this class agent hasn’t been able to ascertain what or where.
  • Terra Kay Thompson will start on November 30 with Ritchie, Luukonen, Campbell and Company LLP as a public accountant.
  • Elizabeth Bohline is employed at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, as a registered nurse.
  • Amy Black and Paul Monskey ’99 got engaged on July 3, 1998.
  • Carolyn Christensen is employed at Bates USA (an advertising agency in New York) in strategic planning.
  • Megan Mullins and Robert Babcock were married in Christ Chapel on August 22, 1998.
  • Erin Hansen is teaching third grade in South St. Paul.
  • Melissa Golberg is teaching 10th and 12th grade English at Sibley High School, in West St. Paul.
  • Kyle Molin is a district representative for Lutheran Brotherhood in Roseville, MN.
  • Jill Biesanz has accepted a third grade bilingual teaching position for Denver Public Schools, CO.
  • Dan Kuhns has joined the staff of Roundbank in New Richland, MN, as an ag lender.
  • Rob Castille is a tennis pro at the Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie.
  • Kristen Anderson is doing an internship in Holland.
  • Deena Krohn is a middle school band and choir director at Monticello Middle School, in Monticello.
  • Paul Tarnowski is a residential counselor with Volunteers of America in Minneapolis.
  • Ty Totzke is working for Merrill-Lynch Company in Denver, CO, managing 401k plans for corporate companies.
  • Jessica Hansen Wood was married to Erik Wood ’97 on August 15, 1998. She is a third grade teacher in Eagan.

Busy classmates, eh?! More to come in the next letter. By the way, if any of you are dying to write a class letter, the next one is designated a "guest" letter. Let me know by e-mail at, or by calling me at (507) 931-0025 if you want to do it. First come, first served (though I somehow suspect that won’t be the problem!).

Have a grand winter everyone! Look me up if you’re in St. Peter.


Kari Lipke

1998 Co-Class Agent