Class of ’51
May 2010

Dear Classmates and others,

This has been a wonderful spring semester.  The beginning of this letter is about one busy day, May 1.  After that it is somewhat chronological with news of classmates and sports scattered throughout.

Honors Day, May 1, was so busy from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. that only a few made it to every event in seven places on campus.  The Honors Convocation in Chapel drew a huge crowd.  Here is the opening prayer:

Gracious God, we humbly come to you on this Honors Day, for you are the source of all wisdom and knowledge.  We praise and thank you for our Gustavus Adolphus College scholars as we honor their achievements.  We pray that you will guide our lives, so that our knowledge will be tempered with compassion, and our achievements directed toward the wellbeing of all humankind.  May we continue to learn and grow throughout our lives, and may all that we achieve give glory to you.  We thank you, Great Creator, for love and for life.

The address turned out to be mainly a suggestion to doodle to help your mind and a new jazz composition by music professor Dr. Rick Orpen which demonstrated the themes of creativity and student-faculty collaboration which he emphasized.  Since jazz is improvisational, we’ll never hear it quite the same again!  He explained the theory of the basic structure.

Phi Beta Kappa took in 60 new members (only 17 were men).  Membership is based on their academic performance in the fields of liberal learning.

Guild of St. Ansgar was established in 1952 to recognize overall achievements─scholarship, leadership, and participation in extracurricular activities. 45 seniors were inducted.

Guild of St. Lucia honors women for academic success, leadership, and service to Gustavus.  Fifteen juniors were elected, including Chloe Radcliffe, granddaughter of Carolyn Peterson Ruggles and Hank ’52.  The President’s Honor list covered two large pages.  There were 60 in the first column.  You could probably multiply it by eight columns.

It is wonderful to read about all the scholarships and awards.  These scholarships relate to our classmates.  I found a scholarship established by John Bloom:

Arlene Hanson Bloom Scholarship – endowed scholarship established in 2005 with gifts from John Bloom, husband of Arlene Hanson Bloom, Class of 1952, one of the first female business majors at Gustavus.  The scholarship is awarded with preference given to women with majors in the Department of Economics and Management.

Here’s S. Lenore Sandy” Anderson Haber’s

Haber Olson Scholarship – endowed scholarship established in 1989 by James and S. Lenore Anderson Haber ’51.  John Olson, Lenore Haber’s great grandfather, was one of 11 students who attended Eric Norelius’s school (the forerunner of Gustavus Adolphus College) in Red Wing, Minn., in 1862.

Marion Myrland Johnson is our classmate:

John W. and Marion Myrland Johnson Scholarship – endowed scholarship established in 2005 with a gift from John Johnson, a Minneapolis native who served on the Minneapolis City Council and in the Minnesota Legislature, and his wife, Marion Myrland Johnson, who attended Gustavus for one  year in 1947-48.  It was first awarded for the 2006-2007 school year.

Myrna Thorsell Wolf founded this one:

Myrna T. Wolf Scholarship – annually sustained scholarship funded in 2005 for four years beginning in 2006-07 by Myrna Wolf ’51 to enable students to attend Gustavus.

Our classmate, Seifu Selassie, was honored by the class of ’52:

Class of 1952 Scholarship in Memory of Seifu and Garmane – endowed scholarship established in 2008 by the Class of 1952 in memory of two classmates from Ethiopia, Garmane Wondafrash and Seifu Selassie, who both were martyred during ongoing political violence in their homeland during the 1960s.  First awarded in 2009-10, it is designated for “students who bring diversity to campus, with preference of African American students.”

In honor of Art and Amy (Wampler ’54) Adamson:

Originally established in 2007 as an annually sustained scholarship funded for four year by Mark Sharmer ’77 in honor of Art ’51 and Amy Wampler ’54 Adamson.  Art, who retired in 1955 after a 40-year career at Federated Insurance in Owatonna, had hired Scharmer upon his graduation from Gustavus and was an early mentor.  In 2009, in consideration of gifts by Scharmer and other friends of the Adamsons, a scholarship endowment was created, with the first award anticipated for the 2010-11 academic year.

The program for Honors Day had 43 pages. Some of the scholarships and awards with the names of people you may know are listed here:

  • Professor and Dean Albert Swanson
  • Professor Don Gregory
  • Professor Charles Hamrum
  • Professor Chester O. Johnson
  • Coach Lloyd Hollingsworth
  • Evelyn Sponberg Young
  • Professor H. Milton Anderson
  • Ruth Youngdahl Nelson
  • Professor Milward Rodine
  • Professor George and Lorena Hall
  • Professor Floyd Martinson
  • Professor Gerhard Alexis
  • Alice Baver and Marlene Baver
  • Ross and Lavinia Bloomquist
  • President Edgar and Ebba (Edquist) Carlson
  • Herbert and Corrine Chilstrom
  • Professor Jack Clark and Esther Stregge Clark
  • Paul and Edna Spaeth Granlund
  • Professor Karlis Kaufmanis
  • B. Jeanette Larson
  • Professor Ethel Pehrson
  • Professor Conrad and Florence Peterson

My news today is that our granddaughter, Alyssa McGinty ’12, has an Evelyn Anderson Theatre/Dance Scholarship.  Our grandson, Ryan McGinty ’10, received the Lawrence Owen Prize in poetry, was an Ann Brady Scholar in English which included an academic assistantship, and made it to the President’s Honor List.  It was nice to read the program and find their honors.  They’re Minnesotans and Lutheran so they don’t tell their mom and grandma.

