Class of '96
October 1999

Dear Class of ’96,

This is the time of year that always makes me want to take a drive down to Gustavus. The leaves are turning along the Minnesota River valley, the air is crisp and the students down there are getting into the groove. It wasn’t that long ago that we were those students and seeing them at Homecoming last weekend brought back a flood of memories.

And that is what Gustavus has imparted to us isn’t it? Along with a top-notch education we also made some of the closest friends we’ll ever have, we learned that life has its ups and downs, we learned about what it means to live in a community... in short, we grew up down there.

The Gustavus campus has come along way since the tornado of 1998. If you haven’t made a visit to the campus since then I encourage you to do so. The Evelyn Young Dining Room is truly phenomenal and you won’t believe your eyes when you see what is happening to the rest of the campus. Gustavus is positioning itself to be one of the top national liberal arts colleges in the country. You may have already seen what the benefits of your Gustavus degree are...and that prestige is only going to increase over the next 5-10 years. I am proud of the continual progress Gustavus has made towards excellence and integrity in its academic programs and in the kind of alumni that it produces. I think you can be proud of it too.

Think back to your years at Gustavus and ask yourselves this question: what was the single most important part of your journey through Gustavus Adolphus? Was it a professor who took you under his/her wing on a research project? Was it your time spent in daily worship at the Chapel? Was it an event your fraternity or sorority planned? Was it meeting your future spouse? Was it an intense conversation that happened in the cafeteria or at Patrick’s? Was it an overseas study experience?

I’m sure most, if not all, of you can think of something. For me it was being told that I needed some time away from school to get my direction figured out and then being welcomed back with open arms when I did just that! Would that have happened at a larger more impersonal college or university? I don’t think so. I am grateful to Gustavus for caring enough to be honest with me and that’s an amazing thing in today’s society isn’t it? Honesty is harder and harder to come by, but you find it at Gustavus every single day.

Think about that significant experience and then know this: the main reason you could have had that experience was that there were alumni (like you!) supporting that place. Whether you believe it or not (with sky-high student loan payments) the majority of the cost of our education was provided for by gifts from alumni like us. That is why I am totally committed to giving a gift to my alma mater each and every year. There are a couple thousand students down there being offered the same opportunities I was and the world will be a better place because of it.

I know the reality of just getting started in life with loans, car payments, house payments and bills upon bills. But I think it is important to learn early in life that giving back to Gustavus will only help us in the end. The better Gustavus becomes, the more valuable your degree becomes.

So I ask you to look at your checkbook and ask yourself if you can afford to give 10, 15 or 20 dollars a month to Gustavus. I’m willing to bet that ALL of us can afford to give something and you can be proud of the place you’re giving that money too. Help Gustavus continue to offer those significant, life-changing events to those who have come after us.

There are alot of other newsworthy things happening at GAC:

The 1999-2000 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,490 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,474 set last year), including 660 first-year students. Students returned to the new Campus Center housing the Evelyn Young Dining Room, the new Book Mark, post office, health service, and printing service. Renovation of the old dining service building will continue with expected completion in February. The renovation project will provide office space for student organizations, Office of Admission, specialty dining areas, Dean of Students office, and a faculty and staff center. Summer construction also included the landscaping of parking lots on the north end of campus. The landscaping provides a welcoming appearance to the College and helps break-up the "frozen tundra" between Norelius Hall and the Campus Center.

Gustavus Adolphus College Ranked Among the Best Liberal Arts Colleges

Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the best of all national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's 13th annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings. Gustavus is again in the top 80 of the overall quality listings for national liberal arts colleges. Ranked again in the second tier in the national liberal arts college category, Gustavus is one of only two Minnesota colleges included in the 38-college tier two listing and one of four Minnesota colleges ranked in the top 80. Gustavus is also included in the Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine list of "100 great values" among the nation's 1,600 private schools. The "Private Colleges Worth the Price" article appears in the September 1999 magazine. Gustavus is one of only four Minnesota colleges named a Top 100 Value in Private Colleges. The list is based on academic and financial measures.

