Class of '88
March 2002

Dear Gustie Classmates,

I hope that this letter finds all of you well, recovered from the holidays and maybe looking forward to some kind of spring or summer vacation.  I also hope that this letter finds you with a renewed spirit of patriotism as we celebrate our athletes at the winter Olympics and remember the terrible events that took place on September 11.

Here is what our classmates are up to:

  • Christine Kaeppel Barnett is in her second year of teaching in Anchorage, AK as a music teacher for K - 6.  This year she coordinated a district wide honors choir.
  • In May 2001 Karen Linner became research director of the Builders Association of Minnnesota in St. Paul.  Congrats to you Karen!
  • Bruce Blonigen was promoted to associate professor at the University of Oregon.  He was awarded a fellow of National Economic Research and is on the board of editors for the Journal of Economics.  He also completed a National Science Grant.  Whew!!
  • Ellen Gillingham O’Neill is starting up a new theater called Generations Theater Company.  It’s for kids!  Best of luck to you.  We would all like to know more about it.
  • Erik Lundquist is enjoying his new work as an independent financial advisor for Focus Financial Network in Minneapolis.
  • Jodi Clark is working for McDonalds Corporation in New York State.
  • Bryan Brown was promoted to store manager at Kohl’s department store in Duluth.
  • Colin Saldanha is an assistant professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
  • Martine Werner Clinton is a buyer at Fingerhut Companies.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed for Fingerhut.  Steve Clinton is a building contractor specializing in high-end custom homes.
  • Rob Melin is working in the Milwaukee area as a commercial lender for TCF Financial. 
  • He played some baseball - pitcher - on a senior league (30 and over).  Are we seniors already?
  • Julee Norberg Hitz is working as the Even Start grant program coordinator at Highland Community College in Freeport, IL.
  • Penny Noeska Johnson, a national fitness competitor and mom, won the 2001 NPC Junior National Short Class in Hartford, CT and the 2001 Atlantic States Classic in NYC.  In addition, she placed 8th in the short class at the 2001 USA Nationals in Las Vegas.  Wow!  Good luck in 2002.

                                                WEDDING BELLS

  • Steve McCarthy married Katrina Ritter ’86 in Christ Chapel in November of 2001.  Congratulations to both of you!
  • On October 21, 2000 Lisa Egnell wed Paul Walker in Fallbrook, CA.  She and her husband live in LaPalma, CA.  Best wishes Lisa and Paul.
  • JoAnn "Jo Jo" Wackerfuss and Jim Quackenbush were married September 28, 2001 and are now residing in Chanhassen, MN.  Congrats!!  Will you be hyphenating?
  • Susan Koch tied the knot with Mark Myers in September of 1999.  Enjoy!
  • Kristen Amundson and her husband, Bruce Gritters, were married June 26,1999.

