Bing tracking

Class Notes

Augsburg College alumni share their news and achievements

Share this:

1960-1969  |  1970-1979 1980-1989  |  1990-1999  |  2000-2009  |  2010-2015 Graduate

Submit a Class Note


After serving as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Vista, California, since 1969, the Rev. Beryl Droegemueller retired in April. Over the course of his 45 years of shepherding the congregation, membership grew from 125 to more than 1,000. During those four decades, the church opened preschool, elementary school, middle school, and extended daycare programs. Droegemueller trained 37 pastoral interns through the church’s vicarage program and, in the early 1970s, worked with church members to develop a new mission church, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran in Oceanside, California. He led Faith Lutheran through the construction of the sanctuary, a parish hall, an early childhood center, and offices. Together with members of the congregation, Droegemueller was instrumental in building a multi-level care retirement facility, now Rancho Vista retirement community, which was dedicated in 1981. When he talks about the projects and productivity, he points to his “very dedicated, creative, and hard-working members” and his staff. Along with his doctor of ministry degree, he earned a law degree, which he said was helpful in the many building projects. He assisted area churches with numerous legal challenges and served as circuit counselor and chairman of the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod board of directors. The Minnesota native entered Concordia Lutheran Seminary after a year of working for a bank and following graduation from Augsburg with a double major in history and English.

Jean (Bagley) Humphrey married her husband, Roger, one week after graduation. Nancy (Bloomfield) Bottemiller and Ruth (Sather) Sorenson were her bridesmaids. The Humphreys moved to the Boston/Cambridge area where they lived in married student housing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and had their two children. After five years, they moved to California where Roger’s first job was with Chevron Oil. They lived in California for 38 years. Nine Bagley children attended Augsburg including Robert Bagley ’58, who went on to Luther Seminary, and Yvonne (Bagley) Olson ’52, who lived with Gerda Mortensen and married Orville Olson ’52.


Jerilyn (Bjugstad) Wibbens is the choral director of the NW Nordic Ladies Chorus of Everett, Washington. The group recently performed with other Nordic choruses in a Seattle-area celebration of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. They sang “Finlandia” with the Seattle Symphony.

In May, Robert and Sandra (Syverts) ’68 Benson were grand marshals for Trout Days in Preston, Minnesota. The Bensons remain active in this community where Bob served as a county judge. Bob (now retired) is a certified firearms instructor and a retired fireman. Sandra is the founder of the Preston Farmers Market.


Ray Hanson is working for Goldbelt Raven as an assistant program manager for chemical forensics at the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. His role supports the Chemical and Biological Defense Directorate in Washington, D.C., which is developing forensic methods for detecting signatures for chemical threat agents.


After more than 40 years of regional sales management and marketing for two Fortune 500 companies, James Piepenburg has retired and lives in the Phoenix metro area with his wife, Lucy. He has two great daughters, Krista and Jaime, along with son-in-law, Chris, and 12-year-old grandson, Nicolas. Currently, Piepenburg is doing part-time art consultation with Thomas Kinkade Art Gallery of Arizona.

John Sherman, sports editor of Sun Newspapers, has been inducted into the Minnesota State Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Sherman said he was truly honored to join the ranks of Stan Nelson ’43, Dave Nelson, Sid Hartman, Bronko Nagurski, and Ray Christensen in the Hall of Fame.


Steve Hoffmeyer is interim general counsel and executive director of the new Minnesota Public Employment Relations Board. He also teaches business law classes at the University of Phoenix campus in Minnesota and arbitrates labor cases outside of the state.


Phil Madsen and wife, Diane, moved into the fitness business, opening their first Anytime Fitness franchise gym in July 2014 in Port Orange, Florida. A second gym will follow in nearby New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Phil says, “This is a wonderful opportunity. The franchise business model is sound, we interact with members in truly personal and life-changing ways, and we get to improve our own health and fitness like never before.”


