Class of 2009
June 2009

Dear Class of 2009,

As one of your five class agents, I have the pleasure of sending out the first class letter you will receive as an alumnus/alumna―and let it be known that I really am pleased that I get to do this.

We have already shown that our class has something special about it.  Not only did we have more than double the amount of classmates give to the Senior Class Gift than the class before us did, but we broke the all-time participation and monetary records.  Needless to say, that makes me incredibly proud to not just be a Gustavus grad, but a grad from the Class of 2009.  Over the many years to come, I plan on us continuing to be an incredible class, whether it is homecoming celebrations, couch surfing and job networking connections, or furthering support our Alma Mater.

As class agents, it is our job to help make this happen.  We will serve as tools to keep you informed about your fellow classmates and up-to-date on Gustavus events.  Let me take a moment to briefly introduce the agents.

Chris Edelbrock, international management and political science major, recently made the move out to Seattle and is working for The Boeing Company.  While at Gustavus, he was involved with Student Senate, Epsilon Pi Alpha, the Order of Omega Greek Honor society, and GAC TV.

Nicole Parris majored in music, and during her time here she was a CF and taught piano lessons.  She was also a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Vasa Wind Orchestra, and hand bell choir and percussion ensemble.  Nicole is currently working in Anchorage, Alaska for the summer.

Dance major, Shawn Grygo, will be staying in St. Peter this summer working on Commission Gustavus 150.  Over her years at Gustavus, she was active with golf, Campus Activities Board, Q&A, Senior Class Gift Committee, and Student Senate.

Maria Siegle, elementary education, is going to be teaching first grade at Park Elementary in LeSueur while taking classes toward a master’s education degree at Minnesota State University Mankato.  Maria took part in Gustavus Ambassadors, the forensics team, study buddies, and Kappa Delta Pi.

As for me, I majored in psychology and will be a special education teacher at Brooklyn Center High School next year through Teach for America.  I was involved in Commission Gustavus 150, Relay for Life, Gustie Greeters, Servant Leadership Program, MAYDAY!, Phi Beta Kappa, and Psi Chi.

Within weeks of graduation, it is obvious the impact our class can have on the world.  Already our class has its fingerprints in hundreds of different careers, in what seems like a million different locations.  From students to teachers to real adults, I do believe our class is fully participating in the next steps of “the real world.”

Class News

Close to home, Kendra Mays joins the Twin Cities Gustie community, taking a job as an implementation analyst at SPS Commerce which is located in downtown Minneapolis, putting her years of working at GTS to work.  Not far from her, Jeremy Bedard is attending the University of Minnesota and is part of their Ph.D. program in materials science.  Ryan Dobbs is also taking further steps in his education, and will be attending Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and is currently thinking about internal or emergency medicine (but that is subject to change).  On the other side of the country, Cat Wiechmann will be working in  the central Rockies of  Idaho at McCall Outdoor Science School, teaching classes about biology and the environment to kids, while graduate school credit towards the ecological sciences and a certificate in environmental education.  Stepping outside the U.S. borders, we find Christine Grotjohn on the other side of the world.  Come August, she will be teaching English to lower elementary students at LCI Kids Club in Suji, South Korea (about an hour from Seoul).  In the opposite hemisphere, Matt Grove will also be teaching English.  Matt accepted a position through an organization called WorldTeach and will be living in Chile.

Campus News

Paul Magnuson Award announced

Four student leaders, four student organizations, and two student-led events were recognized Monday, April 27 at the annual Paul Magnuson Student Leadership and Service Awards Program at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Established in 1991 and annually supported by the Hon. Paul Magnuson ’59, chief judge of the U.S. Federal District Court in St. Paul and former trustee of the College, the awards recognize the significant contributions that individual students and student groups make to campus life.

Each year, outstanding students, organizations, and events are nominated by fellow students, faculty, administrators, or staff for recognition.  A selection committee assembled by the Dean of Students reviews nominations and determines honorees.  The following students were recognized this year:  Scott Broady, as Student Senate Parliamentarian, Broady was charged with revising the Senate constitution; Christine Grotjohn, who began coordinating the Gustie Buddies program as a sophomore when it consisted of 15 volunteers and seven developmentally delayed youth; Katie Mason, an important leader in the continued success and impact of GAC-TV on campus; Carla Shutrop, a tireless leader of the Gustavus College Republicans for a good part of her four years at the College.

Gustavus Recognizes Newly Tenured Faculty

Gustavus Adolphus College recognized eight newly tenured faculty members during its worship service in Christ Chapel on April 24.  The faculty members who were recognized are Margaret C. Bloch Qazi (biology), Priscilla Briggs (art and art history), Scott K. Bur (chemistry), Casey Elledge (religion), Elizabeth A. Jenner (sociology and anthropology), Sujay Rao (history), Michelle L. Twait (library), and Esther Wang (music).

Valentini '02 Named Head Men's Tennis Coach

Tommy Valentini, a native of Duluth, Minn., has been named the head men’s tennis coach at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Valentini, who has been an assistant coach for the Gusties for the past three years, will replace Steve Wilkinson who is retiring after serving as the head coach for the past 39 years.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast – free for the class of 2009

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  For July our featured presenter will be Byron Nordstrom, retiring professor of history and Scandinavian studies.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast on the third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  The cost is $10 at the door, but will be free in July and August for the Class of 2009.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.

Future speakers:

  • Byron Nordstrom, retiring professor history and Scandinavian studies – July 15
  • Megan Ruble, director of student activities – Aug. 19
  • Mark Bjelland, professor of geography and chair of the 2009 Nobel Conference: H20 Uncertain Resource – Sept. 16
  • President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21

Upcoming Events

  • Rochester Chapter Picnic, East Silver Lake Park Shelter – July 9
  • Fargo/Moorhead Chapter Picnic, Lindenwood Park – July 13
  • Willmar Chapter Picnic, Robbins Island Park – July 14
  • Duluth Chapter Potluck – August 16
  • Twin Cities Event - August 19
  • Gusties Gather! – September 20

Now, I have a favor to ask all of you (watch out―this could be quite the burden).  I would like you to brag to us.  I want every last job taken, marriage vows said, baby born, and graduate school acceptance (or graduation) to be bragged about it.  We would love to know how and what you are doing, and we want your fellow classmates to know, too.  I mean, this couch surfing thing will never kick off if we don’t know that you landed an incredible job on Capitol Hill.  In order to share your news, go to

I hope this letter finds you well!  I cannot wait to see the changes that this class makes in the world.  Remember, wherever you are, “you belong to G.A. College and Gustavus belongs to you.

In Gustie Spirit,

Holly Andersen

2009 Co-class Agent

royal affair