Class of '43
April 2006

Dear Classmates of ’43:

Already another academic year has flown by.  The Commencement weekend (May 27-28) is only a few weeks away.  Marilyn and I are happy to be living in St. Peter, where so much is happening that it is difficult to find time to attend all the events that interest us.  Here is a sample from the last few days:  This past Wednesday (April 19) the annual MayDay! Peace Conference was held.  May Day has been celebrated on the Gustavus campus with dancing around a maypole.  “MayDay,” however, is an international radiotelephone signal word used as a distress call.  The conference has been held annually since 1981 when it was founded by Florence and the late Raymond Sponberg ’37.  Florence Sponberg continues to sustain it.  This year’s topic was “AIDS + AFRICA:  The Unfolding Crisis.”  The two featured speakers were Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, and Dr. Marjorie Mbilinyi, professor at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  Dr. Gallo is recognized for his role in identifying HIV as the cause of AIDS.  He has lectured here at two Nobel Conferences.  The title of his address was “HIV/AIDS:  Understanding One of the Greatest Pandemics of All Time.”  Dr. Mbilinyi is a founding member of the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme, an organization focused on promoting gender equality and equity in areas such as women’s health, domestic violence, and female political representation.  The title of her address was “Gender Struggles Over HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.”  I learned that Dr. Gallo’s Institute has a rather large program on AIDS research at Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, quite close to where Theological College of Northern Nigeria is located, a school at which I taught in 1999-2000.

Thursday morning (April 20) I attended the weekly breakfast meeting of the St. Peter Kiwanis Club, which meets on the Gustavus campus.  The speaker was Steve Kjellgren ’86, the director of the Gustavus Food Service.  Last fall’s Gustavus Quarterly had an extended article about the Food Service.  There are about 4,000 colleges and universities in the USA.  Gustavus is one of only 360 that have self-operated food services.  The advantage of a self-operated food service is that there can be greater flexibility.  It is also possible to purchase food in the local area, thus supporting the local economy.  Sometimes this can also be done at a lower cost.  This year Kjellgren told us that he had decided to place a fruit bar in the Marketplace at a prominent location near the checkout registers.  The result has been that fruit consumption has increased five-fold.  The Princeton Review rates food services at colleges and universities each year.  For the past three years Gustavus has been ranked in the top twenty.  Of these top twenty, twelve are self-operated food services.  The St. Olaf food service, incidentally, is operated by the Bon Appetite Corporation.  Besides the quality of our food service, a significant difference is that the cost of food per student at Gustavus is $1,000 less than the cost at St. Olaf.

On Saturday morning (April 22) at the annual meeting of the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations Marilyn and I heard Dr. Larry Rasmussen, recently retired from his position as Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, New York City, speak on “Discipleship in Today’s World:  Religion and Ecology.”  He told us that capitalism has solved the problem of production, but not the problems of distribution and sustainability.  Unlimited economic growth can overwhelm the earth’s economy, which demands reciprocity.  What is needed is a discipleship that addresses the covenant between God and the earth and which is savvy about power, knowing how to be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.

Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon we attended two excellent violin recitals.  This is an example of how we spend our time retired in St. Peter.

The deaths of three members of our class were reported in the last QuarterlyGeorge W. Gruber (Clearwater, FL) died June 21, 2005.  He had been an aerospace engineer at Honeywell both in Minneapolis and St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL.  In his retirement he traveled widely.  His wife, Hazel (Johnson ’44), died October 6, 1976.  George is survived by three children, George III, Carol, and Mark.  Arnold E. Anderson (Edina, MN) died November 4, 2005.  He had been sales representative for Commerce Clearing House, a legal publishing company, also a salesman for Super Valu, Inc.  Arnold’s wife, Jeannette (Hatlestad ’43) also a member of our class, died November 19, 2000.  Arnold is survived by three children:  Jeffrey, Jennifer, and Amy ’76, and a sister, Marion Anderson Redman ’47.  Helen Sundholm Vikner (St. Peter, MN) died January 23, 2006.  At Gustavus she majored in social work and later worked for Lutheran Social Service.  She married a classmate, C. Filip Vikner, who was professor of education at Gustavus from 1958 until his death December 4, 1978.  In 1987 Helen received special recognition for 25 years of volunteer work at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center.  Helen is survived by an aunt, three sisters-in- law, a niece and two nephews, one of whom, Terry Denley ’60, lives in St. Peter.  Peace to their memories!

I am deeply grateful again this year for help received from my co-class agent, Elmer Anderson, who shared with me the Phonorama calling and who wrote the January class letter.  The most recent report from the Office of the Gustavus Fund is that our Class has credit for $5,862.50 as of April 24, 2006, with 60.3% participation.  We are very grateful for all of these gifts and we hope that the percentage of participation will rise by the time that the 2006 Fund closes May 31, 2006.

We hope to see some of you Reunion Weekend.  To all the very best wishes for the summer!

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-Class Agent

Some additional news from the campus now follows:

Campus News

The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award:  Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations:  Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards:  Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Alumni Directory

The 2006 Gustavus Alumni Directory will be published soon and our goal is to represent your information as accurately as possible in the printed edition.  PCI:  the data company, is publishing our directory and a short phone call will update or verify your information.  Call toll free:  1-800-982-1589, Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST, and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. CST.  International callers dial:  1-972-386-0100, Monday-Friday CST.

Gusties Gather!

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, August 6!  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  Ever think you want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Now is your chance, signup to host a Gusties Gather! event.  Complete event checklist, host kit, and details will be provided.  Sign-up via e-mail at <alumni@gustavus.edu> or call 800/487-8437.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustavus Library Associates Author Day with Robert Alexander – May 3
  • Reunion for Class of 1956 and 50-Year Club – May 26-27
  • Commencement – May 28
  • Gusties Gather! – August 6
  • Reunions for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 – October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 7 & 8