Sandra (Walter) Holten, a music therapist who specializes in caring for people with Parkinson’s, was featured on Minnesota Public Radio in March for her work with Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota. She has a bachelor’s in music therapy and has done additional study at Colorado’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music.

katchelDiane (Peterson) Kachel is now a clinical research manager for Metro Urology, the largest urology private practice network in Minnesota. In this newly created position within the organization’s management team, she is responsible for managing all aspects of the research program in addition to developing new research opportunities and scalable research infrastructure across multiple clinical sites and patient conditions.
kariAs a public relations expert, Kari (Eklund) Logan ’82 assists clients in raising awareness about topics that range from education to urban forestry and from financial services to the arts. At CEL Public Relations, Logan leads a media relations team and couples her talents in writing and networking to serve her clients. Read more about Kari (Eklund) Logan ’82


Curt Rice ’84Curt Rice ’84 has been chosen to lead Norway’s largest university college, taking charge of Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences as rector on August 1. Rice received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Augsburg. His wife, Tove Dahl ’84, is a professor at the University of Tromsø, Norway, and is the dean of Concordia Language Villages’ Norwegian camp, Skogfjorden. Read more about Curt Rice ’84


Kiel Christianson is associate chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an associate professor of educational psychology, psychology, and linguistics, and he directs the EdPsych Psycholinguistics Lab at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. In his spare time, he is a senior writer for the Golf Channel websites, where he writes about golf, golf travel, golf courses, and golf equipment. He lives in Mahomet, Illinois, with his wife, Jen, and their two children.


Leah (Parker) Maves graduated from Luther Seminary in May 2014 with a master’s in children, youth, and family ministry. She received her first call on December 22 to the Tomorrow River Lutheran Parish in Amherst and Nelsonville, Wisconsin. She was commissioned and installed on February 11 by Bishop Gerald Mansholt.
1991Stephanie (Grochow) Trump has been elected to serve as the choral vice president of the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association.


Todd Lange was honored with the Albert Lea (Minnesota) Area Schools’ 2015 Teacher of the Year award. He teaches high school English.

Sharol (Dascher) Tyra is a professional certified coach and mentor for leadership development at Life Illumination Coaching. Tyra has been a mentor to Augsburg students since 2011. She will serve as president of the Minnesota charter chapter of the International Coach Federation, and she represented ICF Minnesota at four global leadership forums.


Raylene Dale (Navara) Streed has been appointed executive director of the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank at the University of Minnesota. Streed has served in other leadership positions, including as interim executive director and technical director. Streed graduated from Augsburg with a bachelor’s degree in biology.


Scott Hvistendahl manages the event department at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, where he is a member of the football coaching staff. He enjoys being involved with football and having a chance to work with fellow coaches in developing players in a Christian environment as well as helping them to grow as men on and off the field. Hvistendahl and his wife, Alisha, have two children: Macey and Jordan. The couple met through an Augsburg staff member who knew Scott from football and Alisha through athletic training.


crookHilary English Crook and her husband, Jacob Seljan, welcomed Lovisa Emily Seljan on March 30. Both Lovisa and big brother, Britton, are sporting their Augsburg gear!

Maggie Tatton was among those named “40 Under 40” honorees by The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. This honor includes young business and community leaders from throughout the Twin Cities. Tatton is partner at Lindquist & Vennum, P.L.L.P.


Brent Peroutka was featured in the Faribault (Minnesota) Daily News as a “40 Under 40” honoree for his community achievements and career in finance. A financial advisor at Comprehensive Wealth Solutions. Peroutka holds a business administration/finance degree from Augsburg. The best part of his day is helping his clients achieve their goals, he says. “We can make a difference each and every day, whether it’s at home, at work, or in the community.


jennaJenna (Bracken) Held ’05 is following in the footsteps of her mother, Jane (Catlin) Bracken ’71, by serving as a teacher and pursuing her love of working with children. Last year, after having taught fourth and fifth grade for eight years, Jenna switched to first grade at Lincoln Center in South St. Paul, Minnesota. She enjoys working in the community where she lives. She met her husband, Andrew Held ’05, at Augsburg and started to date him after doing homework together for Calculus II. They welcomed their third child in June. Read “Teaching Must Be in the DNA”


claySarah (Gilbert) Clay and her husband, Ryan, welcomed Oscar Leo Clay on March 19.


krobJosh Krob ’08, ’15 MBA was granted a prestigious “Twin Cities Finest” award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in recognition of his extensive community volunteer efforts and professional growth. A believer in the value of lifelong learning, Krob earned his MBA at Augsburg seeking to expand his understanding of how to be an effective leader. Read “Alum is Among Twin Cities Finest”
edwardJay Matchett ’08, ’13 MAL was named director of Our Neighbors’ Place, a social service agency, in River Falls, Wisconsin. The social service agency includes a day center, shelter for families, community closet, classes, and a successful backpack program. He cites Tim Pippert, associate professor of sociology, and Andy Aoki, professor of political science, as strong influences during his time at Augsburg. Matchett believes he truly has found his path to vocation. He would like to establish a partnership with Augsburg’s social work program so that Our Neighbors’ Place may serve as an internship site for current students. Read “An Auggie Finds His Calling”

