Class of '97
October 2001

Dear Classmates of 1997,

As the fall colors change, Gustavus has welcomed a new crop of students.  Can you believe that these new undergrads were babies in 1983?  These freshmen were born when Boy George was at the height of popularity!  I bet they have no idea what they missed!  You know there is a generation gap when you can’t understand why these freshmen don’t want their jeans to fit.  What’s up with that?  In fact, we are getting so old that our FIVE-YEAR REUNION is fast approaching.  That’s right, five years.  We’ve been out of college longer than we were there.  So, plan on spending some time back at Gustavus next fall.  It will be a great opportunity to hang out and forget that we are actually all now responsible, tax-paying citizens.  Mark your calendars for Homecoming weekend, September 20-21, 2002.  There will be an event on Friday night, as well as events all day Saturday.  Speaking of which, we would like to form a Reunion Committee to plan the events.  If you are interested, please contact the Alumni Office or us.  We hope to hear from you! 

This year, we have a new initiative happening.  You will be contacted most likely via email for a donation to The Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Our college relies heavily on support from it's alumni to keep many of services and programs they provide to current students.  In fact, it was alumni giving that made our own Gustavus experiences that much more rewarding.  Now we turn to each of you, and ask, can you provide a donation to help others like you who are currently attending Gustavus?  We aren’t asking you to break the piggy bank; any and every dollar makes a difference.  Please consider Gustavus as we reach this five-year milestone.  The class that celebrated their 50-year reunion this year had 74% of the class give to the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same?  We aren’t asking for large donations, just give!  Just $5 a month could

Buy 1 keg (of root beer) and ice cream for floats by the Peer Assistants

Supply one season’s worth of pucks for the hockey team

Buy one library acquisition

Buy a pair of waders for the freshwater biology studies program

Campus News:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who will gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference will included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive 10-course banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 13.  Numerous sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country are participating in the event.  Contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or for more information or visit the events section of the alumni page at

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

And now, here’s 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’ll be sure to include your news!  Additionally, if you’d like to update your e-mail addresses, please inform the Alumni Office at the Gustavus home page at :

The test came back positive…

  • Mark and Julie Peplinski Bowles welcomed baby girl, Charlotte, in July 2001. 
  • Gordon and Tami Lentz Greenwaldt, said hello to their baby girl, Madison Paige, on March 3, 2000.
  • Ryan and Katie Detmer Harnetiaux, welcomed beautiful baby girl, Reilly Jane, on July 3, 2001.
  • Paul and Alison Davis Manley added Maxwell to their family on April 10, 2001.
  • Shane ’96 and Denise Pulis Petrich, became parents of baby boy, Connor Jordan, on October 22, 2000.
  • Wes and Kristi (Berg ’96) Schuck welcomed baby girl, Keely, on December 3, 2000.
  • Shane ’95 and Kim (Smith) Wernsing brought baby girl Amelia Carleen into the world on February 2, 2001.

As if one four-year degree wasn’t enough…

  • Kate Blanchard is studying public administration at the University of Colorado, Denver. 
  • Heidi Shellum Bredlow completed her master's of arts and organizational management from the University of Phoenix in February 2001.
  • Stacy Dunekacke graduated from the University of Minnesota; Carlson School of Management MBA program in May 2001.
  • Liz Fell has completed her physician’s assistant training from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL.  Liz has taken a position at the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI.
  • Eric Gilbertson is in his first year of podiatry surgical residency at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, WA.
  • Jeffrey Gustafson is in graduate school as a political science major.
  • Katie Detmer Harnetiaux graduated with a master’s degree in teaching, Seattle, WA, May 2001.
  • Judy Hensley is in a Ph.D. of philosophy program at the University of Chicago.
  • Joleen Hubbard is attending the University of Minnesota Medical School. 
  • Matt Lindberg graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine on May 26, 2001.
  • Kim Miller is in graduate school at UCLA in chemistry.
  • Kristine Morrell is attending the MBA program at the University of Chicago.  
  • Brian Ohnsorg is attending the University of Minnesota working toward a master's degree in vocal performance.
  • Julie Buerkle Radniecki has graduated from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, with a master's of science in counseling and student affairs.  She will start her position in the fall as an elementary school counselor at Menahga Elementary School, Menahga, MN. 
  • Shanda Reinke is a biochemistry student at the University of Minnesota.
  • Kristi Edmondson Samaddar graduated from Indiana School of Medicine on May 13, 2001 and began her residency training at the University of Michigan.
  • Kathleen Schiltz is attending graduate school in Seattle, WA, studying marriage and family therapy.
  • Brenda Thomas is currently working on her certificate in web design at Webster University in St. Louis, MO.
  • Jill Watson Swanson graduated from Idaho University in speech pathology, May 2001. 