“Another sad passing.  Good memories though!,” our daughter e-mailed us when she learned of Professor Phil Knautz ’48 passing away.  It is still May 1.  By 1:30, we were at First Lutheran Church.  Can you believe that an alumni choir, 50 strong, sang at Professor Phil Knautz’s service of remembrance and celebration!  They came from as far away as Michigan.  Marian Nelson McCollum ’60 drove 16 hours!  (She told me, “You look just like you did, when I was a student!”).  Bruce Larson ’77, son of Bob and Ruth (Peterson ’52) Larson, drove over from Rochester where Bruce works for the Mayo Clinic.  He said his parents plan to be at the 50-Year Club reunion.  Bruce Gaard ’78, son of Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard, sang in the alumni choir with his wife, Laurel (Jurstad ’77).  Their parents are coming for the 50-Year Club events, too.  Phil Knautz requested “O Day Full of Grace” (F. Melius Christiansen).  Sure enough, these singers could sound like professionals with their memories of having sung it and “Children of the Heavenly Father” in choir.  They had one hour to rehearse!  We sang four other hymns with gusto!  The Magic Barber Shop Quartet sang, “This Little Light of Mine.”  Phil conducted the Gustavus Choir for almost 30 years and then was Fine Arts Director.

A ’62 alumnus told me two stories about one of the choir bus tours with Phil Knautz.  The choir got together and bought an airplane ticket to Washington, D.C. for his wife, Ruth (Clauson ’47).  One night the choir had off so they went to a restaurant.  A waitress bumped Phil and he said, “sorry,” but looking up he saw she was really his wife!  She gave him a kiss!  On this tour one of the married students kept calling home to see if he was a father yet.  When the bus rolled onto the campus, it went right past the Art Barn, around the Field House, and stopped at the right “trailer.”  Terry tore out of the bus.  The baby came about six minutes later!

Have you been wowed by a concert lately?  The Gustavus Choir home concert at 3 p.m. was absolutely fantastic!  The choir dedicated this anthem to Phil Knautz’s memory:  “Of Day Full of Grace.”  It has the line, “who fully could praise the Light of Life, who light to our souls is bringing?”  Then came a standing ovation before intermission!  The second standing ovation was after “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel” with a tenor solo by Domonic Xiong.  The encore was “Praise to the Lord.”  Then came the third standing ovation!  You could tell who the seniors were as they walked down the aisle with tears streaming down their faces (yes, some of the guys too.).  This was their last concert.  I bet Ray and Lorraine Lundquist were there because their granddaughter, Sarah ’11, is a soprano.  It was a big, enthusiastic crowd on Honors Day.

It’s 7:30 and we’re at the fourth event of the day, May 1.  The concert began with the Vasa Wind Orchestra. It was like “surround sound” when they started “The Billboard March.”  Surprise─it contained the “Gustie Rouser” and was written in 1901.  What fun to hear a superb rendition of “our” rouser!  Another piece they played beautifully was a new arrangement of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”  Then the Gustavus Wind Orchestra played six pieces.  The “Funeral March” by Greig was in memory of his friend who died at age 23.  “It is a stellar work,” according to the conductor, Professor Doug Nimmo.  I found it very moving.  “Molly on the Shore” was by Percy Grainger.  Do you remember when he appeared with our band?  “Song” by William Bolcom “captures me,” said the Conductor Nimmo.

The 10 terrific flutists are nine women plus Antonio from Florida.  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra played many styles with great skill, smooth sound, and intense emotion.  Professor Nimmo introduced the 16 graduating seniors.

He told the audiences, “When you do this…music, you are involved with truth that makes my life complete!  I can’t help but fall in love with all these people!  You know them for four years, travel thousands of miles with them on tours, give over 80 concerts with over 600 rehearsals.  It’s all about truth─thank you!”  Long, vigorous clapping was the thanks we returned.  A few hours later our son called us from Japan.  He told us, “You’re really luck to be able to go to all those concerts!”

A late professor and his widow have willed everything that’s left (when she dies) to Gustavus.  The children are fine with that.  They know how much their parents love Gustavus.  Neither of their parents attended Gustavus.  There is already a scholarship in their names.  To be able to attend the funerals of the “old” faculty and wives from our past is a great privilege.  We celebrate their long lives of service.  So much history is revealed and it becomes clear that the Gustavus close-knit community was important in so many ways.

Ninety-six year old geology professor Chester Johnson’s funeral was Dec. 19, 2009.  After retiring, Chester was archivist from 1978-2001.  A few weeks later, his 89-year-old wife, Marian Swanson Johnson ’41, passed away.  She was class agent for 40 years.  They both had received the Greater Gustavus Award.  Marian had taught English and library science at Gustavus.  We will miss them both.  They were at concerts even in stormy weather.  Smiles were their modes of greeting.  Marian once took a geology class from Chester and the rest is history.

The 23rd annual Convention of the Association of Congregations met in Christ Chapel on April 17.  Rev. Grady St. Dennis ’92, director of church relations, said, “This Association is a strong, personal relationship with over 500 congregations across this nation.  At our Student Leadership Day today, we have over 100 young people.  They were chosen by their youth leaders (in your member churches).”

