Class of '98
February 2010

Dear Classmates,

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, so too the Diva emerges from your hazy memories of college!

It’s not a reunion year this year, but there is another anniversary worth recognizing.  It’s been 15 years since we took our first J-Term class and started our second semester of freshman year.  I still have so many close friends that I met in those classes.  Think about all the friends you made then, and the fact that 15 years have passed since you made the memories you still talk about.  I wasn’t even the Diva yet!  Fifteen years since we were freshman.  Sometimes it just blows my mind.

On To The News!

Who’s havin’ babies?  I suspect more babies than this were born, but this is all I know about:  

  • Luka Anderson was born to Christy (Anderson) and Adrian Anderson on 3/8/09.  Luka is baby #4 for the very fertile Andersons!
  • Klara Sethre Eckman was born to Erik Eckman and wife Andrea (Connett, ’01) on 4/14/09.
  • Tessa Louise Marie was born to Peter Johnson and wife, Shannon, on 3/31/2009.
  • Margot Printha Moe Hoffman was born to Amy Moe-Hoffman and David Hoffman in June 2009.
  • Sonja Grace Molin was born to Melissa (Goldberg) and Kyle Molin on 1/29/2009.
  • Joseph David Pauly was born to Suzanne Underwood Pauly and Jason Pauly on 12/24/09.
  • Samuel Bruce Wahlberg was born to Joe Wahlberg and his wife, Katie, on 9/16/09.  Joe notes that “everything else is groovy.”

I know three women (one of whom is a Gustie, Class of ’98) who are all due in the first week of June.  I’m curious how many other women are due that week, and what kind of planetary alignment was going on last Labor Day weekend that everybody was getting knocked up?  Glad I dodged that bullet!

Life and Career Notes

Becky Blanton is the community gardens coordinator for Urban Harvest, a non-profit gardening organization in Houston, TX (urbanharvest.org).  She works with about 110 community gardens in the greater Houston area and helps new gardeners learn what to do to get started and keep going.  Becky recently redesigned her back yard to take advantage of extra sunlight provided courtesy of Hurricane Ike.  Also, Becky (and husband JR) are happy to report that she is pregnant after five years of effort and is due in early July.  Congratulations!

Karen Delgehausen is entering her fourth year with Pro Staff as a talent manager.  I did some temp work after graduation, and it was a surprisingly sweet gig.  I wonder how much better it would have been if the person managing my talent was a friend of mine....

Erik Eckman is an anesthesiologist in and around St Paul.  I assume this means he works for a health group, and works at several different locations.  But I prefer to imagine that he’s some sort of renegade anesthesiologist-for-hire.  “Hey man, you can keep your forms!  I’m HIPAA compliant by keeping all patient information locked safely in my brain!” imaginary renegade Erik shouts as he takes off down University Avenue.”  Now count backward from 100, and I’ll be gone!”

Rebecca Gurney raced Ironman Madison on September 13.  It took her 15 hours, 37 minutes, and 6 seconds to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and top it all off with a 26.2 mile marathon, which quite rightly has made her an official Ironman.  So very cool!  She is moving to San Diego in July for a sports medicine fellowship.

Andrew Heintz got a new job in October as the finance director of the Minneapolis law firm Anderson, Helgen, Davis & Nissen, LLC.  Andrew reports that it is a new law firm as of March 2009, so “it has definitely been challenging, but very rewarding at the same time.”  I am impressed with your risk-taking, Andrew, since I could never bring myself to take a new job at a new business in a down economy.

Karin Hogberg Schatte has moved to the Chicago area and is teaching music at St. Paul Lutheran School in Melrose Park, IL.

Sara Huntley is a marketing manager at RedBrick Health in Minneapolis.  “I love it!” reports Sara.

Peter Johnson earned the title of associate professor of mechanical engineering at Valparasio and will be a tenured member of the faculty as of August 2010.  Congrats!

