Class of '56
February 2000

Dear Classmates,

Sorry. This newsletter is a bit late but, Judy’s answer to that predicament, after having been to a conference, God at 2000, is, "Time is God’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen all at once." It has worked for her, it may work for me, too, or, at least, it will confuse you for the moment.

A huge thank you to Moon Mullin for our last class letter. Great job, Moon! Not only well written, informative, and on time, it also motivated a few classmates to send in information for the rest of us.

Pastor Charles Colberg was one of those so motivated and writes he was born and raised a couple of blocks south of campus and therefore familiar with Gustavus for most of his first twenty-one years, living at home during college days, then being thrust into the class of ’56 (though he was truly a ’57er, summer school and all). However, Chuck says, "’56 is indeed my class for a lot of reasons. One, Harvey Davis showed me how to hold my breath long enough to pass 440 swimming and two, the kindness and generosity of Arne Langsjoen in chemistry class." A lot of us can relate to these situations, Chuck, and for sure we’re glad you are a ’56er. Dodee (Lofstrom ’57) and Chuck spent six years in Helsinki at the International Church, from 1989-95 spending the last five years at Faith Lutheran Church, Mairon, Iowa.

Lucy Fogelstrom DeRemee writes that Rochester continues to be their home. Dick retired from Mayo three years ago, they have six grandchildren all living close by and can have great family gatherings at their cabin on Lake Okaboji, Iowa. Recent foreign travel has been to Italy, Japan for a conference and a stop over to visit Dick ’55 and Jo ( Johnson) Lundborg in Hilo, Hawaii. Thanks for the news, Lucy. I’m glad you were motivated by Moon’s epistle.

"So you need news, " writes Joby (Gould) and Jim Knapp. "Well, we have served communion, served an installation dinner for our new pastor, served Guild Tea, taught four water aerobic classes (a Joby thing), exercised at the Fitness Center (Joby), played five rounds of Tundra golf (Jim), planned four trips to visit family next year, paid bills, balanced check books, read four books (2 Joby, 2 Jim), watched TV, visited neighbors-it’s life!” And! Joby adds, “Since attending Jim’s 50th Tyler High School Reunion last June and doing some investigation into our roots, we have discovered that 250 years ago Jim and I share grandparents. Apparently, we are 6th cousins once removed. All the children are normal and living within their incomes so we thank God for that."

Miriam Johnson Eisele writes they have a new address, but haven’t moved and are not planning to! I haven’t contacted Mim to see if she wants this new address exposed for all to see! But, if you knew her old address, you now know that it isn’t going to work, so call if you wish to get the new address or just drive to the same place you’ve always driven to and I’m almost certain they will still be there! Both are retired and enjoying it tremendously. Mim is the volunteer Board Chair for Itasca County Habitat for Humanity. We all know the value of that volunteerism! Thanks, Mim.

Ray Johnson has always been a good contributor to our class letter and if I could paint what he’s painted, travel where he’s traveled, speak where he has spoken, and live life as Ray’s lived his, I, too, would have more to contribute to this letter. Ray does write that his very best days are spent with his mother in the nursing home these late winter days-with no regrets.

As for the Erdmans: Our early morning discussions begin with Judy’s book reviews, conference going, musical events, church work, etc. My schedule includes coaching Anna’s (granddaughter) 7th grade basketball team-one of her teammates is the granddaughter of Homer Russ ’55 which has been a lot of fun-Gopher and Timberwolves games where I see Kent Musser now and then, preparing for basketball camp Gustavus, and reading applications for financial aid from Lutheran Brotherhood. As the Knapps said, "That’s life! I’m guessing your lives are somewhat similar, filled with excitement, interesting happenings, good thoughts, and meaningful relationships, when given time to think about it. Well, think about it! and send in some news. I know many of you have sent in news and I’m wondering why others haven’t. It can’t be you’re bashful, still trying to convince all that you have humility, or are a mysteriously private person. Hey! We’re classmates, we care and are most pleased to hear of your accomplishments, life styles, where you’ve been, and, for sure, your whereabouts.

Yes, I’m supposed to remind you that financial support of Gustavus is most appreciated and, of course needed. It seems colleges and other needy organizations are always asking for money. True, and it’s also true that it is necessary. Gustavus has received national recognition for prudent expenditure of its funds. Many students need financial assistance and budgeting needs are many. Gustavus relies not only on the kindness of strangers, but surely the generosity of its alumni. The class of ’56 has always been generous!! However, we are fifteen donors down at this point compared to last year. That’s why this is a reminder. A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at hnancarr@gustavus.edu to request more information.

Campus News – Winter 2000

Gustavus fared well in two recently released national rankings that affirm its mission of preparing students for "fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society." Gustavus is the #1 small college in the Midwest for the number of its alumni that currently serve as Peace Corps volunteers. With 18 Gustavus alumni now in the Peace Corps, Gustavus ranks sixth in the national "Top 10 Peace Corps Small Colleges and Universities" list, moving up from 12th last year. This list comprises institutions that have less than 5,000 undergraduates. Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges named to the list of 30. The College also ranked 14th in the nation among baccalaureate institutions for the number of students it sends overseas. The annual ranking, released in December by the Institute of International Education in its "Open Doors 1998-99" report, was based on study abroad statistics from the 1997-98 academic year. Gustavus was one of six Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20, making Minnesota the most active study-abroad state in the nation. During the 1997-98 school year, 286 Gustavus students traveled and studied abroad. Approximately 30 percent of Gustavus' graduating seniors have a study abroad experience.

Kresge Challenge met! Vice President for College Relations Dennis Johnson ’60 has announced that the fundraising requirements for the Kresge Challenge have been met, qualifying the College to receive $1 million from the foundation. The College was challenged to raise $4.3 million for the Campus Center, an Olympic-sized track, and tree replacement in a 13-month period ending Jan. 31. All three projects have been exceeded. The Gustavus Pride Campaign (campus employee campaign) was a key component in the success of the overall challenge. College officials are pleased that 60% of Gustavus faculty, administrators, staff, and retired employees made gifts and pledges to the College totaling more than $721,530 in the last year and 53% contributed in excess of $375,000 to the "Building a Greater Gustavus" campaign. This is very significant in that it not only helped meet the Kresge Challenge, but also demonstrates to the many foundations, philanthropists, alumni, and friends that the employees of Gustavus share the vision and mission of the College.

Construction on campus continues, as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will move to or have moved their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at gustavus.edu. The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

Members of the New Millenium: Knowing that we are in a technological age, we want to encourage all alumni to get involved and get online. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, we hope you will check out the Gustavus Alumni Association homepage regularly. We publish information about upcoming events, post class letters, provide information about the Alumni Office, list e-mail addresses of alumni and more. Check us out under the alumni section at gustavus.edu.

We are planning on corresponding on a regular basis with all alumni who have e-mail addresses. Please send a message to alumni@gustavus.edu so we can get you on the list. (Be sure to keep us posted on any e-mail address changes, also.)

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

  • Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2
  • Bay Chapter gathering March 4
  • San Diego Chapter gathering March 6
  • Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 7
  • Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church, and on April 9, 10:00 a.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center.
  • Brainerd Lakes Chapter event with Jim Gilbert ’60 on April 13

Inclosing, an actual bulletin blooper (I do enjoy these): "The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth into Joy."

A SINCERE joy to all of you this new millenium!

Bob Erdman

1956 Class Agent