Class of '96
October 2000

Dear Class of 1996,

Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies? It was eight years ago this fall that we first graced the hill as wandering, and wondering, freshmen. One year from this fall we will return to the hill for our five-year Reunion! It will be an awesome time to see those forgotten faces, hear about new paths and detours on the road of life, watch as little Gusties are introduced to the Gustavus tradition and make plans for the future with friends old and new. Please keep your eyes peeled for more class letters like this one as plans for our reunion take shape...and block out Homecoming 2001, September 21st & 22nd, for a visit back to your alma mater. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

One significant way that we can show pride in Gustavus Adolphus College is to increase our class giving in recognition of our five-year Reunion. We hope that you will find it in your budget to make a significant gift to Gustavus in the coming months. You will be hearing either from a classmate or a current student sometime soon...please use that opportunity to renew your support for the place that set you off into the world. The further away from graduation we get the more we appreciate the foundation that our time at Gustavus provided to us. It is a blessing for us to read the news about each and every one of you as you begin to set down roots, start families, move into exciting career paths or even take off in new directions. This is a great time for you to give something back to Gustavus...a place whose mission is to ensure that future generations of young men and women are given the opportunity to make the most of themselves in this big, crazy world.

And just what have you all been up to in the past few months? Quite a bit it seems...and so, here’s the news:

News of International Intrigue

Rebekah Bloemker is living and working in Omuthiya, Namibia with the Peace Corps. She is teaching math, physical science and English. She also built a library for the Epandola Combined School.

Yee Won Chong was featured in the Minnesota Women’s Press after she successfully won political asylum from her native Malaysia. She currently co-directs Women Against Military Madness (WAMM).

News on the Artistic Front

Toriano Sanzone has just completed a CD entitled, Toriano Sanzone / Beautiful Darkness 44:44. The album was recorded at Two Fish Studios in Mankato with Luke Harper and Wes Schuck (two Gusties). You can order the album at or call 1-800-986-1250. Toriano wants to invite his entire class to his album release party at 8 p.m. on November 28th at the Weisman Art Museum. Tori will also be marrying Melyssa Miller on November 4th in Chicago. Busy guy.

Where are they and what are they doing?

  • Ben Juday is a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana studying geography.
  • Stacy Klein is pursuing her Master’s degree in public policy at the Humphrey Institute of the University of Minnesota.
  • Rachel Frojen Parrinello teaches social studies at Wray High School and is an education student at Regis University. Wray is in Colorado. We knew that.
  • Lisa Bengtson Gustafson and her husband, Jeff ’97, are back from Japan and she is working for Cendant Intercultural in Wheaton, IL.
  • Scott Vonderohe wants us all to know that he received his law degree from Syracuse University and is now a contract specialist as well as an alumnus of a Division I school.
  • Greg Weigel recently taped a pilot for Comedy; it’s not like South Park.
  • Tammy Rademacher was named "Teacher of the Year" for Pipestone-Jasper Schools in Pipestone, MN! She has taught chemistry and physics there for three years. Awesome accomplishment Tammy!
  • Chris Enstad is assistant director of enrollment services in the School of Education and Professional Development at Capella University. He has also begun his Ph.D. in the management of non-profit agencies.
  • Dimitri Drekonja was inducted into the Apollo High School Hall of Fame in May and was married to Kara Bloomquist on July 15th.

Weddings Past

  • Amy Larkin & Aaron Lee, May 13, 2000.
  • Tanya Schmidt & Phillip Cervantes, March 18, 2000.
  • Amanda Holland & Steven Rose, October 7, 2000.
  • Anita Allman & Aaron Smith, June 10, 2000.
  • Doug Kowles & Sara Frykman ’98, October 1, 2000.
  • Matt Eppen & Gina McLaughlin, August 12, 2000.

Weddings to Come

  • Laura Goucher to Stephen Higginbotham on October 14, 2000.
  • Lynn Cordes to Justin Kelly in May 2001.
  • Tim Tweedy to Tiffany Griep in December 2000.

As always, we wish you all the very best that life has to offer you. Please don’t hesitate to send us updates either directly or to the Alumni Office at

News from the Hill

The 2000-2001 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,510 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,490 set last year), including 675 first-year students. When students arrived on campus in early September they were welcomed by the newly completed Carlson International Center/Swedish House, a new outdoor track/soccer field, and a newly completed Courtyard Café in the lower level of the Jackson Campus Center. This new café offers specialty coffees, bagels, pastries, and sandwiches, and opens to an outdoor eating area on the Johns Courtyard between the Jackson Campus Center and Lund Center.

Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the best of all national liberal

arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's 14th 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 tier two listing and one of four Minnesota colleges ranked in the top 80.

Gustavus recently received the results of a comparative alumni survey that measures alumni responses to a series of questions about their college experience. The study provides comparisons to other groups of colleges including Lutheran colleges, member colleges of the Minnesota Private College Council and, most importantly, with large public universities. We will share with you results of the survey in class letters this year. A sampling of responses to remembrances of college academic life include the following:

· Alumni agree that professors often challenged them, but also personally helped them to meet the challenge. Gustavus alumni agree 78%, large public universities 38%.

· Alumni agree that a large majority of classes were taught by professors as compared to teaching assistants. Gustavus alumni agree 90%, large public universities 32%.

· Alumni remember a high quality, teaching oriented faculty. Gustavus alumni agree 61%, large public universities 25%.

· Alumni remember many small classes with fewer than twenty students. Gustavus alumni agree 50%, large public universities 9%.

Gustavus has received word from the Lilly Endowment that it was one of 20 awardees (out of a pool of 31 colleges and universities) of a $1,963,425 implementation grant. It is the largest program grant the College has ever received. The award will support a comprehensive initiative to more effectively carry out some key aspects of the College's mission statement and encourage theological reflection and moral questioning that forms character, shapes lives, and guides career choices. It will build upon the ethos and climate of Gustavus by supporting already-existing programs, adding new ones, and creating a center to coordinate and intensify those vocation-oriented activities. In doing so, it will provide students with the foundational tools necessary for a lifelong exploration of their calling and a lifetime of community leadership and service to others.

Phonorama will be held this fall on October 16, 17 & 19 at Deli Express in Eden Prairie, and on October 23, 24 & 26 at Alliant Foodservice in Eagan. If you are able to give up a night or two to come make some calls to classmates we would sure appreciate it! Remember the Alumni Office provides supper from 5:30-6:30. Calling starts at 6:30.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, was held on Saturday, October 7. Numerous sites were identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country participated in the event.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, Heaven and Nature Sing, is December 1-3. A ticket order form was inserted in the Summer Quarterly. Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

The coming year promises to bring much excitement as we gear up for our 5-year Reunion. Don’t forget to update us on your address, family and career info and please don’t forget to make a gift to Gustavus in the coming year.


Chris Enstad              
Laura LeVander         
Michelle Goodwin Dahlen

1996 Co-Class Agents