Justin Reese has been named head football coach for Fridley (Minnesota) High School. A native of Houston, Texas, Reese earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education at Augsburg and went on to earn a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Minnesota. His vision for the Fridley football program is to inspire academic and athletic excellence in students by challenging them to achieve the highest level of personal development.


Michael Polis was nominated for the “32 Under 32” awards. This honor was created in partnership with the Advertising Federation to recognize the top young Minnesota marketing and advertising professionals.

solbergMatt and Sarah (Thiry) Solberg celebrated their marriage on August 8, 2014. Auggies in the wedding party included maid of honor Hannah Thiry ’17, Emily Wiles, and Dan Thewis.


Samantha Drost was appointed to the State Quality Council for a two-year term. The council works in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to help improve the lives of those with disabilities.


gamrathCourtney Gamrath and J.P. Perpich were married on August 15, 2014.

Lauren Grafelman is the 2015 Business Administration Scholar Award recipient at Hamline University. This award is given to the university’s top MBA student based on academic performance and leadership within the program. Grafelman was honored with this award at a graduation and recognition reception in May.


Mike Lanski is in a long-term position with U.S. Bank. He also has started his second season with the Minnesota Twins, working as an usher, and he is in his 10th year with the Minnesota Wild in the same capacity.

Madalyn Johnson is employed as a promotions assistant at 1500 ESPN Radio at Hubbard Broadcasting.

Matt McGinn ’13 talks coffee.


Anika Clark ’14 discussed the research she conducted in Africa with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Janelle Holte was accepted into the U.S. Peace Corps and departed for Jamaica in March to serve as an agriculture extension volunteer. During the first three months of her service, Holte lived with a host family in Jamaica to learn the local language and integrate into the local culture. Holte will work with her community to identify resources and agriculture projects that can be developed and implemented to generate income. She also will facilitate training in farm management and work with schools to enhance and expand environmental education.


Ben Menzies graduated in May and is about to begin a master’s program at the University of Minnesota in integrated behavioral health. He and Shira Bilinkoff are looking forward to their wedding in fall 2016.


Kathy Rumpza ’05 MAL has taken a position with the University of Minnesota as lead of the Creative Services team in University Relations, the central marketing office. She works closely with the university’s brand.

Anna Coskran ’09 MBA has been named a principal of NTH, a Twin Cities real estate and project management firm where she has worked since 1998. With more than 15 years of real estate experience, she has worked with a diverse array of clients including The Minneapolis Foundation, the Star Tribune, and Xcel Energy.

Chris Wolf ’09 MAN was named chief nursing officer of a medical element of the Minnesota Air National Guard.

Jordan Moore ’12 MBA and his wife, Jen, became parents on March 27 with the birth of their daughter, Carla Jo.

jim-milesJim Miles ’14 MBA recently published “Hero,” a middle grade novel. In addition to writing as a lifelong passion, “Hero” is the result of Miles’ MBA program. He came to Augsburg to learn how to give artistic projects the business legs they needed to walk and thrive. He named one of his supporting characters after Magda Paleczny-Zapp, associate professor of business. Magda Corbett originally was conceived as a minor character, but she quickly became a rather significant part of the story, which Miles considers the result of the influence of the name. For more information on “Hero,” go to
peytonMeghan (Armstrong) Peyton ’14 MAL is the head men’s and women’s cross country coach and assistant track coach at Augsburg College. Augsburg, she says, has opened her eyes in many ways. Her time at the College has shown her the joy of serving others and becoming a more thoughtful steward and responsible leader. She wants to continue to make a difference in the lives of future Auggie alumni. Peyton and her high school sweetheart, Cole, were married in 2010 and live in Richfield, Minnesota, with their pets. In 2008, she joined Team USA Minnesota, a post-collegiate distance training center that encourages holistic development. In 2013, she won the U.S. 20K Championship. You can “track” her successes and find her personal best records at Read “Running the Good Race”

Submit a Class Note

Share this: