Class of '55
September 2003

Dear Classmates:

On the morning of Saturday, August 16, I awakened at about 6 a.m. in the Almen Vickner guesthouse.  I was at Gustavus for a meeting of class agents planning in advance for various era class reunions.  The morning was clear and warm portending one of those hot days we all know in Minnesota August.  The air was filled with fragrances of late summer.  Everyone else seemed to be sleeping so what better time to take my power walk before breakfast.

For about an hour I strolled (I decided the power phase was inappropriate) almost the entire campus.  During that time I encountered only two joggers and a dog.  The entire campus was mine.  First I went by Uhler Hall the site of so many great times including the famous mid-night foray down Hello Walk by one of our colleagues in a raging blizzard.  I will not comment further on the motivation for the event nor about the attire of the brave contestant.  I can still see his form silhouetted in the snow by the lamplights.  Snow was falling in huge swirling sheets.  He survived and collected the bet.

Next I headed down Hello Walk past the site of the burned down Auditorium.  We all know what happened there.  Then it was on to Old Main where my career in medicine began.  I thought of Arne Langsjoen, Doc Glass and Ham.  How lucky I was to have such teachers and role models.  I was also grateful that my three kids enjoyed their tutelage as well.

From Old Main I turned left down the Hill to Rundstrom where on many occasions I said good night to Lucy.  One night in particular stands out; as we embraced in the entryway, Edgar Carlson chanced by and disturbed our concentration.  I stood for a long while looking at Wahlstrom where my fraternity frequently serenaded.  The song, Any Time, is still my favorite.

Finally going back up the Hill I entered Christ Chapel.  Again I was completely alone.  There I stood for a long time reflecting on what Gustavus has meant to me.  I thought of all the great friends and teachers who spent time with me there and how much they continue to mean in the autumn of life.  It was truly a moving experience to be alone with my thoughts and memories in such a small place in this vast and turbulent world.  It occurred to me, wasn’t it wonderful, wasn’t it grand?  Oh, if it could only happen to everyone.

I heard that Bill Albertson and Don Gustafson went skydiving last summer in Baldwin, Wisconsin.  Is it true that Bill will officiate at skydiving weddings?  Audrey Swenson Anderson continues her busy life operating their family-owned restaurant with her accountant husband and two sons.  Audrey does most of the advertising and purchasing.  If that were not enough she has taught at Rasmussen College for the past fifteen years and also judges speech tournaments for the State High School League.  Ardis Johnson Haglin reports that their son, James, graduated from Mankato State marking the 12th member of her family to receive a college diploma.  Shirley Nelson Chrest and husband John celebrated their 50th anniversary last year.  Don Ranstrom, my old colleague on the Gustavian Annual staff, has been traveling widely including Africa and Southeast Asia.  Robert Sutherland has retired from the ministry, but continues to occasionally preach and play the organ for services.  Finally, Marie (Snyder) and Jim Bristol report they are now great grandparents!  It would be of interest to know how many of our class are now great grandparents.  Such is a sign of our superannuation.

I urge you all to mark your calendars for graduation weekend 2005.  It may seem far away but it will be a reality quicker than you think.  Fall Phonorama starts on October 12.  It would be great to see many of you there.  It is a wonderful opportunity to talk with old friends for free!  Come and join us.

All the best, Dick

1955 Class Agent

Campus News:

College opens 142nd Academic Year – More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty.  Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund Turns 50 – On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013, under the direction of the executive committee of Dr. Hobart Johnson ’21, Dr. Edgar Carlson ’31, The Rev. J. Millard Ahlstrom ’34, and Ren Anderson ’34.  Dollars and donors continued to grow and, under the leadership of Cec Eckhoff ’56, alumni participation continually exceeded 50% each year, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards. Alumni contacting alumni has been the hallmark of success; we depend on Phonorama volunteers to make the difference. Help the alumni fund again reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004, or by volunteering to make calls during Phonorama, October 12-16 and 19-23.  Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.

Sculptor Paul Granlund ’52 dies – Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003, the same day his exhibit Retrospective opened as scheduled in the Hillstrom Museum of Art on the Gustavus campus.  He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996.  His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.  Retrospective will be displayed until November 9.

Alumni Board members selected – Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz ’90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani ’62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist ’53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz ’74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou ’02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer ’93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell ’94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees were Val Flom Ashland ’87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman ’87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop ’86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta ’87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson ’53 (football), Jim Hearn ’81 (tennis), Dave Najarian ’82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen ’84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer ’76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Directors’ Cup – Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director’s Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program – The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends – visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Don't miss A Royal Affair . . . pa rum pum pum pum - Gustavus Library Associates is presenting their biennial benefit for our College's Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you have names for invitations (reservations are due by October 31), an auction item to donate (no later than October 15 please), volunteer time to offer, or if you wish to contribute financially to help defray expenses, we welcome your call today; Marty Penkhus, 507/388.5474 and Susan Wilcox, 952/944.5972, Co-Chairs.

Upcoming Events – call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

  • Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18
  • Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington
  • Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community -- October 24-25, Campus
  • Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis -- October 25
  • JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones ’83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4
  • A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities -- November 15