Some exciting changes are in store for class reunions. Starting next year, all class reunions, except for the 50-Year Club and the 50th Anniversary Class, will be held in the fall at Homecoming, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 29 & 30, 2000. Classes celebrating reunions at Homecoming will include ’55, ’60, ’65, ’70, ’75, ’80, ’85, ’90 & ’95. Reunion dates for the 50-Year Club and the Class of 1950 are May 26 & 27, 2000, Commencement Weekend.

The Gustavus Library Associates Once upon a holiday … A Royal Affair, is Saturday, November 13 at the Radisson South Hotel, Bloomington. Information and registration material was inserted in the Summer Quarterly.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, Even so, come, Lord Jesus, is December 3-5. A ticket order form was inserted in the Summer Quarterly.

Alumni Chapters will be meeting again this year so mark your calendars today: Washington, DC, November 5; Boston, November 6; Chicago, December 11; Atlanta, January 31; Marco Island, February 5; Tucson, February 7; Phoenix, February 8; Sun City, February 9; Seattle, March 3; Bay Area, March 4; Los Angeles, March 5; San Diego, March 6; Denver, March 7.

ALUMNILLENNIUM 2000 - The Gustavus Artist Series -- For 30 years, the Artist Series has brought world-class artists to campus for performances, exhibitions and residencies. This year the tables turn as the Series features and celebrates the accomplishments of our alumni artists as they enter the new millennium, ALUMNILLENNIUM 2000. The Fall Series opened September 18 with the jazz trio October, featuring Andrew Benson ’95, Brian Rowe ’95 and Nik Lindell ’95; followed by the music of Steve Heitzeg ’82, September 25. David Esbjornson ’75 directs a one-woman Virginia Woolf play on October 8; organist Timothy Strand ’82 presents his recital on November 14; and tenor Mark Thomsen ’78 will present a vocal recital on November 21. Spring semester events include an alumni art exhibition in February; a concert by Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83 on February 19; pianist Stephen Carlson ’92 on March 4; and Peter Krause ’87, better known as Casey McCall on ABC's SPORTS NIGHT, will be in residency in April. Other events may be scheduled through the fall of 2000 as well. Ticket information and complete schedule will be posted to the Fine Arts Calendar on the Gustavus website.

Following extensive work to Christ Chapel's magnificent pipe organ this summer, a three-concert series of organ recitals has been planned for the fall. Christ Chapel Organist, Dr. David Fienen opened the series with Organ Works by Charles-Marie Widor on October 10 at 7:30 p.m. Volodymyr Koshuba, Organist of the Kiev Concert Hall of Organ and Chamber Music and the Ukraine's "Honored Artist" for 1998, will present a recital on November 4 at 7:30 p.m. The final recital, mentioned in the ALUMNILLENNIUM 2000, is a recital by Timothy Strand ’82, Organist and Music Director for St. Luke's Episcopal in Minneapolis, on November 14, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Fienen and Strand recitals are free of charge. The Koshuba recital, sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, will have tickets available at the door.

Gustavus will be represented at several Lutheran College Fairs and Festivals around the country this year. Gustavus alumni, parents and friends are encouraged to assist with these events by staffing the Gustavus table to share your experiences with prospective students and their parents. You can also help by bringing students of high potential to the events or encouraging their attendance. Please call the Gustavus Admission Office to volunteer at 800-GUSTAVU(S). Events scheduled include: Omaha, September 19; Kansas City, September 20; Des Moines, September 21; Cedar Rapids, September 22; Quad Cities, September 23; St. Louis, September 26; Denver, October 10; Phoenix, October 11; Santa Ana, October 12; Seattle, October 17; Portland, October 17; Appleton, October 31; Milwaukee, November 2; Madison, November 3; Chicago, November 7; Grand Rapids (MI), November 8; Detroit, November 14; Cleveland, November 15; Columbus, November 16; Pittsburgh, November 17; Saddlebrook (NJ), November 21; Philadelphia, November 21; Baltimore, November 22; and Washington, DC, November 23.

