Class of '87
April 2006

Have you ever had a “wake-up call?”  A serious wake-up call, where you realize things differently?  Not just an “I really wish I had fertilized my lawn in the fall!” but an “Oh, my, I never really thought about ‘it’ in that way!” kind of wake-up call.  I want to tell you a true story about a wake-up call of my own this year.  I want to pass this on to you all as something to think about, and then hopefully to act upon.

Every August my family reunites at a lake resort in northern Minnesota.  It’s really a fun way to end the summer, and we have a great time together.  During times like these we are all so grateful to have a family that laughs together, plays together, and misses each other when we’re apart.  School started in September, things were well underway, and reality set in.  We were all back into our routines.

A couple of weeks into the school year, my sister called me one morning to say that they were rushing their four-year old to Minneapolis Children’s Hospital to do tests on a possible brain tumor.  By evening, their daughter was nearly blind, and in the middle of the night the surgeon worked to remove a tumor that had taken over 30% of her brain in just a couple of short months.  The next morning I took the next flight to Minneapolis to be with them in the PICU.

The next day they found out that their daughter had a very rare, very aggressive, form of brain cancer that has unknown beginnings.  Within two days there were 16 doctors and specialists working with them to determine a plan of action.  As we sat bedside, numb, tired, and full of questions, we couldn’t help but be thankful that at least we were in one of the best medical communities in the world.  I kept thinking, “What if it were me?  Where would we have gone to receive care such as this?”

The pediatric oncologist who told us the news, who shared with us the best plan of action, who encouraged my sister and her husband, was a peaceful man whom we grew to trust immediately.  He explained new cutting-edge therapies, and spent countless hours explaining in detail everything that he knew.  I kept thinking to myself, “How lucky we are to have him... how lucky we are to be in this can you ever repay someone in whose hands you have placed the life of a child?”

The pediatric oncologist who is still caring for my niece is Dr. Bruce Bostrom, who happens to be Bruce Bostrom from the Gustavus graduating class of 1974!  When he and I sat bedside on the second day, discussing Gustavus, it was like a surge I have never felt before!  I love Gustavus, which is pretty obvious to most people.  I enjoyed my studies, my research, the choir, and working there as staff after graduate school.  I have always made financial contributions to the school because of my fondness for the place and people.  I think I was a pretty “average” Gustie, and mostly I think of Gustavus students as nice kids with good heads who want to do well.

Then that day in September at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital it hit me that this particular Gustie grad was saving my niece’s life!  That the money I send to my alma mater every year is used to train some of the world’s brightest minds, to purchase some of the most cutting-edge research equipment, to hire some of the best professors in their fields.  It was a wake-up call to me that Gustavus isn’t just a great school that I love...the reality of how important financial contributions are hit home.

I am asking you to consider this reality.  Every Christmastime, I watch the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital specials on TV, usually with tears in my eyes.  It is difficult to fathom how families endure those situations.  How does it happen?  And then it happened to us.  And suddenly you don’t feel so cocooned anymore.

The staff called my niece the “Miracle Child” at the Ronald McDonald House, where my sister and her family stayed during my niece’s six weeks of radiation.  The surgeon miraculously removed the entire tumor during the surgery, which is nearly impossible because it started at the very center of the brain.  There are no tumors on her spine, and there were no cancer cells even found in her spinal fluid!  And Dr. Bostrom is still using new therapies to try to regenerate the optic nerves so that she may regain some eyesight.  She is now five, cancer free, enrolled in preschool, and learning Braille.  She is full of joy and laughter, and a wonder to us all.

So I will end before the class news, by asking you to send a donation to Gustavus, or to increase it if you are a regular donor.  Drop the change in the donation box the next time you go to McDonald’s.  Say yes with a pledge the next time someone asks you to sponsor him or her for a fundraiser.  You have no idea how your life will change if you ever meet a Dr. Bruce Bostrom.  I hope you never have to meet someone like him, but believe me when I tell you that Gustavus is educating our future miracle-makers!


