Class of 1998

April 2014

Dear Classmates,

I recently drove back to campus on a Wednesday afternoon to donate blood during a Red Cross Blood Drive being held over two days on the Gustavus campus.  I typically donate in Mankato where I live and work, or I will drop down to my small hometown of Mapleton and give blood there.  I was trying to set up a time to donate with the Red Cross over the phone and there were no drives going on in Mapleton and none of the times worked for me in Mankato.  The friendly Red Cross employee suggested a day in St. Peter which was being held on the Gustavus Adolphus campus.  She asked if I was familiar with it.  I said, “Yes, I actually graduated in 1998, the year of the Tornado!” She said, “Great, can I set up a time for you to donate there since you are familiar with the campus!”  The strange part, is when she suggested this, I actually got a little nervous and reluctantly said yes.  I actually needed to be in St. Peter that afternoon anyway so I really had no excuse to not donate.

I think the reason it makes me nervous to go on campus during a school day is really the fact that my age will become apparent very quickly.  The Gustavus campus was my home for four years and used to feel so cozy and welcoming.  Now as a 37-year-old adult I am a little scared I’ll feel old and out of place on a campus where I have such fond memories.  Obviously on the drive up the hill it always strikes me how small all the trees still are after the tornado and how many new buildings there are.  This contributes to me feeling a bit old and out of place, but really it is a great sign because all of these changes are a direct result of a vibrant college.

I made my way to Alumni Hall (wearing a suit of course) and passed a few students, who nodded and greeted me, probably wondering what I was doing on campus.  I checked in and sat down with some students who were watching Disney’s Tangled and remembering out loud how they watched it in high school.  I didn’t speak up and join in reminiscing how I saw the movie with my son, Parker and daughter, Chloe.  Parker was very young at the time and actually got a little scared in the theater.  The students sitting around me went on to talk about the philosophy class they were taking and then began to talk about who their favorite philosopher was.  This caused me to think of many conversations I engaged in during my years at Gustavus that had a similar feel to this one and I realized that I get in far too few of these anymore.  I don’t know if it is the atmosphere of being on campus that encourages these topics, the classes themselves, or the age of the students where you feel your life is all in front of you and the options are limitless.

As a parent and because of my occupation the conversations always start with talking about my two children and then someone always asks me about “the market.”  I also found it fascinating to see all of the students using smartphones and that caused me to look at my phone and see many different Wi-Fi options.  My first thought was “Wow,” my second thought was, “I’m glad we didn’t have smartphones with cameras when I was attending!”

Next I was up to give blood, so once I got on the bed I asked the technician how she liked working blood drives on campus.  She said she really liked the students, they are very friendly, polite, and really support the Red Cross.  I then asked, how “is it” compared to working the high school blood drives in the area.  I was surprised by her answer.  She said she preferred the high school locations, and then I had to ask why?  She said high school students are still at home eating and being monitored by their parents.   She said I’d be surprised at the number of Gustavus students that come to give blood on an empty stomach and don’t think it will be a problem!

After my appointment, I stopped in on my old football coach Tom Brown who is now the athletic director at Gustavus.  I was looking for some help from all of the sports teams with an event our Kiwanis Club in Mankato puts on called Kiwanis Holiday Lights.  To my surprise, Tom recognized me right away, made me feel right at home in his office, and offered any help we needed as far as volunteer hours from all of the Gustavus sports teams.  I was thrilled!  We already get a lot of help from MSU Mankato and Bethany and I was hoping to get my alma mater involved as well.  Once again, Gustavus blew me away!

The point of this story is….make an effort to return to campus sometime if you are in the area, everything looks different, but one thing is the same….once a Gustie, always a Gustie!  If you can’t make it to campus, reach out to some of your best friends from your time at Gustavus.  For me that would be the six guys I lived with over the course of my four years, the people in my accounting major classes, people I played football with, my two sister sections when I lived in Co-ed, members of Alpha Kappa Psi, the accounting club, and the various other people I met along the way.  Reach out to one or two this week, you will be glad you did!

