Class of '43
Dear Classmates of G.A.C ’43:
As Interim Class Agent I would like to continue a bit of reminiscing about the, days of the College about 60 years ago. The changes that have occurred have been enormous. Back then the student population numbered about 450. Today it is 2,490. Faculty in our time totaled perhaps 30 with less than half, holding doctorates. Today there are 165 professors. Eight-three percent hold what is termed terminal degrees in their field. The student-teacher ratio today is 13.5-1.
In 1940 I expect nearly all students were Lutheran. Today the number is 60%. With the present rise in Ecumenism this is appropriate. One of the things I recall was the compulsory chapel attendance. We were assigned seats and an observer in the balcony took roll call. This practice has been abandoned for many years. We may have grumbled at times, but looking back I believe for many of us it was good discipline and perhaps encouraged us to be regular in church attendance throughout life. Some of you may follow baseball and if so you know the most successful pitchers are those that develop a change of pace. We may compare the life of a student or any active adult to that premise we all need a change of pace from time to time. So that the constant drone of daily activities do not overwhelm us, but a refreshing 15 minute chapel exercise, can give a person new energy and insights as well.
Religion is still a big part of the College. Christ Chapel described by many as one of the most beautiful edifices in this area stands appropriately in the center of the campus with its lofty spire reaching to the heavens. Here there is still a daily chapel service as well as many other religious events. The Southwest Synod of the ELCA holds their annual convention on campus with two or three services in the chapel. The Association of Congregations also utilizes the facility for their annual meeting. In addition there are several groups and individuals available for support and service to congregations allied with the college. Gustavus' ties to ELCA members remains constant.
Some Alumni Notes:
The class of ’43 produced several doctors, college professors, business leaders, theologians and many others of note. One person that many of you might not be familiar with is Reuel Pietz my freshman roommate. We were classmates in high school as well. Reuel left school at the close of his junior year in ’42 to join the Marines. He became a Marine pilot receiving his wings early in ’43. He served with distinction in the Pacific Theater of World War II. His resume of accomplishments is numerous and would require several paragraphs. His decorations include two Distinguished Flying Crosses and ten Air Medals. He continued in the Service beyond the conclusion of the war and also saw action in the Korean conflict. His stay in the Marine Corps was 23 years. He returned to Gustavus to complete his B.A. then achieved an M.A. from Eastern Carolina College with additional studies at George Washington University, McGill University and the University of Minnesota. Upon retiring from service he became a geography professor at St. Cloud University a position he held for over 20 years. An avid sportsman Reuel spent several summers in western states doing wild life evaluations. Reuel jokes that now he is a retired Lt. Col. and professor emeritus even though it took him 20 years to graduate from Gustavus. Reuel lives with his wife, Mary, in St Cloud. They have two children, Eric employed as a marketer for Winter Park Ski Resort in Colorado and Pam a research biologist at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, ND.
Our Class Agent Bernhard Erling reports his stay in Nigeria continues to go well. This teaching assignment came through the office of Global Missions of the ELCA. The institution is the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN). TCNN is an ecumenical seminary supported by eleven Churches of TEKAN (Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria). There are about 250 students on the 160-acre campus. Bernie reports that the students are eager, hard working, and need very little prompting to engage in lively class discussions. Although Nigeria is near the Equator the daytime temperatures in Bukuru (location of the College) are quite moderate. The 4,000 feet elevation would be the reason. He and Marilyn are apparently living comfortably. We wish them well and look forward to their return.
I received a nice letter from the C. Bayard Sheldon's (Sylvia "Tup" Rule who reside in New Zealand). They have enjoyed 55 years of marriage.
A greeting came from Warren and Ardene (Claude) Friest. Neither graduated with the class of ’43 although both were class members at one time. They have enjoyed Bernie's letters over the years and they like to stay connected. Rockford, Illinois is their residence.
Herb and Gen (Jensen) Deggendorf of Salisbury, Maryland sent notice of their 50th wedding celebration hosted by their children Steve, Karen and Anne, all East Coast residents. A gift of a week’s stay at Horizons and Cottages in Bermuda was presented to them. We add our congratulations.
Pledges and Donations:
The Gustavus Fund fall fundraising campaign went well. Over 50% of those contacted responded with a total of $202,980 in pledges and matches. This represents a 36.5% increase over the same period last year. Please give the Gustavus Fund serious consideration.
Any words of wisdom that I might possess are rather limited so I will borrow this little poem by Robert E. Farley:
Think of the hope that lies before you,
Not of the waste that lies behind;
Think of the treasures you have gathered,
Not of the ones you have failed to find;
Think of the service you may render,
Not of serving self alone;
Think of the happiness of others,
And in this you will find your own…
Live each day with enthusiasm!!
Elmer J. Anderson
1943 Interim Class Agent