Class of '96
May 2004

Happy May Day!  Happy 30th Birthday to Laura LeVander Peters and Happy Anniversary to Brad and Janna (Tuorila) Hepper.  As I write this letter, I am between shows for the annual spring musical at the school where I work.  The thought occurred to me that there are three other Gusties (also G-Band alumni) who play in the pit band with me under the superb direction of Laura Goucher and it’s so fun to think that all four of us have that experience in common.

There’s not much to write this spring, since it seems like just yesterday that the last letter was sent out (because we were late).  Also, I’m writing solo this time because Shawn is traveling for work.  So―please forgive the lack of content.


I have an idea for our fall class letter.  When I was doing Phonorama this year, I talked to classmate, Chris Speake (you know, Ken’s son from KARE 11) for quite some time about him owning a new Tires Plus store and this spring, when it came time for four new tires on Justin’s car, I decided to call Speaker.  It turned out that we got a quote for a major tire store in the Twin Cities that was about $250 more expensive than what Chris would do it for!  Then, when something fairly costly was wrong, he honestly told us our options.  I was so relieved that he was helping us because I most always feel ripped off by those places.  He promised that he wasn’t giving away the farm and still making something, but he cut us a serious deal.  The point of this story is that I realized many of us could really benefit from each other’s professional services and goods.  Therefore, consider the next class letter free advertising to over 600 prospects, even if you don’t specifically “sell” something.  Who knows what we might need someday from each other―everyone needs clients to be successful!  What I want you to do (if you’d like to be included) is send the following information to me via email at by September 2004.  I’ll help Shawn put them together for this fall.  Here is an example of what I would like.

Chris Speake              Owner, Tires Plus Store            Rogers, MN        W: (763) 428-5050


A HUGE thank you those of you who have helped make this year’s fund a success for the Class of 1996.  Your support means so much to Gustavus’ future, the students who attend, and to us, your class agents.  Just as we were helped by alumni, your annual gift to Gustavus helps current students continue to attend.  If you haven’t yet given―there’s still time.  The fund’s fiscal year closes on May 31 – so go online ASAP and submit your gift.  We’ll have the results of our efforts for you this fall.


  • Jennifer Krempin just finished her first year of law school.
  • Dana Wojtowicz had a baby boy in April.  Bodee weighed 8 lbs.
  • Mark Haglin has a 10-month-old son, named Trevor.
  • Gregory Crenshaw is doing his family practice residency.
  • Jason Kuerschner is working at Citizens Bank in Norwood-Young America as a loan officer.
  • Ross Malin is an IT person and just got married in February to Amy.
  • Jane Pallo and Tieg Britton had a baby boy way back in December named Aiden.
  • Jen Knoebel and John Messerschmidt had a daughter, Ellie, a whole year ago.  Jen is an RN at Children’s in Minneapolis.
  • Shane Petrich is a PC/LAN engineer for Wells Fargo.
  • Nate Shores is a remarketing manager for Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
  • Matt Lundeen is special agent at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Stacy Klein is graduating in May from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
  • Matt and Joy Brown had a baby, Nancy Briley, in November of last year.
  • Eva Peterson got married on December 22 to Andreas Hendrickson.
  • Meilan Smith and Billy Freda had a baby, Sage, two years ago―holy crap―we’re a little late on that one.
  • Matt Lind got married last year to Ann in Duluth.
  • Jodie Miske and Matt Greer finally got married last September 20.  Did I mention we saw them at the Galleria one day?
  • Tom Marks was a candidate for the Mankato School Board―does anyone know if he got the appointment?
  • John and Jennie Schaefer Vano live in Madison―John is a post-doc in math and Jennie is a librarian.
  • Scott and Jamie (Embretson ’97) Lauinger had a baby, Caroline, last October.
  • Kara Pagel Erchull is a teacher in New Berlin, WI! 
  • Jared Peterson is a lawyer in New Ulm.  He works part-time for Schell’s as the top taster dude.
  • Kelly Laumann Miller just built a new house and has two boys, Will and John.
  • Holly (Bayer) and Jeff Seel had a daughter, Madeline, last August.
  • Stacey (Thostenson) and Brent Harrold have TWINS―daughters, Emma and Abby!
  • Rachel (Frojen) and Keith Parrinello had a baby boy, Nathan, last September.
  • Jenn Addler Bloomquist is teaching in Forest Lake.
  • Julie Breeden Fryer just got married last August.
  • Jody (Diers) and Jonathan Schendel had a son, Jackson, last August.
  • Lynn Cordes Kelly is a physician assistant in family medicine and had a (big―almost 9 lbs.) daughter last November.
  • Shradha Tailor Ahmed is a therapist at an agency doing social work.
  • Ryan Lennartson does organizational development and human resources work for Celestica Corporation.
  • Christopher Eggers is living in sunny San Diego and is a Ph.D. in biochemistry.
  • Anne Nakanishi Schlukebier is going to become a 5-12 science teacher.  Good luck!
  • Jay Rasmusson has two kids now and is a partner in a car and marine dealership up in Mora.
  • Melissa McCarthy got married last June to Robert Appelhof.
  • R. Garrett Else got married last August and is living in Texas.


On a serious note, Justin and I have exciting news!  We are in the very final stages of adopting a baby boy from Korea (named Sam) and should be back with him this summer.  We have so enjoyed our friends and families children and after seven years of marriage, we are thrilled to finally become parents.  It’s a little scary to think about how drastically our lives will change, but the thought of having a child of our own will far outweigh any of the sacrifices we will make for him.  For those of you who have ever considered adoption, I would highly recommend it.  It’s been a wonderful process for both of us and if anyone is ever interested in learning more about it, please feel free to ask.  Obviously, being adopted at seven months, it has been a huge part of my life and now, I truly mean that I have come full circle by adopting Sam.  As a result―I probably won’t be writing the fall class letter (with the exception of the above advertising stuff) so have a great summer and fall!

Allie Vogt Newman ‘96

PS:  Oh, there’s a correction from a previous letter―I got chewed out by Mark Ohlmann recently for telling all of you he drives a Harley.  Whatever.  I guess he drives a different brand, but to me they are all Harleys and the whole point was “can you believe he drives a BIKE????!!!!”

P.P. S.  The Alumni Office will add some campus news here:

President Peterson inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson ’64 was inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18, included a symposium featuring Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, tree dedication, Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, G.I.V.E. community service day in St. Peter, music concert, art exhibition, and an alumni reception preceding the Nobel Symphony Concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven’t given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus’ annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Alumni survey

An alumni survey was sent to 2,000 members of reunion classes.  Approximately 600 have responded as of April 1.  Questions on the survey consist of how well Gustavus prepared them for employment and graduate education, activities involved in while at Gustavus, personal growth skills, alumni events and services, and overall satisfaction with the College.  Results of the survey will be included in the Fall Quarterly.

Winter sports summary

Women’s basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men’s basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men’s hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women’s hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men’s swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women’s swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men’s Nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women’s Nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6–1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women’s indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships. 

Did you know …

  • Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.
  • There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.
  • More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.
  • For student safety, the campus is well-lit, there is 24-hour Safety and Security patrol and escort service, residence halls are locked 24 hours a day, and there are blue light emergency phones throughout campus linked directly to Safety and Security.
  • And looking back -- during the college’s early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.

Upcoming events

  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunions – May 28 & 29
  • Commencement – May 30
  • Alumni Fund closes – May 31
  • Class reunions on Homecoming & Family Weekend – October 1 & 2