Class News

(Note:  I have LOTS of old news here, but it’s all I have so I hope it is still accurate.  If there have been any changes, divorces, deaths etc., please accept my apologies for not knowing...I hope at least old news is better than no news!)

Jenni Ryberg Wiebold is working for Merrill Corporation.

Phil Olson has opened a private music studio, Oslo Studios, where he gives private guitar lessons.  In addition, he is a guitar instructor at the Minnesota Valley Music Academy in Burnsville.

David Flaten is an assistant professor of history and political science at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Sheila Hermes Hoernemann is a P.E./DAPE teacher at James Knoll Elementary in Ortonville and head girl’s basketball coach.

Bill Bodin is now a district manager with Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals covering Minnesota and South Dakota.

Karen Greig Bodin is a nurse case manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota in Eagan.

Stephen Klick lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at UW/Madison.

Deborah McNeil Okon lives in Los Lunas, New Mexico, and was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders:  “Family Interactions Predict Intra Individual Symptom Variation for Adolescents with Bulimia.”

Steve Mann lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and is the national sales manager for 21st Century Toys.

Beth Gustafson Sudduth is an HIV/AIDS surveillance program manager and epidemiologist for Pinevillas County Health Department in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She and her husband, Rich, welcomed Christian John Paul, in June 2005!  (Hi Beth!)

Brian Pickering is a DBA/systems engineer for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

Becky Anderson Fahrenz is a homemaker, and lives with Lee Fahrenz in Aurora, Illinois.  Lee is the new vice president of Private Business, Inc.

Mary Frey is a WCHA women’s hockey official, and works as a consultant managing IT projects.

Todd Zabel owns Technology Advisory Group, which specializes in helping clients with their accounting and accounting systems.  Todd has three daughters who play soccer and hockey!  Todd also coaches both hockey and soccer in White Bear Lake.

Kristi Multhaup lives in Davidson, North Carolina, and married Mark Faust in July of 2003.

Paul Halgren works for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare as a national account manager.

Mary Hopkins Weber had a baby boy (Jack) in July 2004, which makes him not so much a baby anymore!

Elena Hilding is now Elena Asibu, and has been for 3-1/2 years!

Tim ’85 and Roz (Johnson) Peterson live in Lakeville and own three drug stores in Lakeville, Cannon Falls, Northfield, and D & T Property.

Tim Rask is employed by the Government Solutions Division of NCS Pearson.  He also published a book titled, Baseball at Davenport’s John O’Donnell Stadium, and was elected “Umpire-in-Chief” of the Field of Dreams (Iowa) chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

Greg Luhman is a professional firefighter/EMT with Sheridan Fire-Rescue (Wyoming).  He was appointed Health Fitness Coordinator for the department.

Mary Goodman-Theurer had a baby boy on March 10, 2004, John Thomas Augustas!

Jeff Heggedahl is executive vice president for John H. Harland Company in Atlanta, Georgia; where he is responsible for sales, call center, marketing and business development.  GO JEFF!

Kay Johnson is registrar for Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Michael Harris expanded his family with Jonathan Ryan in April 2004.

Kristin Kruger lives in Tallahassee, Florida where she is an animal aid veterinarian.

Susan Roepke Gorka is a teacher for Cambridge-Isanti schools.  Her husband, Scott, is a correctional officer for Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department.

Christine Gustafson Fattore is senior manager, Clinical Supply at MedImmune, Inc.  She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Gail Haan Brown lives in Candler, North Carolina, and had a baby girl in November 2004, Alice Elizabeth.

Peter Hendrickson is a bilingual/ ESL teacher in Milford, MA.  He and his wife, Mila, adopted a baby from Guatemala in September 2004.

Steve ’88 and Wendy Lewis Butler live in St. James, Minnesota, and adopted a girl, Lorena, from Bogotá, Colombia in 2003.  Lorena joins big brother, Isaiah, age 12.  Steve continues to teach middle school science in New Ulm, and Wendy teaches 7, 10, 11, 12th grade science at St. Mary’s in Sleepy Eye.

