Class of 2010

August 2011

Greetings fellow Gusties!

It is hard to believe that it is already August, and that another class is entering Gustavus without us there!

I have just returned from my year abroad serving as a Young Adult in Global Mission through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (wow, that’s a mouthful) and it has been a weird transition back to daily life in the States.  I served for one year in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and have truly been touched by my experiences there.  Like many people, I definitely had my opinions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but it took actually living there, and walking in accompaniment with the people who live in this struggle to really gain an understanding to the complexities that surround this issue.  It was also a great year to travel and explore the Holy Land, and surrounding countries.  Christmas in Bethlehem, Easter in Jerusalem…it was mind-blowing to celebrate these holidays (and the Jewish and Muslim ones) where it all went down in the Bible.  I vacationed in Cyprus and Turkey (where St. Peter and St. John traveled to), Jordan and Egypt (where Moses was born and viewed the Promised Land from)…it was an amazing time and I encourage everyone to go and visit.  I’ll even be your tour guide!

I have been asked if I could summarize my experience in one sentence by friends and family back home, and it would have to be: “I have found my passion in social justice through the eyes of the people of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and gained an understanding of my role as a globally engaged citizen of the world.”  Wow, that’s heavy, isn’t it?  But, it really brings to light the great things that I learned in my four years at Gustavus.  I truly felt that I lived out the five core values of Gustavus in my year abroad.

Faith:  Working with the ELCA and partner churches in other countries made me realize how connected we can be as a church body.

Community:  Even though I left a great community at Gustavus, it stayed with me on my journey to Palestine…and I was adopted into a new community that welcomed me with open arms.

Justice:  Walking in accompaniment with Palestinians and Israelis to work towards peace, reconciliation, respect and justice in the Holy Land has really shaped my life and the future me.

Service:  Volunteering for one year gave me an opportunity to live simple, and serve others in a context that I never experienced before in my life.

Excellence:  Growing, learning, teaching in a new environment was difficult…but to do so to the best of my ability led me to achieve more than my expectations for the year.

All in all, I am excited to reconnect with Gustavus (which started with my first alumni event in Grand Rapids) and all my classmates (that’s you)!  I am beyond excited to be back and seep into “real life.”

With Gustie Pride,

Luke Paquin

2010 Guest Letter Writer

Campus News

586 Graduates Receive Degrees

On Sunday, May 29, 2011, 586 seniors received their bachelor of arts degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College.  Senior Phil Helt of Gladstone, MO, delivered this year’s commencement address and Associate Professor of Nursing Barbara Zust received the 2011 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.  Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award.  Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002.  Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.

Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as unusual honor accorded to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Named as 2011 recipients are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.

The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class.  Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State.  The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.

 “Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts.  The speaker for August is Barb Larson Taylor ʼ93, assistant to president, who will speak about the Sesquicentennial events.  The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, August 17, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at or by calling 800-487-8437.

The St. Peter breakfast will be Wednesday, August 10, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center.  Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing or by calling 507-933-7512.

Need a Good Summer Read?

Every year, first-year Gustavus students are expected to read a selected Reading in Common book, which will be discussed during Orientation.  The book selected this year is The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows by Kent Nerburn.  The story reveals the Native American way of teaching and learning and also unmasks the dynamically complicated relationship between a white American and a Dakota Indian.  Nerburn was born and raised near Minneapolis, but now lives in northern Minnesota.  He has written 12 books.  Alumni and friends are encouraged to read the book along with the rest of the Gustavus community.  For more information about the Reading in Common program, contact Megan Ruble at 507-933-7597 or

Gustavus at the Minnesota State Fair

Gustavus will again staff a booth in the Education Building at the Minnesota State Fair, August 25–September 5.  The booth will have friendly faces, information, Gustie Grams, and a cool giveaway.  High school students can enter to win a Gustavus T-shirt.  Wear your Gustavus apparel to the fair to show off your Gustie pride!