Class of 2002
January 2006

Happy New Year class of 2002!

I hope your year is off to a good start, though it seems that cold and flu bugs are running rampant this season.  We’ve been enjoying (or disdaining, as the case may be) some newly acquired spring-like weather here in Minnesota.  But the show must go on, so the Winter Carnival snow sculptors resorted to building their masterpieces from zamboni shavings this year.  The preceding summary of the local news was brought to you courtesy of my most recent writer’s block (as if to imply that I’m actually a writer).

On another note, the newly renovated Old Main looks amazing.  The fresh-cut wood smell that greets you when you walk in the door is the result of very cool new woodwork everywhere.  It’s bright, more open and the gorgeous new staircase actually makes climbing the Old Main stairs enjoyable.

The Gustavus Choir had their first tour concert at Augustana Lutheran in West St. Paul last Friday.  I saw several of you there, many of whom attended to see the World Premier of I Will Be With You, a piece written by Stephen Paulus and commissioned in memory of our classmate, Courtney Walker, by her friends at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  The song, complete with a pristine soprano solo, was outstanding.  I’ll admit, I was kicked out of band (twice) and phased out of choir due to lack of talent, so it goes without saying that I don’t actually know a whole lot about music.  However, I did know Courtney and she would have loved her song.

I hope this letter finds everyone doing well and enjoying our newly acquired springtime weather.  Please remember to send in your updates, check out some of the Gustavus happenings and make your gift to the alumni fund as you are able.  Your undesignated gift goes to support things like scholarship funds for new and current students.  Your gift will not only make a difference to the college, but to individuals much like you.  Giving online and/or with your credit card makes it easy.  Also consider being a part of the Cec Eckoff Society by choosing to give any amount for 5 or more consecutive years.  It’s an investment with great returns!


Karen Warkentien

2002 Co-class Agent

New on the Homefront…

Weddings.  Lots and lots of weddings…

  • Jeremy Ahlgren to Angela Balm ’03 on June 5, 2004
  • Scott Jones to Kayla Thorson ’04 on April 23
  • Kristin Johnson to Steve Knutson on May 21 in West St. Paul
  • Kendra Tersteeg to Ryan Rebstock on June 4 in Plymouth
  • Monica Cook to Thomas Schmit ’03 on June 10 in Shakopee
  • Scott Morris to Stephanie Huble ’00 on June 18 in Minneapolis
  • Kerri Bouska to Dan Johannsen on June 18
  • Sarah Wolter to Blake Kane on July 15
  • Erika Carls to Brendan Johnston ’05 on July 16 at Gustavus with an Arb reception in 100+ degree weather.  Their first date was to President’s Ball in 2002.  How very Gustie of them.
  • Sarah Hovland to Tory Spanier on July 16
  • Courtney Grant to Carlos Martinez on July 30
  • Sara Heroff to Brian Buffie ’04 on July 30
  • Laura Paddack to Andrew Childs on July 30
  • Kiersti Wilen to David Willms on August 5
  • Katie Weiss to Matt Erickson on August 20.
  • Wendy Bryant to Charlie Griak on September 3
  • Hunter Jenzen to Kristy Bailey on September 10 at Gustavus
  • Mary Dahmen to Jason Lundquist on October 14
  • Marie Rivers to Joseph Rule on October 15


  • Amelia Lau born July 27 to Deserea Willer Lau and Richard Lau
  • Caden Benjamin Youngerberg born June 20 to Angela Drews Youngerberg (my first year roomie!) and Benjamin Youngerberg
  • Mya Jayne Vest born November 23 to Joshua Vest and Billie (Shorma ’01)Vest

