Class of '96
Greetings ‘96 Classmates,
I hope this LONG letter finds each of you happy and healthy. I am writing just two hours after watching the Vikings crush the 49’ers with our new, 2 week old niece Bailey in my arms (born to Justin’s brother Brent Newman ’93 and sister-in-law Michelle Baker Newman ’96). Life can’t get much better than that!
I am happy to share that I am your new Class Agent for our class. After a few years of Gustavus asking, I finally caved in! In trying to decide if I should say yes with an already busy schedule, I thought long and hard about what Gustavus means to me. Gustavus has given me so much – the best, carefree 4 years of my life, many fantastic lifelong friends, my husband, and an education that prepared me for everything that’s come my way since we graduated. After realizing that, the answer was easy. I truly am excited to begin this new role and openly welcome news, feedback, and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course I’m joining fellow classmates Shawn Mayfield and Michelle Goodwin Dahlen, as we attempt to keep us well connected to each other and to the hill.
Here’s a little about what’s been happening with me since we’ve graduated. I actually finished most of my coursework in December of ’95 and began working for the Office of Admission. I first did an internship with Tim Belmore (where are you Bels?) and then set out to recruit students of color from Chicago and the Twin Cities. (I also tried law school, and that pretty much sucked, so I quit). I was a Twin Cities counselor for nearly 3 years, including the time when Gustavus was struck by a tornado. Being an admission counselor for Gustavus was probably the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Then, I went on to become Director of Admission at Mounds Park Academy (a private K-12 school in MN) in ’99, and am still there today. I did take a year off to move closer and sell payroll at ADP with Laura LeVander Peters and Betsy Brandl Rippentrop’s big sister. That was a blast, but I was glad to go back to MPA! I married Gustie Justin Newman in 1997, and we now live in Bloomington with our little pug dog, Baxter. We enjoy traveling the world (since we don’t have kids), golfing, playing baseball (not me J), and spending time with friends and their families. We would love to hear from you!
As Fall approaches and football is everywhere, it reminds me of Homecoming at Gustavus. I thought it would be fun to catch up with our beloved Homecoming King and Queen, Trygve Bjorgen and Betsy Brandl Rippentrop. Here’s what they had to say about Gustavus:
Why did you choose Gustavus?
Tryg: I liked the idea of small classes and the liberal arts education. I thought it would give me a well-rounded education.
Bets: I did the whole "college tour thing" with my parents and visited about eight liberal arts schools. I did an overnight visit to GAC, which was awesome (stayed in Co-Ed and was brought to a party). Being the indecisive person I am, I distinctly remember my father sitting me down on a Sunday afternoon after all our college travels and telling me I would be making a decision that day as to where I would be attending college. Even though I liked a lot about the other schools, I kept coming back to how I felt like "I fit in" and "the students seemed to like me" at Gustavus. So, I made my decision that day and I remember my father shaking his head and saying, "I knew you would choose Gustavus because it just happens to cost the most." Just like my indecisiveness, I'm also known for my ability to consistently and unknowingly choose the most expensive option.
What was your favorite memory during your time at Gustavus?
Tryg: I think my favorite memory would be when Michael Gustavson somehow stole my toothbrush and used it for one of his charcoal art projects. When I questioned him about the odd disappearance of my toothbrush he explained he could get me a new one because his Dad is a dentist. I feel this is a great example of how liberal arts attracts some diverse people.
Bets: Although this sounds completely cliché, it is next to impossible to choose a favorite Gustavus memory. Here are some of my favorites: dancing like a maniac in the dive my freshman year (never set foot in it again after that year, but it was fun while it lasted), the freshman orientation square dance that started out sounding so stupid but was actually a ton of fun, the first warm day after a long winter when everyone would skip class and study out on the lawn in front of the library, attending a TOGA party at Red Door as a theta sorority pledge when the cops surrounded the place and yet I somehow escaped without having to take a breathalyzer, being a band geek and playing trumpet in the Gustavus Band, jamming to Tim Mahoney and the Meanies at Patrick’s, looking like a fool playing broomball, living with nine awesome women at The Far Side, and a long fun-filled Senior Week (especially the trip to Valley Fair and Karaoke out at the big tent drinking with Elvee)....I could go on and on.
What did you like best about Gustavus?
Tryg: What I enjoyed most was the social environment at Gustavus. The classes and education were great, but I can easily say I have forgotten a lot of what I have learned. That is just the kind of guy I am. But what have stayed with me are great memories, truly great friends, and the understanding of what really good cafeteria food can be.
