Class of '97
February 2007

Did you all love the magnets?  Is it hanging in a prominent place on your refrigerator?  Maybe it found its way to the home office and has settled on the file cabinet.  Maybe some of you actually took Gus to work and have displayed him creatively near your time off request sheets to plan more effectively for October.  We only hope it isn’t already down in the basement on the “second” fridge which holds last year’s fruitcake and an odd mix of beer and juice boxes.

We still have three open spots for guest writers this spring/early summer.  If you are interested (or have a name of a classmate you’d like to “nominate”) please drop us a line at barb@shannon.net.  If we contact you consider it flattery…your classmates want to hear from you!

We hope you enjoy this month’s guest writer:

I can vividly remember the day of our graduation, when I moved out of St. Peter and went for my last drive around campus as a Gustavus student.  While I was looking forward to what the future held, it was a bittersweet occasion.  It was really difficult to say goodbye to a place where I had so many great friends and had grown so much socially and intellectually.  While I’m really happy with how my life has gone since then, with nearly 10 years of perspective those years were still some of the best in my life.

Don’t get me wrong―since graduation I’ve had some great experiences.  I spent a very relaxing and rewarding year volunteering full-time with Habitat for Humanity at their headquarters in Georgia.  I followed that up with two hectic years getting a master’s in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Then I moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area to start, what has so far been, an interesting career as a software engineer.

I had lived most of my life up until that point focusing on starting my career, but when I actually got there I found myself asking “is this it?”  I began to wrestle with some big questions about wonder, mystery, and the meaning of life.  I began attending a local church, and after an earnest investigation felt led to convert from atheism to Christianity.  This was a difficult decision for me because I didn’t relate to the intolerant image of Christians that is often represented in the media.  However, while reading the Bible for the first time since my Gustavus freshman year class with Jack Clark, I discovered a different picture of Jesus than I had seen before, one that I’ve seen inspire many acts of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and generosity.

Finally, one of the best things to happen to me since leaving Gustavus is that a little over two years ago I married a wonderful, caring woman named Amy who is training to be a family therapist because she has a talent and passion for helping people find healing.  Right now we enjoy taking care of our two cats and hope to have children sometime in the next few years.

I wouldn’t trade any of the ways my life has changed since I was at Gustavus.  But I owe a good deal of any of the success I’ve had in life to the friends and instructors who touched my life while I was there.  I’m looking forward to celebrating memories of those experiences and I hope you are too.

~ Antony Sargent

Reunion Update

Karla and Erin (our reunion co-chairs) have been hard at work securing a fabulous place for our Friday night gathering on October 12.  After much research they have reserved The Clubhouse at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis.  It’s a brand new space with great atmosphere for socializing, with a big fireplace surrounded by comfy leather couches and chairs, a mix of bar tables and dining tables, a veranda, and one wall of windows that overlook Nicollet Mall.  There is a healthy-sized carved wood bar and game tables (foosball & shuffleboard) for harkening back to Willy’s or Patrick’s.  There are even two big screen TVs and a sound system that the committee may use for showing some highlight reels circa 1997!  There will be an offering of appetizers off their menu as well.

The committee will be planning more of Saturdays (October 13) events in February.  It should be exciting to see the Homecoming game at the newly constructed (and relocated) Hollingsworth Field!

If you want to offer an idea for either Friday or Saturday, (or just want to thank them for all their hard work so far), please email either Erin or Karla:

erin@johnsonandturner.com

karla@johnsonandturner.com

Class Giving Update

As of December 31, our Alumni Fund donations were $8,512.73!  There are twice as many classmates participating as last month.  Our goal is $30,000 and we are 28.4% of the way there!  Remember those Valentine’s you could buy from the Peer Assistants for the P.O. Boxes?  Give Gustavus a Valentine and send in your contribution this month!

Class News

Engagements and Weddings

  • Jane Gravender is planning upcoming nuptials in May.
  • Ann Hanson married Joseph Lininger on January 6, 2007.

Births

  • Trisha Niemi Haapoja and husband, Matthew, welcomed baby girl, Lillian Ann Haapoja, on February 10, 2006.
  • Matthew and Jennifer(Johnson) Cords welcomed daughter, Sari Joy, on November 30, 2006.  She joins brother Tyler, age 2.
  • Tami Brown McQuoid and husband, Matt, welcomed Grace Angelina on August 31, 2005.
  • Chris and Kelle (Sauer ’96) Anderson met son, Mitchell, in September 2006.
  • Nikolas Robert Dahmen was born to Matthew Dahmen and his wife, Sara, on June 28, 2006.
  • Dawn Quast Kratzke and husband, Paul, adopted Amelia (born July 23, 2005) on October 23, 2006.
  • Toby and Janelle (Roy ’00) Hatlevig welcomed their daughter, Vivian Marie, on January 20, 2007.

Employment

  • Trisha Niemi Haapoja is a stay-at-home mom.
  • Elizabeth Bomier Irish is a homemaker.
  • Jane Gravender is a teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools.
  • Matt Cords is employed with The Minnesota Wild.
  • Jennifer Johnson Cords is a certified financial planner with Thrivent Financial.
  • Rachel Brekken Urosevich received a master’s in accounting and a MBA from The University of Colorado at Denver.  She is working as an assistant controller in financial reporting at RE/MAX International.
  • Jennifer Kate Peterson is a librarian for Capella University.

Awards/Honors/Degrees

  • Carmen Westerberg was recently awarded a grant from Illinois Department of Public Health for Alzheimer’s Disease Research.  She has been published in Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Psychology.
  • Dawn Quast Kratzke is a social worker for Sibley County Human Services.

Until next time,

Shannon and Barbara (Freimuth) Siefken

1997 Communication Chairs