Class of '97
April 2007

10-Year Reunion ― October 12 &13, 2007

There is a silly joke from my childhood that I always think about this time of year: 

April showers bring May flowers; What do Mayflowers bring?........Pilgrims.

It was funny when I was in 3rd grade, but now I think of it just because it is so silly.  But in this riddle is the procession of nature―cause and effect.  From a collegiate perspective, I guess April showers bring SPRING BREAK.  This academic break seemed to generate more excitement than any break during the year.  It seemed like during this break friends were planning to travel together.  Groups were headed all over.  The variety took one group to ski in Colorado, another on a “Habitat” trip to the South, still another to adventure in Mexico (think neon flyers all over the dorms).  These were great trips that were planned and discussed within a circle of friends.

See if you can capture the spirit of Spring Break for this year’s reunion.  Like any good trip it will take some discussion and planning, but it is sure to make memories.  Why don’t you dig out one of those spring break photos and see who is in the picture that you would really like to see again?  Give them a call and then send us the photo.

We have started to receive some Gustie photos!  THANK YOU!  If you haven’t looked yet, round yours up and send us copies (.jpg files preferred) of classic pics taken during our years on the Hill.  They will be included in the video montage by Kevin Vanderwerf Myers and Josh Peterson that will run on Friday night at Brit’s Pub.  Send emails to: and hard copies or burned CDs (available for pick up Friday night) to:  Barbara (Freimuth) and Shannon Siefken, 2603 Parkview Lane, Menomonie, WI  54751.

We hope you enjoy this month’s guest writer:

We can officially say it now, where has the time gone?  Why does it seem like it took a long time to get to this milestone of a 10-year reunion, and yet in retrospect I can’t believe how quickly this time has gone?  That means for most of us, next year will be our 15-year high school class reunion.  We were born in the ’70s, and that just seems forever ago.  Where does the time go, it seems to be accelerating?

At least four times a year since our graduation, I was reminded of some memory from Gustavus Adolphus because we received various college publications.  And, once a quarter, when the Gustavus Quarterly is published, the first thing I do is turn to the Class of 1997 section to see what new careers our classmates are landing, who was recently married, and who has new kids (future Gusties).  We have been busy!  Admittedly, I don’t remember everyone, but I still enjoy seeing what our classmates are doing with their lives.  I think every career imaginable is done by at least one of our classmates:  pastors, scientists, engineers, teachers, financial planners, homemakers, entrepreneurs, bankers, lawyers, doctors, government workers...............and many more.  Between work and families, it is quite an impressive list of accomplishments in 10 years.

We each feel different connections to Gustavus.  The sense of community we experienced, the courses and activities we completed, and the relationships we made with friends and professors, put in each of us a deep desire to continue to grow personally and professionally, even beyond our years on campus.  I feel deeply connected to my experiences on the Hill.  Quite simply, there were some great years.  Sure, there are always things I wished I would have done more of or differently while there, maybe like many of you, but overall my experiences were rich.  For anyone who has been on campus since the tornado ravished the physical structures and landscape, you realize the campus looks different (with many greatly improved options than we all had, I might add).  But, it is satisfying to visually remember what connected me in the first place.  Take a trip and visit Gustavus if you haven’t been there in awhile, or haven’t been there at all since 1997.  Professors, staff and mentors like it when you check in with them too.  Better yet, come to the 10-year reunion.

If you feel that same connection to Gustavus life, or want to discover it all over again, do what you consider your personal touch of support.  The options are endless:  donate to the college, attend the 10-year anniversary, visit the campus, send your personal updates, refer a future Gustie to take a visit, recruit Gusties at your companies, support Gustavus entrepreneurs, write an article for the Gustavus Quarterly, volunteer at Gustie events, buy something from the Book Mark, explore:, give a talk on campus, or whatever.  Do your thing, something that solidifies the personal connection you had.

What will be of time yet to come?  I can’t wait!  I wouldn’t say Gustavus days were the best years of my life, I would say my experiences keep getting better all the time, year after year.  While years seem to keep accelerating, I do keep growing from all my life experiences.  But, let’s face it, the Gustavus days were some of the most impactful.  We were out on our own and we were learning.  We were learning how to learn and who we were.  I look forward to my next 10 years.  And, every quarter, when the Quarterly arrives, I’ll check in and see what you all are up to as well.

Shawn C. Kirsch

1997 Guest Letter Writer

Reunion Update

Friday night, October 12 and Saturday midday, October 13 are fairly well planned with fun events.  Now is a good time to think about your specific friendship circles and organize mini-reunions!  Maybe you want to meet for a light dinner before Friday night’s socializing?  Maybe you want to plan a family BBQ after the game on Saturday?  The sky’s the limit and the College will help you find updated addresses/phone numbers to those long lost pals.  Get the gang together!

Class Giving Update

As of March our class Alumni Fund donations were closing in on $14,000!  We have raised nearly half of our goal and will continue to strive towards $30,000.  The fundraising phone calls are starting, so consider what amount you and your family can give, and be ready when those “work study” students and/or Reunion Committee Members dial you up!