Bets: Although I know I initially chose Gustavus for academic reasons, by far the best part about my time there was all the amazing people I met. I made so many great friends with whom I know I'll always stay in touch.
What have you been doing since we graduated 6-1/2 years ago?
Tryg: I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. I had a sales job at ADP selling payroll for 2 years after college and then decided to leave and backpack around Europe for 6 months. I then returned to Seattle to work at a dot com where I saw my stock options fly off the charts, and then fall through the floor. Once I got laid off from my dot com job, I decided to head to Costa Rica and Belize where I had the opportunity to stay at fellow alum Seth Paradis's hotel, the Blue Tang Inn. I am back in Minnesota now working for Starbucks Corporate selling coffee to hospitals, hotels, and colleges. By the way, Gustavus will not return my call about serving Starbucks on campus. Can you believe that??? I am currently living in Richfield with my girlfriend, Brooke, who is from Portland, OR.
Bets: One thing Gustavus didn't do for me is teach me that four years of higher education is ENOUGH! I must be a glutton for punishment, because in the 6 1/2 years since we graduated, I basically have stayed in school, waitressed a lot, and lived off the federal government thanks to Direct Loans. I also got married along the way. I actually JUST graduated this past August with my Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Iowa and recently took my first REAL job - I guess it’s about time. I'm working in an Orthopedics Department at the University of Iowa Hospital in a chronic spine pain rehab program.
How has your Gustavus education attributed to your current success?
Tryg: I would have to say that Gustavus really helped me meet a lot of good people and have a lot of fun. This contributed to my interpersonal skills, which has thus helped me sell a lot of coffee. There really is a lot to be said about the liberal arts thing. I even learned a lot from my modern dance class. If you want some lessons, please contact fellow alum John Bowers because he was in my class and he has talent. He knows how to prance.
Bets: My Gustavus education has helped me achieve what I have in many ways. First of all, it helped me get in to graduate school. Second, I think a liberal arts education from Gustavus makes you a well-rounded person who is prepared to do whatever endeavor you choose. In addition, I learned a lot of critical thinking skills during my time at Gustavus, which has definitely served me well. Finally, Gustavus gave me a chance to try out lots of different classes and majors (changed it four times) so I could figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. After being at a large university for seven years, I feel so fortunate that I got my undergrad education at a place with small class sizes, professors who knew your name, and people who actually cared about who you were as a person.
WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THIS MAIL ASKING FOR DONATIONS???
If you’re like me, you’re totally confused by all the mail that comes from Gustavus asking for money. One is called the Gustavus Fund, one is called the Alumni Fund, and another is called some 50 by 50 name. They seem to go on and on! I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the good folks in the Alumni Office to get the scoop, so I’ll try and explain it.
There’s an overall umbrella, if you will, that encompasses ALL of the annual donations given to Gustavus under various names, and that is called the ALUMNI FUND. Next year, in 2004, the Alumni Fund turns 50 years old, and Gustavus is trying to reach 50% participation of alumni (for all of the graduating classes combined – it’s currently 38%). That’s the 50 by 50 deal. And, every year, Gustavus has a family kick-off the fiscal year (from June through May), and that is why we saw fellow classmate Heidi Hayer Peterson’s family on the cover letter last year. All of the monies collected annually between June and May go toward this overall, Alumni Fund. Occasionally, we’ll see a solicitation for a special building, such as Old Main. That is ONLY for a special project, and is called a capital campaign. That does not count toward the annual, Alumni Fund.
So, what is Phonorama then?
Phonorama is an attempt by students and alumni to call each Gustie and solicit money for the ALUMNI FUND. That’s all. It’s just the physical act of calling on the telephone and what you’re really giving money for is the Alumni Fund. You may get a call from a student in your major, or one of your class agents like me.
Why is this so important and what do I need to do?
Each year, tuition from students only covers 80% of what it takes to educate a student, including the bills for electricity, salaries, etc. The rest of the money needs to come from a variety of other places, including the ALUMNI FUND. The government also helps pay for things such as financial aid, but lately that’s been pretty questionable and the amount Gustavus counts on has gone substantially down. The Alumni Fund also helps pay for financial aid, which is so important given the rising cost of tuition. Each month, as we pay back our student loans, I can’t help but be thankful for others who have given so that we could afford to attend. I know that there are many of us that feel that they won’t give until their loans are paid for. I would ask that you reconsider – your nominal donations today can make it possible for someone else to have a loan like you did.
