Class of '43
April 2008

65-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30 & 31, 2008

Dear Classmates of ’43:

Thanks again to Elmer Anderson for his January class letter.  In it he stated that he is thinking of discontinuing as co-class agent after this year.  He does have responsibilities at home that make it difficult for him to share in this work.  Elmer has been co-class agent since 2000.  It is hard to realize that eight years have already flown by.  We are extremely grateful for what he has done, both through Phonorama calling and writing excellent letters!

Gustavus has a new College President!  As you have previously heard, President Peterson is resigning this summer and the process to find someone to replace him has been underway since last fall.  On April 25 the Board of Trustees met and announced our new College President, Jack Ohle.  Jack is currently the president of Wartburg College since 2003.  He will take office here on July 1, 2008.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this exciting development.

It is time to announce the Reunion Weekend, May 30-31, which marks the end of this academic year.  It will also be 65 years since our Class was graduated in 1943.  You may already have received the brochure announcing the weekend.  There will be a very good program Friday and Saturday, including four Reunion Seminars.  At the first seminar 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jim Peterson ’64 will reflect on his five-year tenure as president and the status of the College today.

The remainder of Friday afternoon will be devoted to a memorial service for the Class of 1958 at 4 p.m.  The 50-Year Club Dinner, to which all of us are invited, will be held at 5:00 p.m.  After the dinner all members of our class, with spouses and significant others, are invited to our home at:  1412 S. Washington Ave., which is not far from the campus.  There will be remembrance of times past and possibly also some singing.  Rooms for the night are available at the College at no cost, though there will be a charge for meals.

Reunion Seminar II will be held Saturday morning at 9 a.m.  Jim Gilbert ’62, former director of Linnaeus Arboretum and an adjunct instructor and naturalist at Gustavus, will speak on the subject “Discover Our Natural World.”  Gilbert is a popular speaker and is a consulting naturalist for WCCO Radio.

James M. McPherson ’58, who is returning for his class’ 50th reunion, is Princeton University’s George Henry Davis ’86 Professor of History Emeritus.  He has written many books about the Civil War and has received many honors.  It was my good fortune to have come to teach at Gustavus during his senior year and I had James as a student in a seminar I taught that year.  I am eagerly looking forward to hearing his lecture “Tried by War:  Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” 10:30 a.m. at Reunion Seminar III.  Reunion Seminar IV has the intriguing title “Is There an Elephant in the Room?”  Thomas J. Lindell ’63, professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona, who is concerned about the interface between science and theology, will be the speaker.

These seminars constitute an excellent program!  If you are able to come to St. Peter, May 30-31, I’m sure you will enjoy it.  There will be sufficient time also to drink coffee and visit with classmates and other members of the 50-Year Club.  This may well prove to be our last Class Reunion.  In 2013 when our 70th reunion comes along, we will all be in our 90s.  Some of us may be able to get together then, but we can’t count on it.  We hope to see you this year for our 65th Reunion!

Marilyn and I are driving east April 24, visiting en route children and grandchildren in Chicago, Gettysburg, Bethel and Cheshire, CT, and Albany, NY.  We will be attending commencement exercises at the University of Pittsburgh Sunday, April 27, when our oldest grandchild, Marta Erling Spangler, is being graduated.  We should get back the middle of May.

During the time that we are gone we will miss this year’s MayDay! Peace Conference.  Much has occurred, however, these last weeks.  March 8 - April 22 the Hillstrom Museum of Art presented RODIN:  In His Own Words, thirty-four bronze sculptures from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, paired with texts from Rodin’s letters and from publications by himself and others, explicating the artist’s thoughts on specific works and his philosophy of art in general.  Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is considered to have been one of the greatest sculptors of the Western tradition, on par with such artists as Michelangelo (1475-1564), Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), and Antonio Canova (1757-1822).  I visited the exhibition three times.

This week we were visited by John Shelby Spong, former Episcopal Bishop of Newark, NJ.  The author of twenty books, with another on the way, he lectures frequently.  While here for three days, he visited several classes, spoke to a large audience Monday evening, and preached to many who returned to hear him at Tuesday’s Christ Chapel service.  Spong was born in Charlotte, NC, in 1931 and grew up in the southern Bible Belt, where he eventually became disturbed by the way the Bible was used to justify racial segregation and other prejudices.  He has lived with the tension between loving the Bible and at the same time recognizing the need to filter biblical stories through the crucible of contemporary knowledge, making these texts in this way pertinent to our time. In his speaking he combines the results of careful biblical research with an effective sense of humor.

Many of you have given your gift this year to the Annual Fund.  If you have not the Annual Fund year of 2008 closes May 31.  I wrote last September about the Class of 1943 Scholarship Endowment Fund.  Though members of our Class have given only $12,844 to this fund, its market value presently is $23,733.  This is somewhat less than the sum I listed last fall because the stock market has declined.  Kelly Chaudoin from Ely, MN, did, however, receive $918 this academic year from our fund.  I have visited her and found her to be an attractive young woman, happy to be at Gustavus.  She is a junior majoring in psychology, with a minor in coaching.  Her sports are cross country running and skiing.  She eventually wants to do graduate study in clinical psychology.  I’m glad that we can support Gustavus students both by our unrestricted giving to the Alumni Fund and by increasing the size of our Class of 1943 Endowment Fund.

There have been deaths of members of our class these past months.  However there are two deaths that may be of interest to you.  Oscar R. Rolander, age 89, died April 10 in Seattle, WA.  He was a Gustavus graduate in 1940.  After Augustana Seminary he was a missionary in Tanganyika/Tanzania, later holding mission-related administrative positions with the Lutheran World Federation in New York and Geneva, Switzerland.  He then served four parishes in the Seattle area from 1962-88.  At Gustavus among his other activities he was a pole-vaulter.

Krister O. Stendahl, New Testament scholar, teacher, former dean of Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, and Lutheran bishop of the Diocese of Stockholm (Sweden), died April 15 in Cambridge, MA.  At the time of his death Stendahl, 86, was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Divinity Emeritus, Harvard Divinity School.  Stendahl’s connection with Gustavus was that at the 1972 Nobel Conference on “The End of Life” he gave the final lecture with the title “Immortality Is Too Much and Too Little.”  Six weeks after the conference there were still letters to the editor about the lecture being published in Minnesota daily papers.  I had the privilege of being Stendahl’s host at the conference.

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-Class Agent

Some additional news from the campus now follows:

Campus News

MAYDAY! Conference Focuses on Water

“Troubled Water” is the topic of Gustavus Adolphus College’s 28th annual MAYDAY!  Peace Conference to be held Wednesday, April 30 on campus.  Dr. Aaron Wolf, department of geosciences at Oregon State University and a leading expert on international water politics, opens the daylong conference and the afternoon keynote speaker is Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.  The conference, an annual event designed to educate the campus community and beyond about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice, is open to the public at no charge.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.  Next date:  May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy ’82

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference focused on water - April 30
  • Author Day with Arvonne Fraser - May 14
  • Gustie Breakfast - May 21, featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31