Class of 2010

March 2011

Dear Class of 2010,

In approximately a month, it will be one year since we graduated – can you believe it?!  It is crazy to think that a year ago we would be finalizing our spring break plans such as laying on the beach, relaxing in our home towns, road trips and catching up with friends on campus.  As time has progressed, our lives have changed to fulfilling responsibilities at our work place, searching for jobs and maintaining relationships with family and friends.

Being a Gustavus alumnus brings a sense of pride that I have personally been able to experience.  I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with fellow alumni at my current work place – River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic as a registered nurse.  Whether it is comments made by the general public, employees or family and friends, we as alumni can be proud as we continue to make our “lives count.”  As you can see with other fellow Gusties listed below−the five cores values of COMMUNITY, EXCELLENCE, FAITH, JUSTICE and SERVICE that Gustavus embedded in our lives, continues to exist after “the hill.”


Here’s a quick update on other Class of 2010 Gustie grads:


Kevin Matuseski:  Teaching 6th grade in Barranquilla, Colombia at a bilingual international school-learning Spanish, volunteering, and traveling in his spare time.  Kevin just started a master’s program in international education and supervision.

Kirstin SmedstadStarted working at Rivers Edge Hospital in September as a registered nurse.

Sophia Backman:   Currently working at Target Credit Union, but will be starting as a business analyst (management consultant development program) for Accenture this spring.

Jeanifer PoonWorks at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York as a registered nurse on the pediatrics intensive care unit.

Chantell ZieglerWorks as an RN at Sanford Health Hospital in Fargo, ND.

Katie Hoium:  grain accountant for Cargill in Wichita, KS.

Emily Zeher Wiechman:  Got married this past August to Ben Wiechman.  They live in Mankato, MN.  They are currently serving as Dorm Parents (aka Head Residents) in a men's dorm at Bethany Lutheran College while Ben is at the Seminary.  Emily is working as an RN at Oaklawn Health Care Center in Mankato.

Kayla Winter:  Works for a national nonprofit organization called Playworks in St. Paul.  She is involved with human resources, event planning and development.  She also teaches dance and is a dancer for the Minnesota Swarm.

Jessie MoeStarted her second job as an RN at Richfield Health Center on a long-term care unit.  Jessie also volunteers at an organization called La Oportunidad, working with the Latino population.

Christina BrandtWorks as a program coordinator for REM South Central Services in Redwood Falls, MN and also works as an RN at Parkview Nursing Home in Belview, MN.

Alyssa (Becklin) HaglundMarried Brent Haglund in October and they live in Sioux Falls, SD.  Brent is a director of youth and family ministry at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.  Alyssa is a nurse in the Birthplace, specifically postpartum; in March she will orient in gynecological surgical services, and in the fall will go to labor and delivery.

Angelica MatthesWorking as a RN with Ramsey County Head Start. Andrew Yackel-Juleen and Angel became engaged in December and will be married June 4, 2011 in Christ Chapel.

Jennifer Halvorsenis a fitness specialist through HealthFitness Corporation in downtown Minneapolis.  Jennifer is looking into graduate school next spring.

Jamie Dufek:  Jamie moved out to Santa Barbara, California.  She is just living the dream, working and making art.  Jamie’s art is also being showcased in Hollywood next month.

Ashley Baumann:  Works at Park Nicollet Medical Clinic in St. Louis Park.  Ashley is currently writing a paper with a neurosurgeon that will be submitted to the Journal of Neurosurgery.  She will be applying to medical school as well as for a scholarship through the Air Force.

Matt ChroustIs in dental school at the University of California, San Francisco.

Steve Grimsby:  Steve is teaching Test Prep Courses in Minneapolis and online in MCAT, DAT, OAT and PCAT.  He will be heading to dental school at University of Pittsburgh this fall.

Jake KruegelJake is working at a sports apparel and merchandising store in Burnsville, MN and will be coaching in the baseball program at Eastview High School this spring.

Katie DeSantisKatie is working as a pre-school literacy tutor with the Minnesota Reading Corps.

Bret VanderStreekStarted a manager program this February at Menards in Maplewood.  Bret is getting married on September 24, 2011 to Laura Walz.

Maren O'Neill:  Maren has been substitute teaching in two Minnesota school districts, Cottage Grove and Prior Lake.  She recently accepted a position to teach second grade in Mexico beginning in August.

Lydia BusiahnIs working part time as a public health nurse in Redwood County and part time in the hospital and on the ambulance in Granite Falls.

Andrea Retka:  Became engaged to Ben Schuth.  (This news was incorrectly reported in a previous class letter – our apologies.)

Katie Cummings:  Is now working for RJ Reynolds Tobacco in Duluth, MN.

I hope each and every one of you is happy and healthy−enjoying life after Gustavus!  Thank you to each of you that have donated to the Annual Fund so far.  This is a great way to give back for all the memories and opportunities that Gustavus Adolphus College brought to you and continues to bring to the current students.  Every little bit helps!  Continue to look for updates on events to reconnect with other 2010 classmates.  God bless!!


Jenn Syverson

2010 Co-class agent


Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.  Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award.  Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002.  Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.

Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as unusual honor accorded to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Named as 2011 recipients are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.

The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class.  Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State.  The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.

Sesquicentennial Award

In 2011–2012, Gustavus will celebrate its 150th academic year.  The Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of this Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the College.  The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” will acknowledge and pay tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

  • Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college;
  • Have set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the College as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”; and/or
  • Have brought particular dignity or honor to the College.

Please submit nominations online at .  For more information about the Sesquicentennial Awards, visit .

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts.  New in January was the start of the breakfasts in St. Peter.  Minneapolis breakfasts are the 3rd Wednesday of the month, St. Peter breakfasts are the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

The speaker at both the breakfasts for March will be Kate Knutson, political science professor.  The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, March 16, 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 e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at or by calling 800-487-8437.

The St. Peter breakfast will be Wednesday, April 13, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center.  Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing or by calling 507-933-7512.

Upcoming breakfasts include Warren Wunderlich, director of the physical plant, in April and Carolyn O’Grady, international education in May.

Chapter Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have many travel dates planned in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  Please mark your calendar if you live in or near one of these locations:

Jacksonville, FL – March 26 – Bill and Sharon (Hansen) Johnson ’65 ʼ64

Orlando – March 28 – Orlando Airport Marriott

Tampa – March 29 – Tampa Marriott Westshort

Naples – March 30 – Island Country Club

Chicago – April 2

GLA Author Day – April 5

Gustavus Library Associates offer a double delight with the celebrated Erdrich sisters at the Spring Author Day brunch on Tuesday, April 5, 9:30 a.m. at the Edina Country Club.  The engaging sisters will share the podium to talk about books, writing, storytelling, and art.  The cost is $25 and you can make reservations online at or call the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7550.  RSVP by Wednesday, March 30, and invite a friend or two for a delightful Author Day morning event.

Share your information

The information that is contained within this newsletter has been submitted either to Gustavus or to your Class Agent directly for publication.  If you have marriage, education, career, or miscellaneous updates that you would like us to publish in our next newsletter, there are a simple methods of submission.  You can send an email to or to (that way all your class agents and the alumni office gets your news) or you can send the information to Gustavus via the web page ( by clicking on Alumni and then “Your News,” and that information will be sent directly to one of your Class Agents.  So, get on the web and send us your info!  If you plan to graduate, get married, enroll in a new educational program, make a career move, or do something else that is of interest to our class, please let us know!