Class of '95
Aloha Fellow Gusties of 1995,
As many of you may know, I am writing you from the sunny island of Maui. But before any of you start feeling sorry for me, let me assure you that life is good here in paradise. However, I do sympathize with you who are forced to battle those blustery Minnesota winter days that we all remember from our time on the hill.
Seriously, I want to share with you some of my recent adventures since graduation. I work for an international tennis management company, Peter Burwash International (PBI), which places tennis professionals at over 50 resorts/hotels (mostly five-star) in around 23 countries worldwide. After interviewing, acceptance and an intense month of training, I started my career in October 1995 as one of the tennis pros at The Woodlands Conference Center, Resort, and Country Club in a master-planned, residential community 30 miles north of Houston. This is also the site of PBI’s world headquarters so I was able to learn a lot from the many pros around me. My main duties were running a junior program, coaching league teams, directing tournaments, and teaching private and group lessons for nearly 250 members.
My club hosted three professional women’s tournaments while I was there with players ranked anywhere from 80-900th in the world. In the spring of 1996 after our $10,000 Satellite event, I was asked by a player who participated in our tournament to accompany her to Africa to be her coach/hitting partner at tournaments in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. What a great experience to see part of such a great continent. I was fortunate to go on a couple of daylong safaris and observed giraffe, native deer, monkeys, zebra, and even rhino. Don’t ask me, though, how my player fared in the three events.
A little over a year later, my company held its annual meeting at our European site, the Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Going, Austria in the Tirolean Mountains near Kitzbuhel. Although the meetings took up most of our time, the beautiful scenery was awe-inspiring. Fellow ’95 grad, Ryan Haddorff, was lucky enough to spend an entire summer working there and elsewhere in Europe. I just recently returned from this year’s annual meeting at the Palm Coast Resort, one of our newest sites, near Daytona Beach, FL. I was pleased to reconnect with four other Gustie alumni who have joined PBI within the past year: Jon Koenigs ’98, Julie Peplinski ’97, Justin Barbeau ’98 and Ben Haddorff ’98. It’s because of a Gustavus connection that we have all joined this incredible organization. Steve Wilkinson, Gustavus’ men’s tennis coach, knows Peter Burwash, the president of our company, and has encouraged us to pursue careers with PBI. Peter also has high regards for Steve and the values instilled in us through the Gustie tennis program.
My adventures continued as I traveled at Christmas of ’97 to the small Caribbean Island of Nevis in the West Indies. I taught tennis at the Four Seasons Resort to an onslaught of New Yorkers for 2 ½ weeks, averaging 7-8 hours on courts per day in high 80-degree heat. Definitely not a vacation, especially since most of my students didn’t have the genuine, friendly charisma that most of us Midwesterners possess. I did meet some very high-powered individuals, including Chris Evert and the owners of Vail Mountain, IMAX theaters, and the New York Jets.
After 2 years and 8 months in The Woodlands, I decided it was time to move on to a new challenge. I am currently the director of tennis at the Maui Prince Hotel at the Makena Resort. I am the only pro at this six court facility so I have total responsibility of the tennis program here: marketing, budgeting, programming, promoting and teaching clinics and lessons to my 56 local members as well as resort guests from all over the world. I am actually sharing an apartment with a buddy from high school (Robbinsdale-Armstrong) who is out here teaching biology at Maui High School. Although he’s a Luther grad, we have had a fun time enjoying paradise and the many guests who have visited. Since now is the beginning of the busy season it should be hectic, but fun. If any of you plan on being in Maui during the next year or so please call or email. We’ll probably be able to accommodate you at our place that has a pool and hot tub and is two blocks from the beach! Or I can suggest some great, inexpensive condos.
As for future travel opportunities, I’m not sure when or where I’ll go. However, I am part of PBI’s travelling tennis show that is kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters of tennis with funny skits, racquet passing and juggling. I did a show at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Orlando in 1997. We often do a tour to different parts of the world (Ryan Haddorff toured through Asia in ’96) so hopefully I’ll get the chance in 1999! As mentioned, I hope to be here for a couple years and then who knows: maybe to an international resort, perhaps back to another large facility on the mainland or possibly back to Minnesota to get my teaching degree. One thing is for certain, I’m glad I’ve taken off after college to experience what the world has to offer. It’s made me appreciate the quality of life in Minnesota and the values we learned at Gustavus. Not everybody is as open minded and driven as most of you are!
One of the pillars of PBI is the fact that we should always be trying to improve our skills and better ourselves. I hope y’all have continued to learn and grow since graduation regardless of what kind of job or advanced degree you may have (or are still pursuing). As the millennium approaches and the many technological changes shape our world, I think it will be who we are (and how well we are) rather than what possessions we own that determine happiness. So do your part to serve those around you. I hope you have a great 1999 and I hope to connect with all of you soon. Mahalo (thanks) for your time!