                                                BABIES, BABIES and MORE BABIES

  • David and Joy (Zielske) McElroy welcomed a son, Luke David McElroy.
  • Pat Kirtland and his lovely wife, Amy, gave birth (ok, Amy did) to a daughter, Haley Deltry Kirtland, on October 19, 2001.  Can’t wait to meet her!
  • Dan Utoft and his wife, Mary, joyfully welcomed daughter, Annika Sagen Utoft, into the world in October of 2001.  Maybe Annika and Haley will be roomies at Gustavus some day?
  • Dave Fuecker and his bride, Julie, along with daughter, Danielle (5), and son, Max (2), welcomed Isaac James on March 31, 2001.
  • Adam Kristopher was born to Kristin Westberg LaPorta and husband, Jim, on January 16, 2001.
  • Becky Schmidt Weiland and husband, Jeff ’89, added a son to their family on June 23, 1999.  Baby David (well not so much a baby any more) has an older sister, Katie, 6.
  • Stephanie Hammerschmidt Snidarich and husband, Rick, want to announce all five children, no not quintuplets.  They have four boys and one girl ages 13 - 3 years.  Congratulations – You are truly saints!
  • Kristine Phillips Napiorkowski and hubby, Alexander, had a daughter, Ingrid Elaine, on March 8, 2000.  Congratulations!
  • Susan Koch Myers and Mark welcomed baby boy, James Henry, on December 12, 2000.  Enjoy!
  • Jeanne Sammelson and husband, Peter Lund, added a son, Christopher Addeson Lund, to the family on December 3, 2000.
  • Jeffery Matz and Tami had their first child―a son, Chet Jefferey, on January 15, 2001.  Have fun!
  • Lee Aanonsen and wife, Kay, added number three to their family.  Daughter, Abigail, was born August 9, 2000.  Sisters Megan and Laura love their little sister.
  • Beth Christensen Fredrickson and fellow Gustie hubby, Craig ’89, had their second son, Mathew, on April 15, 2000.  Big brother, Jacob (3), is adjusting well and says his baby is alright!
  • Ellen Welborn Paulson and husband, Kristoffer, welcomed their daughter, Eve, on March 23, 2001.  They also have a son, Karl.
  • Tim Nasby and wife, Kristi, had a bouncing baby boy, Cole Charles, on August 31, 2001.  Congratulations!
  • Kari Mattson Ball and her husband, Leon, announce son, Porter Anthony, who arrived on October 4, 2001.
  • Kelli Keelin Bush arrived on March 19, 2001.  Proud parents Joni Keelin Bush and husband, James, were thrilled.
  • Anna Rose Kebbekus made her debut on October 4, 2001.  Annette Bowman and husband, Peter, report that she is healthy and is training her parents well.
  • Steve Brownlow and wife, Gayle, had son number two, Dane Stephen, on May 10, 2001.  I’m sure big brother, Sean, will have fun with him.
  • Kristen Amundson Gritters and husband, Bruce, welcomed Alexander John into their family on January 18, 2001.  Best of everything to you.
  • Julie Nemetz Douglas and hubby, Mick, had a little girl named Claire on October 18, 2000.  Claire is their second child.
  • Rob Melin and his wife, Lynette, had their second child, a girl on October 17, 2001.  Her name is Regan Katherine.  It is a lot more fun with two.
  • Steve and Martine (Werner) Clinton add another girl to their family.  Sydney Inez was born December 29,1999.  She joins her big sister, Annika.
  • On November 5, 2001 LeClaire Elise was born to Nathan and Trina Torgelson.  I understand she’s a beauty!
  • Debra England Hartsock and husband, Andrew, had their second child, Braeden, on July 10, 2001.  Have Fun!
  • Hana Marie was born on October 16, 2000 to Sue Hoffbauer Hellmers and husband, Tom.

                                                OTHER BUSINESS

Have you done your good deed for the day, week or year?   Well, here’s an opportunity to have some fun with friends while doing something meaningful for the community. 

G.I.V.E.Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors is scheduled for April 27, 2002.  This is how it works:

1)  Call the Alumni office @ 1-800-487-8437 or to register.

2)  8:30 a.m. have bagels and coffee with friends at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis

3)  9:00 a.m. - send off celebration

4)  9:30 - arrive at work site - LUNCH provided

5)  3:00 - work completed.  (choose to work half or full day!)

*Daycare provided at Central Lutheran.

You may choose the type of project you wish to work on, for example, outside painting or gardening or inside cleaning or painting.  Some of the sites available are:  Augustana Lutheran Church, Harriet Tubman Center, Lutheran Social Services, Walker Methodist Health Center to name a few.

Call your friends, Gusties or non-Gusties and put it on your calendar.  Hope to see a bunch of you from the class of 1988!

PHONORAMA - After a few years of being called by only Gustie students, Phonorama has gone back to having classmates calling classmates.  Last fall we had a great time eating Ma Young’s cookies and getting in touch with old friends again.  Thanks to all ’88ers who helped.  It would be great to get some new faces to come out for a few hours this spring so that a fellow classmate can call more of our classmates.  The dates are April 22-25 at the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington.  Please contact the alumni office or me if you would like to help.

