Class of '42
October 2001

October 2001

Dear Classmates,

“The future isn’t what it used to be . . .”

I wish I could have coined that statement.  It’s so appropriate today.  Actually, a friend of mine said it in a speech some years ago and it’s stuck with me.  Now it really makes sense.  I won’t try to tell you how badly I feel about the tragedy of September 11 because I know you feel as badly as I do.  The date will haunt us forever.  911-the universal code number for any and all emergencies, when we see or hear it, will remind us of the horrible September 11 of 2001.

I know we’ve all been left with a different kind of weight on our shoulders and in our hearts, but as we’ve been hearing from many commentators:  “Life must go on.”

And in the highs and lows of life one of the highest came on September 8th when we had the annual meeting of class agents at Gustavus to get fired up for the new fund year.  We were joined by the College Board of Trustees, Alumni Board, National Campaign Council members, Campaign Cabinet members, Gustavus Fund Council members, President Steuer and others to bring us up-to-date on the college scene.

Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 is our chairperson of the Alumni Fund this year and a very delightful person to work with.  While of the class of 1933 she is still a dynamo to lead us to new height.

Campus News:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who will gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference will included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive 10-course banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 13.  Numerous sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country are participating in the event.  Contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or for more information or visit the events section of the alumni page at

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

I want to take this opportunity on behalf of our Class of ’42 to thank Walter Youngquist for his wonderful gift to the college to establish two endowments:  one, the Chester O. Johnson Geology Scholarship and second, the Chester O. Johnson and Walter L. Youngquist Geology Student/Field Study Endowment Fund.  While at Gustavus Walter was Chet’s first geology teaching assistant.

In case you didn’t know, Walter is still busy as a consultant in the oil business.  He has been a frequent speaker at meeting of oil exploration geologists both here and abroad.  I think there are forty-two countries that produce oil and Walter has been to most or all of them.  On top of that he has written 11 or 12 books on this subject.  Again, Walter, thanks for your generous gift.

I hope you are enjoying the new Fall Quarterly which adds more highlights of what’s going on at Gustavus.

The Alumni Fund is off and running and it needs your gift too.  Please be generous.  Your giving will go to assist students and they will be grateful to you.

C. Eddie Johnson

1942 Class Agent