Our convention keynote speaker and workshop leader was Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison (www.churchinnovations.org).  Dr. Ellison told us, “You are part of something FANTASTIC:  congregations praying for Gustavus!”  She said, “Use disagreements to thrive as a church…turn energy for conflict into energy for mission…spiritual discernment should be done in community, the Body of Christ, not as an individual alone...”  What does it seem that Gustavus should be?  We need Gustavus and Gustavus needs us.  One student told about how little things were important, like a professor who realizes that you need a smile and a student who holds the door open.  Another student talked about GYO, a Gustavus group of about 40 students who practice music in a group weekly and do outreach with youth groups in churches.

The Covenant Award went to Rev. Terry Morehouse for all he has done for Gustavus and the church.  He said, “Places like this have nourished my soul….thank you for all of you who believe in Gustauvs!”  He did not attend Gustavus, but his wife did.

The convention brought the following classmates to the hill:  Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard from St. Paul.  I hear that Dorothy works for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church as their funeral caterer.  I’m impressed.  Lloyd and Dorothy Stivens were here from Sioux Falls. Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson and Ray and Lorraine Lundquist were present too.  The Gustavus Choir sounded great at the worship service.  Rev. Dr. Stan Olson, director of the ELCA Vocation and Education Unit, gave a special homily.  “It is great to be at Gustavus, Gustavus is in my heart and in my will…when the disciple Ananias was asked to baptize Saul, he answered, ‘no thanks, he’s scary!’…a Lutheran college does ‘Ananias work.’  It shapes people for service….God is at work through people.  You are making possible this Lutheran college’s ‘Ananias work.’”

At the luncheon, I sat next to my brother, Wendell Johnson ’53 and his wife, Marilyn (Brust ’55).  They are the grandparents of Katie Eiden ’12, who gave a presentation.  She is in charge of raising money to buy books for the college of African wildlife management in Tanzania.  What a day it was─all planned by the church relations office.

News from the Mankato Free Press:

Gustavus Adolphus College is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges according the Princeton Review.  Gustavus’ inclusion in the publication was spurred by its Linnaeus Arboretum and the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation, the high percentage of dining service food either organic or locally grown, the recent purchase of two electric utility vehicles and other green programs.

The Polish-American parents of a girl who graduated in ’93 told me, “You can tell who the seniors are as they walk back out, because tears are streaming down their faces.”  They haven’t missed a Christmas in Christ Chapel since 1986 when they brought their 15-year-old daughter as a prospective student.  That’s 23 years in a row!  They live in Woodbury, MN.  Can any of you top this record?  I’ll also accept total number of years even if you missed a few.

From The Spire:

“Guided by the star, they found Him whose praise the ages sound.  We too have a star to guide us, which forever will provide us with the light to find our Lord.” (LBW 75)

“When the campus is covered, like it is, in a blanket of white, it looks beautiful to me and brings a sense of peace.  For so many of us the spire of Christ Chapel is always a beacon of light and inspiration.  Yet, I think it stands out especially bright during the winter days when the darkness comes early.  Still lingering in my heart is the feeling of everyone gathered together worshipping at Christmas in Christ Chapel.  What a bright light.”  ~Rev. Grady St. Dennis ’92, Director of Church Relations

Gustavus co-sponsors new film series

No matter where you stand politically, there is no arguing that the earth is being damaged by the humans who live on it.  “Creation is groaning under the weight of our careless behavior,” says David Rhoads, host of the series Earthbound:  Created and Called to Care for Creation.  This 6-session DVD series, filmed during 2009, is new and available to congregations.  Earthbound, filmed in high definition, is available to congregations through Seraphim Communications, Inc. (seracomm.com).  The package includes two DVDs and a study guide in PDF format.  I think this series is a must and you’ll love it!  First Lutheran Church in St. Peter has a copy.

It was great to see classmates at the St. Lucia Chapel service last December Marlys Aberson Chase and Bob and Onie Isenberg, along with out St. Peter regulars!  At the luncheon our daughter, Lynn Lutz McGinty ’84, said, “Our warmest winter welcome to the 69th Annual St. Lucia Celebration with its message of hope.”  From Mim Sponberg Kagol ’67, “In the bleak mid-winter, help light the way for students to make their lives count.”  Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83 sang his composition “Old Love,” and Christmas carols, etc.  He said, “Coming back to Gustavus is incredible!  Being here is always amazing!”  Leandra asked, “What is it about Gustavus –everyone is so nice?”

In January, Dr. Cordy Tindell Vivian, 86-years-old, said he kept looking at the Chapel when he came because of its beauty outside and inside.  He spoke to a large audience in Chapel during J-Term because he is a living legend of the Civil Rights Movement.  Even the students found him to be an inspiring, uplifting speaker.  They wanted to know what they could do to stop racism.  “Get your education!”  The J-Term class, Changing the World, was there in full force.  He said the students were lucky to be at Gustavus.  Dr. Vivian talked about King’s leadership in the Civil Rights movement and how he laid “the moral and spiritual base on which we could move to become a better people.”  King had a doctorate in philosophical theology.  Dr. Vivian said, “One person can make a difference!”

We heard the Gustavus Wind Orchestra at Chapel in their home concert.  When they played the encore, “Nearer My God to Thee,” on tour in Central Europe (through Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, and Germany), students reported seeing people cry or smile or listen intently.  Sometimes, the people would hum with them.  Afterwards, it was either silence, since it was a profound experience, or a standing ovation!  The Wind Orchestra has been playing this hymn for 17 years on tours.  What a blessing this group and its conductor, Dr. Douglas Nimmo, have been to thousands of people.  It sounded smooth and reverent.  Dr. Nimmo said, “We are thankful to Gustavus which think this type of tour is important.  This music changes the lives of students and of those who hear us.”