SMARTERsource is a new Web-based resume service exclusively for the students and alumni of Minnesota Private Colleges. The site is a job-searching tool for current students seeking internships or part-time employment, new or recent graduates launching a career, or alumni seeking new positions or career changes. The service lists resumes in more than a dozen categories. Check out this site at

And, of course, there are some newsworthy events happening to our own classmates as well:

Class News:

  • Scott Lauinger is teaching 7th grade social studies and is the assistant girl’s basketball coach as well as the 7th and 8th grade tennis coach at Roseville Area Middle School.
  • Jessica Hendrickson is associate health promotion advisor at Health Partner’s, Inc.
  • Jeremy Seldon is a mortgage loan officer for TCF Mortgage Corporation.
  • Laura Goucher is teaching 5th-8th grade band at Mounds Park Academy and directing musicals and plays at White Bear High School.
  • Todd Mayer is senior lab technician at Birchwood Laboratories, Inc.
  • Rebekah Bloemker is in the Peace Corps stationed in Namibia teaching 7th & 8th grade math, science and English. She lives in a homestead with no water or electricity!
  • Ryan Schmidt is a Laboratory Sales Representative for Richard-Allan Scientific in California.
  • Amanda Sue Holland graduated from Hamline with her J.D. degree and is presently working for the St. Louis County courts system.
  • Jack Sikora is the inorganic department manager for Great Lakes Analytical.
  • Dan McKane is the assistant executive director of the MIAC.
  • Shawn and Sara (Mattson) Mayfield are rural community development workers for the Peace Corps in Suriname, South America.
  • Tony Peterson works for Portfolio Management Consultants in Denver, CO.
  • Lynn Cordes is doing cancer-related research at Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
  • Laura Norman is teaching Japanese at Eastview High School, Apple Valley, MN.
  • Gina Benson teaches at Gatewood Elementary in the Minneapolis area.
  • Matt Brown graduated from South Dakota School of Law.
  • Carrie Clubb graduated from William Mitchell School of Law.
  • Jared Peterson also graduated from William Mitchell School of Law.
  • John Kolden is director of marketing and corporate communications for Stringer Business Systems.
  • Kristen Richardson is corporate and foundations officer at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA.
  • Kristen Paap Genet is beginning work on her Ph.D. in ecology at Michigan State.
  • Aaron Sickman is working for the Minnesota Wild.

And, of course, we have some weddings to announce...I know we always forget people, but don’t take it personally...just keep reminding us until we do!!!

  • Matt Brown to Joy Falkenburg
  • Mandy Hasslen ‘95 to David Gartner (that one happened almost a year ago, sorry!)
  • Tanya Lynn Patrick to Timothy Jackson
  • Scott Anderson to Sara Puotinen (that one is over three years old!)
  • Chris Oppitz to Rachel Roberts on May 29, 1999.
  • Scott Arndt to Karin Morton on July 10, 1999.
  • Chris Enstad to Carrie Swanson ’97 also on July 10, 1999.
  • Troy Knewtson to Kelly Jones (who went to high school with me) on July 10, 1999.
  • Gene Boyer to Melissa Bodle on March 20, 1999.
  • Jen Fast to Carl Rydeen, on May 1, 1999
  • Vance Vinar to Kaylin Chabot, on July 10, 1999 (popular date!).
  • Todd Andrix to Kristen Sonnichsen on August 7, 1999.
  • Janna Tuorila to Brad Hepper on May 1, 1999.
  • Tia Gilpin to Matthew Patrick on July 17, 1999.
  • Robyn Mesenbring to Matt Bradfeldt on July 24, 1999.
  • Kim Lacher to Jason Rauk on June 19, 1999.
  • Eva Peterson to Mike Gustavson on May 1, 1999.

Well, I know that folks have been left out, but if you’re not covered here always check the Quarterly as well.

I hope this letter has found you healthy and happy. I also hope this letter gives you cause to reminisce a little bit...we’re not that old, but we’re still allowed to wool-gather every now and then. Your college years can never, ever be repeated and there are students up on the hill having those same experiences today. Ask yourself what your part can and should be in making sure there will always be a place where those memories and life experiences can happen for others.


Chris Enstad

1996 Co-class Agent

P.S. Laura LeVander and Michelle Goodwin Dahlen say "Hi" too. We are taking turns writing the letters this year. If you or a ’96 grad you know would like to write a letter this year let the alumni office know! We’d love to hear from you. Also, big news from Michelle?she and Mathieu Dahlen ’93 had a baby girl, Grace Marie, on September 23, 1999! Congrats, Michelle and Matt!