Class of 2002
April 2006

Greetings class of 2002 Gusties!

I hope that this letter finds you well as we enter Holy Week leading up to Easter and the lovely spring!  I was in Minnesota and South Dakota two weeks ago during my spring break and spring was definitely trying to emerge―tulips were popping up, the snow remnants were melting away, and the fresh smells of worked-up dirt were in the air.  Since I had so many Gustavus-related adventures during my visit, (planned and unplanned meetings…i.e. running into Abby Ludvigson in Southdale), I thought I’d highlight these.  I am aware that there are Gustavus connections―whether newly found or old friends gathering―taking place each day.  I think that makes the world seem a bit more tight-knit, as there seems to be a Gustie presence across the globe.

I had the chance to venture to St. Peter with Christine Weber Anderson to join Mariangela Maguire from the communication studies department for breakfast.  It is always good to stay in touch with those people that made an impact on one’s college experience.  While we were there, the students were on spring break, so things were oddly quiet.  I was reminded of how much students bring the Gustavus community to life.

Marne Gulley was in Minneapolis for a school-related conference and was a binding link for a group that gathered at the Rock Bottom Brewery in Minneapolis.  Anna Eckman, Shelly Hochhalter, Joanna Olson ’03, Julie Quello, Renee Schmitt, Rita Schmitt ’01, and I enjoyed an evening out.  So many adventures to catch up on―from Joanna planning her upcoming wedding to Renee’s recent trip to Cabo, Mexico, the adventures of Marne’s co-worker in the math department to Anna’s upcoming rotations for medical school, and Julie’s work with the St. Paul Council of Churches to Shelly’s new job at the University of Minnesota.

I must put in a plug for a restaurant in Waconia, Minnesota called the green roomJayne Sommers’ fiancé, Matt, owns it (along with another restaurant in Excelsior I’m told, though at the moment I fail to remember the name) and Megan McCready is a server there.  Therefore, Christine, Shelly and I decided to check it out.  Tasty!  We tried the chef’s special―he came out to our table, chatted with us a bit about likes/dislikes and returned to his kitchen to prepare a delicious three-course meal.  Check it out and see what you think!

Finally, Anna Coulsey Wildgrube, Sarah Kruse, Annie Oakes, Tina Sheetz, and I (a.k.a. the Jolly Homemakers, sans Rachel Willson-Broyles) met up for a few hours.  Anna is in her second year of veterinary school and Tina is getting ready to graduate from veterinary school at the University of Minnesota.  Sarah has been bravely driving a large environmental education bus around southern Minnesota and Annie recently started working with Children’s Hospital.  Rachel is in the great state of Wisconsin in graduate school.

In each of these gatherings, I heard stories of random Gustavus connections that had been made, gatherings of friends at weddings and various events, and wonderful memories of our time at Gustavus.  All of this reminded me of the connections that we made and continually revisit.  What connections have you experienced lately?

It is hard to believe that the 8th anniversary of the tornado was a few weeks ago as well.  That’s right, eight years have passed since that spring before we began our stay at Gustavus.  With the passing of time in mind, mark your mental calendars for the fall of 2007, for our 5-year class reunion.  Plans are beginning to shape up for our reunion, so please keep your eyes peeled for more details in the coming months.  Fellow class agent, Karen Warkentien, and I had a chance to hang out one night and plan/plot a few details for this upcoming event.  We may be contacting you; please consider being a part of our planning team.

In the last nine months, our class has had a 10.2% participation rate, donating about $4,400.  I encourage you to use your enclosed gift envelope to send your gift by May 31 (or visit to strengthen the amount and participation of our class gift as a whole.  Any donation is much appreciated; even $5 would help as alumni participation is what giving institutions look at when deciding where to give their funds/grants.  Most of all your participation in this Gustie tradition is appreciated!

Below are updates from our class, which are always fun to read.  Enjoy!


Katherine Medbery Oleson

Class News


Congratulations and best wishes!

  • Robyn Borre and Matthew Winner were married August 7, 2004.
  • Blake Kane and Sarah Wolter were married on July 15, 2005.  Sarah is an instructor in the communication studies department at Gustavus.  Blake is an executive team leader for Target Corporation.
  • Wade Laughlin and Emily Dahlquist ’03 were married August 6 at Enger Park in Duluth.  Wade is an English and journalism teacher at Shakopee High School and is pursuing a master’s degree in English education from Bethel University.
  • Kristi Montgomery and Kirk Walberg were married July 9, 2005.
  • Steven Murray and Katya Sedio were married on September 17, 2005.  Katya is a program manager for Ryan Partnership, a promotion marketing agency in Minneapolis. 
  • Jessica Olson and Chris Rusin were married on October 8, 2005.
  • Alison Routh and Jesse Nelson were recently married on April 8, 2006.
  • Steve Stauff and Kelly Van Norman ’04 were recently married on January 14, 2006.  In addition to teaching in the Chaska School District, Kelly is working on her master’s in special education at Bethel University.
  • Julia Stein and John Dittberner were married on November 6, 2005.  They now reside in Oklahoma City, OK.


Little bundles of joy!

  • Jessica Reed Deegan and Chris Deegan are the parents of Austin born February 4, 2006.
  • Nikki Lindstrom and Bill Warner have a little one named William born September 1, 2005.
  • Jared Vinar and his wife, Joey, are the parents of twin girls―Avery Jae and Allie Rene – born October 21, 2005.
  • Michelle Kurtz Wright and her husband, Chad, had a baby boy, Chase, on November 4, 2005.


