Class of '99
May 2004

Dear '99 Classmates,

I want to tell you all about something pretty extraordinary that just happened:  a group of six of us just called nearly every single person in our graduating class.  This was a first for the Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 1999!  Twice a year, Gustavus holds an event called Phonorama where volunteers can call their classmates to update contact information, inform them of upcoming events, obtain information for class letters, and ask for financial support for the College.  Despite calling nearly 500 people just a few nights ago, we certainly did not talk to many of you!  Caller-ID probably makes us out to look like telemarketers, but we did our best to chat with as many people as possible, and leave tons of voicemail messages. 

It was great to talk to other Gusties and hear how they are doing.  It is also fascinating to see all of the different paths taken by our classmates, each pursuing different goals and experiencing different realities.  Through Phonorama and the Alumni Office, we have another great section of personal updates coming later in this letter.

Earlier, we touched on why we called.  For those of you that we did not speak with, here is an update:

Our 5-Year Reunion is approaching, and October 1 & 2 is our time to celebrate!  More details will be coming out during the summer, but plan on an event in Minneapolis on Friday October 1, and great activities in St. Peter on October 2 and 3.  Another upcoming activity is a Class of 1999 happy hour!  The Reunion Class Gift Committee has organized a happy hour to be held May 20 at 5:00 p.m. at the beautiful Minneapolis Club (729 2nd Avenue South).  Admission is $10, but all proceeds go to the 5-Year Anniversary Gift, which is our class' combined financial contribution to the College in our reunion year.  Please e-mail as soon as possible if you are interested in attending!  It promises to be a great time to catch up with fellow Gusties.

That brings up the point of giving.  I understand that the thought of making a financial contribution to the College at this stage in your life is daunting.  You are already paying back student loans, so what more can be expected of you?  The point that we are trying to relay this year (our reunion year), is that our main goal in asking you to give is to increase participation in giving; to establish a habit/tradition of giving something back to Gustavus.  We are not asking for you to make $1,000 donations on a regular basis (unless you can…and if you can, call the Alumni Office QUICKLY!).  The main goal is to increase the percentage of our classmates that make some sort of financial donation to the College.  Our goal for our reunion year is to get to 30% participation.  Can you help us do it?  I won't bore you with numbers, but we still have a long way to go.  That is why we are contacting you, sharing our stories, and organizing events that make it fun and easy to give. 

Colleen Brady (now Brady-Lindstrom) shared some insight into her motivation to give, and I think her response is worth noting here.  She said what she thinks about each time she sees a younger person, a stranger, wearing a Gustavus sweatshirt (depending on where you live now, this will occur with varying degrees of frequency).  The mention of Gustavus brings back a flood of memories of fun times, friends, opportunity, education, and a physical and spiritual place.  Does it mean the same for that person in the sweatshirt?  What about for the young people deciding whether or not to attend Gustavus next fall?  Will they come to know the same Gustavus that we know?  If you stop to talk to that person in the sweatshirt, will you both be talking about the same Gustavus?  Colleen wants to be sure that you are, so she gives to the College, ensuring that others will have the opportunities and experiences that she was afforded.  Maybe you will give for the same reason, maybe not.  We want to encourage you to give something this year to show your own support for the mission of Gustavus, especially in our reunion year.

If you have not yet given this year, please do so.  The easiest way is to take advantage of the Simply Giving program.  Go to and click on Alumni.  Follow the directions to make a monthly donation to Gustavus using a check card or credit card.  The payments happen automatically, and I promise that you will never miss the $5 or $10 or $20 per month that you choose to donate.  We are encouraging you to make a donation to Gustavus in lieu of one donation to your local Starbucks or favorite bar.  Help keep the experience of Gustavus strong.  You can also make a one-time donation on the website, or call 1-800-487-3863 if you prefer to speak with a person about giving.

Okay, thanks for listening to us talk about giving.  It might not be the most fun part of the class letter, but it certainly is important; I hope you understand why we include it, and why we are passionate about it.  Now, on to the updates!