It was fun to hear a Gustavus student on the phone thanking me for my gift to the Annual Fund.  She really sounded like she appreciated the gift!

In Chapel on Founder’s Day, a prayer:

Most merciful Lord, on this day we recall the love and labor of the many who build this college with honor and vision.  We thank you for past achievements and future hopes.  Nourish us with all goodness and use us as your servants in the continuation of the responsibilities with which the Church has charged this college.

One of the Chapel guest books was almost full. People were from many countries and states.  I counted 12 different denominations listed.

David Johnson ’84, son of my brother, Wendell Johnson ’53, was on campus in November.  Perhaps you saw his picture on page 46 of the spring Gustavus Quarterly.  Quotes from Chapel:

Dr. David W. Johnson is a 1984 graduate of Gustavus.  He is an ophthalmologist with Health Partners in St. Paul.  In 2008, he led a team of nine to a Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania where they screened the eyes of 700 persons and, via surgery, restored sight to 62 persons.  Earlier this fall he was on a medical mission trip to Nicaragua.  He will receive the Arnold E. Carlson Award for relating Christian ethics to society.

Excerpts from David’s homily:

Christ Chapel is a magnificent space.  At the top of the hill and the center of campus, the vertical of the steeple always catches my eye.  But from here inside, the horizontal takes my eye’s gaze out through the windows and into the world, the place where faith informs our service.  Where our Sundays are translated into Monday through Saturday.  Vocation literally means “calling.”  Martin Luther rejected the idea of separation of the Sacred and the Secular.  In his day only monks were set apart by a higher calling to religious life.  He recovered the word vocation as an idea for everyone.  Lutherans speak about the idea of a “priesthood or ministry of all believers.”  We do not DO works for God,  He does not really need our help.  Rather it is GOD who does works through us.  Vocation is how we obey the commend to love and serve our neighbor, and a system of vocations is how we love and serve the whole community…  As a Gustavus people, we are called into all areas of service.  An ethic or attitude of service can make all the difference rather than being driven to achieve and accumulate for our own benefit, we are called to a life of service.”

A great big thank you to Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson for the terrific guest class letter in January.  It was wonderful to think about our Gustie missionaries to Tanganyika Territory.

Henry ’52 and Carolyn (Peterson) Ruggles must be doubly proud of their granddaughter, Chloe Radcliffe ’12.  She won the Pentathalon competition (top 10 students in 5 events).  She placed first in Prose Interpretation, second in Communication Analysis, and she advanced to semifinals in Dramatic Interpretation and Program Oral Interpretation.  She helped Gustavus win the individual events portion of the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament in March.  Fifty-seven colleges and universities participated.

Keep Gustavus strong!  The ELCA lost two colleges so far this year:  Waldorf and Dana colleges.  They were bought by for-profit organizations so they still exist, but are not a part of the ELCA anymore.

I wonder if Gustavus is really in Minnesota anymore?  Not experiencing one single snowfall March makes me wonder.  Do you have any snow memories from campus days?  I remember studying at the “new library” until closing one snowy evening.  I could hardly make it down to Wahlstrom dorm.

One of the professors asked me, “Why can those Norwegians at St. Olaf came up with more money and quickly than the Swedes at Gustavus?  I said, “I know that there is a freeze on all salaries!”

Taken from the Gustavian Weekly:  “Lately, a new trend has been taking Gustavus sidewalks by storm.  The pavement has been hit with an epidemic of longboarding fever.  It’s nearly impossible to walk from Eckman Mall to Confer/Vickner without spotting at least one, if not more, of the four wheeled fiends.  On our campus, they are most commonly used as a form of transportation, but are also used for cruising and downhill racing.”

On the sports page:

The Men’s Tennis Team posted a great fall record…the goals of the Gusties are team oriented.  Their showing so far promises to be even better in the future as this fresh team moves into the rest of their 2010 season.  Coach of the Men’s Tennis team, Tommy Valentini ’02 sent this e-mail:

“Dear Gustavus Tennis Friends and Alumni, Greetings from St. Peter! Thanks so much to all of you who attended the December 12th tribute event for Coach and Barb Wilkinson.  The event was a tremendous success in so many ways.  Coach has told me numerous times since December that it was and always will be one of the greatest nights of his life!  I’m writing to thank you for all of your love and support, and to let you know of a few prestigious honors that Coach Wilkinson has recently received.

On Saturday, March 20, Steve was honored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  Steve received the Hall of Fame’s Educational Merit Award.  The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum annually presents the Tennis Educational Merit Awards to citizens or residents of the United States.  The Award is presented to those who have made notable contributions in the tennis education field as the national level and have demonstrated leadership and creative skills in such areas as instruction, writing, organization and promotion of the game of tennis.  The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum sponsors this special citation to recognize invaluable contribution to the expansion of tennis and the development of the sport.  Steve joins longtime friend and colleague, the late Arthur Ashe, as an Educational Merit Award recipient.

On May 26, Steve will become a member of another prestigious Hall of Fame.  He’ll be inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame in Athens, Georgia.  Steve will enter the ITA Men’s Hall of Fame as the winningest coach in the history of collegiate tennis – men’s or women’s, any division.  He will be recognized not only for his astonishing record and achievements, but also as a visionary, leader, sportsman, and educator who helped pioneer and grow division III tennis.  I’ll be sure to point you to the ITA’s press release and publicity as Steve’s induction draws near.

