Class of '42
April 2004

Dear Classmates,

Friday, April 16, 2004 was a special day full of nothing but "ups," a day that doesn't come very often for sheer thrills and poignancy.

The day was the investiture of Dr. James L. Peterson ’64 as the fourteenth president of Gustavus.  Investiture is something special.  The ceremony isn't just an installation, an election, a choosing.  It carries some pretty serious overtones that make the event something to remember.

The church was there and the faculty, and students, alumni friends of the community and the people who work at Gustavus.  And, of course, the board.

The choirs came in first.  About five hundred students from all the choirs adorned in white but each member with a different colored stole to brighten up the chapel.

The parade of the faculty was a great mix of caps and gowns from dozens of institutions.  In addition to the Gustavus faculty came representatives from at least seventy-five colleges and universities all across the United States―Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Sweden among them.  A note in the program states:  The origin of academic dress dates back to the early days of the oldest European universities.  The apparently random profusion of caps, gowns and hoods seen today is in fact governed by a uniform code of academic costume used by American Universities for more than 100 years.

Gustavus is in good hands.  There have been some interesting articles in the Quarterly and there will be more in upcoming issues about our new president and of his wife Susan (Pepin ’65), who is the senior pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran in St. Paul, so please watch for them!  They're a good combination.

The theme of the day was:  "Together We Live the Promise."

As Gustie alumni we are a part of that theme.  It goes back and continues from the earliest days when farmers and small town business people, ministers and others got together and agreed, "We ought to have a church college for our young people to go to."  And over the years a miracle happened and still goes on.  We're part of the continuing…

Peg (Akerson) and I are very thankful we live close enough to the college to take in these and other events during the year.

Now we have an alumni weekend coming up on May 28 & 29 and I hope those of you who can, will make an effort to be in attendance.  These are the best get-togethering days of the year.  Please mark the dates and make plans to be there.  You will get "special handling" as members of the 50-Year Club.

I want to add a further note to an earlier class letter of a month or so ago.  A couple of months ago I mentioned Jeremy Rifkins's book, "The Hydrogen Economy."  Reuben Swanson had recommended it to me and I've been going at it and I find it fascinating―and quite scary.

Briefly, Rifkin points out that the world will be running out of oil in the not too distant future.  Among Rifkin's sources of information is our classmate, Walter Youngquist and he says of Walter, he is "one of the Deans of 20th century geology."

While there are about 4,000 oil wells in the world, there are only forty super-giant fields and twenty-six of them are in the Persian Gulf.  And Rifkin quotes Walter:  "Like it or not, the Persian Gulf Muslim nations are geo-destined to have the last word on oil."

So, and this is my thought only―Rifkins' book makes you wonder if oil plays a much bigger role in our involvement in Iraq than we realize.  Whether or not it is so we continue to weep and bleed and we are all saddened by the events of the day.  Please pray and work for peace.

I'm so proud of our class.  It has been a pretty good year for our part of the Alumni Fund, but there are a few "regulars" we're hoping will come through.

Blessings and good wishes to all of you and yours,

C. Eddie Johnson

1942 Class Agent

Campus News:

President Peterson inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson ’64 was inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18, included a symposium featuring Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, tree dedication, Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, G.I.V.E. community service day in St. Peter, music concert, art exhibition, and an alumni reception preceding the Nobel Symphony Concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven’t given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus’ annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Alumni survey

An alumni survey was sent to 2,000 members of reunion classes.  Approximately 600 have responded as of April 1.  Questions on the survey consist of how well Gustavus prepared them for employment and graduate education, activities involved in while at Gustavus, personal growth skills, alumni events and services, and overall satisfaction with the College.  Results of the survey will be included in the Fall Quarterly.

Winter sports summary

Women’s basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men’s basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men’s hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women’s hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men’s swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women’s swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men’s Nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women’s Nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6–1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women’s indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships. 

Did you know …

●Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.

●There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.

●More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.

●For student safety, the campus is well-lit, there is 24-hour Safety and Security patrol and escort service, residence halls are locked 24 hours a day, and there are blue light emergency phones throughout campus linked directly to Safety and Security.

●And looking back -- during the college’s early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.

Upcoming events

  • Phonorama - April 25-29, Central Lutheran Church
  • Mayday! Conference, The United Nations at the Crossroads – April 28
  • Cec Eckhoff Society Reception – May 1
  • Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club Reunions – May 28 & 29
  • Commencement – May 30
  • Alumni Fund closes – May 31
  • Class reunions on Homecoming & Family Weekend – October 1 & 2