Class of ’43
June 2010

Dear Classmates of ’43:

Deep thanks again to Co-Class Agent Ralf Runquist for assisting me with this year’s Phonorama and for writing the January class letter!  My letter is very late and in what follows I will explain why that is the case.  I was not in town during the commencement weekend activities on May 28-30, so you’ll have to let me know if any of you attended and of any interesting happening at the reunions.

On May 28 I was at the University of Lund, Sweden, where I participated in what there is called “The Doctors’ Promotion.”  That is the ceremony at which all who have completed the requirements for a doctor’s degree at the university receive the insignia for the degree.  In addition to that group, all who received doctor’s degrees 50 years ago are invited to come back and to be made “jubilee doctors.”  I did complete the requirements for a Th.D. at Lund in 1960, though I was not present for that ceremony.  When I received the invitation to come this year, I thought it would be fun to make another trip to Sweden.

There was another very unexpected development that had made the trip very special for me.  As some of you may know, I have written A Reader's Guide to Dag Hammarskjöld's Waymarks.  You may know that Dag Hammarskjöld, who was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, wrote a journal which he called Vägmärken.  It was found after his death in an airplane crash the night of September 17, 1961, in what is now Zambia, Africa.  The English translation by W. H. Auden and Leif Sjöberg published by Faber & Faber (England) and Knopf (US) is Markings.  During the Japanese academic year 1980 I was an exchange professor from Gustavus at Kansai University of Foreign Studies, where I was asked to teach a seminar on Markings to Japanese students.  During that year I began to make my own translation.  Since I asked my students to write short reactions to the waymarks that we were going to discuss at each class session, I decided to also write my own interpretations of the waymarks.  When I returned to Gustavus I continued to work on the translation, which I finished in 1982, and on my commentary, which I finished in 1987.  It occurred to me that what I had done could perhaps be published.  I eventually discovered that the Swedish publisher of Vägmärken had given Faber & Faber and Knopf a contract that stipulated that no other English translation could be published in the British Commonwealth or North America, a contract that furthermore had no terminating date.  I had put together my translation and my commentary to form A Reader’s Guide to Dag Hammarskjöld's Waymarks in 1999 and I began to publish it at Gustavus, having small numbers of copies of the manuscript copied and bound, which I used in teaching a course at what was then the Elderlearning Institute at the University of Minnesota.  After I no longer taught that course I continued to publish in this way 20-30 copies from time to time.  Copies are now available at the Gustavus BookMark for $25 plus handling and mailing costs.

That this book existed became known in Sweden and this past year a Swedish bookseller ordered from the Gustavus Book Mark 40 copies to be sold at English bookstores in Uppsala and Stockholm.  One of these copies came into the hands of Dr. Henning Melber, Executive Director of The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala.  He liked what he read and wrote an e-mail to me, wanting to make contact with me.  In the process of our e-mail correspondence he told me that next year will be the 50th anniversary of Dag Hammarskjöld’s death.  What was very exciting for me was Dr. Melber’s proposal that The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation publish my Reader’s Guide in 2011 as part of their observance of this anniversary.  Since I planned to be in Lund for the Doctors’ Promotion on May 28, I also planned to meet Dr. Melber in Uppsala on May 31.  I hope that new eruptions of volcanic ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano will not interfere with these travel plans!

Getting ready for this trip to Sweden is what has taken much of my time these past weeks and that is why this letter is coming to you at this late date.

Thanks to all who have contributed this year to the Gustavus Annual Fund.  The fund closed on May 31.  I will report in the fall what our class contributed this year.

