Class of '95
September 2001

Dear Classmates,

It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve written a class letter, but now that fall is here, it’s time to put the pen to paper (or more like the fingers to the keyboard!).  It’s been an emotional few weeks, but it’s good to see American patriotism at its best.  Our best wishes and condolences to those who may have lost a loved one in the attacks.

We were on campus a few weeks ago for our class agents’ meeting and campus looked great.  The trees seem to be growing fast and the new facilities that Gustavus has added are fantastic.  We think that you’d actually LIKE eating on campus in the great new cafeteria!

Hope that some of you were able to make it down to campus for Homecoming.  It was a rainy day and unfortunately the Gustie football team was not able to pull out a win against Bethel, but it’s always fun to catch up with old friends – especially from the Class of 1996 as they celebrated their 5-year reunion.

Fall also means that it is time to get started collecting for the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  We wanted to show you how we’ve done since we graduated:

The giving year is June 1 – May 31.  We have 524 classmates.






















As you can see, our class participation has dropped off over the last few years.  Our goal for 2001-2002 is 145 donors.  Please remember that we are not looking at the amount of your gift, we would just like to get more of you to participate.  The College’s goal is to have 50 percent of alumni giving by 2004 (the Alumni Fund’s 50th Anniversary).  The Alumni Fund supports the Gustavus that we all know and love and ensures that the Gusties that follow us have the same great experiences that we did.  It’s interesting to note that the tuition Gustavus receives from a student does not cover the total cost of that student’s education.  It takes money from outside contributions to support student financial assistance, information technology, study abroad opportunities, and the retention of top-notch professors. 

This year we are trying a new method of solicitation for the Alumni Fund.  Instead of the traditional phone call, you will be contacted by either one of us or another classmate via email.  That email will contain a link to a page on the Gustavus web site that will allow you to make your pledge on-line.  It will be that easy!  And hopefully less intrusive to everyone’s busy lives.  For those of you that we are unable to reach via email, you will be contacted by a current Gustavus student later in the year by telephone.

But it is not just about giving money, here’s the “Top Ten” things you can do to be involved in the alumni association (remember, it’s all about participation!), without giving money:

10.  Volunteer to work at the Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.), a day of community service. (mark your calendars for October 13th!)

9.    Come to Homecoming.

8.    Check out the Gustavus Home Page on the Web at

7.    Come to Gustavus to interview seniors for jobs at your company.

6.    Attend Christmas in Christ Chapel.

5.    Talk to anyone wearing any Gustie clothing or a class ring.

4.    Recruit future Gusties.

3.    Attend class reunions

2.    Submit information for the Gustavus Quarterly.

1.    Know that you are part of the great Gustavus family!

And now some news about our classmates….

Our congratulations to the following people who earned advanced degrees recently…..

  • Mark Benson received his MBA thru Boston University in June.
  • John Goodpaster completed his Ph.D. in chemistry and master's in criminal justice at Michigan State University.  He is now living in Maryland and is beginning a 2-year post-doctoral research fellowship working to develop a new method for forensic comparisons of human hair based on chemical analysis (criminals beware!).
  • Joel Samuelson received the master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary.  After graduation, Joel spent the summer working as a program director at Sky Ranch Bible Camp in Colorado.
  • Eric Youngdahl also graduated from Luther Seminary.  He is working as an assistant to the director of confirmation at Mt. Olivet Lutheran in Minneapolis.
  • Kari Bisbee got her Ph.D. in forest science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January 2001.  She is now a postdoctoral research associate in the department of forest science at Oregon State University.  (We also heard that Kari is getting married next month – congratulations, Kari!).
  • Bradford Schmidt graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy in May 2001.
  • Dave Lahti earned his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in December and is doing post-doctoral work in Switzerland.

Working 9 to 5…..

  • Todd Carlson teaches social studies at Eagan High School and coaches football, hockey, and track.
  • Bonnie Baxter works at the Mankato Clinic.
  • Greta Johnson Petrich is the managing editor at the Osaksi Review.  She also gave birth to a son, Adam Michael Petrich, in January 2001.
  • Wendy Wangerin Denton works at the Minot Public Library
  • Karen Williamsen works at Carleton College.
  • Karen Boschee Chenvert works as an underwriter for Berkley Risk Administrator’s Company in Minneapolis.
  • Rebecca Holte works for SWCA Environmental Consultants, Inc. in Arizona.
  • Mike Ryan is a regional sales manager for Datrek Professional Golf Bags.
  • Kristin Beard is working at Mirage Advertising in Roseville as a graphic designer and copywriter.  She is also coaching a gymnastics team.
  • Shane Erickson is a program coordinator at South Bay Community Services in San Diego.
  • Leann Morsching Rodriguez is working in St. Peter for Cambria as manager of the sample department.
  • Nathan Mannix received his veterinary degree in England and now practices at the Cascade Animal Hospital in Rochester.  Nathan is married to Kristin Naumann, a fellow Gustie from the Class of 1994.

Love and Marriage….

  • Julie Nelson married Jonathan Peterson in June 2001.
  • April Kukuck married John Spence in June 2001.
  • Todd Anderson married Krista Dammen.
  • First Comes Love, then Comes Marriage, then Comes….
  • Angela Nelson Whetstone gave birth to a daughter, Vivian Marie Whetstone, in January 2001.
  • Brendan Kielas was born to Jennifer and Chad Kielas in January 2001.
  • Ryan Haddorff welcomed a baby number two in June (a girl this time).  Ryan is married to fellow Gustie Jill Mehrkens, Class of 1996.

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?, is October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference includes five Nobel laureates and three other experts who will give 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 will include the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive 10-course banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.  Alumni are invited to visit the Alumni Hospitality Room during the conference located in the Hall of Fame Room on the second level of Lund Center.  Conference information and registration material was inserted in the Fall Quarterly or call Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520 or on the web at

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 13.  Numerous sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country are participating in the event.  Contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or for more information or visit the events section of the alumni page at

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.

Hope this letter finds you well!  Enjoy the fall and get ready for winter – it’s right around the corner!

All our best,

Amy Haberman and Amy Seidel

1995 Co-Class Agents