Class of 2002
April 2010

Greetings class of 2002!  We hope that this letter finds you well as spring is now officially upon us and Easter is this weekend.

If you haven’t seen it already, we’d encourage you to check out the Gustavus “Make You Life Count” brand position that was launched late this fall.  The following is a link to the video presentation:

Here’s a link to the blog where you can check out stories already submitted by Gusties and even submit your own:

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that another one of our classmates, Jennifer Kinneberg Wrisley, passed away on February 26.  The following obituary was printed in the Star Tribune a few weeks ago:

Wrisley, Jennifer Jean Kinneberg 30, beloved daughter, cherished sister, devoted friend, and gifted poet, died unexpectedly at her ranch in San Marcos, Texas on February 26, 2010.  A student and teacher with much promise, Jennie was working to finish her Master's of Fine Arts in Poetry at Texas State University.  Born 1/15/1980 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Jennie graduated from St. Louis Park Senior High School (1998) and Gustavus Adolphus College (2002).  She later earned her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Iowa (2004).  Jennie battled a misunderstood neuromuscular disease with devastating symptoms for over ten years.  In spite of her immense suffering, Jennie found wonderment and joy in nature.  She loved her God, family, friends, and dear ones fiercely.  Though Jennie surrendered her spirit and broken body to her Saviour, the world will be forever etched by her compassionate and beautiful soul.  Preceded in death by grandparents and cousin, Leah Katayama.  Jennie will be missed and loved by her parents, Michael and Teresa Kinneberg; sister, Lindsay Ko Kinneberg; special partner, George Wrisley; as well as countless relatives and dear friends.  In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations to the Animal Humane Society.  Jennie loved all of God’s creatures, great and small.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jennifer’s family and friends at this time.

Please check out the updates below from the college and from our classmates.  As always, please let us know what is happening in your life; we love to include your news in the class letters.

Take care,

Katherine Medbery Oleson

Karen Warkentien Oglesby

2002 Co-class agents

On the Hill…

Campus News

Gustavus Announces Major Building Projects

At its Monday, Jan. 25 meeting, the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with three major building projects.  The College will erect a new 125,000 square foot academic building with a large 3-story atrium at the center providing natural light to many of the spaces.  It will qualify for a “gold LEED” qualification as a green building.  This will develop a mall extending west from its iconic Christ Chapel.  It will house the largest departments on campus (economics and management, psychology, and communications).  Also, plans are under way to renovate A. H. Anderson Social Science Building.  Construction timelines for the projects are not yet finalized, but the College expects to break ground on the new academic building late this spring.

The effort is a significant early implementation step of Commission Gustavus 150, an innovative, constituent-based strategic planning process that has engaged hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders over the past year.  “These projects will greatly enhance learning and teaching, student recruitment, and institutional advancement for many years to come,” said President Jack R. Ohle.

Alumnus, Kurt Elling ’89, Wins Grammy Award

Kurt Elling, a 1989 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, took home his first Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 31 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.  Elling won the “Best Jazz Vocal Album” category for his album Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman. This year marked the ninth time Elling was nominated for a Grammy.

Elling typically performs annually at Gustavus and did so most recently on Oct. 10, 2009 in Jussi Björling Recital Hall.  He has also had the distinct honor to perform in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and their 350 guests at the White House State Dinner on Nov. 24, 2009.

Wind Orchestra Tour

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Douglas Nimmo, has returned from a 15-day concert tour through Germany, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary and Austria.  The Choir of Christ Chapel will be traveling to the Phoenix/Tucson area this spring.  On April 15 they will be at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Sun City West, April 16 at All Saints Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Phoenix, and on April 17 at Lord of Grace Lutheran Church in Tucson.  For other campus news please check the website at

Admission News

Applications for next year are ahead of where they were last year at this time which makes Mark Anderson ’66, the director of admission, very happy.  We graduated two very large classes in the last two years so we need to have somewhat larger classes in order to maintain our enrollment at about 2,500.  Mark Anderson will retire at the end of the academic year so a search is going on to replace him.  Gustavus has had only three directors of admission since 1950 (Howard Holcomb ’49, Owen Sammelson ’58, and Mark Anderson ’66) which is quite an amazing track record.

Attend a Chapter Event Near You!

There will be Gustavus alumni chapter events in the following cities:  New York, April 22; Boston, April 25; Chicago, May 3 and Denver, May 4.  President Ohle will be attending most of those events so we hope that you will make an attempt to attend and hear what he has to say.  He is providing outstanding leadership!

Health Insurance Available through Alumni Association

During this time of economic uncertainty, many of our alumni, new graduates, and their family members are in need of 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 of those in need, we’re spreading the word more broadly this year.  This is also perfect for children of alums who are graduating (even if they did not attend Gustavus Adolphus College) and aren’t yet covered under an employer’s health plan.  For more information, individuals can contact the alumni office or contact the program manager directly or 800-635-7801.

New “Make Your Life Count” Website and Facebook Page

Gustavus has created a new “Make Your Life Count” website that includes a variety of feature stories exemplifying the College’s new brand position launched last month.  The stories celebrate Gustavus students, alumni, faculty, staff, programs, events, and organizations.  The website may be accessed from the Gustavus homepage by clicking on the “Make Your Life Count” brandline (in the upper right hand corner) or by visiting  The “Make Your Life Count” stories are also posted on a new Facebook page.  Become a fan and share your own Gustavus story.  When new feature stories are published, they will be communicated on the Gustavus News Twitter, and you may also subscribe (on the Make Your Life Count website) to receive e-mail updates.  To submit a “Make Your Life Count” story suggestion, click on the “Submit your story” link or e-mail the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speaker:  Virgil Jones, director of multi-cultural programs.

Upcoming Events

  • Apr. 10 – Gustavus Jazz Lab Band Home Concert
  • Apr. 11 – Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Home Concert
  • Apr. 22 – New York Chapter Event – The Core Club
  • Apr. 23 – Choir of Christ Chapel Home Concert
  • Apr. 25 – Boston Chapter Event - Bay Back Hotel
  • Apr. 28 – May Day! Peace Conference
  • May 1 – Gustavus Choir Home Concert
  • May 3 – Chicago Chapter Event – The Chicago Club
  • May 4 – Denver Chapter Event

On the Homefront…


  • Cindy Sonntag to Andrew Dahl on June 7, 2008
  • Nick Crossley to Lyndsey Palen ’06 on July 25, 2009
  • Alan Sommervold to Laura Peterson ’00 on August 16, 2008
  • Daryn Collins to Amber Erickson on June 29, 2008
  • Katie Merrild to Roth Kersten on August 2, 2008
  • Brooke Bemmels to Keith Pavek on April 25, 2009
  • Colin Mullen to Laura Fryberger on September 12, 2008
  • Nate Liddle to Alicia Cannova on October 12, 2008
  • Jamie Henderson to Thomas Swanson on June 20, 2009
  • Jennifer Grabo to Hans Hummel on July 12, 2008
  • Erica Schmidt to David Krocak on November 7, 2009.
  • Sarah Bjornson to Michael Reed on May 21, 2009 in Florence, Italy.
  • Logan Mitton to April Bartoletti on July 25, 2009.

Tiny little Gusties…

  • Ethan born April 14, 2009 to Brian ’04 and Sarah (Heroff) Buffie
  • Jacob David born August 6, 2008 to Jeremy and Amber (Grefe) Adam.
  • Gavin Tran born December 28, 2008 to Jason and Dana (Anderson) Tran.
  • Calvin Jamison born April 25, 2009 to Scott and Angela (Muck) Davis.
  • Rorie Jo born February 25, 2009 to Andy and Laura (Beres) Bristle.
  • Alexander Michael born April 9, 2008 to Mike and Jenny (Messner) Bland.
  • Henry William born August 17, 2008 to Todd and Katie (Bartz) Johnson
  • Noah Bradley born on February 10, 2009 to Chris and Jessica Reed Deegan.
  • Gabriel William born on December 7, 2008 to Chad and Krista (Fuerstenberg) Thomas.
  • Carmen Rose born March 28, 2009 to Mike and Katie (Howe) Bertrand.
  • Mackenzie born June 27, 2008 to Erik and Alyssa (Stanley) Stroemer.
  • Bella Marie born August 31, 2009 to Ryan Kath and Carla Kath.
  • Nora born March 26, 2009 to Eric and Katie (Beck) Foss.
  • Aldegundo Santos Barajas Brenneman, born on February 10, 2009, to LisaBeth Barajas and Eric Brenneman.
  • Macy born to Joshua and Billie (Shorma ’01) Vest on May 6, 2009.  They also had a son named Merrick on January 31, 2008
  • Ella Grace born February 23, 2009 to William and Emily Johnson Frazier.
  • Tanner to Kyle ’01 and Michelle (Zaske) Koren on June 30, 2009
  • Quinn Katherine to Jayne Sommers and Matty O’Reilly in August 2009
  • Kyler to Matthew and Robyn (Borre) Winner on August 14, 2009
  • Penelope to Owen and Kristina Busse on February 26, 2009


  • Maggie Dalen Cass is an operations manager at Boppy Company in Golden, CO.
  • Tommy Valentini is the new men’s tennis coach at Gustavus.
  • Leah Knutson Anderson is working at the NICU at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, ND and shared with us that they had to completely evacuate the NICU during the recent flooding.
  • Emily Weitz is working at the Children’s Hospital in Denver as an RN.
  • Molly Palmer works for Mortenson Construction in Minneapolis.
  • Brooke Bemmels Pavek is teaching kindergarten at Harriet Bishop in Savage.
  • Jon Dumpys is pastor of United Lutheran Church in Oak Park, IL.
  • Mike Bland is working as a research scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.
  • Todd Johnson graduated with his Ph.D. in physics from UW-Madison in September 2008, and is working on a postdoc at NIST in Boulder, CO.
  • Melanie Wilbur Pike is a patient care coordinator with Minnesota Eye Consultants.  Husband, Joe Pike, is technical director for Barlow Research Associates.
  • Ryan Coddington is a senior engineer with MN DOT.
  • Ariana Petersen Mosier is a teacher at Prairie Seeds Academy.
  • Anna Coulsey Wildgrube is a large animal Veterinarian (with some great stories!).
  • Krista Fuerstenberg Thomas is a division manager with Sanofi Pasteur Vaccines in Chicago.
  • J. Steve Nys joined the offices of Mark T. Signorelli Ltd. as an associate attorney.
  • Alec Sonsteby was named assistant professor for Metropolitan State University’s library and information services.
  • Andy Judkins is working for Target Corporation.
  • Kim Woodahl is employed by Holland American Line.
  • BreAnn Radloff Graber is employed by the Duluth News Tribune.
  • Ross Smith is employed by Compellent Technology as a partner development representative.
  • Marcus Schmidt is working as a researcher at Erasmus University Medical Center.
  • Amber Grefe Adam is an educator at Como Zoo & Conservatory.
  • Alison Routh Nelson is a K-3 literacy tutor through the Minnesota Reading Corps at KMS Elementary in Murdock, MN.
  • Josie Gables Holte works for Velocity Technology.
  • Anna Garbisch Sorenson is a pastor at Mount Stallion, Utica.
  • Kevin Bergeson is a pastor at Spirit of Christ congregation.
  • Mike Billington is an interpretive naturalist at The Raptor Center.
  • Nate Ziemer is a 7th and 8th grade science teacher (you’re brave!) in the Manawa School District.
  • Missy Mellema Johnson works for Fairview Southdale Hospital.

Other News…

  • Melanie Wilbur Pike was recently diagnosed with leukemia.  Please keep her and her husband, Joe Pike, in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Jon Miller completed a University of Maryland Ph.D. in nuclear physics this summer.
  • Michael Bradley graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May with a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics.  He will be moving to New Haven, CT to conduct post-doctoral research at Yale University in the molecular biophysics and biochemistry department.
  • Brooke Bemmels Pavek received her master’s in education from Concordia University, St. Paul in January 2009.
  • Angela Muck Davis graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in May 2009.
  • Meghan Harney received her M.D. from the University of Minnesota Medical School in May 2009.  She recently began a three-year pediatric residency in Minneapolis and St. Paul rotating through five hospitals.
  • Nathan Dahlke and his brother, Travis ’00, have been working with Hands for Harvest, a non-profit using volunteer labor to grow food for local food banks (check out the article from The Star Tribune:
  • Ellie Roscher had a book published – How Coffee Saved My Life:  And Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace.
  • Jaime Quam Winchell received her master’s degree from St. Mary’s in July 2009.

Shout out!

We want to hear YOUR news!  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, shameless self-promotion, funny experiences, wild adventures, etc. in class letters.  Keep us in the loop!