Class of 2003
January 2007

Dear Classmates of 2003:

Hello!  I hope everyone had a great time celebrating the New Year in January.  I sure did!  It’s become a tradition to go up to my boyfriend’s cabin with a pack of friends to go bowling in the back of Club 53―a bar of Amery, WI, wander frozen Lake Wapogasett and watch old movies.

This letter has lots of news and updates about our classmates, so I won’t have to ramble too much.  I’m still living in St. Paul (now near the Groveland Tap on St. Clair Avenue), and after the fall election I left my job at the Republican Party of Minnesota HQ running our grassroots field operation.  Just last week I started a new position at a government relations firm, Public Affairs Company, in downtown St. Paul.  It’s doing public relations/affairs and lobbying stuff, which will be a great new adventure.  Check us out at: if you are in need of any advocacy work!  I’m guessing none of you want to hear me reminisce about last fall’s election through the eyes of a GOP staffer, so I’ll move on…

Other exciting happenings this year:

…After a grueling and intense championship game, our kickball team finished in second place in the Wednesday night summer league.  The Gustie all-star members of “Kick This” include (in addition to me, of course) Elizabeth Danks, Kristen (Peterson) Juhlin, Paul Wojahn, Britta Johnson Bergland ’04, and Jill Peterson ’99.  Look for us next summer…we’ll be the ones dominating the field (when we’re not falling over each other!).

…My old roommate, Becca Smith (who happens to be a member of kickball rival “Ball Movement”), just started a new position at Secure Computing in St. Paul.  It’s about three minutes from the cute house near Como that she shares with her boyfriend and adorable puppy Simone (the puppy, not the boyfriend!).

…A few weeks ago Mary Rosener Swiggum and Mike Swiggum came back from Seattle to visit.  Mary has a semester left of studying for her graduate degree in psychology―I hope they move back here soon after that!  It was also nice to see Josh Becker and other Gusties for a bit.

…Way back in March, classmates Becca Smith, Elizabeth Danks, Sara Kilby Wright, Kelli Swanson Matzek and Britta Johnson Bergland ’04 celebrated their 25th birthdays in Las Vegas along with two friends from Luther.  I’ve heard it was stormy one night but the girls still managed to hit up all the great spots.

REUNION:  Also, I know it seems crazy, but planning for our FIVE-YEAR REUNION is beginning to start.  The class agents are looking for anybody interested who wants to be involved.  It’ll be great!  The first meeting will be at the end of February.  Please email me back if interested:  It’ll be planning fun events, reconnecting with classmates, etc.

Before I get to the latest news about our classmates, here is the Alumni Office’s report from the closet in the basement of the Edgar M. Carlson Administration building:


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  Theatre Reunion May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by admission to the cast party on February 10.  The Cherry Orchard will be Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast includes:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance is expected for this unique celebration, so order your tickets soon.  For more information and to order tickets, go to the Cherry Orchard site from <>.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, Realtor, or other professional?  Make it a Gustie!  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website at:  <>.

Career Connections with Students

Sign up now for the 2007 Gustavus Career Connections Reception.  The reception will be Monday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.  The gathering allows Gustavus alumni to provide advice, encouragement, and career networking opportunities to Gustavus students seeking internships and career opportunities.  Alumni are invited to attend and assist current students in their career search.  You do not have to be hiring at your company to attend – just willing to share your experience.  E-mail the Career Center at or call 507/933-7586 if you can attend or want more information.

Give Every Year to Gustavus?

Do you give to Gustavus every year and plan to give every year in the future?  Then you should become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Members of the Cec Eckhoff Society simply make the public commitment that they plan to give financially to Gustavus every year.  It does not matter how much you give and this is not a formal pledge for a certain amount of money.  Cec Eckhoff ’56 led the alumni office from 1963-1994.  Cec believed that part of being an alum of Gustavus was to give monetarily each year to the College.  To become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society, please call The Gustavus Fund office toll-free at 866/487-3863 or e-mail <>.  Thank you for your support of Gustavus!

