Class of 2003
May 2009

Dear Classmates of 2003:

Hello!  I hope everyone is having a great spring.  As I write this, it’s only 60 degrees, but no complaints here.

This letter has news and updates about our classmates, so I won’t have to ramble too much, but I do have some big news myself―in three weeks from now (on June 6th) I’m getting married.  Dan Rosedahl and I are tying the knot after dating five years and I’m pretty excited!  I’m thankful to have Gusties Becca Smith and Elizabeth Danks as bridesmaids, and even more attending the wedding.  I’m still living in St. Paul (now near the Groveland Tap on St. Clair Avenue), and working at Public Affairs Company, a grassroots advocacy firm in downtown St. Paul.

On a Gustie note, I was very excited to see and catch up with many of you during our reunion last fall, both up at Brits Pub in Minneapolis and on campus the next day.

Here are some special notes from those I see often:

Class News

Elizabeth Danks is now right down the skyway from me with her new job at Securian.  She is a marketing account manager and is two-thirds of the way done with her master’s in business communication.

Three friends recently had babies―seems to be the thing to do lately.  Sara (Kilby) and Patrick ’05 Wright had their baby girl, Audrey Ann Wright, on March 5.  Emily Johnson Mamun and husband, Masud, had a baby girl named Lyla Mavis Mamun on January 27.  She blogs about it so we can all see pictures!  Love it.  Kristen Peterson Juhlin and husband, Nic, had son, Jackson Alexander Juhlin, on December 18, 2008.

My freshman year roommate, Stephanie Flinn Beckmann, is moving to Caracus, Venezuela!  Her husband, Brian Beckmann ’04, got into the U.S. Foreign Service working as a foreign service officer.

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:

Campus News

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.  First-year student, Chloe Radcliffe, placed first in the individual sweepstakes and senior, Tasha Carlson, will represent Minnesota at the 2009 Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest―the oldest speaking competition in the country―on April 25 in Oxford, Mississippi.

“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.  This month our featured presenter is Katherine Tunheim, professor of economics and management.  Tunheim will bring news about the department and speak about business ethics and how it is incorporated in the department today.  The date will be Wednesday, May 20, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ‘55 at 763-533-9083.  Upcoming summer breakfasts include Tom Emmert, professor of history, on June 17; 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 will honor 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, upon their retirement and other faculty and administrators for their years of service at a May 21 banquet on campus.

Women’s Softball

The Gustavus softball team defeated Webster University of Missouri 14-6 in five innings on Saturday and advanced to the NCAA Indianola Regional Championship game for the first time in the program’s history.  The Gusties are now one win away from advancing to the NCAA Championship Finals, which will be held May 15-19 in Montclair, New Jersey.  The Gusties exploded for 14 runs on 13 hits.  Rachael Click led the hit parade with three hits in four at-bats including two home runs.

Gustavus Tennis

Gustavus Adolphus men’s tennis earned its 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Team Championship Finals after defeating Luther College 5-0 on May 10, 2009 in St. Peter.  The Gusties, who are now 27-8 overall, will compete at the NCAA Team Championships hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on May 19-21 in Claremont, California.  And the Gustavus women’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA Championship Finals with a 5-0 win over Wheaton College at the Swanson Tennis Center on May 9, 200

More Class News

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 babies!

Births (some mentioned above in my notes, too)

  • Kara Nelson Birznieks and Grant Birznieks, Maple Grove, had a baby girl named Tessa Marie in October 2008.
  • Sam and Megan (Trapp) Henschen had a baby boy, William, last fall.  Sam is still working for the Twins and Megan is at Target in the negotiations department.  They live in Eden Prairie.
  • Megan Zinter Petersen and hubby, Chris, had a baby girl, Sophia Jeanette, on April 23.
  • Mara Oien Thiele and husband, Chuck, are due with their second baby in August (daughter Gracie Lousie is already 1 year old!).  Mara is still teaching math in Owatonna and coaching cheerleading in her free time.  Mara and Chuck live in Elko, MN.
  • Megan Anderson Dohm is working on her masters in nursing and is due on July 5 with her first baby with husband, Ed.  They live in St. Paul and Megan is working at an OB clinic as a nurse clinician.
  • Beth Jorgenson Gissibl and husband, Matt, had a baby boy, Abram James Gissibl on 2/5/09.  She is working as a RN at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and they live in Wauwatosa, WI.  Beth also has two step children Kodi (11) and Eden (8).

Career News

  • Sean Hosein graduated from the University of Minnesota with a graduate degree in electrical engineering.  He works at Seagate as a manufacturing engineer.  He lives in Faribault.
  • Michael O’Brien has joined the Regan Tax Firm.  He received his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.
  • Semonti Mustaphi was recently named deputy press secretary for Michelle Obama (wow!).
  • Matt Hurm has been working on political campaigns across the country after leaving Gustavus, including running Jerry Brady’s campaign for the Governor of Idaho in 2006.  He’s now in law school at the University of Minnesota and working this summer as a law clerk in Chicago for a union-side labor law firm.
  • Emily Gill was recently accepted into the MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) directing (theatre) program at Illinois State University for the fall of 2009.  It is a three year program and pretty cool, because they only accept two people each year.  Congrats to Emily!

Nuptial News

  • Hans Sviggum married Rachel Schwingler ’04 on June 14, 2008.  He is doing his residency in anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic.
  • Megan Kromann is engaged to be married on September 26.
  • A political friend of mine, Carmen Mayo Carter wrote to me that she doesn’t know if her marriage was put in the newsletter, so I’m putting it front and center―she was married to Andrew Carter (they met while working at the Minnesota House of Representatives) on July 26, 2005.

royal affair

Sent in to the Alumni Office was this great group of Gusties was taken at the Jacob Moen and Janet Jansen ’05 wedding on August 16, 2008.  Recognize anyone?

Other News

Tennis pro, Eric Butorac, of Rochester hit the court running this past year.  On January 11, the doubles specialist won his fifth Association of Tennis Professionals title.  He teamed with Rajeev Ram to take the Chennai Open in India, and they didn’t drop a set.  Butorac was quoted in the Rochester Post Bulletin saying, “My playing goal is to reach my highest level.  I have no idea what that might be.  To be honest, I never thought I had this level in me―so now it’s who knows?”

Have a great summer!

Leslie Wilcox

2003 Co-class Agent