Please join me in celebrating and congratulating Steve on these well-deserved honors!  While he adds these halls of fame to his incredible list of accomplishments, Steve’s career continues to flourish – he remains an integral part of the Gustavus men’s tennis program and this year’s team as an assistant coach, and he is eagerly anticipating his 34th summer directing Tennis and Life Camps alongside his wife, Barb, where they teach and share the Three Crowns of full efforts, positive attitude, and sportsmanship, and the Three G’s of gifts, grace and gratitude.

Thanks for all of your love and support of Steve and our program!

Quotes from Steve Wilkinson, who coached the famous tennis pro, Eric Butorac ’03 at Gustavus:

            In the Gustavus tennis program he acquired an approach to life that emphasizes things within his control.  We call them the Three Crowns – positive attitude, full effort, and good sportsmanship.  Eric has been able to handle both the ups and downs on the pro circuit, knowing that true success is defined by things within his control.

Eric went to the Australian Open as part of my sports ethics class, and there he caught a glimpse of international travel and the pro circuit.  Also Eric played in a college program that emphasized doubles.  The preparation here was an important part of his development as a doubles specialist.  Futhermore, Eric is part of an extended Gustavus alumni family that has supported him in a variety of ways.  In return, Eric has given much back to the current Gustavus players.  His presence at practices has been inspirational.

Congratulations to the Gustie Gals Hockey Team!  The Mankato Free Press had a neat write-up on Lindsey Hjelm, outstanding freshman hockey player.  She is the top rookie in the MIAC.  Lindsey chose to be No. 17 as a tribute to her father, Fred Rick Hjelm ’83, who was named All-American as a senior hockey player.  Since his team was 1 of the 4 top teams in 1982, it is doubly exciting that her team is in the Frozen Four.  Their wonderful family has befriended my husband and they sit together in the 4th row on the center line.

“The students are nice!  It’s a tradition at Gustavus to have nice students.  It was true when I taught here,” said former professor, Dr. Erazim Kohak, who teaches in his native country, Czech Republic.

I happened to be in the Chapel when the Chapel Choir rehearsal was finishing.  Some of the students stayed after and harmonized on hymns including “Children of the Heavenly Father” in Swedish.  What fun it was to hear them on a Friday evening before supper.  The sun was low and shining into the Chapel.  I watched the Granlund east doors come to life in the sun.  Paul dedicated them to his parents, “who encouraged me and gave me a spiritual foundation.”

Mankato Free Press headline, “Give Gusties the gold for winning marathon game.”  The longest hockey game in the MIAC semifinal playoffs was won by the Gustavus men, Feb. 27, to clinch the championship.  It started at 7 p.m. and ended after midnight in the 4th overtime with Gustavus 6, Augsburg 5.  Our goalie stopped 104 shots.  The crowd, including my husband, was still there yelling as loud as possible at the end.  Gusties coach, Brett Petersen, said he had never experienced anything like that game before – as a coach or as a player.  It was almost the longest hockey game in college history.

The Swedish choir Södra Vätterbygdens Folkhögskola (SVF) performed at Christ Chapel on April 26.  SVF is located in Jönköping, Sweden, and is a private school that was founded in 1919.  The choir was touring the Upper Midwest, starting in Chicago and gave concerts in Rockford, Brooklyn Center, Chisago City, Bloomington, Bernadotte, Gustavus and Winnetka.  It’s the second time in the last four years that a SVF choir is touring the Midwest.  Professor of Scandinavian Studies Roland Thorstensson said, “Gustavus has used SVF as a base for several [January Interim Experiences] and the school also as one of the locations for the Semester in Sweden Program.  We hope that some of the students who were part of the Sweden’09 [trip] and those who will be going to Sweden in 2011 will meet members of the choir,” Thorstensson said.  This performance is a unique opportunity to enjoy music sung in Swedish.”

The Weekly also had an article before the Mayday! Conference:

“I am thrilled to be joining [MAYDAY! attendees] this day,” Nelson-Pallmeyer said. “I hope I can bring a challenging and hopeful message about our great opportunity to be peacemakers at a time when our communities, our nation and our world desperately need vision, visionaries and practical pathways to peace.”

Committed to the development of nonviolent social change rooted in faith, Nelson-Pallmeyer is also a well-known author on global conflicts.  For example, the platform on which he ran in 2008 included a strong critique of the war in Iraq, calling for a prompt removal of troops from the region.  Nelson-Pallmeyer explained that in his address, he will “stress the importance of both individual and collective action for peace …[and] that when we face problems honestly, we are unleashing our capacity for hope.

I am surprised that more alumni don’t return for Mayday!  I saw Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson at chapel.  We agreed that the speaker was amazing!  Professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a St. Olaf grad who teaches at St. Thomas in St. Paul, spoke on “The Peace Imperative:  Our great Challenge and Opportunity to Create a More Peaceful World.”  Many people I talked with afterwards felt more hopeful.  One of the people who introduced Jack said, “Student here are encourage to work for a peaceful world!”

Jack stated, “Our country is like a car moving at 150 mph heading for cliff…it’s the end of the world as we know it, but a soft landing is possible.  We are in a declining empire.  You fight terrorism by making the world, the environment….better and bringing hope.  You have heard about the ‘Greater Generation.’  You need to be the next greatest generation!  There are tremendous challenges.  We have only 10 years to save our planet.  Yes, it is possible!  Compassionate living in harmony with the needs of the planet….Unite over climate change!  Go green!  Buy fair trade!  We need teaches and doctors to transform our country!  The Lutheran colleges are saying, ‘come to us and we will help you transform the world.’  Be in contact with your politician.  Believe in an alternative vision.  Everyone taking action will matter.  Listen actively.  Work for the common good.” Check out www.350.org for what you can do.