Class News

Engagements and Weddings

  • Brenda Kelm Miller married Jeffrey Miller on January 13, 2007.
  • Alisha Wilke married Jason Wachholz on August 13, 2005.
  • Ross Mettner married Laura Kremer on September 16, 2006.


  • Amy Yilek and husband, Michael Youngquist, welcomed daughter, Haley Celia, on December 19, 2006.
  • Alicia Johnson Manley and husband, Mel, welcomed baby boy, Grant David, on February 12, 2007.
  • Joleen Hubbard Turja and husband, Paul, welcomed baby boy, Ethan Edward, on August 29, 2007.
  • Tracy Prin Klaphake and husband, Damon ’96, welcomed Brendan Daniel on December 22, 2006.


  • Brenda Kelm Miller is a labor and delivery RN at Methodist Hospital.
  • Katherine Blanchard Shiroff is a legislative auditor for the Colorado Office of the State Auditor in Denver, CO.
  • Jamie Vicha is a paralegal for Cundy & Paul, LLC in Bloomington, MN.
  • Antony Sargent is a software engineer for and is helping to launch this new vacation rental website.


  • Sara Wendel Greene was awarded the 2006 McClain Finlon Advertising “Do-Good” Grant and spent five weeks in Romania teaching art at the Poiana Soarelui orphanage with teenage children.
  • Tara Pals Cadenhead received her MBA with a concentration in venture management in December 2006.

College Updates

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to Campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau given prior to Phil’s death last April established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities trader and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Professor Darrell Jodock Receives Covenant Award

Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations’ Covenant Award, bestowed annually, celebrates the efforts of individuals who have made distinctive contributions towards strengthening the partnership between Gustavus Adolphus College and member congregations of the College’s Association of Congregations.  The Rev. Dr. Darrell Jodock will receive the award at the Association of Congregations’ annual meeting.  Jodock is the first Drell and Adeline Bernhardson Distinguished Professor of Religion at Gustavus.  As holder of the endowed chair since 1999, he has a responsibility “to represent and teach the Lutheran tradition within the faculty and College, to help interpret and articulate the church-related identity of the College, and to inaugurate educational projects of benefit to the ELCA and the College.”  He has published extensively on topics of modernism, Christian doctrine and theology, and is actively involved in Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Gustavus Ranked Third in Postgraduate Scholars

Gustavus Adolphus College student athletes Hailey Harren (women's cross country) and Alex Zupan (men's cross country) have been selected as two of 58 student-athletes from across the country to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for the fall sport season.  Harren and Zupan were the only student-athletes from a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference institution selected to receive the $7,500 awards this fall.  Over the last three years, Gustavus ranks third (tied with the University of Missouri) for the most postgraduate scholars among all NCAA schools (Division I, II, and III). Emory and Stanford have the most postgraduate scholars with 16 each, while Gustavus and Missouri are next with 10 each.

New Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Announced

Mary Morton has been named as provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective July 1, 2007.  She will oversee academic programs and strategic planning for the College and be responsible for representing and advancing the College’s academic programs to internal and external constituencies.  Morton holds a doctorate in biochemistry from Dartmouth Medical School and bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and Romance languages from Bowdoin College.  Most recently, she spent three years at the University of Dayton, where she served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as a professor of biology.  Prior to that, Morton served for 13 years at the College of Holy Cross, as a tenured faculty member and as associate dean of the college.

MAYDAY! Conference

“Community Food Security” is the theme for this year’s Gustavus MAYDAY!  Peace Conference, to be held on May 2.  This is an annual conference, devoted to a topic relating to human rights and social justice.  Among other events, the daylong conference will feature presentations from author Janet Poppendieck, who wrote Sweet Charity?:  Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement, and Mike Hamm, Ph.D., chair of sustainable agriculture at Michigan State University.

Gustavus Choir Reunion to Celebrate 75 Years

Alumni and friends of the Gustavus Choir are welcome to attend a reunion on Saturday, May 5.  The day will include an alumni choir rehearsal, a banquet for past and current members of the choir, and a full concert with both the alumni choir and the Gustavus Choir.  For more information, contact the Office of Fine Arts Programs at 507/933-7013.

Celebrating 75 Years of Theatre at Gustavus

The Department of Theatre and Dance celebrates 75 years of theatre at Gustavus with a reunion on May 11 and 12.  Highlights of the weekend will include an afternoon program sharing memories and monologues from the past 75 years and viewing the performance of The Tempest in Anderson Theatre.  For more information and to register, go to:

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Brainerd Lakes Area Gustavus Gathering - April 20
  • Linnaeus Symposium - April 25
  • Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations Gathering - April 28
  • MAYDAY!  Peace Conference: Community Food Security - May 2
  • Celebrating 75 years of the Gustavus Choir - May 5
  • Lindau Symposium - May 8
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion - May 11-12
  • Class of 1962 - 45th Anniversary Reunion - May 25 & 26
  • Class of 1957 - 50th Anniversary Reunion - May 25 & 26
  • 50 Year Club Reunion - May 25 & 26