Christine Nelson Karki starred in the Off-Broadway musical, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” at the Minneapolis Musical Theatre (aboutmmt.org).  The cast photo on the MMT website is pretty awesome.  I wish I had known about the show in November when it was running─it looks like it was a good one!  Christine, I hope you audition for “Evil Dead:  The Musical” when MMT stages it next fall.  That looks pretty fabulous, too!

Glenn Kranking defended his Ph.D. in history from Ohio State University in June, bought a house in St. Peter in August, and started his new career as assistant professor of history at Gustavus in September.  Yep, you read that right, he’s a prof. at Gustavus.  He is teaching Scandinavian, European, and Russian history, Curriculum II, and taught a J-term class called History Bytes.  Who knew they still had Curic II?  Word on the street is that he lives very near his former campus house, Svenska Huset (RIP, 1890-1998).

Tom Matchinsky is a health care consultant for UnitedHealthcare, sings in the Minnesota Opera chorus, and is a cantor at the Basilica of St Mary.  Very impressive!

Amy Moe-Hoffman is teaching introductory geology courses at Mississippi State University, and is researching the biogeography of clams found in a midden at an Arkansas archaeological site (research to be presented and published this fall).  She has also written and illustrated a bilingual activity book for children, which contains coloring pages, connect-the-dots, word finds, mazes, and descriptions of animals and their habitats.  At this point, the publishers are likely to call it “Fun with Amy:  Animals of Costa Rica” and it will be available directly from the editor's website this spring (www.inbio.ac.cr -- click on “English,” then “Books for Children” under “INBio Editorial”).  Amy, while you’re at it, can I convince you to do one for Minnesota?  There’s one available at the Minnesota bookstore that has a winter scene that’s almost all white.  What fun for kids to color all white on a white page!  Maybe it’s supposed to teach them the patience to endure an actual Minnesota winter.  Or they could go for accuracy give the gray crayon a workout.

Krysta Hochstetler North is still in San Francisco and still loving it.  She’s the director of events at the Hotel Vitale, San Francisco’s only luxury waterfront hotel.  She is happy to pass on friends and family rates whenever she can to fellow Gusties.  She’s getting married on May 1 to Bill Lapcevic (not a Gustie!  Is that even allowed?) and counting down the days to both the wedding and the honeymoon in Fiji following.  And since work and wedding planning apparently aren’t keeping her busy enough, she’s currently on the advancement committee for Asylum Access, an organization dedicated to helping refugees recognize their legal rights globally (asylumaccess.org), and is a volunteer with Spark, a group invested in changing the patterns of inequality that impact women throughout the world (sparksf.org).  Good on ya, Krysta!

Keegan O'Brien is currently pursuing a master’s in special education at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Kate Sallah (or Katie Whitman, as she was known at GAC before she grew up and stuff), just received her M.S. in teaching from New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM.  A glutton for punishment, she will start classes in the spring for a certificate they offer in green technology.  She is currently a teacher at the Santa Fe Indian School, and this year is teaching 9th grade physical science, 11th/12th grade anatomy and physiology, and 8th grade beginning computer programming using Starlogo.

Matt Weier is programming, designing, and animating as director of technology/3D animation director at Pixel Farm Interactive in Minneapolis.  He and wife, Kira Showalter Weier, recently bought a house in the Fulton neighborhood of southwest Minneapolis, where they live with sons Logan (GAC 2026?) and Ian (GAC 2028?).

Campus News

Craziness in Peru (from the GAC News Feed):

Twenty-one students and two faculty members from Gustavus were stranded for four days near Machu Picchu in Peru due to extreme flooding.  They returned to Minnesota on Saturday, Jan. 30.  The group was in Peru for a J-term class titled, “Education, Health Care, and Poverty in Peru.”  Flooding near Machu Picchu stranded approximately 2,500 tourists and forced the Peruvian government to airlift tourists out of the area by helicopter.  Free helicopter rides for anyone willing to endure a natural disaster while studying a rather depressing topic in a country with a poverty rate of 36%!  I’ll pass on that one myself, but I’m very grateful to the people who don’t.

