Class of '99
October 2006

Dear Class of 1999,

We are writing to you today from the café area in the lower level of the Jackson Student Union after the annual Gustavus Volunteer Leadership Day.  This day is a gathering of the Alumni Board and Class Agents to reflect on the past year and strategize for the upcoming year.  The meeting was in Alumni Hall, and there were about 200 Gustavus volunteers from these two groups assembled to work on behalf of the College.  It is inspiring for us to see the great commitment of all these people to Gustavus.  President Jim Peterson opened the meeting with an update on both current and future projects and initiatives, and we want to share some of those with all of you. 

  • Renovation of the Social Science Center (SSC).
  • Finishing touches on the Old Main renovation (the building looks truly amazing, inside and out.  Be sure to see it next time you are in St. Peter.)
  • New football stadium to be completed next fall.  The stadium will be behind Lund Arena where the baseball field used to be.  The new home for baseball is next to the Swanson Tennis Center.
  • New academic building where the football field is currently located.
  • New fitness center in Lund Arena.
  • New “mall” connecting the Arboretum to the Chapel.  This mall will pass by Lund Arena, further marking the Chapel as the physical center of campus.
  • Installation of two wind turbines on the outer edge of the Arboretum.
  • Improvements to the music facilities in the Fine Arts Center.
  • Renovation of Nobel Hall.

As you can see, there are a lot of things going on at Gustavus!  Now, all of these projects will be operating on different timelines, but one thing is certain:  Gustavus continues to be a dynamic, vibrant place.  While many of these changes will impact the physical campus, they are also designed to better attract the best and brightest students to experience Gustavus.  We all know that the College is an amazing place where we got a world-class education, but prospective students are lured by the more tangible things, and the College is preparing itself to address both the physical expectations of students while preserving the focus on education, engagement, leadership, and service.

Another interesting note is that starting with the 2007-2008 academic year, students will have a test-optional entrance.  Gustavus recognizes the limitations of standardized test scores, and also understands that not all people test well, producing test scores that are not fair indicators of future performance and potential.  Though the vast majority of students will continue to submit ACT or SAT scores, prospective students will have the option to forego this step in the application process.

President Peterson also discussed the College’s endowment, and shared the encouraging news that we will hit $100M for the first time in the next 12 months.  While this sounds like a tremendous number, he followed this statistic with one that was much more disturbing:  the endowment at St. Olaf College is approximately $300M.  To remain competitive and to make progress on the ambitious list of projects discussed earlier in this letter, we must continue to build upon our endowment, and each of us can play a role in that.  As we have mentioned in all of our letters, giving to the College is easy, it feels great, and has great impact.  None of us can argue that Gustavus played a role in our growth and development; take a few minutes and pledge to give back to Gustavus so current and future students can have the opportunities that each of us had.  The College depends on us for our contributions of money and service.  Go online today and make a donation…you know where to go:, and click on Alumni, then Giving.  Our recommendation:  get out your credit card and sign up for a monthly contribution.  Think $60 seems like a big check to write to Gustavus?  Sign up to give $5 a month instead; I promise you will not feel the pain of the donation, but you will certainly feel the joy of being an active contributor to the students and academic life of Gustavus.  If you have not given to Gustavus in the past, think about starting with this $5 donation.  We challenge all of you to at least start with this…it would be a tremendous thing to say that the Class of 1999 has a strong base of contributors and that we continue to believe in the mission, regardless of the total dollar amount.  Please give, if for no other reason, than to ensure that no Ole ever feels like they are one-up on a Gustie.

