Class of '96
January 2002

Dear Class of 1996,

Winter has arrived in Minnesota…or has it?  What a wonderful winter season we have been enjoying with the mild temperatures and minimal snow covering.  I am sure all of us can vividly remember our sophomore year when the Fahrenheit "on the hill" plummeted during J-Term to -30 degrees with a shocking wind chill hovering around 50 below!  Ahh, the memories.

With the arrival of 2002 comes some significant changes with our class and the leadership of Gustavus.  After 5 1/2 years of dedicated service as our class agents, both Laura Le Vander and Chris Enstad have resigned from their duties in this capacity.  On behalf of our entire class, I would like to thank them for their devotion and hard work to our class and the entire mission of the college.  Your efforts will be missed!  In the absence of Laura and Chris, I was asked to assist Michelle Goodwin Dahlen as a co-class agent.  I am humbled by the invitation and look forward to serving all of you.  I have incredible memories of my time at Gustavus and it is rare that a day goes by without some aspect of the Gustavus experience not being symbolized through my values and behavior.

Campus News:

Axel Steuer, the thirteenth President of Gustavus Adolphus College, announced he would resign as president of the College at the end of the current academic year.  He agreed to remain in an advisory capacity to the Board through May 2003.  Appointed in 1991, Steuer’s tenure will be noted by marked advances in the College’s national academic standing and a significantly strengthened financial condition.  President Steuer also led the institution through a major rebuilding process that was required after a devastating 1998 tornado that resulted in over $60 million in damage to the campus. “While it is difficult to leave this wonderful job at Gustavus Adolphus College, I am ready for new challenges and hope eventually to return to my first love of teaching bright college students,” said Steuer.  “These past 11 years have been very rewarding years for Loreli and me, and we will miss the special contacts we have had with the many extraordinary people who constitute the extended Gustavus family.”

A founding president of Minnesota’s acclaimed Campus Compact for community service, Steuer was awarded a John S. and Jane L. Knight Foundation Presidential Leadership Grant in 1999 and in the same year was honored by the Templeton Foundation as one of 50 Presidents Effectively Promoting Character Building at Their Colleges.  He was awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star by His Majesty, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 1996 and was presented the “Greater Gustavus Award” by the 20,000 member Gustavus Alumni Association “for having notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.”

“We congratulate President Steuer for his many accomplishments and thank him for his years of faithful service to the College,” said Ruth A. Reister, Chair of the College Board of Trustees.  President Steuer’s resignation as president of the College will be effective in June 2002.  He will remain with the College through May 2003 as Executive Advisor to the Board of Trustees to assist with the completion of current fund-raising initiatives and the transition to a successor.  An interim president will be named prior to the end of the current academic year.

And now, here is an update on what your classmates have been up to lately.  If you would like to be included in this news in the future, please send your updated information to the Alumni Office, and we will be sure to include your news!  Additionally, if you would like to update your e-mail addresses, please inform the Alumni Office at the Gustavus homepage at:

Class News:

  • Eric Abram recently completed his masters degree from Iowa State.
  • Scott Anderson is a web developer for Six Continents Hotel, Inc. and plays electric bass with a local rock band.
  • John Bower is employed as the vice president of business development with Express Personnel Services.
  • John Kerns bought a pet snake and has a new "Scott Laurent Band" CD now available.
  • Ellen Korbach is a senior operations analyst with Medtronics, Inc.
  • Kayan Lewis is currently a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio having earned her Ph.D. in adult development and aging from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Matthew Lind is employed by YouthCARE as the director of Camp Sunrise.
  • Sara Puotinen is a women's studies Ph.D. student at Emory University.
  • Kristen Richardson is pursuing her J. D. degree at the University of Iowa College of Law.
  • Benjamin Schaefer is an investment banker with the Wealth Enhancement Group.
  • Bryan Schmeling is co-producing "Time of your Life," a live, improvisational musical based on the life of an audience member.
  • Katie Vohs is a researcher and visiting faculty member at Case Western University after completing her Ph.D. in psychological and brain sciences from Dartmouth College.
  • Scott Vonderohe is a contract specialist attorney with Aspect Communications in San Jose, California.


