Class of '55
October 2000

Dear Classmates:

Two major events influence my current writing. The first was the class agents' meeting on September 16 and the second was our 45th reunion celebrations at the Sofitel and the next day at Gustavus the weekend of September 29-30.

First, the class agents' meeting. I was struck by the range of ages of the class agents all the way from young kids to the venerable sages of bygone eras. Wake up, Dick. That’s the way life is. Of course I know that, but it simply reminded me of the broad continuum of affection and dedication to the Gustavus ideal that persists. It is at once reassuring and yet raises concern that it will be preserved for generations to come. Currently Gustavus ranks 39th of 160 colleges in percentage of alumni giving. About 3,000 donors lapse each year! You may have heard of Guslink. That is a group of selected students who make calls in behalf of the Gustavus Fund. There are simply not enough callers from the alumni to cover all of our fellow Gustie grads. So please, give the Guslink callers a cordial welcome for their efforts in behalf of the Fund. Phonorama will be conducted at two Twin Cities locations on October 16, 17 & 19, and 23, 24 & 26. There are many phones available so I ask for your assistance. Give me or the Alumni office a call for details. It is a great opportunity to call old friends and get caught up to date.

One other special note from the meeting. If you have news that you would like to have considered for the Gustavus Quarterly, send it directly to the Quarterly. Alumni news agents receive is not automatically considered for the Quarterly.

My thanks go to Don "Swanie" Swanson for his planning and conducting of the reunion dinner at Sofitel. Although I was unable to be there, I heard rave reviews although some of the jokes may have had mixed reviews (those were typical of many of our classmates). The evening was highlighted by brief speeches from Eileen Eckberg Scott, George Torrey, Joan Bonn Wright, Phil Hall, Carol Roberg Lind, Einar Satter, Homer Russ, Phil Eckman and Pat Hall. On Saturday, Robert "Esby" Esbjornson honored and entertained us with his reflections on his career at Gustavus, much of which involved us. His remarks were framed in the context of a letter to a granddaughter, a clever device. The tear-filled eyes and loud applause attested to his eloquence. He has a special bond with our class. I continue to marvel at the close ties we have with a place at which we spent only four years. Certainly, the mentorship of professors like Esby has much to do with our continuing affection.

Swannie will be given the prestigious George Haun award presented by the MSHSCA. He will be given the award at the annual Hall of Fame awards banquet to be held on November 11 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis. Congratulations Swannie!

Class News:

Please forgive me if some of this is out of date. Our previous illustrious class agent, Gene Frisk and his wife, Beverly, were back in Sweden visiting the sod of the ancestors. Gene is still working while Bev plays.

The Reverend Marvin Mueller is interim pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Sheldon, Iowa. Merrill and Marlene (Haugen ’55) Widmark moved into their new lake home last October. I understand from one of my spies at the Sofitel that Merrill sustained an unfortunate leg fracture recently. We wish him a quick recovery.

Wayne ’52 and Dorothy (Bugge) Farnberg were in Norway and Sweden visiting relatives.

Gordon and Corrine (Rhyne ’56) Holm report that Gordy retired from US West while Reenie is busy with her custom design business.

George Davies plans to motorcycle in Spain as he did in New Zealand two years ago.

Jean Matz Carlson has two Gustavus graduates and hopes some or all of her eight grandchildren will become Gusties.

Jerry Tweton is finishing a biography on Theodore Roosevelt. Tell me when it is finished, Jerry and I’ll buy. History is my passion.

Marilyn Anderson Stephan was elected to a four-year city council term in Berkley Michigan.

Audrey Swenson Anderson is still teaching in Rasmussen, running the family Maid-Rite restaurant, judging speech tournaments and singing in the church choir.

Bev (Matson ’56) and Don Gustafson were in Cambodia and Vietnam in January and in June went off on the spur of the moment to South Africa. How in the world do they maintain their garden?

Campus News:

The 2000-2001 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,510 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,490 set last year), including 675 first-year students. When students arrived on campus in early September they were welcomed by the newly completed Carlson International Center/Swedish House, a new outdoor track/soccer field, and a newly completed Courtyard Café in the lower level of the Jackson Campus Center. This new café offers specialty coffees, bagels, pastries, and sandwiches, and opens to an outdoor eating area on the Johns Courtyard between the Jackson Campus Center and Lund Center.

Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the best of all national liberal

arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's 14th annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings. Gustavus is again in the top 80 of the overall quality listings for national liberal arts colleges. Ranked again in the second tier in the national liberal arts college category, Gustavus is one of only two Minnesota colleges included in the tier two listing and one of four Minnesota colleges ranked in the top 80.

Gustavus recently received the results of a comparative alumni survey that measures alumni responses to a series of questions about their college experience. The study provides comparisons to other groups of colleges including Lutheran colleges, member colleges of the Minnesota Private College Council and, most importantly, with large public universities. We will share with you results of the survey in class letters this year. A sampling of responses to remembrances of college academic life include the following:

  • Alumni agree that professors often challenged them, but also personally helped them to meet the challenge. Gustavus alumni agree 78%, large public universities 38%.
  • Alumni agree that a large majority of classes were taught by professors as compared to teaching assistants. Gustavus alumni agree 90%, large public universities 32%.
  • Alumni remember a high quality, teaching oriented faculty. Gustavus alumni agree 61%, large public universities 25%.
  • Alumni remember many small classes with fewer than twenty students. Gustavus alumni agree 50%, large public universities 9%.

Gustavus has received word from the Lilly Endowment that it was one of 20 awardees (out of a pool of 31 colleges and universities) of a $1,963,425 implementation grant. It is the largest program grant the College has ever received. The award will support a comprehensive initiative to more effectively carry out some key aspects of the College's mission statement and encourage theological reflection and moral questioning that forms character, shapes lives, and guides career choices. It will build upon the ethos and climate of Gustavus by supporting already-existing programs, adding new ones, and creating a center to coordinate and intensify those vocation-oriented activities. In doing so, it will provide students with the foundational tools necessary for a lifelong exploration of their calling and a lifetime of community leadership and service to others.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, was held on Saturday, October 7. Numerous sites were selected in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country participated in the event.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, Heaven and Nature Sing, is December 1-3. A ticket order form was inserted in the Summer Quarterly. Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

I wish you all an exciting fall and happy holiday season. Keep yours cards and e-mails coming. So long for now.

Dick DeRemee

1955 Class Agent