Class of '97
January 2007

10-Year Reunion ― October 12 &13, 2007

Happy New Year!

As part of communication for our up coming reunion you’ll be receiving monthly class letters (give or take a month here and there!) from now until the big weekend in October.  We hope this will keep everyone well informed about the activities, and offer you more chances to hear from/about your classmates.  Because of the more frequent letters, we are looking for four more volunteers to do the “guest writer” portions; if you are interested, please contact us at  Please also continue to submit your new/updated information to the alumni office!

            Ahhh, J-Term.  Don’t you wish we still had the chance to have a “concentrated study” in just one topic for a month?  To be able to focus on a single class allowed for other “pursuits” on, and off, campus.  We were able to play broomball, sled down The Hill on caf trays (we still have two in our basement), and engage in activities that in the adult world now seem either frivolous or luxurious.  There were classes like “FORTRAN” that consumed all free time:  I don’t think I saw Rauha Rahkola or Keith Mayo for a whole month.  It was a time of Man vs. Nature as the wind howled and the dorm seemed so far away.  And no evening rehearsals or labs meant more frequent outings to Mankato, or “downtown” St. Peter.

            J-Term had the noble goal of providing an atmosphere of concentration in a choice of varied topics.  During our years we took Small Group Jazz Ensemble, Science of New Material, Hollywood Politics, Human Anatomy, and Contemporary Church.  Can you imagine a corporation today offering an equivalent atmosphere of concentration and self-direction?

            If I could register for J-Term today, I’d want to pick something like “The Psychology Behind Vikings Fans:  A Study in Optimism,” but would likely have to select something much more practical like “30-30 Minute Meals” by guest instructor Rachael Ray.  At the time, did I realize how lucky I was to spend a month getting college credit playing a part in Kevin Myers’ movie “Consumption” (Acting for the Camera)?  Sure, the fake vomit was real enough to make me gag, but all in all, it was a pretty good gig.

            The J-term experience taught the benefit of concentration and the importance of keeping time from being overfilled.  Corporate productivity targets and daily schedules all but prevent the idyllic focus that was ours during J-Term.  This winter, we encourage you to reconnect with a J-Term mindset and evaluate how areas of your current life were influenced by Gustavus.  Maybe, like us, you will realize just how indebted you are to have spent some time on The Hill.  We are grateful for intangible gifts like humility, faith, and friendship.  The reunion will give you a chance to reconnect with those things, personal and otherwise, that have influenced your life.

            Maybe you want to say hello to that roommate whose address didn’t survive your move(s) across the country (Hi, Tracy Prin Klaphake), or dance another cha cha with those social dance partners.  (Light it up Antony Sargent and Jen Blake-Krueger).  What if you need to return a leisure suit to Rob Maas that got thrown into your moving box on Graduation Day?  Bring it to the reunion!  But in any case, now that you have your 2007 calendars up…set aside October 12-13 for our 10 Year Class Reunion!  Put the enclosed magnet on your refrigerator door to help remind you that it’s coming up!

Barb (Freimuth) & Shannon Siefken

Reunion communication chairs

Giving Update

Through November, 47 of us have donated to the Alumni Fund.  If you look online at: you can track our class progress.  So far, we’ve reached 10% of our goal with only 8% class participation.  We are well on our way to the “one year tuition” goal and hope you feel inclined to join in.  Please give consideration to how Gustavus has influenced your life for the better in your decision to donate.

Class News


  • Josh Heugel and Anne Mealey had a son, Callum James, on March 29, 2006.
  • Kathie Kienetz Oberg and husband, Bobby, welcomed baby boy, Alec, on June 6, 2006.
  • Dawn Quast Kratzke and husband, Paul, adopted a baby girl, Amelia, from China on October 24, 2006.
  • Kevin Vanderwerf Myers and Becky Vanderwerf Myers ’98 welcomed baby girl, Zoey Lynn, on March 24, 2006.

Career News

  • Troy Bachmann is working for American Family Insurance.
  • Stephen Bryden is a substitute teacher for Fort Wayne Community Schools.
  • Betsy Maloney-Leaf is a dance instructor at the Main Street School of Performing Arts.
  • Carrie Bauer Schliep is a fifth grade teacher in Cannon Falls.
  • Jeana Ruehling Wibstad is a second grade teacher in Sibley East Schools.
  • Tara Madsen Smart is a school psychologist in Missoula, Montana.
  • Philip Smart is a service manager for Stafford Fitness.
  • Heather Duggan Anderson is an art teacher in Canby, Oregon.
  • Emily Miller is a specialty pharmacy coordinator for Fairview University.
  • Matthew Menge is a postal worker for the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Jennifer Blake-Krueger is an administrative assistant for the Valders Area School District in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
  • Adam Beduhn works for Ingenetix.
  • Angela Stene has relocated to Africa.
  • Christian Hanninen is a logistics consultant for C.H. Robinson Company.
  • Josh Heugel is a Sales Engineer for Imaje USA.
  • Jennifer Pleuss Spande is a political economics officer, and was selected as “Labor Officer of the Year” by Secrectary of State Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
  • Kevin Vanderwerf Myers is owner of Humdinger TV and director/producer of “Intramural Glory,” recently the #1 rated sports video on YouTube.  He has also won seven regional Emmy Awards for his work with Fox 9/My 29 Television.
  • Shelley Weber Hillestad is director of health services for Garnette Gardens.
  • Brian Plowman is an independent contractor for FedEx Ground.
  • JoAnna Bultman Plowman is a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Jessica Hall Burns is a designer for Parascope Design.

Campus News

Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  Theatre Reunion May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by admission to the cast party on February 10.  The Cherry Orchard will be Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast includes:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance is expected for this unique celebration, so order your tickets soon.  For more information and to order tickets, go to the Cherry Orchard site from <>.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, Realtor, or other professional?  Make it a Gustie!  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website at:  <>.

Career Connections with Students

Sign up now for the 2007 Gustavus Career Connections Reception.  The reception will be Monday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.  The gathering allows Gustavus alumni to provide advice, encouragement, and career networking opportunities to Gustavus students seeking internships and career opportunities.  Alumni are invited to attend and assist current students in their career search.  You do not have to be hiring at your company to attend – just willing to share your experience.  E-mail the Career Center at or call 507/933-7586 if you can attend or want more information.

Give Every Year to Gustavus?

Do you give to Gustavus every year and plan to give every year in the future?  Then you should become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Members of the Cec Eckhoff Society simply make the public commitment that they plan to give financially to Gustavus every year.  It does not matter how much you give and this is not a formal pledge for a certain amount of money.  Cec Eckhoff ’56 led the alumni office from 1963-1994.  Cec believed that part of being an alum of Gustavus was to give monetarily each year to the College.  To become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society, please call The Gustavus Fund office toll-free at 866/487-3863 or e-mail <>.  Thank you for your support of Gustavus!

Summer Sport Camps at Gustavus

Gustavus’ strong athletic tradition is evident with numerous summer sports camps featuring knowledgeable coaching staffs, acclaimed athletic facilities, and quality dining service and housing accommodations.  Camps offered this year include: golf, hockey, basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, throwing, and swimming.  For more information go to <> or contact the Athletic Department at 507/933-7617.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus String Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances are scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra will be in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • The Cherry Orchard Gala Performance – February 10
  • Orlando Gustie Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Gustie Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18