  • Jody Frykman and Mark Nahlovsky were married in October 2001.
  • Mary (Stuvland) Harkema married Scott Harkema on September 8, 2001.
  • Brad Hested married Shalayh Swain on July 14, 2001.
  • Abra (Holtzer) Houchin married Kevin Houchin on June 30, 2001.
  • Matthew Kleczka married Kimberly Myers on September 15, 2001.
  • Rebecca (Crosbie) Meyer married Nathan J. Meyer on August 4, 2001.  Rebecca is a student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth earning her master’s in education.
  • Michelle (Baker) Newman married Brent Newman ’93, on September 9, 2001.
  • Hans Snyder married Karen Renslo on July 21, 2001.  Hans is currently employed as an investment broker with Dougherty and Company.

Future Gusties:

  • Teri Jeske Duford had a baby boy named Joseph Eugene on May 23, 2001.
  • Kristen Paap Genet and John Genet had a baby girl named Sarah Elizabeth on September 26, 2001.
  • Diedre Carlson Johnson and Joel Johnson are the new parents of Aaron Mark, born July 18, 2001, weighting five pounds.
  • Christopher Oppitz and his wife, Rachel (Roberts), had a baby girl named Cascade Roberts on May 26, 2001.
  • Jason ’95 and Marit Gorder Peters had a baby boy named Alexander Lyle on July 21, 2001.

Congratulations to each of you on your personal and professional accomplishments!  We encourage all our alumni to keep us informed of their accomplishments in life.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Shawn Mayfield                                                Michelle Goodwin Dahlen                         

P.S. Now for some other news from campus:

Campus News

Hi!  My name is Tracey Hanson.  I’m a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I’ve worked in the Alumni Office all four years and can hardly believe that I’m in the middle of my last J-Term!  After a longer-than-usual Christmas break, it’s great to be back on campus.  Instead of taking a class (and doing homework) this J-Term, I’m spending my time slaving away in the Alumni Office.  It’s great to have the extra time to relax and do other activities that J-Term allows.  Having unlimited time at home each night has made for some great cooking!  And getting to watch “Friends” without worrying about the homework you should be doing instead is also a plus! 

The campus is full of life and excitement.  The theme for J-Term 2002 is "Our Global Village," and the month will be a celebration of cultural diversity as we grapple with social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-shrinking world neighborhood.  Faculty are offering 29 different classes that tie into this global theme, many of which are travel courses.  Examples include Islam and Culture, and Chinese Cooking and Culture.  This year, 2319 students are enrolled in J-Term courses, with many studying abroad, participating in internships, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions.  I get very jealous when I read e-mails from my roommates who are studying in warm, sunny Australia.  J-Term themes for the coming years include “Service-Learning” (2003) and “Undergraduate Research.” (2004).

Winter athletics are also in full swing!  Gustie teams are off to a great start and all are near the top in the MIAC.

Gustie music ensembles are also very busy.  The Gustavus Band will embark on an international tour this J-Term.  The band is touring Sweden and Norway, presenting “Music from America.”  The tour dates are January 16 through February 10.  The tour concludes with a homecoming performance at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir is busy preparing for their tour of the Midwest during Touring Week in February, concluding with their home concert Feb. 16 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Orchestra will tour Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

February 2      Chicago Chapter event - 6:00 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m.

Gustavus Choir Concert

                        Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 815 S. Washington St., Naperville, IL

February 16    Naples Chapter event - Naples Beach Club

                        851 Gulf Shore Boulevard, Naples

                        11:30 a.m. social, 12:30 p.m. luncheon

February 17    Vero Beach Chapter event - Dawn (Ekstrom ’67) and Ted Michael residence

                        2506 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach

                        12:30 p.m. social, 1:30 p.m. luncheon

March 7          San Diego Chapter event

March 8          Tucson Chapter gathering

March 9          Phoenix Chapter gathering

March 10        Sun City Chapter gathering

More information will be sent to alumni and friends in these chapter areas.

RSVP to Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or e-mail

As I prepare to graduate in June, I find it increasingly hard to think about leaving this place.  It hardly seems possible that four years have flown by, and that in six months I, too, will be considered an alum.  I will always carry with me fond memories of my four years here.  GO GUSTIES!!!