Class of 2002
March 2007

5-Year ReunionOctober 12-13, 2007

Well, Gusties of ’02, spring is here!

That means it’s time for another class letter.  I’m Paul Miller, your guest author for March, and I’m writing to you from sunny Fargo, North Dakota.  I’ve just moved back to the upper Midwest after spending three of the past four years in Philadelphia, and I’ve discovered that spring means very different things depending on where you live.  I was talking with some of my new north-country friends this morning, and it seems that everyone here is excited that spring has come early this year―no one seemed to notice the irony that we were all wearing snowshoes at the time.  Now, I know what you are thinking―I’ve been thinking it ever since I was assigned Todd Johnson as a roommate my freshman year at Gustavus―“who would want to live in North Dakota?”  Well, don’t tell Todd, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Apart from sharing the joys of spring, I’m writing to share a reminder that the first big milestone for our class, the FIVE-YEAR REUNION is coming up this fall!  In anticipation of that, here are a few more of our classmates’ stories.  Enjoy these updates, and think of all the fun people you might get to cross paths with this coming October 12 - 13, 2007.

Diane Moberg Aikin’s spring is going a little differently than mine―she’s getting ready to plant flowers at her new home in Hanover, Indiana.  Although southeast Indiana is far from home, she writes, “I have to admit the weather is delightful―since November I’ve been waiting for the big snowstorm that would solidly put us into winter, and I'm still waiting!”  What’s Diane been up to?  This will come as no surprise to anyone who heard her play the organ at Gustavus―she received her master’s in organ performance from Notre Dame in 2004, and now she is church musician at Hanover Presbyterian Church.  She met her new husband, Carter Aikin, at Notre Dame.  Any relation to Clay?  “Alas, no American Idol fame for we poor Aikins...”  Perhaps we can meet him (Carter, that is) and hear the rest of Diane’s story at the reunion.

What can anyone really say for sure about Erik Tou?  In the end, I guess, you’ll have to decide for yourself what is true, but I have it on good authority that he is working hard to finish his work in the mathematics department at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire (not Indiana).  He will receive his Ph.D. this spring.  The breaking news from Erik is that he will be moving to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to begin next fall as an assistant professor of mathematics at Carthage College.  That’s pretty quick to make the transition from student to professor, but some things haven’t changed―he continues “ensuring the continuing existence of hijinks, as much as adulthood permits.”

I met Brady Finnern when we both, as seniors, signed up for beginning Greek.  I guess that was a sign of things to come―he went on to earn a master’s of divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and is now a pastor in the Lutheran Church―Missouri Synod.  He now serves St. John Lutheran Church, North Prairie, Wisconsin near Milwaukee.  He has also gotten married―to Amy Buran ’01.  Remembering Gustavus, Brady agrees it was “a great experience” ―he especially enjoyed his time on the track team.  He looks forward to getting back to St. Peter, maybe stopping at Erberts and Gerberts (an excellent choice―I work across the street from one), and his first stops on campus will be to get back to Lund Center and the track.

When Jamison Conley got back to campus last summer, his first stop was probably not the one you or I would pick―he headed straight for the map library.  (Did you know there was a map library?)  It turned out to be a good choice―he found two of his favorite geography professors there.  Jamison enjoys keeping up with many of his faculty mentors.  When asked how he has filled the void left by the end of his Gustavus education, he didn’t have to think too hard―“I’m still going to school!”  He is nearing the end of a Ph.D. in geographic information systems at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania.  What sights or sounds really take him back to “dear old Gustavus?”  Hearing or singing an anthem that he sang with the Christ Chapel Choir or the Gustavus Choir.  What does he miss most?  “The random conversations that happen and the people they happen with.”  He can think of lots of reasons to come back for the reunion ― “C'mon, you know you want that caf food!  Mmm.  Chicken fingers....  Besides, who doesn’t want yet another picture with Gus?”  And then the geography major in him comes out―he says he’s pretty sure many of us will have less distance to travel than the 1,000 miles he has to campus.  I checked this out, and, of course, he’s right―1000 miles even.

Marie Desaulniers Miller―the research on this one was pretty easy―she lives with me here in Fargo!  Marie is working on a master’s in science education at NDSU.  As for me, I graduated from seminary last May, and now serve as one of the pastors at Trinity Lutheran Church, across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota.  We have been fortunate during the past few years to see many Gusties of ’02―and not just the ones we made plans to see!  Marie worked with Mike Billington for a year at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, Minnesota, and later worked with Sarah Kruse at Eagle Bluff E. L. C. near Lanesboro, Minnesota.  When I returned to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia for my fourth year, I found myself in classes with Anna Garbisch Sorenson and Joshua Rinas.  Not bad for just five years ―hopefully this pattern will continue!

