Class of ’95
February 2010

15-Year Reunions ― September 24-25, 2010

Dear Class of 1995,

Our 15-year reunion is fast approaching─can you believe it has been 15 years since we were up on the hill in St. Peter?!  Mark your calendar with the fun events below and plan to attend to see your friends!



6:30 p.m. – Stellas in Uptown


1:00 - Football game on campus - including 1995 hospitality tent and kids area

4:00 - The 5th Quarter - including live music and food

Catching Up with Classmates

In preparation for the reunion festivities, we are looking forward to devoting some ink to catching up with everyone.  We will include extended updates from classmates that provide a little more “color” than our usual letters.  To kick things off this month, we asked Joe Gaugler, who was one of the recipients of the First-Decade Award given by the Alumni Board, to write a few paragraphs about what he’s been up to.  And, Karen Boschee Chenvert agreed to provide a short update, as did class agent Amy Seidel.

So, with that, we’ll turn it over to Joe!


I simply cannot believe that we are quickly approaching our 15-year reunion.  The seasons and years seem to be moving by more quickly these days, and to be honest the memories from Gustavus become blurred and more difficult to disentangle with the passage of time (an irony for a researcher interested in dementia).  When Amy asked me to submit a couple of paragraphs summarizing “what I’ve been up to,” I had to grapple with what exactly to include.  I suppose my life trajectory since our last days on campus has hewn to a less traditional work-life balance, but it has been eventful nonetheless.

So, I left GAC and an immediate highlight was taking a trip to Italy to visit my grandmother for the last time.  Although I had little notion at the time what living with a chronic illness was like, or what family care for such disability entails, it became apparent during that trip that it would be the last time I would see my grandmother.  In a strange way, that trip in many ways influenced my academic and professional career in subsequent years.  I spent the next four years in graduate study at Penn State, where my work focused on families caring for chronically disabled older persons, particularly relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  Penn State was an eye-opening experience; unlike Gustvaus, where as a student one seemed to know everyone, Penn State is a campus of approximately 40,000 students.  In a strange way, though, life at Penn State seemed smaller than at Gustavus; the intense nature of graduate study and the smaller cohort of students I entered into my Ph.D. program which led to a more focused academic experience than at Gustavus.  By my last couple of years at Penn State, though, I really grew to love the campus (which is in the middle of Pennslyvania and nestled in hills and valleys; the campus itself almost seems as though it was built in the middle of a forest).

One of the strangest experiences for me was having the opportunity to teach a J-Term class at Gustavus in 1999 while wrapping up my was utterly bizarre to be on the other side of the student-instructor lens (remember; I had only graduated in 1995, so I was not that much older than the undergraduates I was charged to teach).  It was clear to me at that point that my professional aspirations would be best fulfilled in a larger research university where I could continue my work on Alzheimer’s disease and long-term care.  From there, I completed what is called a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health from 1999-2000.

I had a great duplex over in the Seward neighborhood in South Minneapolis, and I loved was a time to not only focus on building my research expertise and prepare for a research-based faculty career, but also fun to reconnect with the Twin Cities and Minnesota:  I spent many a night on Cedar Avenue (the Whiskey Junction especially; it was a great blues hub back then).  In late 1999, I was asked to apply to a faculty position at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  It was exhilarating to get that first job offer and to become a member of the professoriate.

However, as I think many of us can attest, that first job was as much a learning experience as anything.  I accomplished some good things at Kentucky, but it became clear over time that Lexington was not the best place for me in the long-term, professionally or personally.  So, when the opportunity arose to come back here to the University of Minnesota in 2005, I jumped at it...for a long time I had been geographically distant from my family, but now I live 8 minutes away (which is good and sometimes vexing).  Since I’ve returned, I realized what a great place Minneapolis/St. Paul actually is, from the great restaurants to the bustling cultural scene.

Now, with tenure and in a place I love (Minnesota and the U of M), I am quite grateful with how things have turned out.  Granted, much of this submission to the Alumni Newsletter focuses on my professional milestones, but there are plenty of twists and turns in my personal life to share, as well.  That is a story better suited while having a beer at the 15-Year Reunion!


My husband and I have lived in St. Louis Park for 10 years.  We have two girls, Sophie (5) and Addison (3).  I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 6 years, but have been working very part time for my husband’s business for the past 2 years.  It’s a great balance for me.  I’m very happy to be at home with my girls, but am also happy to go to work for a few hours a week.  I still get together with a group of Delta’s every summer at Karin Miller Wagner's parents’ cabin.  We have been doing this since 1993.


What a difference a year makes!  On September 16, 2008, my husband and I were on our way to our honeymoon in Bora Bora.  A year later, on September 16, 2009, we had a baby boy, Ethan Michael Coddington.  He was due on October 16, but decided to arrive a month early (surprise!).  Fortunately, he is healthy and doing very well.  I was able to stay home and do some work from home until returning to the office full-time on January 4th.  I still work at the same law firm where I started practicing after law school─hard to believe it has been 12 years!  We live in southwest Minneapolis and recently ran into Brian Fell and his wife, Nissa Stolp Fell ’00 and their daughter at “baptism class” at Mt. Olivet in November.  The pastor gave us quite a bit of grief for being from “God Save Us All Of Us”!  I have enjoyed being a Class Agent so I can hear and share everyone’s news.  I look forward to seeing you at the reunion!


Steve and Aimee Strege welcomed their third child, Jackson Adrian on July 4, 2009.

Christina Williams and Michael Kunde had their first child, a daughter named Lydia Rose Kunde, was born on October 4, 2009.

Please send us your news!


Gustavus Announces Major Building Projects

At its Monday, Jan. 25 meeting, the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with three major building projects.  The College will erect a new 125,000 square foot academic building with a large 3-story atrium at the center providing natural light to many of the spaces.  It will qualify for a “gold LEED” qualification as a green building.  This will develop a mall extending west from its iconic Christ Chapel.  It will house the largest departments on campus (economics and management, psychology, and communications).  Also, plans are under way to renovate A. H. Anderson Social Science Building.  Construction timelines for the projects are not yet finalized, but the College expects to break ground on the new academic building late this spring.

The effort is a significant early implementation step of Commission Gustavus 150, an innovative, constituent-based strategic planning process that has engaged hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders over the past year.  “These projects will greatly enhance learning and teaching, student recruitment, and institutional advancement for many years to come,” said President Jack R. Ohle.

Alumnus, Kurt Elling ’89, Wins Grammy Award

Kurt Elling, a 1989 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, took home his first Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 31 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.  Elling won the “Best Jazz Vocal Album” category for his album Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman. This year marked the ninth time Elling was nominated for a Grammy.

Elling typically performs annually at Gustavus and did so most recently on Oct. 10, 2009 in Jussi Björling Recital Hall.  He has also had the distinct honor to perform in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and their 350 guests at the White House State Dinner on Nov. 24, 2009.

Admission News

Applications for next year are ahead of where they were last year at this time which makes Mark Anderson ’66, the director of admission, very happy.  We graduated two very large classes in the last two years so we need to have somewhat larger classes in order to maintain our enrollment at about 2,500.  Mark Anderson will retire at the end of the academic year so a search is going on to replace him.  Gustavus has had only three directors of admission since 1950 (Howard Holcomb ’49, Owen Sammelson ’58, and Mark Anderson ’66) which is quite an amazing track record.

Attend a Chapter Event Near You!

There will be Gustavus alumni chapter events in the following cities:  Tucson, February 19; Phoenix, February 20; Naples, March 14; Seattle, March 19; San Francisco, March 20; Los Angeles, March 21.  Other events in Boston, New York, Chicago, and Denver are still in the planning stages.  President Ohle will be attending all of those events so we hope that you will make an attempt to attend and hear what he has to say.  He is providing outstanding leadership!

Upcoming Events

  • Feb. 27 – Reunion Committee Winter Retreat
  • Mar. 6 – Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
  • Mar. 14 – Naples Chapter Event – Naples Grande Beach Resort
  • Mar. 17 – Gustie Breakfast – Amanda Nienow, assistant professor of chemistry
  • Mar. 19 – Seattle Chapter Event – Bellevue Club
  • Mar. 20 – San Francisco Chapter Event
  • Mar. 21 – Los Angeles Chapter Event – Jet Propulsion Laboratory

We’d love to hear extended updates from all of you on any news you’d like to share or a reflection on the past 15 years.  Please send it our way at Also, check out our Facebook page at Gustavus Adolphus College - Class of 1995.  Invite your classmates to join too!  Be looking for our next letter in April!

Your class agents,

Sara Tollefson Currell

Amy Seidel

1995 Co-class Agents