Speaking of Phonorama, we are hoping for 50% class participation by the 50th Anniversary Year of the Alumni Fund of 2004.  Our class has been near 40% once or twice in the past so I think we can get to 50% even if we participate with just $1.

I know, some of you are asking,“ What happens to the money I give?   The majority of the money goes directly to student financial assistance.  Over 70% of Gustavus students receive some form of scholarships – the need is greater every day.  Older alumni helped pay for many of our educations.  Now its our turn. 

Some of it goes to technology – Gustavus must keep up with the ever-changing technology to help students with tomorrow’s challenges.  Some of the money helps attract and retain the best professors.  Top-notch teachers are vital.  Some goes to study abroad opportunities.  This is only a portion of where your money goes.  For more info call the Alumni Office.

Class Letter - Is there any one interested in writing a guest class letter.  If so, you will be sent all the information (births, marriages, work info) so that you can pass the news on.  Be creative.  Please e-mail me if you would like to do this.  Just as a reminder, the only way news about you gets in the class letter or Quarterly is if you send or call it into Gustavus.

Enjoy the rest of winter,

Yours truly,

Gail Chase Ericson

1988 Co-class agent

P.S. Now for some campus news written by a current Gustavus student:

Campus News

Hi!  My name is Tracey Hanson.  I’m a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I’ve worked in the Alumni Office all four years and can hardly believe that I’m now starting my final semester!  Instead of taking a class (and doing homework) this J-Term, I spent my time slaving away in the Alumni Office.  It was great to have the extra time to relax and do other activities that J-Term allows.  Having unlimited time at home each night made for some great cooking!  And getting to watch “Friends” without worrying about the homework you should be doing instead was also a plus!  The start of the spring semester (thus, the start of homework) has been a sudden shock to my system! 

The campus is full of life and excitement.  A successful and busy J-Term just ended, and spring semester is now underway.  The theme for J-Term 2002 was "Our Global Village," and the month was a celebration of cultural diversity as we grappled with social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-shrinking world neighborhood.  Faculty offered 29 different classes that tied into this global theme, many of which were travel courses.  Examples include Islam and Culture, and Chinese Cooking and Culture.  This year, 2319 students enrolled in J-Term courses, with many who studied abroad, participated in internships, student taught or studied at other domestic institutions.  I got very jealous when I read e-mails from my roommates who were studying in warm, sunny Australia.  J-Term themes for the coming years include “Service-Learning” (2003) and “Undergraduate Research.” (2004).

Gustie winter sports teams are having a great year, as all are near the top in the MIAC.

Gustie music ensembles just returned from their tours.  The Gustavus Band embarked on an international tour this J-Term.  The band toured Sweden and Norway, presenting “Music from America.”  The tour dates were January 16 through February 10.  The tour concluded with a homecoming performance on Feb. 10 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir toured the Midwest during Touring Week in February, concluding with their home concert Feb. 16 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Orchestra toured Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.  The orchestra concluded their tour with a home performance Feb. 17 in Christ Chapel.

The Alumni Association is on the road this winter and spring connecting alumni to each other and the College.  Director of the Linnaeus Arboretum and Instructor of Environmental Studies, Jim Gilbert ’62, will travel along to provide an interesting and informative program.  Complete information is listed on our web site under events.  If you need more information, give us a call at 800-487-8437.

April 5             Bay Area Chapter event

April 6             Seattle Chapter event – Luncheon at Buca di Beppo Restaurant

April 7             Denver Chapter event

April 11           Brainerd Lakes Area event

More information will be sent to alumni and friends in these chapter areas.

RSVP to Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or e-mail

As I prepare to graduate in June, I find it increasingly hard to think about leaving this place.  It hardly seems possible that four years have flown by, and that in six months I, too, will be considered an alum.  I will always carry with me fond memories of my four years here.  GO GUSTIES!!!