Class of '43
March 1999

Dear Classmates of '43:

This is the third and last letter for this year's Gustavus Fund (the fund's new name), which closes officially May 28. Some of you may remember that last year's letter of April 20, 1998, told of the tornado that had occurred March 29 and of the progress that had been made in the weeks that followed to restore the campus so that students could return to finish the spring semester.

This year this letter is being written the day after the first anniversary of the tornado. This past weekend has been devoted to commemoration of that event. Once again the students are on their spring break, though last Friday there was a well attended chapel service devoted to "Commemoration of the Spring Storms of '98." On Saturday the St. Peter community met at what is now called First Lutheran Catholic Church (for the Roman Catholic parish also holds its masses there) for a program to honor all who had helped with the response to the tornado. On Sunday afternoon there was an ecumenical service at Christ Chapel. A buffet supper was served by the College at the reception in Alumni Hall that followed. On Monday beginning at 5:25 p.m. church bells in St. Peter were rung for ten minutes. At First Lutheran there are bells in the tower but also the old bell from the church that burned, mounted on a pedestal near the entrance. Children from time to time try to ring it, but this is not easily done, for it is very heavy. Yesterday several children together succeeded in ringing it. Finally they tired and I, with some others, tried our hands at it. About that time Channel 5 (KSTP) television, which was devoting an hour (6-7 p.m.) to the tornado commemoration. began to film the ringing of the bell. Marilyn and I later at home saw ourselves on the evening news program.

If any of you are interested, there is a 227 page book "Twist of Fate," Personal accounts of the March 29, 1998, St. Peter Tornado compiled by the St. Peter Kiwanis and printed by Nelson Printing Co., 838 N. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter. The book includes 20 pp. on Gustavus. It is now in its second printing, sells for $17, and can be purchased at Nelson Printing Co.

From accounts of historic buildings being restored I have learned that the Nicollet Hotel (now Nicollet House, built 1873), Old Main (1876), and the Nicollet County Court House (1880), were all designed by the same architect, E. P. Bassford. The tornado destroyed 110 single family residences. Due to excessive damage 44 multi-family structures and 23 commercial buildings were torn down. The Church of St. Peter (RC) and St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church were both razed. They will be rebuilt, the Church of St. Peter at a new location. By now over 100 new homes have been built and some fine old homes are being restored, though vacant lots remain. We are awaiting the greening of spring. When the leaves come out the campus will look much better, as will all of St. Peter.

Thus far our class has not responded so well to the new changes in the Gustavus Fund. In part this may be due to the fact that forty of you have not yet been called by the students who are doing the calling this year. Calling will continue during these next weeks. You do not, however, have to wait till you are called to send your gift for this year. Thus far 53 members of our class have given $8,953.50, as compared with 66 who had given $11,125.50 as of this date last year. If it is possible for you to give a gift this year, please do so before May 28. A news note would also be welcome.

With sadness I report another death of a class member. Helen Carlson Kloch, El Sobrante, CA, died February 14. Helen taught at Lancaster and Bagley, MN, until l945, when she moved to Chicago and later to California. She married Robert A. Kloch in 1950. Helen and Robert had one daughter, Julie Ann. Helen worked for a number of firms in California, but in 1962 became a full-time homemaker. Another member of our class, Reuben A. Lundeen (Brewer, ME), has suffered the loss of his wife, Miriam Nelson Lundeen '46, who died March 3. Many of us remember Miriam's beautiful voice. Miriam and Reuben had two children, Esther x68 and Samuel, deceased in 1975. During their retirement Miriam had been assisting Reuben in raising bulldogs.

