Class of '96
January 2006

10-Year Reunion ― October 6 & 7, 2006

Dear Class of 1996,

Happy 2006!!  Kristen Paap Genet, here, guest letter writing the 1996 class letter.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but the past 10 years have flown by much more quickly than I ever thought possible, and we’re looking ahead to our 10-year reunion this fall!  Think back…10 years ago we were all getting ready to complete our LAST semester, and we were looking forward to graduation and all the exciting things that were ahead of us.  Look how far we’ve come since then…all the years of graduate school, career experience, marriages, children, exotic travels…I simply can’t wait to see you all at the reunion later this year.  We have a LOT of catching up to do!  Speaking of which…mark your calendars!! Our reunion is October 6-7, 2006.  On Friday, October 6, we will be getting together for the evening somewhere in the Twin Cities (location TBA) and Saturday, October 7, we will be in St. Peter.  There will be activities on campus as well as a picnic and additional family-oriented festivities at Swede Park (Minnesota Square).  Mark your calendar and bring the entire family!


You should be receiving a call from one of us on the reunion committee in the near future (if you haven’t heard from us already) to chat about the upcoming events.  It has already been such fun catching up with some of you over the past few months.  It really brings back great memories of the fun we had back then.  We’re looking forward to making new memories and catching up in person at our reunion.

Thanks to everyone who has given a contribution―our committee and Gustavus is grateful to you for your generosity!  We are hoping to make our goal and continue our strong record of giving as a class.  Anything you can do to help is welcomed and appreciated.  Here’s the link for giving online: it’s quick, easy and totally secure!  Don’t forget matching programs if you have them (United Way, Thrivent, etc.)―they really make a difference.

Since I am “guest writing” this class letter, I get the opportunity to tell you a little bit of what I have been up to these last 10 years…Since we last saw each other at graduation, I have gotten married (to John Genet in 1997), had two children (Sarah Elizabeth, born in 2001 and Anthony John, born in 2005), completed two graduate degrees in zoology and ecology (M.S. in 1999 and Ph.D. in 2004―both from Michigan State University – Go Spartans!) and FINALLY entered the workforce with a REAL job as a biology professor!  Things have changed since 1996 for all of us…any given weekend then, probably involved some sort of social get-together at one of St. Peter’s finest establishments, and now I find myself watching Disney movies and playing Chutes and Ladders or Go Fish as Friday night entertainment!  The biggest change in my life has been the unanticipated challenges and rewards that my kids have introduced into my life.  Although it would be nice to get 8 sequential hours of sleep without tending to an insomniac child (I’d even settle for 5 or 6 hours in a row!), I wouldn’t trade life as it is for anything else! 

I set many goals out for myself while I was still at Gustavus, and am happy to report that I have accomplished most of them in some way, shape, or form.  Ten years ago, I had set my ultimate career goal of obtaining a faculty position at a liberal arts college like Gustavus (even better if I could go back to Gustavus!!).  I actually interviewed for a tenure-tracked position in the biology department there just a couple months ago!  It was an amazing experience to be one of only three finalists invited to interview for my dream job.  I was able to interact with my professors as a colleague instead of a student, and it gave me an entirely different perspective on the Gustavus experience from the faculty point of view.  To make a long story short…I completely enjoyed my visit to campus in that context, but was not offered the position.  While I was disappointed at first (and I now completely understand how the silver or bronze medalist from the Olympics feels!), it’s for the best.  I have a great faculty position at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, MN, and relocating to start a new job would have placed many stressors on my family.  I also was able to come to the realization that I don’t have to accomplish every goal exactly as I set for myself 10 years ago; goals and priorities need to evolve as life happens…my family has allowed me to alter old goals and set new ones for the future. 

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:


  • Alison Kagol Anderson teaches 8th grade science in Edina.
  • Honnor Arganbright is an ESL lecturer at Leeward Community College in Honolulu, HI―she is also hosting the 10-year reunion…just kidding.
  • Sallie Park Barclay shares an optometrist practice with her husband in Alberta, Canada.  She also has two boys:  Jacob (2.5 yrs.) and Ben (4 months).
  • Julie Breeden Fryer is a human resource business partner at Intel Corporation.  Julie also completed her MBA in international business at Northeastern University.
  • Josh Gullekson is better known as the “real estate tycoon” of the Phoenix, AZ market―if you are already looking for that perfect retirement home he would be more than happy to assist.
  • Abra Holtzer Houchin was recently certified as a Labor doula―she also celebrated the birth of her third child, Merrick Blaise, on November 8, 2005.
  • Rebecca Hoffman is a sales associate at New Life Health Center in Arizona.
  • John Kerns, Kevin Dragseth, Doug Grimm and Chris Nesheim started a new band, Kerns and the Hemispheres.
  • Jennifer Krempin is employed as a senior writer at the law firm of Leonard, Street, and Deinard in Minneapolis.
  • Ryan Lennartson is doing human resources and organizational development work for the Hatch Company.
  • Gina Samarzia Martin is a product manager for Bausch and Lomb―she resides in Rochester, New York.
  • Robyn Mesenbring is teaching in a super cool environment where her students learn from home 3-days a week via the computer―she is teaching math.
  • Jason Mischel owns a bird products store ( as well as a golf supplies company (
  • Tammy Rademacher is a teacher at Waunakee Community High School.
  • Holly Bayer Seel recently won the American Society of Interior Designers Emerging Talent Award.
  • Liz Weidauer is a 2nd grade teacher at the Breck School―she also recently completed her master’s degree in teaching and learning from St. Mary’s University.


