Class of '49
April 2004

Dear ’49ers,

The snowdrifts are gone, the ice on the lake went out yesterday, Enid's shoulder surgery is almost healed, and I'm only one day late in getting to this letter.  Life is good!

So good, in fact, I may not be able to take it all.  We have five graduations this spring.  Our oldest granddaughter got her B.A. in music from Gustavus and then decided she wanted to be a nurse.  She graduates next week from Loyola in Chicago with her RN.  In the middle of May our two high school seniors will have their graduation parties.  On May 30 a grandson will graduate from St. Olaf and a granddaughter will graduate from Gustavus (Enid and I will have to split up).

Add to that my high school class will have its 60th reunion in the middle of June and the former Augustana Church will have its Augustana Heritage Association gathering at Gustavus the end of June.

I'm not sure I will even get to the Gustavus reunion for the 50-Year Club to celebrate the ’49ers 55th anniversary year!  We are invited to that every year so maybe I can make it when my life is less full.

The Gustavus campus is also busy this spring.  The presidential inauguration and alumni reception were held on April 16-18.  In between, on the 17th, was the annual meeting of the Association of Congregations.  This is only a few of the many events.

There were a few personal notes from members of our class.  George and Joyce (Cook) Robertson report they are snowbirds―spending winters in Arizona.  Joyce continues a round robin with her college roommates: Joyce Rydell Johnson ’50, Doris Jacobson Speckeen ’50 and Lila Anderson Thorson

[Editor's note:  This letter was written before we received the sad news that George and Joyce were both killed in a two vehicle accident in Brown County on April 16.  It happened at the intersection of Highway 68 and 295th Avenue near Sleepy Eye.]

Frances Quist Hedlund reports that three of her six three children attended Gustavus.  David ’78 had a tractor accident in 1982, and was severely injured.  While still a quadriplegic he has made a remarkable recovery with his life.  He has a full time job as a computer analyst for MetLife, is married, and has a nine-year-old son.  Mark ’76 is a physician and living in Dallas, Lee Ann ’80 lives in Oakdale and is active in art.

Obed "Duke" Lundeen is thankful for the successful completion of cancer treatment and surgery.

Jane Nelson Mickelson has a new great-grandson. 

Marilyn Jacobson Akerson and her husband, Bruce ’47 are both now retired and living in a retirement home in St. Petersburg, FL.  She writes, "It is not entirely different from living in a dorm."

Estelle (Uleberg) and Ed Swanson sent me a personal note:  "Here's a little something to say we are still cheering for GAC."

Two deaths from our class have been reported:

Carola Haaland          3/1/04

Eric Lindberg 12/30/03

Eric was our senior class president.

I'm sure you have all been aware that the goal of the Alumni Fund for the last few years has been 50 by 50.  In case your memory has failed, the participation by alumni in the Annual Fund had dropped below 50% after many years of being in the 60% range.  In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the fund, they set this goal 50 by 50― 50% participation by the 50th anniversary.  The last report indicates the fund is at 46.1% with 2 or 3 months until May 31.  We certainly are within reach.  Our class has done better (as usual).  We were at 55.1%.  We can still help!  Another 40 or 50 donors by May 31 would be great.  Every contribution is important, but percentage of participation is most impressive in reaching various givers and foundations.

Thanks to all who have already given, and thanks to all who will be able to give before May 31! 

And thanks for all the support given through the year,

Pete Erickson

1949 Class Agent

Campus News:

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