Class News

Andy Widen is residing in Plymouth, MN, “My wife, Teresa, and I have two future Gusties, Matthew (9) and Natalie (7).  I am employed with OSC Automotive Parts as a trainer and change-over coordinator.”

Karen Delgehausen Brown writes, “I am happy to announce that I was married on October 12, 2013 to Chris Brown from Eden Prairie, MN.  Chris went to UMD and received his bachelor's degree in business management.  He recently completed the doctorate program at the University of Minnesota in physical therapy.  I am currently working at Faegre Baker Daniels in Minneapolis as a talent acquisition specialist.”

Molly Milinkovich Wengler writes that she has taken a role in Vancouver, BC with learning + development for Lululemon Athletica.

Denielle Salmonson Velasquez had a daughter, Olivia, on 12/23/11 and is married to Antonio Velasquez II ʼ96.

Some of this news you’ll see in the upcoming Gustavus spring Quarterly.  Please continue to send in your news, these letters get hard to write when you don’t have any class news.  There are many ways to send it.  Send to and it will go to me and the Alumni Office, or send directly to me at  Or write something for the Gustie blog, by clicking on “Submit Your News” on the Alumni home page, or just email  However you do it, just send something!

Remember to join the Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 1998 Facebook and LinkedIn Groups!

Annual Fund

Please consider contributing to the Gustavus Annual Fund—and if you already have—thank you!  Here is what our class has contributed:  Total dollars $15,737.18 from 52 donors.  Last year by the end of the fiscal year (May 31) we reached $40,847.01 from 71 donors so we have a ways to go.  Let’s help ensure today’s students have the same excellent experience that we got from Gustavus.

Go Gusties!!

Shannon Sinning

1998 Communications Chair

Campus News

Rebecca M. Bergman Named 17th President of Gustavus Adolphus College

The Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College has elected Rebecca M. Bergman to be the College’s 17th president.  Bergman is the first woman in the 152-year history of the College to be named president and will succeed Jack R. Ohle, who is retiring after serving as president of the College since July 2008.  Bergman will officially take office July 1, 2014.

Bergman, who has served on the College’s Board of Trustees since 2007, has spent the past 26 years at Medtronic, Inc., including the last 14 years as a senior executive.  She currently serves as Vice President of Research, Technology, and Therapy Delivery Systems for the company’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management (CRDM) business, where she leads a research and development team of scientists and engineers.

Gustavus Library Associates

Members of Gustavus Library Associates invite you to celebrate the arrival of our long-awaited spring at our annual Books in Bloom event held on campus at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library over Honors Day weekend, May 2–4.  There is no fee for admittance, and you will be amazed by the many floral arrangements that represent a variety of materials found in our library.  Find out more at

2014 MayDay! Peace Conference

The 34th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference is planned for Wednesday, April 30, 2014, on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.  This year’s theme, “Tibet:  Finding Hope in Exile,” will present the story of the Tibetan exile experience and their efforts to maintain their identity and build a global democratic culture under difficult circumstances.  The keynote speaker is Dr. B. Tsering, principal of the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in Bangalore, India.  A group of Tibetan monks from the Twin Cities will be on campus a few days before the conference to create a traditional, multicolored sand mandala at Christ Chapel.  The all-day event begins at 10 a.m. in Christ Chapel and is open to the public at no charge.

Travel with Gustavus - Exploring Luther’s Reformation – Oct. 4-16

Journey on an educational tour focused on Luther’s Reformation with prominent Lutheran scholar, Gustavus professor emeritus of Religion Rev. Dr. Darrell Jodock.  Travel to Germany and Poland from October 4 to 16, 2014 to learn about the life and teachings of Martin Luther, along with the ongoing significance of his theology.  The trip is open to Gustavus alumni, parents, friends, and non-Gusties.  For more information, please visit or email Professor Jodock at  Registration deadline is May 31.

Upcoming Events

April 29 - Chicago Chapter Gathering

April 30 – 34th Annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference

May 21 – Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast – Dan Mollner, academic librarian

May 30-31 – Reunion Weekend