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus String Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances are scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra will be in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • The Cherry Orchard Gala Performance – February 10
  • Orlando Gustie Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Gustie Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18


Now for the fun news about classmates.  I received some newspaper clippings from the Gustavus Alumni Office in addition to replies to my email solicitations for updates.  I hope I didn’t mistype anything or include any really old information.  If I did―apologies!  If you’re not listed and/or have updates on what you’ve been doing lately, please email each of the class agents and the Alumni Office by emailing:  If you wish to contact us individually, please see addresses at the end of this letter.  It’s great to keep connections with Gustavus and each other!

Arranged by topic…kind of…beginning with the many nuptials!

NEW (and a few late posting) MARRIAGES

  • Kristen Peterson married Nic Juhlin in August (it was a great party!!!).  They both work at Boston Scientific―Kristen is a senior QA lab technician in the microbiology department and Nic is a quality engineer.  The Juhlins live in Maple Grove, MN.
  • Jon Tripp married Linda Reuter ’02 this past July at Minnetonka Lutheran Church.
  • Rachel Gruber and Matt Beran ’04 were married this past year.
  • Sarah Holm lives in La Porte City, IA and married Jared Pospisil in July.
  • Beth Kasid married Matt Wakefield ’02 last April.  They live in Burnsville, MN.
  • Sue Halverson married Jamie Wagner in August.  They live in Alexandria, MN.
  • Leslie Carlson married John Pietila in August.  They live in Richfield.
  • Tori Greer married Paul Regan in October.  They live in Minneapolis.
  • Lisa Smart married Andrew Bornhorst in July.  They live in Atlanta, GA.
  • Abby Roessler married Steve Edgar this past summer.  She is currently employed at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul as head athletic trainer.
  • Joe Malkovich married Sarah Prichard in the summer of 2005.  (I think this is old news, but I had the newspaper clipping!).
  • Erin Schumacher married Aaron Zondervan in October.  She works at Children’s Home Society and Family Services in St. Paul.
  • Sonja Spande married Dana Menard ’01 in November.  She just completed her master’s of art in teaching from the University of St. Thomas.
  • Anna Knoblauch married Phil Bromeland last June.  Anna graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a master’s of art in occupational therapy over the summer and is now a registered occupational therapist at Aegis Therapies/Hopkins Care Center.  Phil works as an estimator for Arteka Companies and they live in Shakopee, MN.
  • David Newell and Alicia Lunde were married September 8, 2006.  David works as the community service program director at Gustavus and they live in Minnetonka.
  • Christina Jeannette married Tony LePage this past July.  They live in Illinois.
  • She is a graduate student at the University of Chicago and works as a children’s counselor at a domestic violence women’s shelter in a western suburb of Chicago.
  • Emily Dahlquist married Wade Laughlin ’02.  She is a math teacher at Shakopee Junior High school.  He is an English and journalism teacher at Shakopee High School.
  • Sarah Handahl ’03 married Lucas Ahlberg ’04 in St. Cloud.  He is a financial associate for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and she is pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.
  • Erik Christenson married Angela Hanske on December 30th.  Erik is working at his family’s insurance agency, Christenson Agency.  Angela has finished law school and is now working as a judicial law clerk.
  • Kira Rice married Tom Hilden in September.  She is currently employed at Minnesota Psychological Resources and is working on her master’s in psychology at Adler Graduate School.  Tom is currently employed at Benfield (a reinsurance company) as a senior account representative.
  • Joanna Olson married Tyler Kroschel this past July.  She is an RN at United Hospital.  They live in Forest Lake, MN.
  • Kathleen Batalden married Justin Smith last May.  They live in Arvada, CO.  She finished her graduate degree in geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005.
  • Jen Moses married Brad Bailey in August.  She is an executive team leader at Target in Minneapolis.  They live in Shoreview, MN.
  • Katie Schweer married Shane Weckwerth in September.  She works for Schwan Food Company in Marshall.
  • Anna Battisti married Jason Arnebeck in August.  She is at St. Mary’s University pursuing a master’s of art in education and teaches math at Simley High School.  They live in Edina, MN.
  • Erin Colon married Mike Koolen last July.  They live in Minneapolis, and Erin is a career counselor at the College of St. Catherine.  Mike is a GIS Technician for the City of Bloomington.
  • Beth Marinac and Ryan Watkins are either engaged or married (sorry, I couldn’t tell by the newspaper clipping!)  She is an account executive and he is an insurance adviser for Associated Financial Group in Minnetonka, MN.
  • Vanessa Young ’03 is studying dentistry at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.  She will graduate this coming spring with a D.D.S. and will be getting hitched to Tom Burton this May.
  • Beth Jorgenson is engaged to Matt Gissibl and a wedding date is set for May of 2007.  She is working as a nurse in Wisconsin.
  • Christen Johnson is employed at Target Corporation as a merchandise planning manager in the domestics division.  She is engaged to Ryan Herman with a wedding planned for July of 2007.  She lives in Minneapolis.
  • Hans Sviggum recently got engaged to Rachel Schwingler ’04 and they are planning a June 2008 wedding.  Hans will get his medical degree this May, so if you need a doctor, please let him know.  He is planning on doing his residency training in the field of anesthesiology and will know where he’s placed and will live for the next four years in March.


