Class of 2002

December 2011

10-Year Reunion― October 12-14, 2012

Greetings Class of 2002!

Can you believe 10 years ago we were almost halfway through our last year at Gustavus?  Just like when we were on campus, this time of year is very busy!  Students just finished Christmas in Christ Chapel and are now looking forward to finals and the reprieve of Christmas break.  It’s a special year for the school as well.  Gustavus is celebrating its 150th year, with the Sesquicentennial Celebration running all year long through Homecoming 2012 – OUR 10-YEAR REUNION!  Mark your calendars for October 12-14, 2012!

I’m a small town girl from Atwater, MN (pop 1133, no stoplights), so going to Gustavus was a big step up for me.  One of my favorite parts about being a Gustie is the community and connections that we build with each other that extend beyond our time on campus.  Within the last month, I have run into a few of our classmates in unexpected places – Kendra Tersteeg Rebstock taking her family to the pool, Marie Rivers Rule in the bathroom at Cabela’s (her little boy Bennett is so cute!), and Renee Schmitt at the gym.  What’s your best random Gustie encounter story?

The Gustavus Alumni Board of Directors has decided to realign the class leadership structure to include class officers with various duties within each class.  This model includes five officer positions:  Class President, VP/Reunion Chair, Annual Fund Chair, Communications Chair and Student Recruitment Chair.  I would love to have any of you join us in helping, whether it is to write a class letter, plan a happy hour event in the Twin Cities, call potential Gusties, help with our reunion or be a leader in the annual fund.  These amazing people will be serving our class:

Karen Warkentien Oglesby and Katherine Medbery Oleson are our co-reunion chairs and co-communication chairs.  We enjoyed aspects of both roles from the previous class agent structure so we decided to share them once again in the new class structure.

As part of the Reunion Chair responsibilities, we are in the process of contacting classmates about getting involved in the reunion committee.  If we call you, please consider joining the committee−it will be a great time to connect with our classmates and prepare for our 10 year reunion.  If you would like to be a part of this committee, please let us know right away.  We have also contacted guest letter writers for our reunion year – look forward to some creative and interesting letters in the months ahead.

As part of the Communication Chair responsibilities, we will continue to keep you (our classmates) connected to the college and each other.  The usual updates will appear in The Gustavus Quarterly and our class letter will take a slightly different form.

A bit from Karen:  My husband, Charlie, and I have a 19-month-old daughter, Kaitlin.  We live in Eden Prairie, MN, but enjoy regular trips to Rwanda.  In 2006, I founded New Mercies, an organization gripped with a passion to work for justice and lovingly serve those most vulnerable in post-war and post-crisis nations.  My husband and I direct the organization’s sustainable aid projects and mobilization initiatives.  We’re most excited about a community of homes for orphaned and abandoned children that we’re building in cooperation with our local partners in Rwanda.  We’re currently equipping a team of Gusties to serve with us this J-Term!  I was just on campus yesterday – I’d love to tell you it was beautiful and nostalgic, but it was windy and ridiculously cold.  Just like the good ol’ days (so maybe there was a bit of negative nostalgia)!

Katherine here:  I’m still living in Des Moines, WA (the Seattle area).  My husband, Tim, is attending seminary at Seattle University and Luther Seminary, and we’re enjoying life with our two golden retrievers.  I am a faculty member and chair of the Communication Studies Department at Bellevue College.  In addition to teaching, I’m currently serving as the advisor for a student honor society.  The honor society students are involved in many community service projects, which reminds me of the service-minded climate at Gustavus.  I absolutely love my job here!  I’m looking forward to our 10-year reunion and the opportunity to catch up with everyone.

Student Recruitment Chair:  I’m Toby Stalter, and I'm currently living in the Washington, DC area where I work for the Embassy of Japan.  Over the past few years, I've helped with the Gustie Recruitment Network by calling and congratulating students accepted into the class 2015.  While a high school student in Iowa, I discovered Gustavus at the suggestion of a family friend who lived in Mankato.  In the role of the Student Recruitment Chair, I will be sharing ways that you can help prospective students discover Gustavus.  Who better to give advice and field questions about Gustavus than those of us who went there?

