Class of 2008
March 2010

Class Agents:  Donny Bechtle, Adam Eckhardt, Erin Larson, John Michaletz, Katelyn Nelson

Hey fellow Gusties!

Can you believe it’s already March?  (I can’t, considering that this class letter was supposed to be sent out in January...where does the time go?)  More importantly, can you believe that it’s been almost two years since we graduated from college?!  I just spent (far too much) time looking at the Gustavus website and our past class letters, which brought me right back to the whirlwind of senior year, senior week, and graduation.  It is hard to believe that that time in our lives is over!  Undoubtedly, all of us have grown and changed since we moved on from the hill.  For you, maybe this past year has brought a new job, a new apartment, or a memorable trip.  Maybe it has brought a promotion, a graduate program, an engagement or a wedding, a pregnancy or a baby.  Maybe you’ve just been missing the carefree days of life at Gustavus, where the biggest decision you had to make each day was whether or not to make it to your 8:00 a.m. class (kidding…).  Whatever it is that has been happening in your world, I hope that 2010 is off to a great start.

Even though it has been a couple of years since we were all together at GAC, staying connected to each other and to the college is super easy.  If you haven’t already, check out the alumni website at:  You will need to click on the Directory link on the left hand side and then log in using your old Gustavus email address (the 8 letter username) and password.  You can use this same login to purchase tickets for events at  By the way, we also have a class webpage that you can check out at  This page has a link called “Submit Your News” so that you can keep us all updated on the exciting things happening in your life.

Speaking of updating us, please do that!  We love to hear about what everyone is up to.  There are a few ways to submit updates, and they’re all really easy to do:

  • Email us at, or at
  • Go to our class webpage and click on Submit Your News on the left hand side
  • Go to  You can submit news as well as pictures here.

Your announcements will be included in our class letters, as well as published in the Gustavus Quarterly.

Again, I hope that 2009 treated you well and that 2010 is going to bring even more positive change to your life.  And remember:  You will only be your current age once.  So enjoy it!  (Yes, I got that from a Caribou cup.)

Cheers and happy spring! J

2008 Class Agents

Donny, Adam, Erin, John, & Katelyn

Class News


  • Alecia Gerold and Scott Breeggemann – September 12, 2009
  • Jennifer Paulsen and Luke Audette – August 23, 2009
  • Katie Thelemann and David Wolf – August 15, 2009
  • Kelly Taunton and Travis Sing – August 21, 2009
  • Jeffrey “JT” Johnson and Ashley Raymo ’08 – August 15, 2009
  • Susan Ferber and Spencer Barron ’07 – September 5, 2009
  • Tim McDougall and Erica Duin ’07 – June 20, 2009
  • Sarah Mullen and Eric Norberg – September 12, 2009

Work Updates

  • Ben Smith is now working with YMCA in membership and promotions.
  • Annette Broner is an assistant account executive at Weber Shandwick, a PR agency.
  • Kelsie Droogsma is working at Target Corporation as a sourcing specialist.
  • Kate Thompson is working at Target as a pharmacy technician
  • Kyle Nelson is working as a freelance writer.
  • Matt Busacker is an accountant at Pricewaterhouse.
  • Andy Hedberg is an equity analyst at RBC Capitol Markets.
  • Britta Bergman is working in sales and marketing at Bercom International.
  • Riley Hoffman is teaching part-time at St. Louis Park.  He is also a future rock star. J
  • Samantha Pugh is a human resource assistant at Dominium Management Services.
  • Danielle Berg is going to the University of Minnesota for her Ph.D. in astrophysics.
  • Stacie Handahl is an account operations specialist at General Mills.
  • Matt Strom is a field market specialist at Becker professional education.
  • Steve Berger is a public accountant at BHZ.
  • Dan Mikkelson is a law student at St. Thomas.
  • Veronica Bean is now involved in AmeriCorps in St. Paul working for the program “Multi-Cultural Communities in Action.”
  • Peter Schwagerl is a grad student at Kansas State.

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 during spring break.  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:  Tucson, February 19; Phoenix, February 20; Naples, March 14; Seattle, March 19; San Francisco, March 20; Los Angeles, March 21; New Orleans, March 30; New York, April 22; and Boston, April 25.  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:  Amanda Nienow, assistant professor of chemistry will speak of her January term class “Chemistry & Crime:  Examination of CSI-type TV Shows & Real Life Forensic Science.”

Upcoming Events

  • Mar. 14 – Naples Chapter Event – Naples Grande Beach Resort
  • Mar. 17 – Gustie Breakfast – Amanda Nienow, assistant professor of chemistry
  • Mar. 19 – Seattle Chapter Event – Bellevue Club
  • Mar. 20 – San Francisco Chapter Event
  • Mar. 21 – Los Angeles Chapter Event – Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Mar. 30 – New Orleans Chapter Event – Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
  • Apr. 22 – New York Chapter Event – The Core Club
  • Apr. 25 – Boston Chapter Event - Bay Back Hotel