  • Dana Langer Kohlbeck still lives in Green Bay with her husband, Benj, and I’m pretty jealous they’re headed to Vail for a ski trip next month.  Dana started her new job last week too―she’s a public relations specialist at a marketing and design firm called Coalesce.  She’ll be heading up new project launches, media relations and copywriting.
  • Eric and Lindsay (Parker) Nerland live in Minneapolis.  Lindsay works at Thomson West in Eagan and was recently accepted into Augsburg’s MBA program.
  • Eric Wirta works at Fairview Clinics out of Ellsworth, WI and Red Wing as a physicians’ assistant.
  • Sigrid Gustafson Pettersson lives in Brussels, Belgium and works in treasury support for IKEA Service Centre.
  • Ambryn Melius lives in Chicago and is the lead outreach case manager for the Franciscan Outreach Association.
  • Carla Kern Betchwars graduated from Bethel Seminary in June 2006 with a master’s in marriage and family therapy.  She is working for FamilyMeans out of Stillwater as a marriage and family therapist.
  • Jaime Haugen Annis is a marketing assistant at Hormel Foods Corporation.  She lives in Austin, MN.  She’s married to Nathan Annis, who graduated from George Mason University with a degree in operations research this past summer, and works as a financial analyst for Hormel Foods.
  • Nicholas Novak is a senior auditor at Wells Fargo, Minneapolis.  He lives in Medina.
  • Greg Nix lives in Sedona, AZ and is a family counselor at Catholic Charities in Cottonwood, AZ.
  • Anne Wenstrom was in Benin, West Africa with the Peace Corps from October 1, 2004 to December 2006.
  • Chris Stavenger is a physician assistant at Orthopedic Associates of Duluth.
  • Liz Barth graduated in May from the University of Minnesota’s CPA program and is now a tax accountant for the Carlson Company.
  • Rachel Lohn graduated from St. Cloud State University with a master’s of science in community counseling this past May.  She is now working as a family advocate for Western Communities Action Network in Mound, MN.  She lives in Minneapolis.
  • Jenny Lingle Beer (class agent) is in Denver, CO working as a training coordinator for Education Partners, Inc.
  • Nick Peterson is an environmental consultant for On My Mountain, Inc.
  • Nicole Polanco is working as an RN in the float pool at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and looking forward to starting her master’s degree in nursing education and health care leadership.
  • Braden Grams has a new job as program coordinator of the master’s of arts program in humanities at the University of Chicago.
  • Nate Bergengren is a worship leader for Jacob’s Well in Minneapolis.  He writes that it’s “the kind of church you’re thirsty for.”  The church is at:  4751 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis if you’re interested in going.
  • Meredith Godfrey St. Pierre lives in St. Paul and is the annual fund manager for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Upper Midwest.
  • Lindsay Zumbrunnen is a senior account representative for Benfield, Inc.  Lindsay works for the Boston office and lives in Chelsea, MA.
  • Andrea Johnson Selander celebrated one year of service as a therapeutic recreation assistant at Inver Grove Good Samaritan Center.  Her husband, Nate Selander is studying for his master’s in software engineering at the University of St. Thomas, and works at Thomson West as a senior software engineer.
  • Meghan Severson Johnson (who’s married to Joe Johnson) works for Shop NBC.  He works for Benfield as a senior account representative.  (Anyone else noticing a trend with Benfield?!?!)  They live in Savage, MN.