I need to stress that it’s NOT IMPORTANT HOW MUCH YOU GIVE, IT’S THAT YOU GIVE AT ALL AND EACH YEAR at least ONE TIME BETWEEN JUNE AND MAY. Certain funders will only give grant monies to Gustavus based upon the percentage of annual participation. It’s important that we show them, and Gustavus, that Gustavus meant something to us. Even $5.00 a year matters (that is what it costs for a super-size value meal at McDonalds). This year, when someone phones you during Phonorama, please consider giving!
Here are some interesting facts about Gustavus and the ALUMNI FUND:
- 1862 – year Gustavus was founded
- 21,647 – living and active Gustavus alumni
- 130 – Gustavus Class Agents
- 7 – people working in the Alumni/Alumni Fund Offices
- 91– % of alumni who read the class letters
- 38 – % of alumni who gave to the Alumni Fund last year
- 50 – % goal of alumni giving to the Alumni Fund by the year 2004
- 1,000,000 – $ goal for the Alumni Fund by the year 2004
- 3,037 – new donors to make that goal happen! (Your name here. J)
OK, enough about that. On to bigger and better things – here’s what’s happening with you. Also, Happy 30th Birthday to most of you!
- Jen Addler got married on 5/3/03 and is living in Tenstrike, MN.
- Leslie Anderson has a new job teaching physical education and health in the St. Michael/Albertville school district. She’s living in Buffalo, MN.
- Samara (Sam) Anderson finally graduated from law school AND got her master’s in environmental law. She is living in VT, and will be practicing in Albany, NY at a famous firm that handled the Bush v. Gore, Microsoft Napster case. Wowzer – go Sam!
- Scott Anderson and Sara Puotinen had a baby boy, Fletcher (born 3/29/03)! I bet he is musically gifted already. They make baby clarinets, you know. They are living in Avondale Estates, GA.
- Stacy Anderson just started Harvard Law School!
- Michelle Baker Newman gave birth to a BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT little girl named Bailey Noelle on 9/13/03.
- Colleen Barland Sherman is a radiology tech at North Memorial and celebrated her one year anniversary on August 31.
- Holly Bayer and Jeff Seel gave birth (so Jeff watched, you know what I mean) to a beautiful new baby. They also have a toddler, Joseph, and a doggie at home! Watch for more details to come.
- Shannon Berger is back home, teaching kindergarten at Jordan Elementary.
- Rebekah Bloemker Cook just celebrated her 1-year anniversary and is a 7th grade teacher in Fort Lipton, CO.
- Kara Bloomquist Drekonja and Dimitri Drekonja live in Minneapolis. Kara is a nurse for United Hospital and Dimitri started his residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota.
- Melissa Bodle had a daughter, Megan, last January and is a program director for ACR Homes.
- John Bowers is a big wig VP dude at Personnel Express in Edina, MN.
- Matt Brown is a big shot lawyer in Rapid City, SD – formal title is deputy states attorney. Sounds scary! He’s also expecting a baby this November.
- I saw Emilee Burow at the bar one night in Minneapolis. It was fun to touch base again!
- Stephen Carpenedo is active in the Peace Corps and stationed in Europe.
- Lynn Cordes Kelly is a physicians assistant in family medicine in Yorktown, VA.
- Carrie Clubb Renner has a new baby boy, William, and is practicing law with a judge in Hastings, MN.
- Greg Crenshaw is a resident in family practice at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
- Rebecca Crosbie Meyer just finished her master’s of education degree and is now working for the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
- Ann Delgehausen is a production editor for Fortress Press in Minneapolis.
- Kristine Djerf is living in Chicago and is the Midwest sales manager for Czech Beer Importers. We know who to call for our next Gustie get-together!
- Tanya Dowd Taylor recently got married and lives in Clarksdale, Mississippi with her husband. Between the two of them, they have eleven children!!! She is for sure going to heaven. She is chief administrative officer of Mid-South Hospice and also runs her own grant writing business.
- Ronald Garrett Else recently got married and is living in Texas with his new bride, Jennifer, while he is pursuing his MBA. He’s also working for Harcourt Educational Measurement in San Antonio.
- We saw Ryan Else, who is a doctor now, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital when our father was having heart surgery.
- Matt Eppen runs a stellar golf tournament each summer to raise money for his basketball team in Ellendale, MN.
- I saw John Feistner at Chipotle in Maplewood, MN one sunny day – that was fun! He is married to Kari and just had another baby girl named Kailey in May. His other daughter, Olivia, just turned two. That makes three girls at home for John!