Didn’t win the latest Powerball…

  • Cole Anderson is a claims representative with State Farm Insurance Company. 
  • Jill Buhse Anderson is a music buyer with Best Buy Company.
  • Jaime Appelwick is a case management assistant with National HealthCare Resources. 
  • Adam Beduhn is a project leader with Tek Systems.
  • Neil Bentley is a sales representative at BASD Corporation, St. Charles, IL. 
  • Chris Choukalas is a market research analyst with Med Probe.
  • Jennifer Johnson Cords is working at Lutheran Brotherhood. 
  • Ben Ellerbusch is an engineer with Optical Crosslinks Incorporated.
  • Andy Feyder, and wife, Rebecca (Nelson ’99), are Peace Corps volunteers in the Kindom of Tonga, South Pacific.  Andy is initiating a school music program as well as teaching guitar and English in Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College. 
  • Tami Lentz Greenwaldt is a pathology lab assistant at the Mayo Clinic. 
  • Andy Gunsaullus is a climber with De La Guarda, New York, NY.
  • Jen Gysbers is a speech and video teacher along with co-executive director of a high school arts academy at Moreno Valley High School in Moreno Valley, CA. 
  • Christy Merritt Ignaszewski is a finance account at Albert Lea Medical Center. 
  • Jason Jacobs is a physical therapist at Owatonna Hospital.
  • Ryan Lamberty is head gymnastics coach and track and field coach at Minneapolis South West High School.
  • Johan Linder is a consultant with CMG Telecommunications & Utilities, En Den Haag, Netherlands. 
  • Lane Magnuson is an associate planner for Scott County.
  • Sarah Guggisberg Mayer works at Wells Fargo Mortgage. 
  • Jason McDonald is an assistant registrar at Capella University in Minneapolis.
  • Bradley Nuss is vice-president of Mack Trucks of Rochester Dealer Group, Rochester, MN.
  • Jessica Lobben Nybakken is a chemotherapy infusion nurse at Minnesota Oncology and Hematology. 
  • Lee Peterson is a band director at St. Francis High School.
  • Angie Sands is yield control agent at Northwest Airlines. 
  • Natalie Spilde is director of youth and family ministries at Our Saviors Lutheran Church.
  • Aaron Teasdale is a freelance writer and photographer in Missoula, MT.
  • Tina Smith Walker works for Lutheran Brotherhood at the desktop management center. 
  • Jeana Ruehling Wibstad is a second grade teacher at Sibley East-Gaylord.
  • Reba Williams is a registered nurse, first lieutenant, in the U.S. Army at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. 
  • Stephanie Wiltgen is a nanny in Van Nuys, CA.
  • Kate Youngdahl is an executive assistant at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…

  • Chris Anderson and Kelle Sauer ’96 were married on December 2, 2000.
  • Arlene Bertoni is engaged to Mike Mancini.  They are planning a June 2002 wedding. 
  • Julie Brouwer and Steven Dvergsten were married at Christ Chapel on June 16, 2001.
  • Mike Collard and Heather Fitch ’96 were married on September 29, 2000 in Mankato, MN.
  • Alan Doud and Kristen Franz were married on May 19, 2001.  The couple now lives in San Diego, CA.
  • Kristi Edmondson was married to Kris Samaddar on May 19, 2001. 
  • Karin Foster is engaged to Daryl Vavrichek ’99.  An October wedding is planned. 
  • Rich Johnson and Holly Westphal were married in May 2001 and reside in Bloomington, MN. 
  • Tami Lentz and Gordon Greenwaldt were married on October 9, 1999.
  • Jessica Lobben and Brent Nybakken were married on February 24, 2001. 
  • Kate Melchert and Aaron Langer were married on March 31, 2001.
  • Robroy MacIver and Colette Cloutier were married on October 28, 2000 in St. Paul, MN. 
  • Kristopher Newman and Kelly Nelson were married on June 23, 2001 in Hudson, WI.
  • Bradley Nuss and Rebecca Mackie were married on April 28, 2001.
  • Julie Peplinski and Mark Bowles were married in September 2000. 
  • Lee Peterson and Danielle Goulet are engaged to be married on October 20, 2001.
  • Jeana Ruehling and Clint Wibstad were married on July 8, 2000.  
  • Leah Schultz and Jeff Cook are engaged to be married in June 2002. 
  • Tina Smith and Ralph Walker were married on June 2, 2001, in Red Wing, MN.   The couple resides in St. Louis Park, MN. 
  • Aaron Teasdale and Jacqueline Rubino were married on June 17, 2000.
  • Brenda Thomas and Graham Schnettler are engaged to be married on May 25, 2002. 
  • Tiffany Wild and Brian Mikolichek were married on October 14, 2000. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with those of you who have been affected by last month’s tragic events.  It is times like this that make us all remember what we are thankful for, and we hope that you, your family, and friends are safe.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Melissa LeVesque Piela                                                Jon Swanson                                             

Josh Peterson                                                              Stef Tucker