Class of '94
January 2000

News from the Odd Couple...Greetings, Class of ’94!

Cameron James and Amy Zenk James are on pre-maternity leave (they’ll be welcoming a new little Gustie in July!), so they’ve enlisted the services of the odd couple (that’s us, Mary Crippen and Karen Lillestol) for this quarter’s letter. For those of you who may have forgotten—or maybe never knew—we are one of those unlikely pairs who accomplished the feat of rooming together for our entire Gustavus careers—despite the fact that many thought we had little in common. And now we’ve reunited to dish the latest dirt on the class of 1994...

For starters, Amy and Cameron aren’t the only ones moving into the world of parenting. Judd Schetnan and Greta Gerlach Schetnan ’95 are expecting their first child to arrive approximately nine months and one day after their July 1999 wedding. (If you need help with the math, that works out to sometime in April.) Erika Peterson Eklund and her husband, Nathan—who have recently returned from teaching in India—will also usher in their first in June. And of course there were some arrivals in ’99: Tonya Gust Oberg and John Oberg had a baby boy, Alexander John, in March; Drew Storley and his wife also had a baby boy, Thane Calvin, in June; and Jennifer Bertelsen Pennington and Christopher Pennington gave birth to Jacob Scott in August.

We, on the other hand, can’t seem to settle into careers, let alone start our own families! Karen, who is living in Minneapolis, started a new job as a claims specialist for Fortis Benefits in August. She spends most of her spare cash on travel: she spontaneously flew off to Paris last spring, and is planning a trip to New York in March. She’ll be accompanied to New York by Mark Jensen and Mary Ellen Johnson ’95, and they’ll all be attending Greg Sandoval’s curatorial debut at Bard College, where Greg is finishing his Masters degree in preparation for a career as a curator.

Meanwhile, Mary appeared to be on track to an academic career...until last May. Instead of finishing her Ph.D. in American Studies, she left the University of Iowa with a Masters degree and returned to the Twin Cities to deliver Marty Koolen’s newspapers (he is one of about 170 customers on her weekend Star Tribune route). She does have a "real" job in addition to the route: she works in Minneapolis as a proposal writer for U.S. Bank. And, as if that weren’t enough, she’s picked up part-time book-peddling at her neighborhood Barnes & Noble in St. Paul’s Highland Park. (The paper route is currently being phased out...but maybe she’ll open her own newsstand someday!)

Some of our other classmates seem to have been on the move lately—both personally and professionally. Alice Barry left Computer Network Technology (CNT) to work for Lawson Software last summer, and she and her husband, Craig Anderson ’93, bought a house in Minneapolis in January. Mike Zemek and his wife, Sangeetha Rayapati, have also settled into a new home in Anoka. And while his residence hasn’t changed, Colin Klotbach’s work keeps him moving around the Twin Cities area...his art and design work can be seen in and around Calhoun Square (including a mural at the Brave New Workshop), and he was recently hired by our own Amy Zenk James to work on a mural at Knollwood Mall. Holly Lipelt Lussenhop is preparing for a somewhat more drastic move: her husband, Rob Lussenhop, will begin a professional golf tour this spring, and Holly is planning to go along and caddy whenever she can. Their home base has yet to be determined—be sure to keep us updated, Holly!

We have managed to gather a few other newsy updates in our wanderings around the Twin Cities...Mary recently attended a soirée hosted by Chrissy Eilertson (now Christine to her post-Gustavus friends), who is currently working as a committee administrator for the House of Representatives’ Health and Human Services Committee. Also in attendance were Johanna Olson, on temporary reprieve from her job in Chicago with ELCA Disaster Relief; Cynthia Belt, who seems to be surviving the demanding schedule of medical residency in family practice and psychiatry; and Christina Potthoff, whose work is perhaps superceded for the moment by wedding planning (she is sporting a beautiful new diamond ring)!