What a helpful, hopeful beginning to Mayday!  A CD will be available of Jack’s speech.  It will also be on the web.  There was a great crowd in the Chapel.  The resource center was set up near the dining room.  For an idea of the afternoon, active peacemaking workshop, check out www.bigpicturesmallworld.com.  Mr. Medard Gabel is this company’s CEO.  It was an eye-opening, exhilarating experience, to lead a part of the world into the future.  The Gustavus students were really on the ball.

Dr. Bill Robertz was one of the judges for the Oratory Contest for high school students on “How would you create, nurture, and preserve peace in your community?”  Chaplain Brian Johnson led us in a closing litany.  Our response, “Peace begins in a single chair.”  In the litany he mentions the peace efforts of Dag Hammarkjold and Edgar Carlson ’30.  And so ended a fantastic day on peace!

When Evelyn Young ’33 was in charge of the food service, coffee was a nickel while in Mankato it was a dollar.  Evelyn believed that coffee was a community building product!

We are enjoying the arboretum and the waterfall garden that David and Delores Johnson created.  We were able to buy an apple tree from a local garden center because of the arboretum membership discount.  The bluebirds have returned.  Many birds are seen in the arboretum─see online at:  gustavus.edu/arboretum.

This spring I was lucky to hear Sue Busch Leaf ’75 read an environmental essay from her new book, The Bullhead Queen.  The English department sponsored the event in the Interpretive Center.  Sue said, “Church colors my relationship to nature─what must I do to protect it?”  She has a doctorate in Zoology so she could really explain the owl eruption of five years ago when tens of thousands of owls came south from Canada.  She said, “We’re in trouble.  We know that much is true!”  She credits her former religion professor at Gustavus, the late Bob Esbjornson ’41, with helping her develop in such a creative way that she could write this book on the environment.  Sue told me that Earl Leaf is a relative of her husband.

Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson and I, along with about 20 others, heard Rev. Herb Chilstrom’s talk, “In the spirit of the trees” at the arboretum on April 23.  He asked us to think of your favorite tree.  We can imagine anything we want to up in the tree.  The cross becomes the tree of life.  Rev. 22 ends in the arboretum, not predicting the end of the world, but with a vision of hope, a garden with tree of life, encouraging us.  That evening the Chapel Choir gave their home concert in Chapel after their short tour of Arizona.  I was so moved by this great concert!  We got to sing along on some of the hymns.  David Hilding’s brother’s grandson, Stephen ’13, sang in it.  He is a freshman and loves Gustavus according to his dad.

“We mourn when the seniors graduate, but then another group of wonderful students arrives,” Deborah Goodwin, Religion Professor, said to me.

English Professor Fremo told me my grandson, Ryan McGinty ’10, is a supervisor in the Writing Lab that she is in charge of.  She said, “I have to steel myself for Ryan’s leaving!”  The chair of the English department, Professor Baer, told me, “Ryan McGinty is one of our most brilliant students.  He is the English department assistant and received several prizes.”  I sounded surprised.  She said, “Oh, so he is modest, too!”

Professor Joyce Sutphen, Enlish, is on sabbatical, but was on campus May 6 to read from her newest book of poetry, First Words.  It’s a keeper, so I bought extra copies for our daughter, Lynn Lutz McGinty ’84, and her son, Ryan.  Ryan took a number of classes from Professor Sutphen and is a real fan.  Look for a photo of Ryan and others in the next Gustavian Quarterly, since he is a fifth generation Gustie.  My mother’s father, Augustus Nelson, came from Sweden, worked on a farm, and graduated at age 26 in the first graduating class at Gustavus in 1890.  Mother graduated in 1920 and I “made it” to commencement in 1951.  Our daughter, Lynn, finished in 1984.  Our children and grandchildren did not want to go to Gustavus, but they visited, attended, and loved it!  The Gustavus professors really turned Ryan on as a scholar and poet.  A philosophy professor told me that he rarely finds a “mind like that.”  Ryan took many philosophy courses besides his English major.

In Chapel at the Service of Recognition for Tenured Faculty, April 16, the speaker said “we commit ourselves and the college to support you.  You commit yourself to encourage your students and colleagues!”

Prayer:  God, our Sustainer, we thank you for guidance given Gustavus Adolphus College.  We pray for your blessing upon these professors and ask that you continue to enlighten them with the knowledge related to their academic disciplines.  Give them inquiring minds; empower them in their quest for truth; make them increasingly competent as guides and teachers for our students; and nourish them with all goodness.  May God bless us and bless the work we are given to do.  Amen

I saw Don Osell’s book, Growing Up in Henderson at the library.  He wrote, “I spent my growing up years in Henderson, a town of some 750 people on the banks of the Minnesota River.  There’s something about river towns that set them apart from other “just plain towns”.  In another chapter he wrote, “The river was at once both a source of fascination and fear for me.”

What?!  Nine tons of sand were dumped on the theater stage for “Arabian Nights”.

What is next?  Nicollet County won’t let Gustavus put up a windmill so the million dollar gift was transferred to solar energy projects starting with the new building.  It will be an LEED green building.  Fifty-four faculty offices on three floors and many classrooms of different sizes will really be great additions.

What’s now?  Gustavus is hosting the Minnesota State Speech High School Tournament for the secon year in a row.  About 2,000 people will come for it.  They are ready and hope it doesn’t rain!  (Note: It rained, but gently.)