  • Margaret Broz is a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering at the University of Minnesota.
  • Tracy Grefsrud is a physician’s assistant student at Pacific University of Forest Grove, OR.
  • Emily Hadland is pursing graduate school for art in Florence, Italy.
  • Emily Johnson finished her master’s in educational leadership from North Dakota State University last May.
  • Chris Kampa is beginning an MBA program at the University of St. Thomas.
  • Marissa Kolander Letscher is a student at Fuller Theological Seminary in the master of divinity program.  She and her husband, Stanton, reside in Pasadena, CA.
  • Devan Spinelli graduated from the University of St. Thomas Law School in May of 2005.


  • Emily Dale, MPH, works at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Global Health Affairs for Europe/Eurasia as a junior management analyst and international health officer in Rockville, Maryland.
  • Heidi Fryer is a first-year teacher at Southridge High School, teaching geometry and algebra.  She also is an assistant gymnastics coach at the high school and recently completed graduate courses at the University of Idaho.
  • Erin Hoffman is in the Lakeville School District teaching French.  She also recently graduated with her master’s from St. Thomas in curriculum and instruction.
  • Ryan Jensen is a disaster claims adjuster with Farmers Insurance.
  • Joel Johnson is working for McGraw Law Firm as an attorney.
  • Jessica Newman is a cardiac nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.  She also recently became engaged…congrats!
  • Elizabeth Oldre has worked in Alaska the past two summers and teaches in the Hopkins School District.
  • Kristin Olson is teaching kindergarten in the Janesville District and is coaching volleyball and basketball.
  • Carrie Reiling is a research assistant with Macrosys Research & Technology.
  • Josh Rinas is working at Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit.
  • Ruth Robinson is a counselor at Harbor Shelter, Inc. and a student at the University of St. Thomas, pursuing a master’s in counseling.
  • Ryan Schommer is working in Chicago at ShoreBank as a facilities project coordinator.
  • Erik Tou recently completed a three-month internship at the Snuh Panda Center in San Diego.
  • Shannon LeMay Tupy is a special education teacher at Montgomery-Londsale Middle School.  Shannon is also pursuing a master’s in emotional and behavior disorders through Minnesota State University – Mankato.
  • Andrea Wentzel was promoted to activity director at Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation in Merriam, KS.  She is also working as a music therapist at Trinity and in the Kansas City Metro.


  • Matt Jaksik is living in Seattle (up on Queen Anne which is an awesome area of the city!).  Matt is looking at going back to graduate school for creative writing.
  • Karla Nelson is in Taiwan for another year or longer.

(Your name here) is doing (insert your latest adventures).  Send your information or update to the Alumni Office and us by emailing:

Campus News

The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award:  

  • Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations:  

  • Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul;
  • Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and
  • Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards:  

  • Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and
  • Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Alumni Directory

The 2006 Gustavus Alumni Directory will be published soon and our goal is to represent your information as accurately as possible in the printed edition.  PCI:  the data company, is publishing our directory and a short phone call will update or verify your information.  Call toll free:  1-800-982-1589, Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST, and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. CST.  International callers dial:  1-972-386-0100, Monday-Friday CST.

Short Term Medical (STM) insurance Available

Short Term Medical Insurance can fill the temporary needs of those without health insurance, usually at a lower cost than other alternatives.  Alumni and their families may apply.  This is perfect for children of alumni who are graduating (even if they did not attend Gustavus) and aren’t yet covered under an employer’s health plan.  Contact the program administrator at Meyer and Associates at:  800-635-7801 or about this and other sponsored life, medical, auto and homeowners insurance.

Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.)

Gusties love to serve while they are students and after they graduate.  Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.), the annual day of community service, will focus in the Twin Cities’ Phillips Neighborhood.  This 1.6 square mile section of Minneapolis has 3,100 families, and 31 percent of those families live below the poverty level.  This neighborhood also is home to the American Swedish Institute.  Come out to help make the community a little better.  To learn more about G.I.V.E. Day and to register, go to

MAYDAY! Peace Conference:  "AIDS + Africa, the Unfolding Crisis"

The 26th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference will be held on Wednesday, April 19.  This year's topic is AIDS in Africa.  The conference will feature a keynote address by Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the HIV virus, and Marjorie Mbilinyi, social activist and professor in Tanzania.  The AIDS Memorial Quilt will also be on campus for viewing.  Robert Gallo is spending time on campus during March and April sponsored by the Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell Distinguished Professorship, a residency program for Nobel Laureates and similarly distinguished scholars.  For more information, go to

Gusties Gather!

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, August 6!  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  Ever think you want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Now is your chance, signup to host a Gusties Gather! event.  Complete event check-list, host kit, and details will be provided.  Sign-up via e-mail at <> or call 800/487-8437.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference on AIDS – April 19
  • Rydell Distinguished Professorship lecture by Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of HIV virus, professor and director of the Institute of Human Virology – April 20
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations Meeting, keynote address, "Discipleship in Today's World:  Religion and Ecology," by Larry Rasmussen – April 22
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) Day of Community Service in Minneapolis – April 29
  • Gustavus Library Associates Author Day with Robert Alexander – May 3
  • Reunion for Class of 1956 and 50-Year Club – May 26-27
  • Commencement – May 28
  • Gusties Gather! – August 6
  • Reunions for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 – October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 7 & 8