It has been such a gift in my life to be surrounded each place I go with really fine people.  What an incomparable gift that is!  Of course that’s a big part of what made our time at Gustavus so enjoyable, so formative, and so meaningful.  It’s great when we can plan a get-together here or there, or when circumstances happen to bring us together again, but I look forward to this reunion as a chance to intentionally re-connect.  Getting back to campus this fall will mean remembering some great times, as well as keeping up to date with the current mission of Gustavus―but what’s better than just enjoying being together again?

Take care, enjoy this fine spring weather, and I hope to see you in St. Peter in the fall!

Paul Miller

2002 Guest Letter Writer

On the Hill……

The Alumni Association announces the following 2007 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors. 

Greater Gustavus AwardGiven to those who, by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

  •  Russ and Jan (Ledin) Michaletz ’74 ’74

Distinguished Alumni CitationsRecognizes outstanding and exceptional professional achievement

  • Paul Peterson ’94, principal, St. Peter High School, Minnesota State High School Principal of the Year.
  • Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, house speaker, Minnesota House of Representatives.

First Decade AwardsRecognizes early professional achievement

  • Jennifer Pleuss Spande ’97, diplomat, Political and Economic Section, U.S. Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
  • Alexander Hill ’97, senior scientist, Medtronic, Inc.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 26, and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, October 13.

Energy Wars

Minnesota colleges and universities competed during February in the Campus Energy Wars.  The Campus Energy Wars challenge was to see which campus conserved the most energy throughout the month.  Gustavus students and faculty made a concerted effort to change their behaviors by turning off unused lights in their dorm rooms or classrooms, unplugging appliances, and lowering thermostats to reduce energy consumption.  The culminating event was a campus competition to pedal stationary bicycles to see who could pump the most energy into an electrical generator supplied by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Linnaeus Symposium Celebrates Birth of Carl Linnaeus

In celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established genus/species used today, Gustavus will host its second Linnaeus Symposium: Linnaeus @ 300 on Wednesday, April 25, 2007.  The daylong conference will feature presentations by ethnobotanists, Mark Plotkin and Paul Alan Cox, Linnaean scholar and impersonator Hans Odoo, and author Paula Robbins, who has written about Pehr Kalm, one of Linnaeus’s “apostles” to America.  The day will also include tours of Linnaeus Arboretum, a special photography exhibition by Anders Bjorling ’58, music, dance, and a Scandinavian feast.  The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m., so save the date and join us at Gustavus this spring.  For more information, go to <> or call 507/933-6181.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Linnaeus Symposium - April 25
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations – April 28
  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference: Community Food Security - May 2
  • Celebrating 75 years of the Gustavus Choir - May 5
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion  - May 11-12 <>

On the Homefront…


  • Meghan Harney to Brian Sandri on December 22.

Tiny little Gusties…

  • Lindley Elyse born January 21, 2007 to Trevor and Missy (Mellema) Johnson.


  • Ali Fugleberg is a primary care clerkship coordinator at University of Minnesota.
  • Christopher Price is employed by Tiffany and Company and is pursuing his art career, having received an “Award for Excellence” from the Oil Pastel Society in the 2006 members show.
  • Angela Lundeen is a victim advocate at Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Mel Klaas is audience development manager at Emerald City Theatre.
  • Jaime Quam Winchell is a fourth grade teacher in the Cannon Falls School District.
  • Chuck Lederer is a consumer loan underwriter at Wells Fargo.
  • Melissa Vierling Grostyan is a pre-school teacher with Elk River Public Schools.
  • Erik Johnson is employed by Xiotech Corporation in business development.
  • Chris Nelson is a program analyst with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C.
  • Paul Miller has been ordained a Lutheran minister after earning a master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  He is serving as an associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead.

Education and “other”…

  • Charles Agerter is attending Hamline Law School.
  • Angela Fay Kirchner is a third-year pharmacy student at the Chicago School of Pharmacy of Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois.
  • Scott Jones received an MBA from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • Ben Leroy is pursuing a master’s of music in horn performance at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • Tracy Vicory was inspired to apply to an MFA creative writing program after writing and producing two of her plays in the last two years.  She moved to Seattle in January and will begin her program in July.  She is also engaged to be married in June to Chris Rosenquest.
  • Katy Becker is a graduate student in Holistic Health at St. Kate’s.
  • Bryan Rolfes is in medical school at Rosalind Franklin/Chicago School of Medicine.
  • Laura Hanson Spanier is pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at St. Cloud State University.
  • Mitch Harrison is a candidate for a master of regional planning at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
  • Kelly Wavrin graduated with a master of library and information science from the College of St. Catherine on May 20, 2006 and is on staff at Consortium Library, University of Alaska.

Keep the news coming―being that it’s a reunion year, you’ll be receiving more class letters than normal and we’d love to fill them with your updates!!!  Jobs, graduate school, marriages and births will be included in class letters and in the Quarterly.  We’d also love to include your other updates like volunteer activities, vacations, family news, Gustavus memories, funny experiences, wild adventures, etc. in class letters.  We look forward to hearing from you!