Class of '43
Dear Classmates of Gustavus ’43
The January term at Gustavus began Monday January 7. The theme for the J-Term is "Our Global Village" and the month will be a celebration of cultural diversity as they grapple with the social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-changing world. The majority of students are enrolled in courses on campus, but many are studying abroad or working on internships off campus. Given the events of recent months this is a most appropriate endeavor.
I believe most of us have now or will soon cross the threshold to "80." We can look back to the immense changes that have taken place over the past eight decades. Someone once likened changes similar to a ball on a string being twirled at increasing speeds. I once heard of a young man talking to his older uncle. The young man said "Unc, you have seen a lot of changes in your life." To which the uncle replied, "yup and I've been against all of them." Like them or not, changes are a part of life and we have to adapt accordingly.
Certainly your Alma Mater has acknowledged the need for change. It has evolved from an institution of a little over 400 students in our day to the present number of about 2400. Back then there were only a few classrooms; many students lived off campus. No parking lots (nobody had automobiles) whereas today there is a complete campus with an excellent library, buildings dedicated to a complete range of studies, numerous parking lots and nearly all students are housed in some excellent dormitories. The faculty and administration has kept abreast of changes in the academic world.
Now an exciting new project is about to get under way―the restoration of Old Main. What is now known as "Old Main" was completed in 1876, it housed the entire college students, faculty, and classrooms. The second and third floor contained 34 large sleeping rooms, with the capacity to accommodate 100 students. The first floor held one professor’s room and six large classrooms, with three on the south side connected by sliding doors that could be opened to create a large assembly hall. The basement contained a kitchen and dining room, a bathroom, and room for storage, laundry, and a furnace. Critics maintained that the building was too large.
The capital campaign to renovate Old Main will get its kick-off in May. The plan calls for the completed project to house the offices and classrooms of religion, political science, philosophy and chaplains office. I think it was quite amazing that this oldest building survived the tornado intact. The early builders did their job well!
Bernie Erling and I talked to many of you during the Phonorama weeks last fall. We want to thank you for the kindness you extended to us. Asking for donations is not always the most pleasant task, but you folks showed us great courtesy. As might be expected, gifts come in a variety of sizes, however, in one sense they are all of equal value. All are appreciated.
A reminder that if you have a connection with AAL or Lutheran Brotherhood or a company that has matching funds, I would recommend you exercise that option as in some cases it could double your gift.
HELLO WALK, Remember "Hello Walk?" When we were students at Gustavus‑it was the stretch of sidewalk between Old Main and the former administration building, which was destroyed by fire in the early ’70s. As students passed each other there was a constant hi or hello. Currently it extends from Uhler Hall on the north, past Old Main to Pittman Hall on the south. The landscape has changed but the tradition carries on. In February, the Alumni Association will be introducing a virtual Hello Walk on the Gustavus Internet home page, a place where Gusties meet for anything from small talk, to debate, to caring conversations.
The Gustavus Band are touring Norway and Sweden during January and will have a homecoming performance at Christ Chapel on February 10 at 4:00 p.m. "Music from America" is the title of the program.
The Gustavus Choir will be doing a Midwest tour during the month of February. An itinerary may be obtained by contacting the College.
And…both boy's basketball and girl's hockey teams are doing exceptionally well.
Ruth "Billie" Westrom was rewarded for an outstanding teaching career at St. Anthony Village High School. Billie was inducted to the district's Hall of Fame. She was one of only five teachers to have reached that plateau and the first woman. Her career there spanned 25 years-teaching speech, and debate and coordinating the gifted and talented program. She also taught advanced placement English as well as economics and psychology for college credit. We add our congratulations!
Although Warren and Ardene (Claude) Freist were only at Gustavus for a short time, they maintain a strong interest in the College. They now reside in Rockford, IL. Warren has been recognized for logging 15,500 volunteer hours at the Swedish American Hospital in that city.
Aldrich Bloomquist would like to locate Gene Farrell. If anyone has any information about Gene you can contact Aldrich at: 516 Seventh Street South, Moorhead, MN. 56560. (Editor's note: the Alumni Office, upon reading this request has supplied an address for Gene to Aldrich.)
Anne (Dalberg) Hatch has lived in Seward, Alaska for 55 years. She went there as a teacher and remained in Seward after her marriage. She and her husband are parents to five children. Two of them attended Gustavus.
