Class of 2003
March 2008

5-Year Reunion ― October 3 & 4, 2008

Dear ’03 Gusties,

I hope this letter finds you all in good health and spirits.  It has been far too long since I have been back to campus and longer still since I have talked with most of you.  Our five-year reunion is quickly approaching and I am looking forward to seeing you all.

After four years of medical school, I began my intern year at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse, WI with great expectations.  Things have been going extremely well, although it isn’t nearly as dramatic or exotic as shows like Grey’s Anatomy might depict!  I don’t think I have even had to yell “STAT!” more than once.  One recent highlight was unexpectedly bumping into Brad Arndt as he was down selling vascular therapy products for Covidien.  I am seeing more and more every day how my time at Gustavus prepared me for being a doctor.  Caring for a patient not only includes treating their physical illness, but often includes connecting with them emotionally, culturally, and spiritually as well.  The broad-based liberal arts education I received at Gustavus has allowed me to thrive.

It seems as though winter is over, but spring has not quite arrived.  To me, that signals the height of basketball season.  As I am writing this letter I am also listening over the web to the Gusties playing Carleton in the MIAC Men’s Basketball Playoffs.  I can’t help but think back to our run to the Final Four five years ago sparked by David Newell.  That was true March Madness!  I’ll never forget the electrifying anticipation and excitement as the great Gustie fans poured into the gym during warm-ups.  Despite being a member of the basketball team, I never was able to get Marni Gehrking to go out with me.  Fortunately, I found a wonderful woman in the class below us and will be marrying Rachel Schwingler ’04 in June.

Planning a wedding takes a little work.  One of our recent tasks was to find music for the ceremony.  Although the most musical thing I did at Gustavus was play air guitar while Derek Nelson sang into an empty bottle, I loved attending choir concerts, recitals, and theatre productions.  One could sense the genuine passion, dedication, and love that went into these performances.  They never disappointed.  Luckily, two former singers from our class have graciously agreed to sing at our upcoming wedding.  Heidi Sands Gusenius and Megan Trapp Henschen will bless us with their beautiful voices.  Fortunately for our guests, the deal also dictates that their husbands Mik and Sam are prohibited from singing during the service.

Writing this letter has allowed me to reflect on what Gustavus means to me.  When I think about Gustavus, I think about scholarship, service, and community.  It occurs to me that the best things in life are not things at all.  They are the experiences, beliefs, friendships, and ideas that make us who we are.  I hope that you would agree that many of these “best things” were enhanced by your time at Gustavus.

Have a wonderful spring!

Hans Sviggum

2003 Guest Letter Writer


  • Vanessa Young Burton is a dentist and works for the office of Jeffrey T. Bonk, D.D.S., P.C. in Barrington, Illinois.
  • Jay DeLaRosby and his wife, Tabby, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Daisy Jean, on September 30, 2007.  Congratulations!
  • Brooke Dorobiala works as the executive assistant to Representative John Kline (R-Minnesota) in Washington, D.C.
  • Sowmya Gandham made it back to Minnesota at the end of December.  After a nice visit with her family in India, she is back in Australia where she is working on finishing her third year of medical school.
  • Amy Hiscock married Michael Daly on September 22, 2007.  They were married in Christ Chapel.
  • Beth Worley married Chris Huizinga ’02 on January 26, 2008.
  • Adam MacLeod-Roth is attending law school at the University of Minnesota. 
  • Jessica Cunningham Miller had a very exciting year.  She completed her master’s degree in teaching and learning in May of 2007 and gave birth to daughter Ava Vienna Miller on May 30.  She capped off her exciting year by marrying Jeremy Miller on October 16 at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand on October 16.  Congratulations!
  • Bethany Mueller and Ambryn Melius are volunteering in India from February to June of 2008.  Bethany plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2008.
  • Daniel Plagens is employed as a regional sales director for Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
  • Sarah Holm Pospisil and her husband, Jared, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Addison Marie in November of 2007.  Congratulations!  Sarah currently works at La Porte (Iowa) Elementary School as a special needs teacher for 2nd and 3rd graders.
  • A BIG congratulations to Aeleah Soine, who received a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research for her dissertation at Freie University (Berlin).  Currently enrolled in the history program at the University of Minnesota, Aeleah’s research focuses on the professionalization of nursing in Europe and the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Ann Svehla works as a project manager for Viracon in Owatonna.
  • Matt Wallace and Kara Wallace ’01 celebrated the birth of their son, Benjamin James, in October of 2007.  Congratulations, Matt and Kara!
  • Katie Schweer Weckwerth is a production supervisor for The Schwan Food Company in Marshall.
  • Brandon Wright received his law degree from Hamline University and is employed as a judicial law clerk in Chippewa County.


Greetings and salutations from on top of the hill!  My name is Adam Eckhardt and I have the privilege of interning with the Alumni Office.  I worked full-time during January term, but this spring I will be on a part-time basis along with my classes.  I am a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I can hardly believe that J-Term has come to an end and second semester is upon us.  This January was my third J-term on campus and it proved to be just as cold as I remembered it.  There were several mornings when I braved the trek across campus in the subzero blistering winds and the ice-coated parking lot that I wondered to myself, “Why do we live here?”  I suppose if it weren’t for the people this would be a pretty dismal place but then I would get to work and see the people who make Gustavus happen every day and remembered why.

This year’s J-Term had a lot of opportunities to offer students.  There were over 26 different classes that went abroad to places such as Guatemala, Fiji, Tanzania, South Africa (My roommate went on this trip, I’m so jealous), India, and Australia.  Along with all of the classes the Orchestra toured in China for their international tour this year.  The tour started on January 18th and went through February 1.  If you look on the Gustavus page you can see the orchestra doing the Gustie Rouser on the Great Wall of China!  I wonder how many times that has been done before?  The orchestra concluded with a home concert in Christ Chapel on February 17.  Speaking of tours, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will be touring to Florida over Spring Break this year.  The tour runs from March 22 to March 29 with a home concert on April 5 at 3:00 pm.  The Gustavus Choir (I am a first tenor in this choir!!) will be postponing its tour this year due to Dr. Aune needing to leave for the remainder of the year for medical reasons.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

Gustie winter sports teams are having another great year, as all are near the top in the MIAC.

Other things that are happening in the following months of the semester include the 13th Annual Building Bridges conference.  This conference will focus on Genocide Awareness: How will history judge us? Paul Rusesabagina, whose life story was the basis of critically acclaimed movie Hotel Rwanda will speak at this year’s conference.  The Gustavus Music Showcase will be at Orchestra Hall on March 9th at 2 pm.  The Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will all be featured at this event.  I encourage everyone to go since I will be singing in the Choir.  Tickets can be purchased at the Orchestra Hall box office and may be purchased at the door, online, and via fax or phone.  Go to to find out more.

I cannot believe that this J-Term has gone so fast and before I know it I will be graduating and becoming an alumnus.  These four years have been great to me and I will cherish them forever.  I am proud to say that I am a Gustie and I hope you all are, too!  GO GUSTIES!!!!