- Speaking of basketball, David Flom ’95, (OK, yeah, so he’s not our class but it’s still interesting) is the new assistant men’s basketball coach at Gustavus. We’re hoping this means free tickets, to an upcoming playoff game. Here’s hoping for another stellar year.
- Rachel Frojen is living in Longmont, CO – I’m not sure what she’s doing. Tell us, Rachel, for the next newsletter.
- Jody Frykman Nahlovsky and Mark Nahlovsky live in Minneapolis. Jody graduated from Hamline Law School in May and Nahvo works for Minnesota Life.
- Dave George and Tonya Johnson George had a baby boy, named Cap on 11/22/02.
- Darcie Gilbertson Jacobs is a doctor (of psychology) now too – she sees children and does diagnostic testing in Mankato, where she lives with her sweet husband, Michael Jacobs ’95.
- Kristen Glass is working for Augstana College in IL as a program associate.
- Laura Goucher is seriously one of the best band teachers there is (besides Dr. Nimmo, of course) and she teaches at the same school I work at, Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul, MN
- Brett Gross lives in Brainerd with his wife, Lynda, and they celebrated the 1st birthday of their son, Bruce.
- We ran into Kevin Grussing one night at Don Pablos with his beautiful wife.
- Julie Hahn is busy speaking publicly all over the state and country. She’s really good too!
- Melissa Hallberg and David Windschitl have a gorgeous little boy, Mason, born 5/31/03. Melissa teaches 1st grade in Chanhassen and David is a banker VP.
- Lance Hampton is attending grad school at the University of Pittsburgh for foreign and security studies. That sounds interesting.
- Joan Hartman is the director of education at Hamline United Methodist Church and has a new baby, Isaac.
- Nat Hemsted and his wife, Dana, live in St. Paul, MN. He’s got to be nearing the end of grad school in environmental biology.
- Brad Hepper and Janna Tuorila Hepper have an adorable baby girl, Abby, and I keep trying to convince them to take her baby modeling. Abby was born on 12/15/02. Brad works at Wells Fargo and Janna is still at her 1st job since college, EW Blanch (amazing!).
- Speaking of the Peterson’s, Heidi Heyer Peterson and Kip Peterson ’94 had a baby, Aaron, this past February.
- I know that Jen Houchens Birznieks and Derek Birznieks have a toddler. I bet a cutie! They’re in CO, where Jen is originally from. Derek now has his MBA from the University of Denver Daniels College of Business.
- Heidi Jacobsen works for the Bloomington Public Schools as a district mentor for grades 6-12.
- Aaron Johnston rocks! AJ, in just 3 short seasons as head coach of the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team, has taken the Jackrabbit program to new and higher levels, leading SDSU to its first national championship during the 2002-03 season. It was pretty cool to flip on the tube and see AJ himself ALL OVER ESPN!!!
- Kirsten Kimmel Reeck and Matt Reeck ’95 live in Winona, MN where Matt sells something financial. They have a darling boy, Jacob.
- Becca Klobuchar is FINALLY done with vet school and just moved to CO (by Sharp) to do something kind of like a residency. She’s renting a home in the mountains (I made that up, but her cell phone doesn’t work there, so it might be the mountains).
- Troy Knewtson and his wife Kelly (not a Gustie) own their own chiropractic clinic out in Excelsior, MN.
- Rebecca Konrad graduated with an MBA in finance this past May. She’ll be working at ING (you know that one with a lion).
- Kim Lacher Rauk is now a dentist. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in May.
- Jess Langerud is an RN in the Mercy Emergency Room and lives in Anoka, MN.
- Niki Langlie LeTourneau has a toddler and is pregnant with her 2nd child. She and Matt LeTourneau ’95 live in Southern MN where Niki is a salesperson for Hills Pet Nutrition.
- Laura LeVander Peters just got married a couple of weeks ago (September 6) in Minneapolis. She and her sweet husband, Mark, live in one of the funkiest condos I’ve ever seen near the warehouse district.
- Kayan Lewis lives in San Antonio, TX where she does consulting work in Community Pediatrics at the Health Center at the University.
- Kelly Laumann Miller lives in St. Peter, and is a Health and Phy Ed teacher at Riverbend Academy in Mankato. She also has 2 kids!
- Padrin Lundquist Grimstad and Ben Grimstad ’95 have a new baby boy, Gus, to add to their growing family. They live in Decorah, IA where Ben helps run his family bank.
- Paul Manley and his wife, Allison, had their 2nd baby boy, Bennett. Bennett joins the ranks at home with Maxwell, who is 2. Paul is a stockbroker VP dude for Feltl and Co. and they live in Edina, MN.
- Tom Marks ran as IR for the District 23A House of Representatives against Ruth Johnson this past year.
- Sara Mattson Mayfield and Shawn Mayfield (your other class agents) are moving to Lakeville, where Shawn is the youth pastor at a really cool church named Hosanna!
- Melissa McCarthy got married this past June (6/28). She teaches Spanish at St. Anthony Village High School.
- Jill Merkens Haddorff and Ryan Haddorff ’95 had a baby daughter named, Brook. Brook will be 1 on 11/8/02.
- Robyn Mesenbring Bradfeldt recently received her master’s degree in education and is a teacher at the Cyber Village Academy. I think I saw you on the news???
- Adam Nachand is living in Shakopee, and is the pharmacist-in-charge for Snyder Drug Store.
- Mark Ohlmann and his wife, Heidi, live in Shakopee where they work TOGETHER as physical therapists. Mark still runs, but his new hobby is getting around on a Harley.
- Jeff Olberding just got married to his sweetheart, Erin, and they live in Shakopee too. Jeff sells printing services for Allegra in Minneapolis.
- Thank God the Pagel that was killed from the deck falling in Chicago was NOT the same Pagel family from Minnetonka as Kara Pagel’s.
- Jill Pearson Wright has two beautiful boys, Jack and Sam, who was born 9/28/02. That made it look like they’re twins. They’re not. Jack is going to be 3, I think. They are the cutest little toe heads! Jill works for Great Clips (I think that was her first job out of college, too) doing marketing.
- Daniel Person lives in Bloomington, MN and continues to be funny as ever. If you’re looking for a good laugh, call Dan.
- Bryan Peters is in the military and is married with a little baby!
- Jill Petersen lives in Colorado, where she owns her own copy shop.
- Dana Peterson Nordberg and Mike Nordberg ’93 just welcomed their 2nd baby, Caiden to the world. Caiden joins their other daughter, Callie.
- Susan Peterson got married back in February and is living in Minneapolis.
- Steph Resch and John Moore finally got hitched last May. It’s about time!!!
- Erin Roalstad works her butt off at a fancy-dancy ad agency in LA. She’s also engaged to be married!
- Kristin Richardson Wilcox got married last winter and is living in North Liberty, IA.
- Jessica Roth is a public health nurse for Le Sueur County and had a son, Ryan William, last January.
- Julie Schuelke Trierwieler had a daughter named Morgan on February 15, 2003.
- Heather Sharp is now living in CO and she still works for Ryder transportation. I wonder if she’ll get together with Becca?
- Angi Sisson is an account executive in Sioux Falls, SD where she is building a home with her husband, Jeremy.
- Gia Smith and her husband, Jim, helped their daughter, McKinsie, celebrate her one year birthday in August. She is a first grade teacher in Owatonna, MN.
- Hans Snyder is married to Karen and has a cute little baby boy named, Jackson!
- Shradha Tailor Ahmed graduated in May from the University of Minnesota with her master’s in social work.
- Kara Tomczik is also married now and recently finished her MBC from the St. Thomas Graduate School of Business.
- Erin Walton lives in Minneapolis and is an account exec at Fallon Worldwide, a big, funky, ad agency.
- Nicole Wilkins Porter is a new mommy to son, Calvin, born on 6/26/03.
- Michael Zenk had a baby (I mean his wife did)! Her name is Natalie and she was born on 4/03/03.
- Trina Zwicker lives in IL now and is an asylum officer for the Bureau for Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Last, but not least, here’s what’s happening on the hill:
College opens 142nd Academic Year – More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.
Sculptor Paul Granlund ’52 dies – Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003, the same day his exhibit Retrospective opened as scheduled in the Hillstrom Museum of Art on the Gustavus campus. He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996. His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus. Retrospective will be displayed until November 9.
Gustavus Finishes sixth in Directors’ Cup – Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director’s Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs. Last year Gustavus placed 10th.
Chapel Program – The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel. In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends – visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.
Upcoming Events – call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437
- Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18
- Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington
- Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community -- October 24-25
- Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis -- October 25
- JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones ’83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4
- A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities – November 15
I look forward to talking with you at Phonorama in Mid-October!
Allie Vogt Newman
1996 Co-Class Agent
Shawn Mayfield Michele Goodwin Dahlen
1996 Co-Class Agent 1996 Co-Class Agent