Class of '54
October 1998

45th Anniversary Class

May 28 & 29, 1999

Dear Fellow ’54ers,

It'll be no easy assignment to follow Joyce Lindell Lund Froehlig as class agent. She was tops, combining a remarkable dedication to Gustavus with an understanding of the importance of keeping us in contact with one another and with news from the Hill. Her death on March 3, like Roy's (Lund ’54) years earlier from an automobile accident, is sobering. We had just been together on February 4 in St. Peter for the funeral of her brother-in-law Doniver Lund. I reflected then on her still-youthful laugh and enthusiasm and of what a model she was for us.

That said, I'm willing to try the job for a term. I couldn't resist Randy Stuckey ’83, Cec's successor. He made it sound easy by saying that class agents no longer need to do Phonorama, an assignment now given to students except in reunion years. (I'm one of those Scanlutes Garisson Keillor loves to satirize, right out of the "You wouldn't want to contribute to ____, would you?" school of fund-raising.) Add to that the fact that our next reunion, the 30th as I recall, is obviously years away. Then Randy played another trump card. I am to recruit the writers of January newsletters from the pool of panting volunteers which he assured me will be forthcoming. So please consider it your Xn Duty to tell me now that you are one of those volunteers. Remember, we all survived freshman English, some of you from Alexis, and so this will be a piece of cake.

When I got to the meeting of Class Agents earlier in September, I was given an envelope of class notes. Thank goodness for those, for those snippets are what will keep us together. And, speaking as one who just entered the ranks of the joyous jobless, we've got time now to talk about something different than careers and kids. Now for some snippets from the envelope:

Sharon Anthony Bowers, a native of St. Peter, expressed the feelings we all must have felt after last March's tornado there: "We weep for the loss and hope that the relentless winds of misfortune for both Gustavus and St. Peter will bring the communities to see how dependent they are on one another and how alike they are in their kindnesses and good will." ... Sanfield Dittbenner says it all: "Retired and enjoying it. Driving new RVs to dealers from manufacturers. Part time on my time." … Rollie Herbst is driving part-time also, he for Mound School District. … Mary Jane Monson helps assure our social security system. She's high school counselor and school-to-work coordinator for the Cook County (Grand Marais) schools. ... A story from the Fergus Falls Journal about Harlan Nelson's retirement as an Otter Tail County judge came via Gustavus's press clippings service. It was nice ink about his career, e.g., "He set a tenor and a standard that this is the law and we're going to apply it consistently. And there's going to be no favoritism. There's going to be no negotiating away cases just to get rid of them." ... Donna Norlund Holmgren wrote late last spring to alert us about Loni Nelson Lindholm's cancer. (Loni's obituaries in the Twin Cities papers were the testimonies we'd have predicted to her vital life and career, not least in her church music ministries. ... Bruce and Hermalyn (Dahlman ’52) Touse were about to travel from their Maryland home to golf at Hilton Head. … Marion Vorlicek L’Ivers writes from Oregon about doing something others of us ought to consider, "We were present at the Nobel Conference in October '97."

I've been fortunate to have had great times in recent years with several of you. First, to report to all of you who ended up in one metro or another, there is a great life for those of us who live outstate/downstate/upstate. I'm part of the Prairie Five, who meet for gourmet (well, when it's my turn in Morris we do restaurant): Phyllis Anderson Adamson and Russ from Willmar; Barb Gruse Johnson and Len from Ortonville. To that richness, I can add another summer of hiking in Scandinavia, a venture Jean (Lunnis) and I organized with Luther College friends back in 1987. In July Dick and Mary Brubacher and Fran Gabrielson Blomgren were leaping nimbly from rock to rock in those mountains, pausing graciously and frequently to allow me to catch up. (I feigned an obligation as leader to play "sweep" for the 23 of us.

On that note, permit me some advertising, but no more than clergy sometimes take to trump up Holy Land tours…Organizing those hikes in the mountains of Scandinavia has become my hobby, I guess. This trip promises no museums, no churches, just great trekking out the doors of four different high mountain hotels. References: Jim Anderson ’60 and Rog and Janet (Christenson ’53) Carlson, leading mountain goats on the 1987 trek. Proving there are no fools like old fools, the Oslo couple, who have become a part of this, and I had dinner before I returned to the states, raised our glasses one time to many, and said, "We'll do it again." It'll be from July 16 to 30. Let me know if you or your friends might be interested. And if you are wondering if you can make it, think of me as your benchmark.

I'll be Prairie Five in Exile beginning October 15, the day the van moves me from Morris to Minneapolis. Here's the address to send news notes too steamy for the Alumni Office to see, offers to volunteer, etc: 1235 Yale Place, #1705, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Phone: 612-333-6702, johnsond@tc.umn.edu

I carried away some impressions from our class agents meeting: Six months after that devastating tornado, I think St. Peter looks worse than I'd feared, the campus better. Alums, friends, students, families have rallied to Gustavus in ways most other colleges could only dream about. I've been in the higher education trade and I know how impressive it is to have a college which lost so much of its campus have the largest enrollment in history. We in Minnesota's other liberal arts colleges heard time and again from prospective students, "We've chosen Gustavus. We want to be a part of building something new." Pretty inspiring testimony about a generation so often maligned. I had another impression: times are changing fast in the college's development work. There will no longer be separate funds like G-1000, Parents Fund, Gifts from Friends etc. Now we'll all be giving to The Gustavus Fund. It makes sense to me and I'm pleased to see the college willing to try new strategies to maintain and enhance the Gustavus reputation. The names we knew are gone now, Cec Eckhoff ’56 and Bob Peterson ’58. I know several of the new leaders well, Brian Johnson ’80 as chaplain, Dennis Johnson ’60, who is vice president of college affairs, Randy Stuckey ’83 in alumni affairs, Rick Torgerson heading development. They will serve Gustavus well and name strong people to work with them and for all of us whose identities are shaped by Gustavus.