  • Jaala Jones is expecting a baby!  We were lucky to talk with her during Phonorama and also learned that she is now a representative with AT&T Wireless.
  • Britt Miller Carlson and her husband, Adam, are busy with their baby boy, Brendan.  Brendan just turned a year old!  He was born on May 7, 2003.
  • Matt Sherman is working as a research assistant in the department of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
  • Paul Horvath just graduated from medical school, and is starting his residency in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  He is also getting married in May 2004!
  • Shawn Gudahl is the proud father of a new son, Braden.
  • Jodi Morris Korchik is working at Target Corporation as a Remodel Store Expert in Merchandise Planning Operations.
  • Laura Johnston is starting nursing school at the Colorado University Health Sciences Center!  She is also engaged to marry Jon Sargent in August of this year.  Congratulations!
  • Lori Schlaak Baertsch is excited to announce that she is expecting a baby soon!
  • Sarah Robinson will be marrying Jeffrey Gammack in October 2004!  She is currently living in Minneapolis, and is an elementary school teacher in Wayzata.
  • Alyssa Malinski and Stephen Erickson were married on September 13, 2003.  Another Gustie wedding!
  • Paul Andresen married Molly Childs of Eden Prairie in December 2003.  The couple is living in Alexandria, Virginia.  Paul is a CPA at the accounting firm of Grant Thornton in Vienna, VA.
  • Angela Agan Claney is a graduate student at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.  She is pursuing her master's of science degree in organizational development, and will graduate in October 2005.
  • Megan French Kellerman married her husband, Hal, in June 2003, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.  Megan is a kindergarten teacher at the Pinnacle Charter School in Federal Heights, CO.  The couple lives in Westminster.
  • Nathan Hanel is living in St. Paul where he is pursuing his master's in organizational management and communications at Concordia University.  He plans to graduate this May 2004.  Congratulations!
  • Luke Schmidt is working as the director of junior and senior high ministry at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, Minnesota.  At the same time, he is pursuing his master's of divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
  • Molly Christensen Swenson and her husband, Michael, had a baby girl in November 2003!  Maya Helen was born on November 4, and lives with her family in Atwater, Minnesota.
  • Ann Melchert is a married woman!  She tied the knot with Ryan Meverden in September of last year.
  • Steph Marthaler is now the band director at La Crescent High School.  This is her first year at this school, but her fourth year of teaching band.
  • Jennifer Viljaste and Neal Buddensiek put on another Gustie wedding!  The couple was married in May 2003 in Duluth, Minnesota.  Both Jennifer and Neal are resident physicians in internal medicine at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
  • Liz Reed-Eden is now working as a registered nurse at Phoenix Children's Hospital.  She and her husband, MATT EDEN, still live in sunny Arizona.
  • Sara Clausing is teaching the second graders of Monterrey, Mexico!  She is employed by the Instituto San Roberto.
  • Kirsten Bland is also married!  Kirsten married Scott Walters in October 2003 in Iowa City, Iowa.  Kirsten is a doctoral candidate in American studies at the University of Iowa.  Go Hawks!
  • J. Scott Gramstad was also married in January 2004.  He married Iliana Campos in her hometown of Cuernavaca, Mexico.
  • Shari Koentopf married Jeffrey Solheim in September 2003, in Glencoe, Minnesota.  Shari is working as a children's mental health case manager in LeSueur, MN.
  • Brandon Thun married Kellie Molin '00 in August 2003, at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  Brandon is employed in sales at Power Systems in Chanhassen, MN.
  • Michael Fryar married Sara Mulder in January of this year!  Mike works for Colle + McVoy as a public relations practitioner in Bloomington, Minnesota, which is where he met Sara who was also working there at the time!

Well, those are the updates for this time around!  If you have news that you would like included, or have suggestions for future class letters, please e-mail  Please note that this is a different e-mail address from what was given in some voicemails during Phonorama!  We would love to hear from you!

Before we sign off, a special thanks to the following individuals who helped with Spring Phonorama:  Megan Halvorsen, Kristin Miller-Prestegaard, Michelle Courtright-Bjork, and Chad Winter.  We could never have had the success we did without your help!

Go Gusties!

Jesse Torgerson and Colleen Lindstrom-Brady

1999 Co-class Agents

P. S.  The Alumni Office will add some campus news here:

President Peterson inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson '64 was inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18, included a symposium featuring Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, tree dedication, Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, G.I.V.E. community service day in St. Peter, music concert, art exhibition, and an alumni reception preceding the Nobel Symphony Concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven't given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus' annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Alumni survey

An alumni survey was sent to 2,000 members of reunion classes.  Approximately 600 have responded as of April 1.  Questions on the survey consist of how well Gustavus prepared them for employment and graduate education, activities involved in while at Gustavus, personal growth skills, alumni events and services, and overall satisfaction with the College.  Results of the survey will be included in the Fall Quarterly.

Winter sports summary

Women's basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men's basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men's hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women's hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men's swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women's swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men's Nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women's Nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6-1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women's indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships. 

Did you know …

  • Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.
  • There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.
  • More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.
  • For student safety, the campus is well-lit, there is 24-hour Safety and Security patrol and escort service, residence halls are locked 24 hours a day, and there are blue light emergency phones throughout campus linked directly to Safety and Security.
  • And looking back -- during the college's early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.

Upcoming events

  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunions - May 28 & 29
  • Commencement - May 30
  • Alumni Fund closes - May 31
  • Class reunions on Homecoming & Family Weekend - October 1 & 2