Class of '93
January 2008

15-Year Reunion ― October 3 & 4, 2008

Greetings Class of 1993!

This morning I was the guest speaker in Chapel here at Luther College.  I had been invited to talk about my experiences in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.  Writing my homily, I was shot right back into the spring of 1993, just back from the Gustavus Semester Abroad in England, France and Israel, and trying to figure out what to do with my life.  I can still see that spot outside the women's restroom where my PO box was; the abandoned junk mail filling the floor, various members of the Reds resting on the floor outside the Book Mark and that postcard inviting me to apply to be in LVC.

I wasn’t the only Gustie to hear the call—when I got to orientation there were a few of us there including Nathan Lind and Sarah Edmonds.  Somehow it seemed to reassure me that I had made a decision that I might not totally regret (although I was rethinking that after the first round of lentil loaf)!

Life has changed a lot since that first year working for the Capital Area Food Bank out in Washington, DC.  I came back to Minnesota, spent a year with Americorps and then went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I took my first job at the University of Maryland where I got to see Rolf Olson now and again and hear about his adventures with the Democratic National Committee.  After a year there, I headed back to the Midwest to take on the challenge of being College Archivist at Luther College.

I’m in the midst of my tenth year at Luther and while I never would have imagined I’d spend the rest of my life on a campus just like Gustavus, I feel right at home.  And now that we have a Granlund statue in front of our Union, there are days I can almost imagine that I am at Gustavus.

Life in Decorah is really good as well.  It’s a great little town.  This fall I was inspired by the politicians I met at Gustavus (Don Ostrom, Ruth Johnson ’69 and Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90) to try my hand at elected office.  Monday night was my first meeting as the newest member of the Decorah City Council.

It doesn't seem possible that fifteen years has gone by since we graduated from Gustavus.  I can still remember walking over to dinner that weekend of graduation and seeing the Class of 1978 lined up outside the Union having their picture taken.  They seemed so old!  I’m glad that we’ve all aged SO much more gracefully.

See you in October!

Rachel Vagts

1993 Guest Letter Writer

Hey everyone, this is Paul Schiminsky.

As we move through January, this seems to be the time that everyone tries to start or stop something, (something about New Years Resolutions).  Well, I thought it might be helpful, and hopefully humorous to offer some tips and encouragement.

First the good news, we have at least nine months before the reunion.  This is the perfect time to start getting in shape, have a baby, or at the very least look for something nice to wear.

Let’s say your priority is to lose some weight, or maybe add some muscle tone.  You can start right now, skipping desserts, watching Jenny Craig commercials, and occasionally buying a lean cuisine to store in the freezer.  You don’t actually have to go to the gym for a couple of months.  Besides do you really want to go right now, with all those other people who just started?  Too crowded.

Let’s say you want to cut back on expenses, maybe pay off some Holiday debt.  Well, one big trip this year to St. Peter should be very reasonable.  I mean gas will be $17 a gallon, but since we all know people who are going, we can carpool, and that’s some solid savings there.  And where’s the most expensive place to eat in town, Whiskey River?  You don’t even have to spend the night, more money saved.  What do you suppose a beer goes for these days, $3?  Whole trip, $37.  Experience, Priceless!

And speaking of alcohol, some of you may be looking to cut back.  This is a win-win.  If you drink less alcohol, you consume less calories, and you spend less cash.  Across the board a good move.  And if you drink less your tolerance can change, making this possible to maintain long-term and still have as much fun as before.

So in conclusion, now is a great time to start making those positive improvements in your everyday life, while thinking about how much fun you will have in October.  Good luck with whatever you decided to work on for 2008!


Update on Classmate Information – if you have news/notes to contribute – send them in!