Steve Anderson and his wife, Carol, welcomed their third child, Ethan John, in April of 2004.  Steve is an ophthalmologist for Northwest Eye Clinic.  They live in Excelsior.

Paul Sandbaken, Maple Grove, MN was recently promoted to managing director of St. Paul Travelers’ National Accounts Casualty Division in St. Paul.  He and his wife, Danielle, have a daughter, Shanon, age seven.

Mary Jo Laue Ploumen, Shakopee, MN is a special education teacher in Shakopee ISD 720.

Mary Overgaard Pauley, Osceola, WI is a 4th grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary.

Brian Bowers is president/partner of Financial Recovery Services, Inc.  Brian and his wife, Teresa, are expecting their first child in July 2006.

Kian Dwyer published a book Living Your Chosen Eulogy, which may be found at  She writes “there are unlimited ways to make a difference, and the key to living a meaningful life revolves around a person tapping into his or her inner core.  Writing our chosen eulogy does not mean you’re planning for your death, but rather helping yourself to achieve your goals.”

Sue Burley Sparboe was chosen to do advanced NASA Space training for two weeks in Huntsville, Alabama and Cape Canaveral, Florida.  She lives in Litchfield, MN.

Ann Ellenberger Hamilton started her own business, Ann Hamilton Staging & Design, providing interior redesign for real estate listings and other clients.  She lives in San Francisco and is still hiking, biking, and mountain climbing!

David Rosati received the honor of “Regional Account Manager of the Year” for his performance in 2003 and 2004, for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Managed Healthcare Division!  He lives in Eagan.

Missy Hammond Matthys lives in St. Paul as a homemaker.  Her daughter, Melissa Faith, was born in November 2004.

Tom Ostrom is chief creative officer for The Arnold Ostrom Advertising Group.  He lives in Wayzata with his wife, Andrea, and their children, Emma and Ava.

Michelle Metcalf Meyer is a stay-at-home mom to four children and is married to husband, Gordy.  She lives in Sartell, and is an active school volunteer and board member.

Julie Leither Redmond is managing director at Columbia College, Chicago.

Todd Buegler is director of youth and family ministries at Lord of Life in Maple Grove.  He received recognition for his service as president of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.

Ted Botten lives in Rockford, MN, and is a school board member for Rockford School District.

Brian Wicklund recently released a new CD with his band “Big Twang.”  They play “a mix of traditional and original vocals and fiddle tunes that are soulful, bluesy and swinging.”  Brian plays fiddle and was formerly with the bluegrass band “Stoney Lonesome,” where he played on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”  He has also toured and recorded with Lorie Line’s Pop Chamber Orchestra, the Judith Edelman Band, and the Kathy Kallick Band.

Cheryl Lange Kuz gave birth to Kirsten Vanja in October 2005.  She and her husband, Julian, live in Ada, Michigan.

Mac and Mary (Sutherland ’90) Ryerse share the memory of their daughter, Grace Anna, who was born and died on July 19, 2005.  Our thoughts of comfort are with you both. 

Elizabeth Beach Bryant was named a “Top 40 Family Law Super Lawyer” in the 2005 Who’s Who in Family Law, A Resource Guide to Minnesota Attorneys.  She “advises and represents those who are facing issues concerning separation and divorce, property and debt division, spousal maintenance, child support, and custody and visitation.”

Peter Breitmayer lives with his wife, Michelle Pedersen ’92, in North Hollywood.  They had a baby boy, Jackson Carl, in January 2005!  And more recently, my mom said she saw you on “Boston Legal!”  Way to go!  (Note:  please add me to your address book so my emails won’t be returned anymore!

Dawn Anderson Levy lives in Golden Valley with her husband, Christopher, and new son, Dane!