Marlin Hedberg has a daughter teaching English in Paris and another teaching at Simon Frazer University, while his oldest daughter is an office manager and secretary in New Orleans.
Elizabeth Lavin exhibits her paintings of Minnesota wild flowers. She also does Chinese brushwork.
Ralph Runquist is still directing the choir at Messiah Lutheran Church. He has done monologues impersonating Colonel Judson Bishop from the Civil War at the state Capitol.
Walter Spidahl still sells hot dogs at the Department of Natural Resources building at the Minnesota State Fair. This past year he was interviewed on Channel 9.
Dr. James C. Breneman has been a world traveler since his retirement. He reports the two places he would still like to see are: Madagascar and Siberia (Lake Baikal). We hope his wish comes true.
We close this letter with the sad news about the death of Verl "Jiggs" Westergard on October 4, 2001 in Seguin, Texas. I recall that "Jiggs" was probably the best natural athlete that I ever knew. He seemed to run without effort, had amazing coordination which allowed him to excel in any sport whether it be football, basketball, baseball or even track. While at Gustavus he earned a total of 12 letters. Westergard served four years as LTJG in the U. S Navy in the Pacific Theater of action. He was present in Tokyo Harbor for the peace signing with Japan. After the war he coached at Gustavus from 1947-50, from 1951-53 he was at Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey. He coached one year at Hutchinson High School in Hutchinson, MN and then moved on to Texas Lutheran where he coached football, basketball and golf for 35 years until his retirement. In the 1970's he served as commissioner of the Big State Conference. TLU honored him in 1997 when they named the conference room at Memorial Gym after him. Jiggs was a man with many friends.
The Alumni Office had also received word of the death of Art Toupin on December 6, 2001. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and his son, James.
Not a happy note to end a letter with, but Bernie and I want to extend our warmest greetings.
1943 Co-Class Agent
P.S. Here is some news from the campus.
Hi! My name is Tracey Hanson. I’m a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management. I’ve worked in the Alumni Office all four years and can hardly believe that I’m in the middle of my last J-Term! After a longer-than-usual Christmas break, it’s great to be back on campus. Instead of taking a class (and doing homework) this J-Term, I’m spending my time slaving away in the Alumni Office. It’s great to have the extra time to relax and do other activities that J-Term allows. Having unlimited time at home each night has made for some great cooking! And getting to watch “Friends” without worrying about the homework you should be doing instead is also a plus!
The campus is full of life and excitement. The theme for J-Term 2002 is "Our Global Village," and the month will be a celebration of cultural diversity as we grapple with social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-shrinking world neighborhood. Faculty are offering 29 different classes that tie into this global theme, many of which are travel courses. Examples include Islam and Culture, and Chinese Cooking and Culture. This year, 2319 students are enrolled in J-Term courses, with many studying abroad, participating in internships, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions. I get very jealous when I read e-mails from my roommates who are studying in warm, sunny Australia. J-Term themes for the coming years include “Service-Learning” (2003) and “Undergraduate Research.” (2004).
Winter athletics are also in full swing! Gustie teams are off to a great start and all are near the top in the MIAC.
Gustie music ensembles are also very busy. The Gustavus Band will embark on an international tour this J-Term. The band is touring Sweden and Norway, presenting “Music from America.” The tour dates are January 16 through February 10. The tour concludes with a homecoming performance at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in Christ Chapel. The Gustavus Choir is busy preparing for their tour of the Midwest during Touring Week in February, concluding with their home concert Feb. 16 in Christ Chapel. The Gustavus Orchestra will tour Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.
You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:
February 2 Chicago Chapter event - 6:00 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m.
Gustavus Choir Concert
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 815 S. Washington St., Naperville, IL
February 16 Naples Chapter event - Naples Beach Club
851 Gulf Shore Boulevard, Naples
11:30 a.m. social, 12:30 p.m. luncheon
February 17 Vero Beach Chapter event - Dawn (Ekstrom ’67) and Ted Michael residence
2506 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach
12:30 p.m. social, 1:30 p.m. luncheon
March 7 San Diego Chapter event
March 8 Tucson Chapter gathering
March 9 Phoenix Chapter gathering
March 10 Sun City Chapter gathering
More information will be sent to alumni and friends in these chapter areas.
RSVP to Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I prepare to graduate in June, I find it increasingly hard to think about leaving this place. It hardly seems possible that four years have flown by, and that in six months I, too, will be considered an alum. I will always carry with me fond memories of my four years here. GO GUSTIES!!!