  • Emily Johnson Mamun will graduate in May with her master’s in library science from St. Kate’s.  She currently works in marketing at Definity Health and will chair the Communications Committee for the Minnesota Library Association this year.
  • Elizabeth Danks works at Benfield (I think she’s the last one in this letter!) as a senior contract writer.  In January she will start her master’s in business communication (part-time) at St. Thomas.
  • Melissa Radniecki (who’s known as “Mel” to me) graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato this past spring with a master’s of science degree in counseling and student personnel.
  • Jeffrey Strom is at the University of Minnesota, Duluth studying for a degree in H²0 resource science.
  • Megan Kromann recently moved to Fargo to pursue her pharmacy degree at NDSU.
  • Danielle Dryke is currently in Beirut, Lebanon with her fiancé’s family getting ready to go to the University von Amsterdam for her master’s degree in international development studies beginning in January.  She just finished three years in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa.
  • Abby Roen Flores started graduate school this past fall for art history at the University of Kansas.
  • Aaron Crowell lives in St. Paul and has started his master’s of divinity this fall at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, MN.  He is engaged to Sarah Martyn of Toledo, OH, whom he met while serving in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Seattle.
  • Lindsay Wright started law school at the University of Minnesota this past fall.  She lives in Minneapolis.
  • Matt Hennek is at graduate school for chemistry at the University of Alabama and lives in Tuscaloosa, AL.
  • Anne Mariel Peters, my old political science study buddy at Gustavus (we had every class together, seriously), is a doctoral student in the department of politics at the University of Virginia with a focus on the political economy of the Middle East.  Starting in July this year she will be in Jordan and Egypt conducting field research for her dissertation.  I think I should have studied with her more…


  • Sarah Grimsby McQuade was recently featured in a Star Tribune newspaper article titled, “You’re Hired!” about how people got their job.
  • Ryan Hanson had a great article written in Minnesota Meetings and Events in the winter 2006 issue about “A Day in the Life of Ryan Hanson” while he organized a major event for Menttium Corporation.
  • Lane Cowger graduated from the University of North Dakota with a master’s degree in geography this past summer.  He was featured in an article in the Grand Forks Herald where he described his study of Liberian refugees in Grand Forks and Fargo.  He also mentioned the immigrant studies of Bob Douglas, his professor and friend at Gustavus, as the reason he was interested in refugee issues.  Lane lives in St. Louis Park.


  • Kara Haroldson Pryde is anxiously awaiting baby #3!  She and her husband, Dan, live with their daughter, Macy, and son, Boston, in Rockford, MN.
  • Kristen Swanson Hauge gave birth to Lyndon Mayer Hauge in September.  Proud father and husband is Eric Hauge.  Kristen is at Saint Mary’s University pursuing a master’s of education degree and has started her K-12 principal’s license.  She’ll be done this fall.

Hope all is well,

Leslie Wilcox

2003 Co-class Agent

2003 Class Agents:

Leslie Wilcox:               

Jade Bakke Rowland:  

Mik Gusenius:              

Jenny Lingle Beer: