Class of '94
October 2001

Dear Classmates of 1994:

It is with the warmest greeting to you that I write this letter.  The horrible events of September 11th have sharpened my sense of belonging in this world.  As I strive to daily awaken all my senses so that I do not take things for granted, I have rediscovered my Gustavus connection.  I treasure our Gustavus community and am so glad I belong to it.  You belong to it too.  Whether we knew each other or not, had a class together or not, ate in the caf together or not, we started and finished college together at a unique time and place that was, in a word, wonderful.  We will be the classmates of 1994 together for the rest of our lives. 

In our next class letter, which should be in your mailbox in January, we’d like to share our collective favorite memories on the hill.  Please e-mail us with your favorite Gustavus memory and we will share them in the next class letter.  You can send them to either or

Now for some class news (remember we print it as we get it, we apologize if some of it is old news to some of you):

We’d like to welcome Mary Crippen to her role as class agent with Cameron and me. Thanks bunches for volunteering your time, Mary!

Chia Vang is a research, evaluation and cross cultural communications consultant in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She is the president of her own company, CHIA Consulting.  She was recently beautifully quoted and photographed for a “Building A Greater Gustavus” campaign piece.  This is what she said in the piece: “I came to America from Laos when I was only eight years old as a refugee.  I was only able to attend Gustavus due to the financial assistance I was given from the College.  I succeeded at Gustavus because of the many administrators and professors who were willing to take a risk on me.  Their investment in me has paid off because the education I received at Gustavus has allowed me to be in a position where I am able to contribute back to my community.”   If any of you have a chance to see this campaign piece it’s very, very cool!

Some of the Curriculum II women in our class have come together through e-mail recently to pay tribute to Professor Marlene Flory who passed away a few months ago.  Spurred on by Johanna Olson, they have dug up their syllabus from freshman year and are planning to re-read the classics that Flory held dear and taught so well.  They’ll be using the new Gustavus discussion web site, the “Hello Walk,” to discuss their reading.  Other Curriculum II alumni are especially encouraged to join in - contact Mary Crippen at the e-mail address above for more information.