Health Insurance Available through Alumni Association

Need some health insurance?  Short-term and permanent health insurance options are available through the alumni insurance program.  The program is typically promoted to new grads just before and after graduation, but in response to the rising unemployment rate and in an effort to help all in need, they’re spreading the word more broadly this year.  For more information, individuals can contact the alumni office or contact the program manager directly at 800-635-7801.

New “Make Your Life Count” Website and Facebook Page (or, OMG even 148-yr olds have blogs now!)

According to a recent press release, Gustavus has created a new “Make Your Life Count” website, featuring stories celebrating Gustavus students, alumni, faculty, staff, programs, events, and organizations.  Click on “Make Your Life Count” in the upper right of the Gustavus homepage, or visit makeyourlifecount.blog.gustavus.edu (Catchy!).  “Make Your Life Count” stories are also posted on a new Facebook page, are announced on the Gustavus News Twitter feed, and are also sent out to subscribers (on the “Make Your Life Count” webpage) of e-mail updates.  What, no wiki?

It's A Major Award!

Kurt Elling, a 1989 graduate of Gustavus, took home his first Grammy this year, after being nominated eight previous times.  Elling won “Best Jazz Vocal Album” for his album Dedicated to You:  Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman.  For more information about Kurt Elling, including tour dates, visit kurtelling.com.  The burning question in my mind, though, is whether he was invited to join in the remake of “We Are the World.”

I Looked It Up Online, And It's Not Even Very Big

Gustavus has acquired a Zeiss LSM 700 laser (scanning) confocal microscope.  Gustavus is currently the only liberal arts college in the nation to own this model, which is valued at approximately $250,000.  The microscope was purchased in part with a $1 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant─good job grant writers!  “The confocal provides Gustavus students and faculty with a state-of-the-art resource for study and research at the cellular and molecular level,” said Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Jeff Dahlseid.  “The instrument can determine the location and shape of three-dimensional cellular structures and quantify dynamic processes in living cells with remarkable spatial and temporal resolution.” Well, I’m convinced, and now I want one.  I’m adding it to my Amazon list right now, just in time for my birthday next month!

Gustavus Announces Major Building Projects

The Gustavus Board of Trustees recently voted to move forward with three major building projects.  The College will erect a new 125,000-square foot academic building, develop a mall extending west from Christ Chapel, and renovate the A.H. Anderson Social Science Building.  I think that last one is some kind of formal code name for SSC.  I hope they don’t renovate away the weird half-floor computer lab (if they haven’t already).  I also enjoyed the prominently displayed fallout shelter signs on SSC, and the fact that the building didn’t really seem to have a front.  No matter what entrance you used, it felt like you were slipping in the back door.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

At this monthly event, Gustavus Alumni gather for coffee, breakfast, and conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcome at the breakfasts, which take place on the third Wednesday of each month, 8 to 9:30 am at the Doubletree Hotel, 1500 Park Place Boulevard, Minneapolis.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Or, if you prefer to do your networking from the comfort of home, your can join the Gustavus Alumni group on LinkedIn.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Feb. 17 – Twin Cities Breakfast – speakers - Gustavus Financial Officers
  • Feb. 19 – Tucson Chapter Event – Warren and Donna (Gabbert) Beck ’67 ’66 residence
  • Feb. 20 – Phoenix Chapter Event – Larry and Deone (Nordquist) Cartford ’59 ’59 residence
  • Feb. 27 – Reunion Committee Winter Retreat
  • Mar. 6 – Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
  • Mar. 14 – Naples Chapter Event

And that, as the Times says, is all the news that's fit to print.  I hope this letter finds each of you in good health, high spirits, and warm homes.

With kind regards from your ever-lovin’ Diva,

Aneka Swanson

1998 Guest Letter Writer