We would also like to encourage you to just re-connect with the College, especially if it has been awhile.  If you live in the Cities, drive down to St. Peter on a fall afternoon and walk around campus.  It is a truly beautiful time of year to do it.  After the volunteer meeting, we picked up some new Gustie apparel in the Bookmark…another fun way to reconnect and show everyone that you are proud of your alma mater.  Touring the campus afterwards showed beautiful fall flowers, students walking to a late Saturday lunch in the Caf, heads buried in books in the Library, students tossing a football in front of Uhler, the sound of tennis balls being hit on the outdoor courts…so many memories of all of us doing those same things just a few years ago (okay, neither of us ever tossed the football around in front of Uhler, but you get the drift).  You can also reconnect with Gustavus by staying in touch with friends from GAC, maybe some that you haven’t seen in awhile.  Go on the website and take a virtual tour of campus, attend Christmas in Christ Chapel, go to a Gustavus sporting event, put a window sticker on your car…the possibilities are endless.  Indulge yourself!

Now, before we start the class updates, we want to reiterate that we want to hear more from YOU!  Submit your updates to us via e-mail at  Until now, our updates have been quick notes on classmates, which are hopefully fun to read.  We would love to expand on this by having people submit stories to us to publish in the letters.  Tell us about a Gustie gathering you attended, or a vacation you took.  Let us know about your volunteer efforts, or about something inspiring that has happened in your life.  It doesn’t need to be complex, just drop us a paragraph of something you would like to share with your classmates; we think it would be a great way to enhance the connections between our classmates.


  • KATE UNTIEDT ILLIES and husband, Rob ’89, welcomed a baby boy, Rece Jay Michael in March 2005. 
  • KARI SMITH-RANKIN and husband, Gregg, had a baby girl in March 2006.  Maia Jade was born on March 1.  The family is living on the Misawa Air Base in Japan.
  • KRISTY HOWELL ANTILLA and husband, Brad, had a baby boy named Braden Michael on November 9, 2005.
  • PETE ARNESON and wife, Karen, brought Benjamin Peter into the world on January 16, 2006.  The Arnesons are living in Arlington, MN.
  • EMILY JOHNSON COLEMAN and husband, Patrick, had a baby girl on January 18, 2006.  Elizabeth Grace and her proud parents live in Prior Lake, MN.
  • ERICA OLSON WOOD and her husband, Shaun, welcomed a baby boy named Liam Scott in January 2005.  The family lives in Dodgeville, WI.
  • CANDY MAGNUSON-BARTON and her husband, Travis, are also parents!  Brenna Lee Barton was born on January 12, 2006, and the family lives in Bozeman, MT.


  • ERIN FRICK FINNES completed her masters of nurse anesthesia in March 2006 at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN.  Erin is living in Kasson, MN.
  • SARA STEVENSON is studying at the City University of London.
  • ANGELA AGAN CLANEY received her masters of organizational development from Friends University in October 2005.


  • ERIC BROCKBERG married Kristen Solomon on December 10, 2005, in Sioux Falls, SD.  Eric is a financial consultant with AXA Advisors in Sioux Falls.
  • BRIAN CHOC and Kelda Furbush ’00 were married in April 2006.  Brian is pursuing his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
  • NATHAN MEYER married Sonali Rajan in April 2006.  The couple lives in Minneapolis, and Nathan works as director of school partnerships & outreach for the Bakken Library and Museum.
  • CRYSTAL LAURVICK married Aaron O’Connor on April 1, 2006.  Crystal and Aaron had a beautiful wedding in Perth, Australia, and classmate JULIE RACEK UNZE was one of Crystal’s bridesmaids. 
  • TARA FERGUSON married Thomas Lopez in August 2005, in St. Cloud.  Tara works as an assistant Mille Lacs County attorney in Milaca, MN.
  • KERI ENGEL and Noah Rouen ’97 were married in March 2005.
  • JOEL STOLTENOW married Lindsay Freed on June 24, 2006.  The couple now lives in Lincoln, NE.
  • JENNIFER CHALGREN married Nathan Pedersen on July 30 in Glensheen Historic Mansion in Duluth.  Jen completed her residency at the Duluth Family Practice Center, and is now practicing with her father in Hibbing.  Jen’s husband is a dentist in Cloquet, MN.
  • CANDACE FULLER married Karl Schissel in October 2005, and the couple lives in St. Paul.  Candace received her masters of public health from University of Minnesota in 2004, and is currently an infectious disease epidemiologist for the state of Minnesota.