Other news items are Al Mueller (New Ulm) telling us that he enjoyed attending last fall's football game between Gustavus and Martin Luther College. J. Robert Nordlander (Sun City Center, FL) reports that his son, David '84, received a Ph.D. degree in Russian studies from the University of North Carolina. He now has a fellowship at Harvard to assist him in preparing his dissertation for publication. In my last letter I said I hoped to hear from you, either by e-mail or snail-mail. I was delighted to receive e-mail from Janet Westergard '52 (Seguin, TX). She said that she and Jiggs have come to Minnesota for the past twelve years each May and June since Jiggs retired. Jiggs now walks with a cane and unfortunately fell on his last visit to the campus. Janet writes, "GAC is not for senior citizens who have any difficulties." It is likely, however, that the design of the new extensive addition to Student Center (now under construction) will turn out to be such that all can safely return to future reunions.

Commencement weekend this year is May 28-30. Plan to join the 50-Year club for that weekend. If this reaches you after Easter, it will still be the Easter season. May the joy and hope of Easter be yours. Best wishes also for the coming summer!

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Class Agent

The Alumni Office is providing this additional campus news:

March 29 marked the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that swept through the campus and St. Peter community. Much has been accomplished in the recovery effort and the College extends appreciation to all alumni and friends who volunteered their time, energies and resources in the recovery effort. A commemoration service was held on campus the last day of classes before Spring break and Gustavus also hosted a community-wide ecumenical service in Christ Chapel on Sunday, March 28, which was followed by a public reception in Alumni Hall. Later in the spring semester, two fine arts events will be presented. In "A Celebration of Renewal and Resurrection," the Gustavus Band, Gustavus Choir, and St. Ansgar’s Chorus will perform David Holsinger’s The Easter Symphony at 7:30 p.m. May 1 in Christ Chapel. Then from May 13-16, an original theatre production, "The Tornado Project," will be performed at 8:00 p.m. each night in Anderson Theatre.

The Kresge Foundation has awarded Gustavus a $1 million challenge grant toward the Campus Center, which is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2000. This project has received support from a variety of foundations, corporations, and individuals, as well as the state of Minnesota. To meet The Kresge Foundation challenge, Gustavus must raise approximately $4.3 million in support of the Campus Center, an outdoor track facility, and tree replanting and campus landscaping. The Kresge Foundation has participated in other Gustavus projects, including awards of $500,000 for the renovation and expansion of Nobel Hall of Science in 1996, $250,000 to build Confer Hall in 1989, and $350,000 toward the construction of Lund Center in 1983.

Gustavus has been selected as this year’s recipient of the College and University Personnel Association (CUPA) Midwest Region Institutional Award of Excellence. The award is granted to an institution of higher education that has distinguished itself in excellence through creative application of human resource principles or that is widely renowned for the outstanding manner in which it develops and maintains human resource programs. Gustavus was chosen for this award "because of Gustavus’ outstanding, comprehensive, and humane response to the tornado devastation that occurred on your campus on March 29, 1998. The decisions made that affected employees were done in a way that not only assisted with the timely reopening of the campus, but also treated employees in a caring and proactive manner."

Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus of physics at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, is visiting Gustavus for six weeks as the Rydell Nobel Conference Distinguished Visiting Professor. He is teaching a seminar on "Science and the Moral Imagination" along with Gustavus professors Larry Potts (chemistry) and Deane Curtin (philosophy).

Athletic "March Madness" affected the Gustavus campus as the men’s basketball team qualified to participate in the NCAA Division III tournament for the fourth consecutive year, winning three national play-off games before losing to eventual national champion Wisconsin Platteville in the quarterfinals. Gustavus hosted the 16th annual Division III National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships and placed second. The Gustavus women’s hockey team won the MIAC championship and ranked second in the nation in Division III, and the women’s indoor track and field team boasts two All-Americans, ending the season 16th in the nation, our best ever.

Reunion and Commencement Weekend ’99 is May 28-30 with reunions planned for classes ending in 4s and 9s. Gusties of all ages and classes are invited to attend. If you are not a member of a reunion class but wish to participate, call the Alumni Office at 1-800-487-8437. A schedule of events will be included in the Spring Quarterly and registration material will be sent to reunion classes.