Annual Fund Chair:  Hi everyone, my name is Mike Wilken, and I am proud to be your Annual Fund Chair.  Since graduating from Gustavus I have worked at C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. a third party logistics company based in Eden Prairie, MN.  Over my nine years with the company I have served in many roles, but currently find myself as the Public Relations Manager.  In addition, my wife Erin (Holloway ʼ02) and I proudly welcomed our first child, Sally, into the world in January.  As the Annual Fund Chair, part of my responsibility will be to increase our participation rate so I’m sure we’ll be in touch soon on all the wonderful ways you can get involved during the year.  I really hope at one point or another we’ve hung out, had a class or said hello to each other while on campus.  However, if we haven’t and you’re against having people you don’t know/remember calling you and asking for money, please friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.  It will give us a chance to catch up and hopefully make the experience better for everyone involved!

President:  My name is Betsy Starz, and I’m very excited to serve as our class president!  I spent five years on the Alumni Board of Directors, which was a great way to meet Gusties of all ages, get to know more about the institution and learn about the numerous ways we, as alumni, can remain connected to the college.  I live in Maple Grove, MN and work for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans as a financial planner in Minnetonka.  As the Class President, I help recruit class officers and coordinate our efforts to plan class events, write the class letters and help our class stay connected to the college.  I am excited for the Class of 2002 as we celebrate our 10-year reunion next year.  Keep us updated on your latest career move, volunteer activity, family addition, degree, marriage, travel, etc. for us to include in future communications to the class by going to

It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news of Melanie Wilbur Pike’s death on January 17, 2011.  The following appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on January 20:

“Pike, Melanie Grace age 30, born July 11th, 1980, died of leukemia on Mon. Jan. 17th, 2011 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  She is survived by her husband, Joe Pike of Crystal, MN; beloved pug dog, Shnookie; parents, Russ and Missy Wilbur and sister, Valerie Wilbur of Bloomington; her in-laws, the John and Kim Pike family of Duluth, and a very large extended family and many friends, all of whom loved her beyond words.  Melanie attended Bloomington Jefferson H.S., Class of 1998 and was cheerleading captain.  She fell in love with Joe while they attended college at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, MN, Class of 2002.  They were married aboard a cruise ship at port in Miami, FL on May 23rd, 2003 and have made their home in Crystal, MN for their 7+ years of marriage.  Melanie worked for Minnesota Eye Consultants in the Twin Cities as a patient care coordinator.  She enjoyed playing softball, skiing, movies, games, Halloween, and spending time at the cabin.  Most of all she enjoyed laughing with family and friends.  A "Celebration of Life" gathering will be held in Melanie's honor on Sun., Jan. 23rd between 12-4 pm at Washburn-McReavy Glen Haven, 5125 W. Broadway Ave., Crystal, MN 55429.  Melanie's brave story can be found on Caring Bridge at

Our thoughts and prayers go to you, Joe, and your whole family.

The college has received a request to start a memorial scholarship in honor of one of our deceased classmates, Jennifer Kinneberg Wrisley.  This memorial scholarship will be awarded to students for whom financial aid is essential in order to permit them to attend Gustavus, with a preference for a junior or senior English major with an interest in creative writing, specifically poetry.  All gifts made to the "Jennie Kinneberg Memorial Scholarship Fund" between now and October 10, 2012, will be awarded in the 2012-13 academic year.  If, by October 10, 2012, total gifts raised amount to a minimum of $25,000, the Jennie Kinneberg Memorial Scholarship Fund shall be renamed the Jennie Kinneberg Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund, and the College shall administer the Fund as an endowment fund.

Tiny Little Gusties...

Brooke Bemmels Pavek and her husband, Keith, welcomed Adelaide Gabriella Pavek into the world on December 19, 2010.

Isabel Quinn was born December 3, 2009, to Dan and Emily (Brekke) Thery.

Twins, Lainey Ekstrand and Wesley Ekstrand, were born July 16, 2010, to Andrew and Bria (Ekstrand) Shea.  Busy, busy!

In other news…

Linnea Carlson opened a bird store - Chickadee’s House – in St. Paul’s Como Park neighborhood.  Check it out:

David Garfunkel is living in Port au Prince, Haiti, where he is working for Fonkoze, a micro-credit organization.  David's blog is at

Megan McCready is the associate director for Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis.  She also makes a delicious key lime pie.  Perhaps she’s willing to share the recipe?!

Matthew Miller graduated from UW-Madison with a Ph.D. in physics where his research was in the field of fusion and plasma physics.  He is now a postdoctoral fellow at Auburn University.

Peter Nerothin is serving as the president of Insulindependence in San Diego, CA.  Check it out:

Ellie Roscher is attending Sarah Lawrence to pursue an MFA in writing.  In other unrelated news, Ellie brought some tasty chips and salsa to a summer barbeque.

Rob Schurrer is working at United Health and Jennifer Boorman Schurrer is working at Minnesota School of Business as the resident veterinarian.

First Decade Award

As part of our 10th anniversary celebration in 2012, the Alumni Association presents First Decade Awards to one male and one female of the 10th anniversary class.  The award recognizes "early professional achievement."  Criteria appropriate to selection shall include the difficulty of accomplishment; quality, creativity, and distinctiveness of performance; recognition by professional peers; and lasting contribution to the world of ideas and affairs.  Please let the alumni office know of anyone in our class deserving of this recognition by emailing the Alumni Office at:

I look forward to seeing all of you throughout the next year as we engage in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the college as well as our 10 year reunion!

Go Gusties!

Betsy Starz

2002 Class President

Campus News

Campaign Update

Great news―since the campaign announcement on September 30, Gustavus has secured an additional $5 million in commitments. We are now over $76 million toward our $150 million goal. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. Everyone can participate with your annual fund donation this year and be included in the overall total.

We are especially excited that we have recruited a tremendous Major Gift Committee for the campaign under the leadership of Committee Chair, George Hicks ’75. He is working with five dedicated Major Gift Committee Captains, including: Diane Mickelson Brady ’70, Rob Linner ’74, Paul Batz ’84, Kathy Villars Harms ’85, and Scott Anderson ’89.

When you see these great Gusties, say a word of thanks for what they are doing to help secure the financial future of the College.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  Here is a list of some upcoming chapter events.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 -  Dallas: Lawry’s Prime Rib

Thursday, January, 19, 2012 -  Houston: The Remington Restaurant at St. Regis Houston

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - Naples, FL: Naples Beach Club and Hotel

Thursday, February 9, 2012 -  Tampa: Malio’s Prime

Saturday, February 18, 2012  - San Francisco: Hs Lordship

Sunday, February 19, 2012  –  Los Angeles: The Paley Center

Monday, February 20, 2012  - Palm Springs: Escena Golf Club

Tuesday, February 21, 2012  - Sun City: Briarwood Country Club

Tuesday, February 21, 2012  - Phoenix: Rita’s Kitchen

Friday, February 24, 2012  - Tucson: Warren and Donna Beck’s Residence

Friday, March 16, 2012-Seattle:  The Swedish Cultural Center

Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Denver: Three Tomatoes Steakhouse and Club at Fossil Trace

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  December’s speaker will be Dick Kenney, author of two Gustavus Sesquicentennial books and January’s speaker will be Gustavus Provost, Mark Braun.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Join Gustavus Library Associates

“Whether you went to the college library to study, do research, meet a hot date, or create (or look for) a library prank, the library was an almost daily stop during our college years.  What better way to acknowledge that important relationship than by joining the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA)?  GLA's mission is to promote literature, learning, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College.  All of its membership dues go directly to the annual acquisitions budget of the Library; income from the Royal Affair, Books and Bloom, and other major fundraisers goes to the Library’s endowment.

With this in mind, I encourage you all to become GLA members.  You can find the application form on the web at:  You’ll find all the news about the organization’s events and the membership forms along with a list of membership options.