  • BETH HADLAND KARNITZ and husband Craig Karnitz ’97 are both teachers at the Singapore American School in Singapore.
  • TAMMY WILLIAMS VANDEGRIFT is an assistant professor at the University of Portland in Oregon.  Tammy received her Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington in 2005.
  • CAITLIN CHRISTENSEN SANDERSON works as an interactive media planner for MRM Worldwide, and lives in Golden Valley, MN.
  • NATHAN HANEL is employed by Midwest Wireless as a customer care supervisor.  Nathan lives in Mankato, MN.
  • WADE GUSTAFSON is working for Target Corporation as team lead for competitive intelligence.
  • BILL SCHOONOVER is the manager of Pub 500 in Mankato, MN.
  • DEBBIE LANG is an attorney with Caplan Law Firm in Minneapolis.
  • LAURA SONNEE is a sales specialist with Securian Financial Services in St. Paul.  Laura lives in Woodbury.
  • COREY ROBIDEAU is a commercial lending officer at First Minnesota Bank in Edina, and lives in Victoria, MN.
  • JAIMIE TABAKO OAKDEN is the development coordinator at the Indiana University Center for Student Leadership, and lives in Bloomington, IN.
  • JAALA JONES is the office manager for Reliable Appraisal Services in Jackson, MS.
  • KARI ERICKSON WHITLOCK is a special education teacher at Pillager Elementary School and lives in Brainerd, MN, with her husband, Tony.
  • ALISON PENNER RAHN is a human resources administrator for Carlson Companies.  She and husband, Kevin, live in Shakopee, MN.
  • REBECCA RICHTER ZOET is employed by Big Green Umbrella Media.  She lives in Adel, IA, with her husband James.
  • KYLE KOLICH is a consultant with Solutia Consulting in Minneapolis.
  • AMANDA NEWLIN JOHNSON is a teacher with Wayzata Public Schools.  She lives in Robbinsdale, MN, with her husband, Brent ’00.

Campus News

Honor Roll of Donors

If you haven't had a chance to find yourself online, please go to to check out the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors. The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006. To find your name or check your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866/487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Obtain Life Insurance at Group Rates

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.  According to a recent national survey, 68 million Americans have no life insurance.  Fortunately, the Alumni Association sponsors a life insurance plan, Life for Life, with exceptional features and low initial rates.  Maximum coverage is $2 million and insurance can increase repeatedly even if your health fails and you become uninsurable.  Obtain information online with the Alumni Association partner, or call 800-635-7801 for more information about this and other sponsored insurance.

Omega Kappa Fraternity Celebrates 100 Years

The OKs will celebrate 100 years of Modesty, Diversity, and Brotherhood on Saturday, October 21, at the Science Museum on Minnesota in St. Paul.  The evening will be filled with stories, photos, Shared memories, artifacts, histories, and singing.  For more information, go to

Gustavus Alumni Professional Apparel

Check out the two new oxfords on sale online through the Gustavus Book Mark.  The Book Mark is offering a women’s and men’s long sleeve shirt in a variety of colors and sizes.  The shirt features an embroidered three crowns and Gustavus.  A great idea for holiday shopping for your favorite Gustie.  Check them out online only at

Gustavus Legacy Award for Gustavus Admission

Mark Anderson, Vice President of Admission and Student Financial Assistance, is pleased to announce the Gustavus Legacy Award for new students beginning with the incoming class of 2007.  Renewable awards of $2,500 per year are given to new students whose siblings are current Gustavus students or graduates or whose parents or grandparents are Gustavus alumni.  Scholarship recipients must have a high school grade point average of at least 3.5 or an ACT of 26 or an 1170 (Critical Reading + Math) on the SAT.  For more information contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S) or email <>.

Well, that is all for this time!  Please send your updates to us, or submit them online on the Alumni page of the Gustavus website.  We would love to hear from you!  We hope you all enjoy a wonderful fall season.

Go Gusties!

Jesse & Phil