  • Kelle (Sauer) Anderson and Chris Anderson ’97 celebrated the birth of their daughter, Betsy Patricia, on January 1, 2005―is there any better way to start the New Year?
  • Kevin and Kristin (Short ’98) Gahart are the proud parents of son, Cullen Thomas, born September 18, 2005.
  • Congratulations to Brandon Lichty on the birth of his daughter, Lauren Elizabeth, on April 19, 2005.
  • Kristen Paap Genet and John Genet welcomed Anthony John (A.J.) on May 11, 2005.
  • Congratulations to Scott Lauinger on the birth of Emilia:  October 27, 2005.
  • Edward McIlveen celebrated the birth of Lindsey Elizabeth on October 14, 2005.
  • Jon Robelia celebrated the birth of Kian on January 22, 2005.
  • Jeff Seel celebrated the birth of Charles Henry on November 1, 2005.
  • Congratulations to Jennifer Olufson Tarara on the birth of twins Natalie Julianne (7 lbs. 2 oz.) and Samuel Andrew (7 lbs. 8 oz).
  • Alexander Paul Wagner was born to Faith (Handevidt) and Sheldon ’97 Wagner on November 12, 2005.


  • Another Gustie-Gustie marriage:  Peter Eckman and Erika Olson were married in June 2005.  Peter is chief resident in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota; Erika an associate veterinarian at Cedar Pet Clinic in Minneapolis.
  • Molly Jo Otting married Anthony Tellijohn on the beach in Nassau, Bahamas on October 28, 2004.  Molly is employed as a manager in national audit and accounting at McGladrey & Pullen.

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! 


Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus continues to be a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  Consistent with its mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus was ranked seventh in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of the institute’s "Open Doors 2005" report.  Gustavus was one of four Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20.  The report was based on study abroad statistics from the 2003-04 academic year.  Gustavus students engage in international learning through various programs in more than 100 locations throughout the world, ranging from Australia to India and Ecuador to Sweden.  In recent years, 50 percent of Gustavus graduates have participated in at least one study-abroad experience.

New Carnegie Classification for Colleges and Universities

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a new classification system for institutions of higher education.  Gustavus’ classification is Arts & Sciences plus Professions, indicating that 60 to 80 percent of Gustavus students complete traditional liberal arts major, such as political science, classics, or biology.  The new classifications describe five aspects of colleges and universities: instructional programs, enrollment profile, undergraduate demographics, size, and setting.  Undergraduate instructional programs are now designated as Arts & Sciences Focus, Arts & Sciences plus Professions, Balanced Arts & Sciences and Professions, Professions plus Arts & Sciences, or Professions Focus. 

Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association, in partnership with Meyer and Associates and Liberty Mutual, offers an insurance program to alumni and their families.  Products include insurance policies for life, short-term medical, auto, home, and renters.  For life and short-term medical insurance call Meyer and Associates at 800-635-7801 or visit  For auto, home, and renters insurance call Liberty Mutual at 800-524-9400 or visit

Gustavus to Perform at Orchestra Hall

The Gustavus Music Showcase will be Sunday, March 12, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  The Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Gustavus Wind Orchestra will perform.  This is a unique opportunity to hear three premier ensembles from Gustavus in one concert.  This showcase also allows prospective students, parents, and alumni from the area to meet and connect.  For tickets, call the Orchestra Hall box office at 800/292-4141.  Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students 18 and under.


Two big stories from the fall sports are that Hailey Harren won the national NCAA Division III cross country title and the men’s soccer team became the first MIAC school to play in the national championship game and finished second, losing 1-0 to defending national champion Messiah.  For the second consecutive year, men's soccer coach Larry Zelenz has been named Coach of the Year in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas NCAA Division III West Region.  The men's hockey team is unbeaten in conference play, outscoring their opponents 28-5 in four games.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra toured Eastern Europe Jan. 14-30.  Performances were scheduled for Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Austria.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Jan. 27-Feb. 11 (see schedule below), with performances in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel will tour during Spring Semester.

Gustavus Choir Tour Schedule

  • January 27 at Augustana Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, 7:30 p.m.
  • January 28 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Grand Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
  • January 29 at Zion Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids, 8:30 a.m. morning service
  • January 29 at Concordia Lutheran Church, Duluth, 3 p.m.
  • January 30 at Bemidji High School Auditorium, Bemidji, 7 p.m.
  • January 31 at First Lutheran Church, Morris, 7 p.m.
  • February 2 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Marshfield, WI, 7:30 p.m.
  • February 3 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Brainerd, 7:30 p.m.
  • February 4 at Central Lutheran Church, Winona, 7 p.m.
  • February 5 at Faith Lutheran Church, Winona, 8 a.m. morning service
  • February 5 at First Lutheran Church, Red Wing, 2 p.m.
  • February 11 at Christ Chapel, Saint Peter, 7:30 p.m.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Tucson, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 10
  • Phoenix, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 11
  • Sun City, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 12
  • Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall - March 12
  • Atlanta, GA Gustie Gathering - March 26

Blessings in 2006!

Kristen Paap Genet

1996 Guest Letter Writer