At a birthday party Michael Bolsoni threw for his wife, Jennifer (Eck ’93), we caught up with Ted Anderson, who is teaching German and coaching girls’ hockey at Forest Lake High School; Aaron Stein, whose role as the Humane Society’s Santa Claus this holiday season was the talk of the party; and Erick Thompson, who is currently attending Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Campus News

Gustavus fared well in two recently released national rankings that affirm its mission of preparing students for "fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society." Gustavus is the #1 small college in the Midwest for the number of its alumni that currently serve as Peace Corps volunteers. With 18 Gustavus alumni now in the Peace Corps, Gustavus ranks sixth in the national "Top 10 Peace Corps Small Colleges and Universities" list, moving up from 12th last year. This list comprises institutions that have less than 5,000 undergraduates. Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges named to the list of 30. The College also ranked 14th in the nation among baccalaureate institutions for the number of students it sends overseas. The annual ranking, released in December by the Institute of International Education in its "Open Doors 1998-99" report, was based on study abroad statistics from the 1997-98 academic year. Gustavus was one of six Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20, making Minnesota the most active study-abroad state in the nation. During the 1997-98 school year, 286 Gustavus students traveled and studied abroad. Approximately 30 percent of Gustavus' graduating seniors have a study abroad experience.

Kresge Challenge met! Vice President for College Relations Dennis Johnson ’60 has announced that the fundraising requirements for the Kresge Challenge have been met, qualifying the College to receive $1 million from the foundation. The College was challenged to raise $4.3 million for the Campus Center, an Olympic-sized track, and tree replacement in a 13-month period ending Jan. 31. All three projects have been exceeded. The Gustavus Pride Campaign (campus employee campaign) was a key component in the success of the overall challenge. College officials are pleased that 60% of Gustavus faculty, administrators, staff, and retired employees made gifts and pledges to the College totaling more than $721,530 in the last year and 53% contributed in excess of $375,000 to the "Building a Greater Gustavus" campaign. This is very significant in that it not only helped meet the Kresge Challenge, but also demonstrates to the many foundations, philanthropists, alumni, and friends that the employees of Gustavus share the vision and mission of the College.

Construction on campus continues as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will move to or have moved their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at gustavus.edu. The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

Members Of The New Millenium: Knowing that we are in a technological age, we want to encourage all alumni to get involved and get online. If you have access to a computer and the internet, we hope you will check out the Gustavus Alumni Association homepage regularly. We publish information about upcoming events, post class letters, provide information about the Alumni Office, list e-mail addresses of alumni and more. Check us out under the alumni section at gustavus.edu.

We are planning on corresponding on a regular basis with all alumni who have e-mail addresses. Please send a message to alumni@gustavus.edu so we can get you on the list. (Be sure to keep us posted on any e-mail address changes, also.)

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

  • Seattle G.I.V.E. project February 19 and Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2
  • Bay Chapter gathering March 4
  • San Diego Chapter gathering March 6
  • Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 7
  • Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church, and on April 9, 10:00 a.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center.
  • Brainerd Lakes Chapter event with Jim Gilbert ’60 on April 13
  • Class of 1950, 50 Year Club, and War Years and V-12 reunions - May 27-28

A reminder that all other reunion classes (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 29-30.

A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at hnancarr@gustavus.edu to request more information.

And now, a word to the wise...if you don’t keep the alumni office updated on your whereabouts, this might happen to you! Jessica Wacholz Nelson recently logged on to the alumni@gustavus.edu website and found that she was "lost." So she wrote back to Gustavus, informing them that she has been "found" in San Bernardino, CA, where she is living with her husband, Patrick Nelson, and working for Management and Training Corporation as a school to career coordinator for the Inland Empire Job Corps Center.

Finally, since game show madness seems to be sweeping the nation, it seems appropriate to let you all in on the exciting news that Mary’s brother, Joseph Crippen ’85, is going to appear on Jeopardy! this spring. So, in the spirit of Alex Trebek and Regis Philbin, we close with a quiz question: Mary and Karen like to refer to themselves as the odd couple, but who’s Felix, and who’s Oscar? Let us know when you have your "final answer."

In the words of Garrison Keillor on MPR’s The Writer’s Almanac...

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

 Mary Crippen Karen Lillestol