Here are news notes from Phonorama:

Dean Engstrom (12334 Summerport Lane, Windermere, FL  34786) devotes much time each day to giving his wife, Kay, the care she needs.  George Lindbeck (3159 Newark Pond Road, West Burke, VT  05871-9651) is recovering now at home from a fall from a horse he was riding.  Alvin Mueller (306 Monument St., New Ulm, MN 56073) has a close relationship with Martin Luther College in New Ulm and is very proud of the new chapel that was recently dedicated on that campus.  Paul Peterson (1301 Richmond Road, West Milford, NJ  07480) remembers singing in the GAC choir during his time at Gustavus.  I visited Olive Peterson at (Pheasant’s Ridge, St. Peter, MN  56082) and found her apartment a veritable museum with many paintings, some her own creations and others she had collected, some hanging on the walls and others on the floor leaning against the wall.  Olive was, for many years, Clerk of Court for Nicollet County.  Ilo Funk Schwartz (PO Box 361, Buffalo Lake, MN  55314) has a granddaughter whose team competed in the high school basketball playoffs.

I did not attempt to call Sylvia Rule Sheldon (formerly Tup Rule) at P. O. Box 12038 Chartwell Square, Hamilton 3248, New Zealand, and sent her a note instead.  She sent me a letter informing me that her husband, Bayard Sheldon, who was graduated from Yale in 1943, has been gone for three years.  She wrote, “At 88 I should perhaps be sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair but not so.  My life seems incredibly busy with delving into the wonderful world of embroidery.  A university course on the computer and always the book draw me away from gardening and all the mundane demands of running a house and best of all a number of good friends.”  She also said that her son, Dunstan GAC ’75, is at hand to take care of any sticky wickets and add joy.

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-Class Agent

Some additional news from the campus now follows.

Campus News

2010 Commencement

593 seniors became college graduates on Sunday, May 30 at 2 p.m.  Graduates received their diplomas from the faculty chair in their respective major, a tradition that began in 1973.  Also at the ceremony, Leila Brammer, associate professor of communications studies, was awarded the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching.  Mary Cunningham ’10 gave a fantastic senior student speech.

Gustavus Announces Major Building Projects

At its Monday, Jan. 25 meeting, the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with three major building projects.  The College will erect a new 125,000 square foot academic building with a large 3-story atrium at the center providing natural light to many of the spaces.  It will qualify for a “gold LEED” qualification as a green building.  This will develop a mall extending west from its iconic Christ Chapel.  It will house the largest departments on campus (economics and management, psychology, and communications).  Also, plans are under way to renovate A. H. Anderson Social Science Building.  Ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of a new academic building took place on April 16.

Former President Peterson Honored

James L. Peterson ’64, who served as the 15th president of Gustavus Adolphus College from 2003 to 2008, was awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star at a special, private luncheon Thursday, April 29, on campus.  The honor was bestowed by the Swedish crown in appreciation and recognition of Dr. Peterson’s service to Gustavus and his continued work to foster relationships with individuals and organizations to strengthen ties with Sweden.

GLA Membership

All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.”  But, in the 21st century, it has become much more.  It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge.  It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education.  The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members.  Join this year and immediately make a difference.  Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget.  Join today at www.gustavus.edu/GLA!!!

Summer in the Garden

A benefit for the Linnaeus Arboretum will be held on Sunday, June 27, from 4 to 7 p.m.  Enjoy a late afternoon in the spectacular setting of Linnaeus Arboretum while sampling wines, cheeses, coffees and desserts, music and other entertainment, a silent auction, tours, and more are planned.  This event is sponsored by the Friends of Linnaeus Arboretum.  Cost is $25 (Friends members receive a 10 percent discount and kids under 12 are free).  Tickets (non-refundable) are available via credit card at www.gustavustickets.com ; if you do not have access to the Internet call Dana at 507-933-7520.  Tickets can also be purchased the day of the event.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speaker, Bob Neuman, office of admission on June 16.

Upcoming Events

  • June 16 – Gustie Breakfast – Doubletree Hotel
  • July 6 – Grand Rapids Picnic – Veteran’s Memorial Park
  • July 22 – Twin Cities Picnic – St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi
  • July 25 – Twin Cities Picnic – Purgatory Creek Recreation Area, Eden Prairie
  • July 26 – St. Cloud Picnic – Riverside Park Shelter
  • July 27 – Fargo/Moorhead Picnic – Teresa Harland-Ostby home, Moorhead
  • July 28 – Robbins Island Park, Willmar