(B.O. to some of you)
1995 Guest Letter Writer
P.S. I wanted to include some news bits from some of our classmates and campus news. Some of these events have occurred a while ago, my apologies for the lateness:
- Heidi Hoffman married Michael Pautsch on May 2, 1998
- Darcy Whitcomb married Ted Frederickson on May 9, 1998
- Andrew McCurdy married Jennifer Kranz on June 13, 1998
- Jenna Peik married Greg Peters on June 27, 1998
- Susan Lothner married Gregory Fletcher on June 27, 1998
- Roxanne Wagener married Derek Myhre on July 3, 1998
- Daun Hamblin married Derek Lindberg on July 18, 1988
- Stephanie Shearer married Michael White on July 25, 1998
- Sarah Reed married Dean Schreiner on October 3, 1998
- Thor Nelson married Stacy Johnson in Christ Chapel on December 12, 1998
- Amy Stelling and John Olson are planning a February 6, 1999 wedding at Christ Chapel
- Amanda (Fluegge) and Scott Schwarzrock gave birth to Drew Scott Scwarzrock on February 8, 1998
- Lisa (Gregerson) Radloff and her husband William (’94) gave birth to Caleb William Radloff on 9/9/98
- Martin Lubitz is now an attorney with Holleb and Coff in Chicago
- Aimee Pugh is pursuing her Ph. D. in immunology at the University of Rochester (New York)
- Gretchen Leff is working for Fritter and Schultz in San Jose, CA
- Suan Hanson has returned from the Peace Corp in Africa and is now recruiting for them on the campus of the University of San Diego
- Molly Swenson is working for Dayton Hudson Corporation
- Douglas Wilton is working for Systems Management Services (SMS) back in California
- Jill Woods is attending Cleveland-Marshall law school in Ohio
- Dave Scott is working for Opportunity Partners
- John Nolde is attending the University of Minnesota Law School
- Peter Wahl is also at the University of Minnesota law school in his second year after getting his Master’s degree in environmental engineering at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia (rumor has it he will be interning in Dallas this summer)
- Tim Kohls received his law degree from the U of M and is employed by a Twin Cities firm
- Mike Benninghoff is in his third year at the Hamline School of Law and recently visited me on Maui
- Ryan Haddorff is still managing other people’s money as a financial planner with Waddell and Reed
- Mandi Gillespie is a marine science instructor at the Catalia Island Marine Institute in Avalon, CA
- Stig Sandell is a loan officer with Firstar Bank (buying a house? Call Stig!)
- Tracy Erickson is now a business analyst with O’PIN Systems
- Mary Ellyn Johnson is pursuing her Master’s degree in art history at Richmond University in London
- Matthew Nelson is working for Ontrack Data International
- Cindy Bartel is a guidance counselor at John Marshall High School in Rochester, MN
- Phil Miesle is now a performance engineer with Oracle Corporation in Dublin, Ireland
- James Burghardt received his graduate diploma in applied science in April from the University of Melbourne, Australia and is now a Longwood Graduate Fellow at the University of Delaware in public horticulture
Good Luck to:
Kirsten Maue who is attempting to run her first marathon in Big Sur, CA, with the Leukemia Society of America’s Team in Training. She has pledged to raised $3,200 and will put the name of all $50 or more contributors on her race shirt. To help her out, send your tax-deductible donation to her at: 7450 Kalk Road, Hamel, MN 55340. Make us proud Kirsten!
Some news from campus:
Students and staff are in the midst of January Term and the campus landscape is covered with a beautiful blanket of snow. Once again, many students are taking advantage of
J-Term opportunities with 127 on internships, 308 on study abroad programs, and 86 students studying at other domestic institutions. Despite the cold weather, progress is being made on construction of the new Campus Center due to be open in the fall of 1999. After a week and a half of classroom preparation covering the history and culture of South Africa, the Gustavus Choir will participate in a concert tour of the country January 14-February 2. The Gustavus Band will travel to South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Iowa for their concert tour during touring week, January 30-February 6. Athletic teams are in full swing with all teams looking to be competitive in MIAC play. Over Christmas break many teams traveled for non-conference games including men’s basketball winning a tournament in California, men’s hockey playing in Italy, and the swim teams competing in Bermuda.
Gustavus is once again in the news, making some national rankings. Gustavus ranked 12th among the top 22 leading small colleges in the nation providing active Peace Corps volunteers. Gustavus is ranked 15th in the listing of top 20 bachelor’s institutions that sent the most students overseas for international study during the 1996-97 academic year. Gustavus is ranked 18th of national liberal arts colleges in the number of National Merits with 17 students. Mark Anderson ’66, Dean of Admission, reports that applications for admission for the fall of 1999 are running 20 percent ahead of last year. The Admission Office instituted several new campus visit days in the summer and fall to account for the fact that few students could visit last spring. Alumni are reminded of the Alumni Scholarship Program ($10,000 over four years for children and grandchildren of alumni) available to qualified applicants. Call the Admission Office at 1-800-GUSTAVU(S) for applications.
A special note for alumni currently enrolled in a student loan program. Until January 30, 1999, the Department of Education is consolidating student loans – allowing borrowers to combine all of their loans into one loan – at a reduced interest rate of 7.46 percent. This rate is close to a full percentage point lower than recent loan rates and even more of a savings for older loans of more than five years. Call 1-800-557-7392 to get an application, or download at www.ed.gov/DirectLoan.