Class of 2002
May 2009

Happy Spring Class of 2002!

We hope that this letter finds you well as spring is in full swing and summer is on the way.  Another class will be graduating shortly and campus will quiet down a little bit for the summer months.  Throughout this entire last year, I have been reflecting on the fact that 10 years ago we began our time at Gustavus.  The tornado had hit in the spring before we started our first year, so we began to watch as the community and campus made repairs over several years.  We met our roommates and the Gustie Greeters for the first time.  We survived the intense warm weather and the lack of air movement in our dorms that first September (also, maybe you experienced the wasps of Co-Ed that somehow were able to sneak in through the screens).  We witnessed the cross being put back atop the Chapel before Reading Break in October in 1998, which a heavy wind proceeded to take down later in the year, only to be set in place once again.  We experienced J-Term for the first time and the joy of the Minnesota winter winds.  We also completed our first year of classes.  I distinctly remembering walking down the stairs of Old Main at the end of my last final (for Don Ostrom’s Mass Media and Politics course) and realizing that one entire year had already passed.  Fast forward to 10 years later...what memories do you still have from our first year at Gustavus?

There seems to be quite a lot going on at Gustavus and with our classmates.  A few things that we’ve heard about are highlighted in this letter.  Please keep those updates coming our way ( so that we can highlight them in future letters.

Perhaps you were involved in the Commission Gustavus 150 project this year.  I participated in the Seattle gathering and it was an interesting process as the college is looking at strategic planning for the years ahead.  If you’re interested in more details about it and the recommendations, in response to the information gathering sessions, check it out at

Steve Wilkinson, head men’s tennis coach for the past 39 years, will retire from being head coach at the end of the current school year (though he will still be working in other capacities at Gustavus).  Our own Tommy Valentini, who has been assistant coach the past three years, will replace Wilkinson.  Tommy is finishing his doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, where he is a graduate teaching assistant and primary instructor of history and philosophy of sport.  Very exciting!

Another exciting thing to highlight is that our classmate, Erin Holloway Wilken is now the new assistant director of Alumni Relations at Gustavus.  Barb Larson Taylor ’93 had served in that position for 15 years.  This past fall, Barb took a new position with the College as assistant to the president for special projects.  Congratulations to Erin―she will do a wonderful job in this position!  Erin has been working on social networking for alumni―check out our class Facebook group online as well as the Gustavus Facebook network.  You can also check out and join the Gustavus Alumni group on Linked In:

I’m not sure if Karen [Warkentien Oglesby] would tell you or not, but I will just in case.  She and her husband (Charlie) are working together on New Mercies Ministries (―a ministry which Karen started a few years ago.  They are working on some amazing projects in the African nation of Rwanda and traveling there several times a year.  Karen has spoken about the extensive work they are doing in Rwanda at Gustavus and in different locations around the Twin Cities.

If you have already made a gift to the Gustavus Annual Fund, thank you!  The current goal is to raise $2.1 million from 8,000 alumni donors by May 31.  As of the beginning of May; 5,600 alumni had contributed $1.4 million toward that goal.  For more information about donating this year, please call the Gustavus Annual Fund office at 866-487-3863.  You can also donate online.

We hope that the months ahead treat each of you well.  Here’s to a great summer!

Blessings to each of you,

Katherine Medbery Oleson & Karen Warkentien Oglesby

Co-class agents 2002

On the Home front…


  • Jenny Pratt to Jason Miller.
  • Amy Strand to Kyle Allen on July 26, 2006.
  • Ellen Anderson to Carlin Wiegner on May 24, 2008 in Napa Valley, CA.
  • Our own co-class agent Karen Warkentien to Charlie Oglesby on April 19, 2008.
  • Jon Dale and Tiina Manne were married on July 18, 2008, in Rochester, MN.
  • Katie Rosenthal was married to Justan Walton on September 16, 2007.
  • Brooke Bemmels, now Brooke Pavek, was married on April 25, 2009.

Tiny little Gusties…

  • Ayan, born February 14, 2008 to Lisa Krause Glaser and John Glaser
  • Lauren Ruby, born March 10, 2008 to Leah Knutson Anderson and Ryan Anderson.
  • Ruth Elizabeth Dinger, born December 10, 2008 to Justin and Beth (McBroom) Dinger.
  • Milo Daniel Galvin, born September 9, 2008 to Dan and Kara (Fox) Galvin.
  • Chess Alexander, born December 20, 2008 to Dan and Karle (Trethewy) Lewer.
  • Elias Walter, born November 7, 2008 to Brady Finnern and Amy Buran Finnern ’01.
  • Brynn Caroline, born April 29, 2008 to Sarah (Hovland) Spanier and Tory Spanier.
  • Albany and Estelle Severud, were adopted in April of 2008 by Shannon (Swanson) Severud and Craig Severud.
  • Rylan, born on November 24, 2007 to David ’01 and Julie (Christenson) Oachs.
  • Finn, born on September 30, 2007, to Bill and Nikki (Lindstrom) Warner.


  • Brooke Dirtzu is an English language learner coordinator for Neighborhood House.
  • Shelly Hochhalter Talcott is working for Health Partners as a marketing consultant.
  • Laura Beres Bristle is employed in the Yellow Medicine East School District.
  • Corinne Shor is an actor with Theater West and other employers varying by show.
  • Dan and Karle (Trethewy) Lewer live in Siletz, OR.  Dan is a veterinarian at Animal Medical Care and Karle is working at Good Samaritan Community Hospital.
  • J. Steve Nys joined the offices of Mark T. Signorelli Ltd. as an associate attorney.
  • Leah Langehaug Wong is vice president of events and marketing for the Minneapolis Downtown Council.
  • David Benson is a licensed private banker with Wells Fargo Bank in Edina.
  • Kellie Erdall Yanda works in the child development center at Especially for Children in Edina.
  • Brooke (Bemmels) Pavek is teaching kindergarten at Harriet Bishop Elementary in Savage, MN.  She also finished her master’s in education from Concordia University in St. Paul this past January.

Other Fun Facts…

  • Ann Gramstad Austin was inducted into the Albert Lea Rotary Club late last year.
  • Ellen Anderson Wiegner graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine in June ’07 and is completing her specialty training in radiation oncology at Stanford University Medical Center.
  • Katy Becker was a featured speaker about holistic movement philosophy at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis in October of 2008.  She currently is living in Berkeley, CA.
  • Nate Liddle is attending a graduate program in international business at Cambridge University - England.  He is also an analyst for Pine River Capital Management.
  • Jon Dale is in his second year at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles.

Keep the news coming – We’d love to fill these class letters with your news.  If you like hearing what others are up to; then chances are there are others would like to hear what you’re up to!  Jobs, graduate school, marriages and births will be included in class letters and in the Gustavus 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.  Keep us in the loop!

On the Hill…

Commission Gustavus 150

In April, the eight Commission Gustavus 150 Task Forces finished meeting and completed recommendation drafting as part of the strategic planning process.  Starting next week, all recommendations will be posted on a secured website for employees, students, and alumni to provide input regarding the level of importance for each recommendation.  This information will be shared with the Board of Trustees for their August meeting to set priorities for action and funding.

Congratulations to the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team, which won its second straight Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Championship on Sunday, Feb. 22.  Gustavus finished with 446 points to beat out Minnesota State University, Mankato (408 points) and Concordia College, Moorhead (213 points).  Gustavus placed first in 6 of 13 events and placed four individuals in the top seven of the individual sweepstakes standings.

“Come on you Gusties” Breakfast

Join us for a cup of coffee, breakfast, and great conversation.  All Gusties are welcome and invited to the breakfasts which are held the third Wednesday of each month.  The next date will be Wednesday, June 17, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd.  Our speaker will be Tom Emmert, professor of history.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.  Other upcoming summer breakfasts include, Byron Nordstrom, retiring professor of history and Scandinavian Studies, on July 15; and Megan Ruble, director of student activities, and Mim Kagol, Gustavus Library Associates, on the Reading In Common program, on August 19.

Faculty/Administrator Service Dinner

Gustavus honored retiring faculty John Bungum, professor of economics and management; Dennis Henry, professor of physics; Steve Hogberg, gift planner; Byron Nordstrom, professor of history and Scandinavian studies; Tom Thorkelson; men’s and women’s track coach, strength coach, and Lund Center special events coordinator, Edi Thorstensson; visiting instructor and academic librarian, and Steve Wilkinson; men’s tennis coach, and other faculty and administrators for their years of service at a May 21 banquet on campus.

Women’s Softball

The Gustavus Adolphus College softball team saw its dream season come to an end after a 4-2 loss to Coe College on Monday afternoon in Montclair, New Jersey. The Kohawks scored a pair of runs in the late innings to break a 2-2 tie to grab a 4-2 lead. However, the Gusties put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to pick up key hits to move them around. Gustavus, which received the third place trophy, finished the season with the program's first 40-win campaign at 42-9.

Gustavus Tennis

Gustavus Adolphus men’s tennis earned its 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Team Championship Finals but saw its season come to an end after suffering a 5-3 loss to Washington University in the NCAA quarterfinal round on Tuesday morning.  The NCAA Championship is being hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. The Gusties finish the season at 27-9, while the Bears improved to 22-2.

The 13th-ranked Gustavus women’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA Championship Finals with a 5-0 win over Wheaton College, but saw its season come to an end with a 5-0 loss to top-ranked Amherst College in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

royal affair