Now to segue into some news notes about our college:

Campus News:

The 1998-99 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,470 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,389 set in 1988), including a record 700 incoming students (compared to 648 of 1987). Contributing to the record enrollment is the stable 94 percent full-time student retention rate. Students returned to a campus that has been newly landscaped with 400 trees planted last spring and nurtured over the summer. They also discovered that 95% of all repairs made necessary by the tornado of March 29 are now completed. They returned to find Johnson Hall gone as it proved to be "beyond repair," but they also were greeted by a new College View Apartment addition, which houses 92 upper-class students, and the recently purchased Jefferson Avenue apartments (now known as Arbor View), which houses 60 upper-class students. In addition to new carpeting, painting, and furnishings, the campus is sporting 300 new state of the art computers for students and faculty, 28 new Steinway pianos (making us a member of a very elite circle of "All Steinway" campuses), 13 new high-tech multimedia systems for classrooms, new and upgraded outdoor and indoor athletic facilities, and new scientific equipment.

What remains to be done? The Prairie View Residence Hall, to be in place and opened in October, will house 60 students. It will be located west of Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Physically and symbolically the repair/restoration era will end with the placement of the spire and the cross back on the top of Christ Chapel. The spire will go up in sections over a two-day period and the cross is scheduled to be set on Thursday, October 22, weather permitting.

Students also noted the beginning stages of construction on the new Campus Center. This project, part of our strategic plan, was accelerated by the storm. The official groundbreaking ceremony will take place Monday, October 19. This $18.6 million, 51,000 square foot construction project will double the size of the Dining Service Building, providing students, faculty and staff with expanded and improved dining, meeting and office spaces. The Dining Room will, appropriately, be named for Evelyn Young ’33, longtime director of the Dining Service at Gustavus. In progress also is an addition to the Melva Lind Interpretive Center to house the Department of Environmental Studies.

National Rankings

US News and World Report continues to give Gustavus high ranking. This fall’s issue again placed Gustavus in the top half of the 162 national liberal arts colleges in the country. Gustavus is one of four colleges in Minnesota to be in this category. The others are Carleton, Macalester and St. Olaf. The other ELCA schools in addition to Gustavus and St. Olaf are Gettysburg, Muhlenberg and Augustana (IL). Many of the schools with which you are familiar are classified as either a "national" or a "regional" college. National liberal arts colleges have the most selective admission policy, recruit nationally and offer most of their degrees in the liberal arts. Regional liberal arts colleges are less selective in admitting students and grant fewer than 40% of their degrees in the liberal arts.

US News further honored Gustavus by ranking the College third nationally (out of 90 schools) in operating efficiency. This ranking measures academic quality and dollars spent to deliver that quality. Gustavus was the only Minnesota college ranked in this comparison of national liberal arts colleges.

Newsweek magazine’s college publication again listed Gustavus as a "buried treasure." These are colleges that are known as "Hot Schools, Cool Spots." The magazine describes Gustavus as a place where "Personal attention rules--can’t slide by here." Other buried treasures include: Davidson College, Davidson, NC; Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA; Pomona College, Claremont, CA; Trinity University, San Antonio, TX; and College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Good company, indeed.

Children of alumni continue to be honored for their academic achievement and potential when they enroll at Gustavus. The Alumni Scholarship of $2,500 (renewable to $10,000 over four years) is awarded to children and grandchildren of alumni with high school grade point averages of 3.5 or better, or SAT scores of 1170 or an ACT of 26. This fall Gustavus welcomed to campus 70 new entering students who are children of alumni. Sixty-seven legacy students were awarded an Alumni Scholarship. This number includes 54 children of alumni and 13 grandchildren of alumni.

Nobel Conference XXXIV, Virus: The Human Connection was October 6 & 7. The Nobel Conference magazine was again inserted in the August Minnesota Monthly magazine and sent to the entire Gustavus mailing list.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is December 4, 5 & 6. The theme this year is The Holy Family. A ticket order form was inserted in the center of the Summer Quarterly and another form is enclosed with this class letter.

The Gustavus Orchestra will perform its Autumn Concert at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. The featured violin soloist is Siqing Lu, one of the most important Chinese violinists of his generation. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call the University of Minnesota Arts Ticket Office (612-624-2345) or Gustavus Ticket Center at (507-933-7598).

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, was a huge success for another year. Alumni, parents and friends gathered on Saturday, October 3 to work together in the spirit of service to better their communities. An impact was made around the country as nearly 1,000 Gusties worked in nine cities including: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Duluth, MN; Fargo, ND; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Orlando, FL; Saint Peter, MN; Seattle, WA and Washington, DC.

Recycle your Quarterly – after reading each issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we encourage you to "recycle" the magazine by taking it to your place of business or worship and sharing it with others. Spread the good word about Gustavus!

Alumni Chapters will be meeting in cities around the country near you! Mark your calendars today for the following Alumni Association chapter visits: Chicago, November 14; Atlanta, November 19; Washington, DC, November 20; Boston, November 21; Denver, February 1 (Gustavus Band concert); Fargo, Feb. 20; Seattle, March 5; San Francisco, March 6; Los Angeles, March 7; Phoenix, March 8; and Sun City, March 9.

I better hear from you or I'll haunt you like the hounds of heaven!

Dave Johnson

1954 Class Agent