In the Spring Quarterly, check out these 3 pages:

Page 36:  Our daughter, Lynn Johnson McGinty ’84 and I are pictured with a print of Dag Hammarskold in the Chaplain’s Office.  It is in memory of my sister Marjorie Johnson Knutson ’50 and her husband, Russell Knutson ’49.  Stop by and see it next time you are in Old Main.  (The red sweater I’m wearing is one of Mom’s creations!)

Page 37:  you can email me at 1951classofficers@gustavus.edu

Page 55:  A few reasons to hang in there and give a gift now!

Bible Babel was written by Kristin Swenson, niece of David Hilding.  Put it on your “must read” list.  I chuckle once in awhile and really appreciate her amazing writing.  It is dedicated to her parents, “with admiration, gratitude and love”.  Don’t miss chapter 6.  Here is one of her quotes, “The Bible is all around us, yet as alien as E.T.”  and another, “The Bible didn’t fall out of the sky in King James English.  Neither was it etched into stone tablets during a thunderstorm and handed to a tunic-clad Charlton Heston.”

Our granddaughter, Alyssa McGinty ’12, is in the Tau Mu Tau Sorority so she invited her family and us to their Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction in April.  They wrote, “(We) chose suicide awareness as a philanthropic cause, because of its effect on our alumni, current members, and the Gustavus community…” the proceeds went to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education).  They also sponsor a mental health workshop on campus.

Encourage your grandchildren to go to summer camps at Gustavus.  Have them request an Alumni Legacy Scholarship and put their parents or grandparents name and graduation year on the registration form.

I want you to have a good reason for coming back to your Alma Mater and giving a gift to feel HAPPY!  Recently The Free Press article was explaining; “ways to use money to increase happiness.  Those purchases will vary among individuals, but a running theme is that spending money to have experiences with other people is a great bet for boosting happiness.  That also might involve charitable giving…”

Over 70% of students receive scholarships.  Let’s keep the Annual Fund ALIVE!

Excerpts –Letters to the Editor from the Gustavian Weekly, April edition:

“…the Gustavus forensics team is in the midst of yet another amazing season.  On Easter Sunday, the forensics team accomplished the unimaginable feat of placing in the top ten at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament.  Going up against larger teams with five times the travel budget, ten times the coaching staff and full-ride scholarships for the most talented student s in the nation, the Gustavus forensics team, through sheer hard work and determination, competed side-by-side with perennial powerhouses like Bradley University, George Mason University and the University of Texas, Austin…  If you know a member of the team, congratulate them and wish them luck in their continuing endeavors on behalf of the College.”

Remember to congratulate Chloe Radcliffe’12, granddaughter of Carolyn (Peterson) and Henry Ruggles ’52!  In the Metro Lutheran, May issue, she is front row, center, holding her awards along with her teammates.  Chloe placed 15th in the individual sweepstakes standing, amassing 84 points.

Lutheran Women Today, May 2010, “As we give, we grow.  Giving to the church is what sowing is to gardening.  It plants possibilities.  Both the givers and the receivers benefit in the process.”

Ray Lundquist highly recommends the Twin Cities Gustie Breakfasts.  Up-coming Twin Cities Breakfasts continue on the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel-Park Place and scheduled speakers include:       

  • June 16 – Bob Neuman ’80, associate director of admission
  • July 21 – Summer Programs staff
  • August 18 – Peter Haugen, head football coach
  • September 15 – Jack R. Ohle, president
  • October 20 – Lisa Heldke ’82, Nobel Conference 2010, Making Food Good

“Even when you’re retired you need to take a day off.”  Laughter makes it easier to handle life and its challenges because it puts us ‘in the moment.’  When we are in the moment, we are less aware of our problems.

Laughter is therapeutic because it relaxes us and gives us a better perspective.  Even in our lowest points, even when we’re grieving, laughter can help us restore our equilibrium.  As with meditation, practice can make laughter part of our everyday lives.  A smile goes a long way and is something you can share easily.”  Retired nursing professor at Gustavus, Judy Gardner.  Judy is a friend who is a haven of smiles.  Those of you who “summer” at the cabin will be smiling soon.  Did you know Minnesota hosts 108,500 vacation homes according to the 2000 census?

Ray Lundquist said to me, “I do hope our class gets above 60% in giving this year.  We have so much to be grateful for.”  Ray and Lorraine were invited by their granddaughter, Sara Lundquist ’11, to the Theta Sorority Dinner and Silent Auction for Miracles of Mitch Foundation.  Mitch’s parents spoke and said Mitch would have been 17 if he had lived.

Gustavus Habitat Happenings, from the Habitat newsletter:  This spring, about 90 students from Gustavus headed to Florida, Louisiana and Texas to participate in Habitat Collegiate Challenge spring break work trips.  In April, Gustavus recognized Act!  Speak!  Build!  Week (Habitat’s international, student-initiated week of advocacy) with several events and activities, including building a shed (for St. Peter’s current Habitat house) in the middle of campus, where all students could stop by to help work.

Denny Lofstrom sent this email in March 2008, from Nyakato, near Mwanza, Tanzania:

“Last year on the unimproved road I suffered two collapsed vertebrae and ended up 2 ½ inches shorter than when I started the trip.  These roads were rough.”  Stan and Marie told me that Denny’s seven hour back surgery in Rochester in December was successful so Lofstrom’s could return to work in Tanzania in February.  Denny wrote, “No more pain and weakness from nerve impingement.  We do know, beyond ALL doubt, that God is love, and God loves us no matter what.”