The other stuff…

  • Amanda Robertson earned a master’s of arts in library and information studies in May from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  She is now employed as an information services specialist at Nexant in New York.
  • Andrew Bussey quit his job at Unisex Hair and has since returned from serving with the Peace Corps in Nepal.
  • Angela Drews Youngerberg is a LeSueur County Adult Mental Health case manager.
  • Angela Lundeen is a social worker for Ramsey County Human Services.
  • Angie Muck is a support specialist at Alegent Lakeside Hospital and is engaged to Scott Davis.  They’re planning a May wedding.
  • Annika Wilson is an assistant account executive in advertising with Colle + McVoy, an advertising agency in Bloomington.
  • Blake Kane is employed by Target Corporation.
  • Burnedette Dybvik was named the fourth runner-up in the 2004 Miss Minnesota USA pageant.  Way to go!
  • Courtney Grant Martinez is pursuing a master’s in education at St. Mary’s and currently teaches 1st grade.
  • Deserea Willer Lau is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • Emily Dale is an office assistant for the Department of Health and Human Services in Maryland.
  • Erin Jorgenson is a physical therapist at Park Nicollet.
  • Erin Kommerstad is in the counseling psychology (MC) program at the University of Denver.
  • Heidi Fryer is a mathematics teacher at Southridge High School in Kennewick, WA.  She’ll receive her master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Idaho this summer.
  • Jeremy Ahlgren attends Cardinal Stritch University where he’s pursuing an MBA.
  • Jess Behrends received an MS in social work from UW-Madison and now is a social work specialist/care coordinator for the State of Minnesota, Willmar Regional Treatment Center’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services.
  • Jessica Krenik is a field sales representative at John Wiley & Son’s Publisher in Austin, TX.
  • Julia Mahin is a kindergarten teacher at New Spirit School in St. Paul.
  • Katie Bartz Johnson is studying clarinet performance at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • Keely Johnson Pearson is a scientist at Barr Engineering in Minneapolis.
  • Kendra Tersteeg Rebstock is an account operations specialist at General Mills.
  • Kerri Bouska Johannsen received her master’s in public policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute and is a fiscal analyst for the Iowa Legislative Services Agency.
  • Kiersti Wilen Willms is a juvenile probation officer for the Department of Family Services in Wyoming.
  • Kyle Allen was forced to relocate to Houston, TX with the rest of the Tulane School of Medicine due to Hurricane Katrina.  They have resumed training at the Texas Medical Center.  Despite his apartment suffering much flood damage, we’re happy to report that all is well with him.
  • Leah Hansen is a main anchor and producer for Fox 55 News @ 9:00 and an on-air reporter for WAOW-TV (ABC) in Wausau, WI.
  • Linnea Carlson is an account manager at Kraus-Anderson Capital, Inc. in Minneapolis.
  • Vidya Sivan is program coordinator for the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  Wow!  Now THAT’S a title!
  • Marcus Schmidt is a research assistant at the University of Minnesota.
  • Marie Rivers Rule is currently working on a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She completed her master’s in music in clarinet performance in May 2004 and her master’s in music in musicology a year later.
  • Marlene Kluss is in the doctor of optometry program at the Illinois College of Optometry.
  • Mary Dahmen Lundquist is a high school English teacher in St. Francis, Minnesota.
  • Meghan Harney is living in Duluth and taking a year off from medical school to chill out and start studying for boards.  She also got engaged to Brian Sandri in August and is planning a December 2006 wedding.
  • Michael Formas is employed by BISYS Hedge Fund Services in Boston, MA as a hedge fund accountant.
  • Monica Cook Schmit is a Highline School District ECEAP teacher in Seattle.
  • Nathan Dahlke was recently promoted to a systems engineer at Target Corporation.
  • Sarah Hovland Spanier is a 2nd grade teacher in the St. Michael/Albertville School District.
  • Scott Jones is an MBA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is employed by Jones Electric.
  • Scott Morris is a senior account executive for Ikon Office Solutions in Bloomington.
  • Shannon Swanson Severud received her master’s of landscape architecture from the University of Minnesota in May.
  • Tobias Stalter works for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Virginia as a staff assistant, international programs.
  • Wendy Bryant Griak is an illustrator and animator at Griak and Company.

New on the Hill…

Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus continues to be a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  Consistent with its mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus was ranked seventh in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of the institute’s "Open Doors 2005" report.  Gustavus was one of four Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20.  The report was based on study abroad statistics from the 2003-04 academic year.  Gustavus students engage in international learning through various programs in more than 100 locations throughout the world, ranging from Australia to India and Ecuador to Sweden.  In recent years, 50 percent of Gustavus graduates have participated in at least one study-abroad experience.

New Carnegie Classification for Colleges and Universities

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a new classification system for institutions of higher education.  Gustavus’ classification is Arts & Sciences plus Professions, indicating that 60 to 80 percent of Gustavus students complete a traditional liberal arts major, such as political science, classics, or biology.  The new classifications describe five aspects of colleges and universities: instructional programs, enrollment profile, undergraduate demographics, size, and setting.  Undergraduate instructional programs are now designated as Arts & Sciences Focus, Arts & Sciences plus Professions, Balanced Arts & Sciences and Professions, Professions plus Arts & Sciences, or Professions Focus. 

Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association, in partnership with Meyer and Associates and Liberty Mutual, offers an insurance program to alumni and their families.  Products include insurance policies for life, short-term medical, auto, home, and renters.  For life and short-term medical insurance call Meyer and Associates at 800-635-7801 or visit  For auto, home, and renters insurance call Liberty Mutual at 800-524-9400 or visit

Gustavus to Perform at Orchestra Hall

The Gustavus Music Showcase will be Sunday, March 12, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  The Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Gustavus Wind Orchestra will perform.  This is a unique opportunity to hear three premier ensembles from Gustavus in one concert.  This showcase also allows prospective students, parents, and alumni from the area to meet and connect.  For tickets, call the Orchestra Hall box office at 800/292-4141.  Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students 18 and under.


Two big stories from the fall sports are that Hailey Harren won the national NCAA Division III cross country title and the men’s soccer team became the first MIAC school to play in the national championship game and finished second, losing 1-0 to defending national champion Messiah.  For the second consecutive year, men's soccer coach Larry Zelenz has been named Coach of the Year in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas NCAA Division III West Region.  The men's hockey team is unbeaten in conference play, outscoring their opponents 28-5 in four games.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra toured Eastern Europe Jan. 14-30.  Performances were scheduled for Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Austria.  The Gustavus Choir is touring Jan. 27-Feb. 11 (see schedule below), with performances in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel will tour during Spring Semester.

Gustavus Choir Tour Schedule

  • February 2 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Marshfield, WI, 7:30 p.m.
  • February 3 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Brainerd, 7:30 p.m.
  • February 4 at Central Lutheran Church, Winona, 7 p.m.
  • February 5 at Faith Lutheran Church, Winona, 8 a.m. morning service
  • February 5 at First Lutheran Church, Red Wing, 2 p.m.
  • February 11 at Christ Chapel, Saint Peter, 7:30 p.m.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Tucson, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 10
  • Phoenix, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 11
  • Sun City, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 12
  • Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall - March 12
  • Atlanta, GA Gustie Gathering - March 26