Career Updates

  • Analisa Hackmann Degrave, Eau Claire, WI.  Received the UW Eau Claire Excellence in Advising Award.
  • Daniel Domagala, Minneapolis, MN, vice president, Russell Herder.
  • Jeffery Erickson, New Hope, MN, assistant principal, Minnetonka ISD.
  • Brian Hanson, Blaine, MN, management, Sunshine Factory.
  • Leslie Erickson Hanson, Superior, WI family service provider, Duluth Clinic.
  • Amy Nylander Jones, Arden Hills, MN, math curriculum specialist, Stillwater Public Schools.
  • Sue Snoeyenbos Kelm, Hudson WI, software consultant, Sue Kelm and Associates.
  • Kristina Nordstrom, Richfield, MN, online marketing manager, Best Buy.
  • Will Sillman, St. Paul, MN, project manager, Hauenstein & Burmeister.
  • Erin Braegelman Trobec, Lino Lakes, MN, occupational therapist, North St. Paul Transitional Care Center.
  • Kate Walker, Minneapolis, MN, research associate, 4-H & Community Youth Development.

If you’re interested in being a part of the reunion planning:

All are welcome to attend the Reunion Planning Meeting on Saturday, February 23.

It will be located at Mt. Olivet in Minneapolis, 5025 Knox Ave

8:30am until about 12.  Lunch included.

Please RSVP by Feb 18 to or 866-487-3863

Campus News

Forensics Team Continues Excellence

The Gustavus forensics team continues the tradition of excellence, with major team and individual wins this season.  Last season the team ranked in the top 20, which is impressive since 14 of the top 20 schools are “Division I” schools that have more funding and more coaching staff.  While many schools have several full-time forensics coaches, the Gustavus coach also is a full-time professor.  So a unique aspect of the Gustavus program is the team meets weekly for peer coaching, a technique the team has found to be very successful. 

Gustavus Dancing With the Profs

Inspired by the popular television show Dancing with the Stars, a standing room only crowd of students, faculty, and St. Peter community members filled Alumni Hall on November 2 to watch Gustavus students and faculty/staff members swing dance to raise money for the St. Peter United Way.  The event, “Dancing with the Profs 2,” featured six teams of one Gustavus student and one faculty/staff member.  In preparation for the evening competition, the Gustavus Swing Club gave the teams dance lessons, while members of GAC-TV documented the learning to provide a video showcase on each couple.

Alumni Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association sponsors insurance products for alumni, spouses, children, and parents.  Products include life insurance, auto, home and renters insurance, and short-term medical insurance to fill temporary needs of new alumni without insurance after graduation and others who may have gaps due to unemployment.  For information about life and short-term medical insurance, call 800-635-7801.  For information about auto, home, and renters insurance, call:  800-524-9400, (800-328-0705, ext. 552 in the Greater Twin Cities area).

Gustavus Music Showcase

The three international touring music ensembles at Gustavus Adolphus College — The Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra —  will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 9 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  Tickets for the concert are on sale through the Orchestra Hall box office and may be purchased in-person, online at:, and via fax or phone at 612-371-5656.  Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for children ages 6-18 and current Gustavus students with a valid I.D.

College Relations blog

Gustavus College Relations staff has introduced a new blog that will offer commentary and news on a variety of topics pertinent to the campus community as well as some photography, video, and audio content.  During the month of January the blog will feature the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra’s China tour and observations on several January Interim classes.  The new blog can be read at:


Men's tennis coach Steve Wilkinson has been named the national winner of the United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Campus Recreation Award.  This awards program, which began in 2003, was open to more than 2,000 ITA head and assistant coaches at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, NAIA and junior/community college levels.  Senior goaltender Trevor Brown became the first men's soccer player in Gustavus history to be named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men’s Soccer Team as released by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Fine Arts Events

“Destination Anywhere:  A Juried Exhibit of 15 Award-Winning Young Artists With Disabilities,” is now on display at the Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus.  The exhibit, a product of a partnership between VSA arts (formerly Very Special Arts) and Volkswagen of America, Inc., strives to recognize and showcase young artists with disabilities, ages 16-25, who are living in the United States.  In November the Department of Theatre and Dance presented a Festival of Student Work.  A miniature “Fringe Festival” in its own right, this collaboration of more than 60 actors, dancers, designers, and technicians, operating on 10 different production schedules, filled Anderson Theatre, the Black Box, and the Schaefer Fine Arts Center for four days of artistic celebration.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Reunion Years Planning Meeting, Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church - Feb. 23
  • Music Showcase, Orchestra Hall – March 9

For more information on alumni events, go to: