Class of '96
January 2005

Dear Class of 1996,

THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU!  The class of 1996 continued to be a major supporter of the Alumni Fund once again this year.  Your continued support makes it much easier for Allie, Michelle and me to show our faces on campus each Fall for the annual Class Agents’ Day.  If you are still a skeptic and do not contribute to the Alumni Fund we will still include your news in our class letter, but please remember all those alumni who walked Eckman Mall before us and made our memories possible…do you feel guilty yet?  That is not my intention – overall our class ROCKS!

I know it is winter, but who wants to hear about snow (or the lack of) and below freezing temperatures?  This fall, all three of us were blessed to hear the vision for Gustavus for the next five years under President Peterson’s leadership.  His passion for the college is evident in his words and actions.  Several new buildings are being erected (Wahlstrom is finally being demolished) as well as a renewed commitment to student and faculty excellence!  He challenged all of us to wear our Gustie colors with pride.  We even got free stickers for our cars to display our school spirit.

It was my goal to interview a fellow alum for this letter, but once again time has slipped away.  So I have a better idea…next year will be our 10th Anniversary (yes…don’t be in denial, you are old) and I thought it would be fun to see what everyone has been up to.  Below are listed some categories, if you fit one (or more) of them please send me your info. via email ( and I will compile it for the next class letter.  This will kind of be like one of those high school graduation contests (“best athlete,” etc.).

            ■ Still has not had a full-time job since graduation (excuses are accepted).

            ■ Most children

            ■ Lived/worked or attended graduate school abroad

            ■ Spent the most time in jail (just kidding J … I hope)

            ■ Lived in the most states/countries since graduation

            ■ Been married the longest (pre-graduation marriages accepted)

            ■ Held one job (stayed with the same employer) the longest

            ■ Believes they have held the strangest job since graduation

            ■ Believes they have had the most unique experience since graduation (keep the story    short please)

            ■ Met a famous person

Campus News:

Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus.  To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added.  Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester

Did you know that the college has gone wireless? Wireless computing, that is? Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs. Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.

Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon.  The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.  The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.

The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December. The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Announcing a new tool for all Alumni: The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.

The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy.  It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you.  Check it out today at

The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004. To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
  • New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
  • Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
  • Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
  • Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
  • Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
  • Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
  • Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
  • Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30

And now, here is an update on what your classmates have been up to lately.  If you would like to update your e-mail addresses, please inform the Alumni Office at the Gustavus homepage at:


  • Last we heard, Leah Abraham was moving to Guatemala to open a new hospital – has anyone heard from her?
  • Robyn Bipes is currently a graduate student in public policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.
  • Libby Mensing Esterle started a new position with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a marketing and communications manager.
  • Lars Erickson has been found!  After noticing his name on the “lost alumni” list he has surfaced as the national press coordinator for the John Kerry for President Campaign – perhaps he would rather go underground again – either way, what a tremendous accomplishment!
  • Kristen Paap Genet is employed with the biology faculty at Anoka Ramsey Community College.
  • David Holdhusen is currently pursuing his Ph.D in music education at Florida State University.
  • Lynn Cordes Kelly is now working as a physician’s assistant at Virginia Oncology Associates in Williamsburg, VA.
  • Laura Norman Koga was married to Tomohiro on March 3, 2004 in Kauai, Hawaii – is there anywhere better to get married?  Laura was also selected to the National Council of Japanese Language Teachers.
  • Ellen Korbach is employed as a principal supply chain and process analyst with Medtronic – did we mention she also graduated from the Carlson School of Management in May 2004 with a master’s degree in supply chain and marketing.
  • Jeanne Dilling Lee is the director of Tutor Time Learning Center in Rosemount, MN.
  • Sean Maguire has finished his master’s in educational leadership and is employed at Camelot Elementary – I wonder what the dress code is there?  Perhaps a suit of armor to go with that beautiful breastplate.
  • Denise (Kisely) and Milo Martin are excited to share some new professional news.  Denise is a nursing student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Milo is a professor (and bread winner) there.
  • Rachel Roberts Oppitz is a naturopathic doctor with Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic – perhaps she could write us and explain what a naturopathic doctor is.
  • Marit Gorder Peters is an employee development specialist with Manuel Lujan Insurance Agencies in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Rachel Frojen Parrinello is employed as a GIS technician with Boulder County in Colorado.
  • Valerie Ruha is employed as the northeast regional manager for Novus Print Media – she also bought her first house…enjoy mowing the lawn!
  • Melissa Stevens is employed as the director of physical therapy at Rehability in Illinois – she has agreed to offer free physical therapy for all 1996 alumni (just kidding).  Last May, she graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy from Washington University!


  • Kara Pagel Erchull celebrated the birth of Logan Edward on March 5 – she is enjoying staying at home with him full-time!
  • Damon and Tracy (Prin ’97) Klaphake are excited to announce the birth of Chelsea Elizabeth on May 11, 2004. 
  • Jody (Frykman) and Mark Nahlovsky are excited to share the news of the birth of William Campbell on June 12, 2004 – they are eagerly awaiting that scholarship for children of Gustie-Gustie marriages.
  • Jessica (Hendrickson) Oslowski celebrated the birth of Chase Dylan on August 28, 2004.
  • Susan Peterson and Lee Schatschneider had a baby girl, Sabine, on September 12, 2004.
  • Josh and Amy (Schoeneck) Rother celebrated the birth of their first child, Carter Jon, on February 2, 2004.  Josh is employed with St. Louis University Hospitals in Illinois.  Amy is employed with Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative.
  • Edward Sbertoli celebrated the birth of twin boys, Lane and Chase, on April 21, 2004 – diaper donations can be sent to Clinton, Iowa in care of the Sbertolis.
  • Krista (Vanderhoof) Gunderson had a baby girl, Madeline, on November 21, 2003.


  • Kimberly (Thiel) Behning married Carl on October 9, 2004.
  • Gisella (Oblitas) Lukensmeyer was married to Nathan on November 26, 2004.  They are currently living in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
  • Jody Olson and Jon De St. Hubert ’97 were married at the Olson family cabin on August 21, 2004.
  • Erin Roalstad joined in marriage with Jeff Bossin on July 25, 2004.
  • Ryan Schmidt was married to Darcy in January 2003.
  • Heidi Jacobsen Simons was married to Michael in July – the couple resides in Shoreview.
  • Carolyn Swenson married Kent Rebehn on October 10, 2004.  She is employed with Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly.
  • Erin Walton and John Kerns are excited to announce their engagement (another Gustie-Gustie wedding).  To celebrate, they are inviting the entire class of 1996 – just kidding!

Please keep sharing with your classmates the wonderful personal and professional accomplishments each of you are achieving – it is amazing to hear about what has happened during the past eight years! 

Michele Goodwin Dahlen          Shawn Mayfield                        Allie Vogt Newman