Another Lofstrom email:  “We speak at churches, service clubs, in restaurants and in people’s homes.  This is the year for the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest.”

Note:  After Nobel Conference, so during fall and part of the winter, Lofstroms are available and will travel.  If you have ideas or networking affiliates that would help them at IHP (International Health Partners), please email Denny in Tanzania at paulalofstrom@yahoo.com.  You can see a photo of Denny on their website at www.ihptz.org.  From a newer email from Denny and Paula: “During the next six months we are going to be extremely busy accommodating the scheduled medical teams, many medical students as well as our first dental team, to come to Nyakato Health Center.”  Lofstroms plan to attend the Nobel Conference.  Any classmates and friends are welcome to meet at the tables just inside the door of the Market Place at noon on the first day of the conference, Tuesday, October 5, 2010.

Louise Borg Bergmann wrote me, “I’d love to hear the Christmas program some year at Gustavus.  You are lucky.  Thanks for your hours of working on the newsletter.”  She and Kenn celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.  She visited Minnesota to attend three family reunions.

As someone said, “There is much Octogenarian activity in the class of ’51!”  Who is the youngest gal of them all?  Let’s just list 2011 possibilities for turning 80.  Do you know of others?

Rhoda Smith Nelson - May

Ann Komatz Basset – June

Gloria Martell Benson’50 wrote to me after Christmas in Christ Chapel.  She started out with us, but finished early.  Luckily for me.  What would we do with two class letter writers?  She wrote “The highlight of the year was my 80th birthday on August 31, observed over a month-long period and celebrated with family on Labor Day Sunday.  I am slowly catching up with some of you, many more energetic than I.  Oh, yes, 80 – if I do some absent-minded or not-so-bright action, some people will say, “Well, she IS 80, you know.”  On the other hand, if I do some brilliant deed, others will say, “And would you believe – she’s 80 years old!”  May the New Year bring you peace, contentment, love and good health, strength and courage when needed.”  Thanks Gloria!

Don and Rhoda (Smith) Nelson wrote:  “We quite regularly see Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson and Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard at the annual Augustana Heritage worship at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, usually late September or October.”  (Note to Rhoda:  we live in St. Peter now, so hope to see you at Gustavus at the Augustana Heritage meeting, June 21, 2012).

Classmates have told me that Bonnie Feehan Klucking passed away in October 2009.  Our sympathy is extended to her husband, Edward, who lives in Ellensburg, WA.  If someone could send the Alumni Office some printed notice of her death, they could list her death in the Gustavus Quarterly.

Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug wrote me:  “It was wonderful we had that time at Gustavus.”  Note:  I told about the gathering at the Guest House a few years ago.

Taken from the newsletter from the Arboretum:  “On the difference between weather and climate:  If you don’t like the weather, wait a few days.  If you don’t like the climate, move.”  ~Anonymous

“Don’t knock the weather.  If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.”  ~Kim Hubbard

Gustavus Birding ‘Big Day’:  The task is simple:  Wherever you are in the world, make a list of the birds you observe on Saturday, May 15, 2010.  At the end of the day, you were to send in your list to Bob Dunlap’08, Linnaeus Arboretum naturalist at Gustavus Adolphus College.

This is a very difficult time for new graduates looking for jobs.  Graduate schools are flooded with applications.  One grad school had 700 applications for 4 spots!  Pray hard for the almost 600 seniors who will leave Gustavus, a place they love, on May 30th after Commencement.  If it does not rain, we can watch our grandson, Ryan McGinty, graduate at the new football stadium.  If it rains too hard, Commencement will be in Lund Arena, which seems big when the Nobel Conference is going on, but is too small when it comes to Commencement.

I talked with Amara , a senior math major, who said, “It is hard to get into Teach For America, through which I am going to teach math in Tulsa, OK, in a difficult school.”

The Annual Fund closes on May 31.  Please participate, giving thanks that Gustavus is still here.  You’ll make history by helping a few more students to make their life count with help of Gustavus!

Alumni following the Gustavus Adolphus College Facebook fan page, @gustavus and @gustiealum on Twitter continue to grow.

I gave a memorial gift to Gustavus.  This quote is from the thank you letter I received:

“The mission of Gustavus Adolphus College is to educate men and women for fulfilling lives of leadership and service.  Through your continued support, this education will continue through the classroom, activities and the core values that Gustavus instills in its students: excellence, community, justice, service, and faith.  Your confidence in the mission and vision of Gustavus helps us look towards a bright future.”

I am shocked that not one of you sent news this time – at least not by the deadline the office has for this spring letter.  Your spring and summer news will be rebroadcast in the autumn letter.  It has to be in writing to the alumni office or it cannot be published in the Quarterly.  An email is okay too.  I never thought this disaster would happen to our class.  You could dig into your past like Stan and Marie did in their letter.  I hope you enjoyed what “informal” news came to me.  I didn’t make up anything!

It is our 59th Anniversary, so come to the 50 Year Club Reunion on the last Saturday in May.  Ray and Lorraine Lundquist, Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard, Bill and Marilyn (Barnes) Robertz, Stan and Marie (Schafer’52) Benson and we will all promise to be there to welcome you!  According to Bruce Larson ’77, his parents, Bob and Ruth (Peterson ’52) Larson, will be coming too.

As Garrison Keillor says, …“LIVE WELL.  DO GOOD WORK AND STAY IN TOUCH.”

Sincerely,

Dorothy Johnson Lutz

1951 Class Agent