Laura Danielson Luna lives in Rochester, MN, with her husband and two boys.  She is a nursing educator in orthopedic trauma at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Sabina Kitts Ylinen lives in Minneapolis, and is Senior EHS manager for Medtronic, Inc. in Shoreview.

Amy Lindblom Vargo lives in St. Paul with husband, Paul, and their two children, Lillian Mary, and Oscar Howard.

I, Heidi Jo Wilking Pearse, live near a beautiful resort town.  My husband, Dan, recently left Wells Fargo Bank to become vice president at a bank in Washington (we live just across the border).  Our children are 9, 5 1/2 and 3 and we love the weather (no mosquitoes!), hiking, boating and camping.  I am lucky to be a stay-at-home mom too!

I hope that was really close to how you intended your information to be relayed!!

Writing your data in complete sentences is much easier to understand!  We hope to keep hearing from you, especially in the upcoming year!  Can you believe we will be celebrating our 20th CLASS REUNION??  We are already making plans, and would love to hear from you about ideas, or if you are interested in helping with any part of it.  The thing that I particularly like is that because we had such a small class, I remember most of my classmates.  LET’S PLAN NOW FOR A BIG TURNOUT!!  This is your one-year notice!

Campus News

The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award

Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations

Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards

Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Alumni Directory

The 2006 Gustavus Alumni Directory will be published soon and our goal is to represent your information as accurately as possible in the printed edition.  PCI:  the data company, is publishing our directory and a short phone call will update or verify your information.  Call toll free:  1-800-982-1589, Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST, and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. CST.  International callers dial:  1-972-386-0100, Monday-Friday CST.

Short Term Medical (STM) insurance Available

Short Term Medical Insurance can fill the temporary needs of those without health insurance, usually at a lower cost than other alternatives.  Alumni and their families may apply.  This is perfect for children of alumni who are graduating (even if they did not attend Gustavus) and aren’t yet covered under an employer’s health plan.  Contact the program administrator at Meyer and Associates at:  800-635-7801 or about this and other sponsored life, medical, auto and homeowners insurance.

Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.)

Gusties love to serve while they are students and after they graduate.  Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.), the annual day of community service, will focus in the Twin Cities’ Phillips Neighborhood.  This 1.6 square mile section of Minneapolis has 3,100 families, and 31 percent of those families live below the poverty level.  This neighborhood also is home to the American Swedish Institute.  Come out to help make the community a little better.  To learn more about G.I.V.E. Day and to register, go to

MAYDAY! Peace Conference:  "AIDS + Africa, the Unfolding Crisis"

The 26th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference will be held on Wednesday, April 19.  This year's topic is AIDS in Africa.  The conference will feature a keynote address by Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the HIV virus, and Marjorie Mbilinyi, social activist and professor in Tanzania.  The AIDS Memorial Quilt will also be on campus for viewing.  Robert Gallo is spending time on campus during March and April sponsored by the Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell Distinguished Professorship, a residency program for Nobel Laureates and similarly distinguished scholars.  For more information, go to

Gusties Gather!

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, August 6!  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  Ever think you want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Now is your chance, signup to host a Gusties Gather! event.  Complete event checklist, host kit, and details will be provided.  Sign-up via e-mail at <> or call 800/487-8437.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference on AIDS – April 19
  • Rydell Distinguished Professorship lecture by Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of HIV virus, professor and director of the Institute of Human Virology – April 20
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations Meeting, keynote address, "Discipleship in Today's World:  Religion and Ecology," by Larry Rasmussen – April 22
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) Day of Community Service in Minneapolis – April 29
  • Gustavus Library Associates Author Day with Robert Alexander – May 3
  • Reunion for Class of 1956 and 50-Year Club – May 26-27
  • Commencement – May 28
  • Gusties Gather! – August 6
  • Reunions for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 – October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 7 & 8


Happy Easter and Happy Spring from your class agents for the Class of 1987!

Please Keep In Touch, and don’t forget to tuck your donation to Gustavus inside your news envelope!!