  • Lisa Olson Barbari is a media specialist in the St. Louis Park, Minnesota School District and her husband Rick Barbari ’91 is a senior manager with Accenture.  They live in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with their two-year-old daughter, Jenna.
  • Scott Warwick is a consultant with Born Information Services in Wayzata, Minnesota.  His wife, Jennifer Anderson Warwick, is the manager of membership and marketing with the Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology in St. Paul, Minnesota.  They currently live in Woodbury, Minnesota.
  • Reverend Reggie Denton is a recent graduate of Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa and is pastor of the Granville/Norwich parish in Granville, North Dakota.  His wife, Wendy Wangerin Denton ’95, is a technical services assistant at the Minot Public Library in Minot, North Dakota.  Reggie said in his e-mail to us, “I never expected to be called to North Dakota, but I love the churches I’m serving and I love the ministry.”  Hey Reggie, don’t the locals say “Why not Minot?”   Thanks for your update Reggie!
  • Susan Haddox graduated in May 2000 with a master’s in Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.  She is continuing her education in the Hebrew Bible Ph.D. program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Jennifer Meese graduated from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont in June 2001 with an MA in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.  Congratulations!
  • Karen Nisius is still employed with Cargill, Inc.  However, they relocated her from Minneapolis to Miami, Florida.  She is an assistant merchant in feed grains.  We still love you, even if you’ve left the homeland.
  • Erika Mitbo Skanse is an account manager for Incentive Services and her husband, Ryan Skanse ’92 is a plant manager for Douglas Corporation.  They currently live in Edina.
  • Dan Vnuik was married to Kerrie Chubberly in May 2001 in Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe, New Mexico.  He met Kerrie while earning his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.  They now live in Tampa, Florida. 
  • Marty Koolen is a forensic scientist at the bureau of criminal apprehension in St. Paul, Minnesota. 
  • Melissa Jarosh Schmit married Dennis Schmit in May 2000.  She is working as a pediatric/adult occupational therapist.
  • Brian Hane graduated in the spring of 2001 with a master’s degree in Environmental Health and Safety from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
  • Derek Hansen married Maria Pachol Idanez of Valencia, Spain in September 2000 in Maui, Hawaii.  They currently live in Minnetonka, Minnesota.  He is the regional vice rresident for the American Funds Distributors.
  • Kim Lindell continues to teach at the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
  • Cynthia Belt is currently completing a dual residency in family practice and psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. 
  • Reverend Emily Hegener Rova was installed as a new associate pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in June 2001.  She completed her Master of Divinity degree at Luther Seminary, St. Paul in 1999.  She has also written junior high curriculum for Augsburg Publishing House.
  • Molly Crawford Neumann and her husband, Loring Neumann, had their first child, Tanner, on December 27, 2000.
  • Lynn Scheevel is living in Owatonna, Minnesota and working in Albert Lea, Minnesota at HealthReach, an outpatient physical therapy clinic.  She is a certified athletic trainer and physical therapist assistant and has a contract with the local high school to take care of all the athletic teams.  She said to us in an e-mail, “I like my job even though I put in long, odd hours but I guess I got used to that in the training room when we were at Gustavus.” 
  • Molly Wold and Wade Sedgwick were married in Bloomington, Minnesota in November 1999.  They currently live in Minneapolis. 
  • Lori Klug Trocke is a marketing specialist with Boomerang Marketing in Plymouth, Minnesota.
  • Scott and Kirsten Staples had a baby boy, Zachary Scott Staples, on November 17, 2000 in Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Kellie Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in May 2000 and has moved to the Washington, DC area.
  • Maria Thrall married Prem Suppogu on December 20, 1997 in Hyderabad, India.  She graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1998.  (Maria, I don’t know if your news got lost in the alumni office or what!  We just got it and I am so sorry we haven’t included it in a letter sooner.  Our apologies and congratulations!!  Let us know what’s going on currently in your life!!)
  • Abby Lamp Heckman was married to Gregory Heckman on August 19, 2000 in Fremont, Ohio.  She works as a registered nurse at the Ohio State University Medical Center.  She is also attending graduate school at Ohio State University in the nurse-midwifery program.
  • Jeremy Diamond has joined Capitol IQ – which Jeremy explained in an e-mail to us “is a technology platform for investment banking” as the director of client development.  He continues to reside in New York City.  Thanks for the e-mail, Jeremy!
  • Renae Musterman has moved back to Minnesota after a year and a half of living in El Paso, Texas.  She is living in Bloomington, Minnesota and is employed at a company called Seasonal Specialties in Eden Prairie as a product manager in the marketing department.
  • Kevin Janssen married Kelly Thelen in December 1999 in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.  Dave Finch was a groomsman!  They currently live in the Twin Cities area.
  • Amy Becker is in her second year of psychiatry residency training at the University of Colorado in Denver.
  • Andrew Welch married Amy Shriver on July 8, 2000.  They currently live in Coralville, Iowa.
  • Jessica Wachholz Nelson had a job change and is now with Target Inc.  She is a team leader with Mervyn’s California and lives in San Bernardino, California.
  • Donny Walsh has finished his MBA and is now working for Lotus/IBM in Boston as an account manager.  He wrote to us, “I am trying once again to get those ever popular Minnesota accounts for free trips out to see everyone and my grandparents.” 
  • Matt Cheney was promoted to managing attorney at Brock and Scott.  He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Cory Larson married Megan Asche on June 23, 2001.  The wedding was in Clara City.  Cory received his master’s degree in education administration from St. Cloud State in 2000 and received his specialist’s degree for K-12 principal licensure last spring.  He is working as Dean of Students at Annandale Middle School.
  • We got a newspaper clipping from the Alumni Office about Marc Dissell.  He and his wife, Jennifer Briest, both have taught (are teaching?) in Lanesboro, Minnesota.  The article went on to say that they had also been in the Peace Corps together where they taught environmental education in Nicaragua as well as instructed Nicaraguan teachers.  Let us know about any future adventures, Marc!
  • Jen Ryan is working as a senior research associate at the National Health Policy Forum in Washington, DC and is living in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Aleta Gilbertson Schulte received the Seibel Award from the psychologists association in March and in May graduated with a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  She is working now as the school psychologist for the St. Croix Education District in east central Minnesota.
  • Bryan Cully is working as a transportation manager for CH Robinson Worldwide.  He was married to Tanya Jorstad on November 11, 2000.  Tanya works in property management.  They currently live in Maple Grove, Minnesota.
  • Congratulations to Rachel Burr and Jay Anderson, who were married in Christ Chapel on August 17, 2001.

Campus News:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago. 

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

Introducing E-link!

Many of the classes in our age group are trying a different approach to Phonorama this year, and it’s called E-link.  Classmates and class agents alike will be contacting and staying in touch with other classmates via e-mail.  For many, it is really becoming a more preferred way of keeping in touch long-distance, which is amazing considering so many of us sent our first e-mail when we got our brand new accounts as students at Gustavus!  If you would like to help contact other friends from our class, please send an email to and let them know.

It also occurred to me that we (well, most of us) will all be turning 30 this year. We each deserve a huge party for reaching this milestone!  I gather you, like me, don’t feel any older than 20, when you were at Gustavus.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, our age is probably beginning to show in the degrees behind our name, titles on our business cards, the world travel we’ve done, the children we’ve had and of course the new shape and size of waistlines, hairlines and just plain lines on our faces.  Like everything else, our bank accounts have matured as well since our days as college students.  Please give a little to Gustavus this year!  Gustavus is a big part of what got us where we are today and it is our responsibility to take care of it the way it took care of us. 

Don’t forget to e-mail your favorite Gustavus memory to us so that we can share it with the class.

Take care,

Amy Zenk James ’94

Co-Class Agent