Class of '43
September 2002

Dear Classmates of '43:

Greetings from Gustavus!  It has been a cool and rainy day.  We hope that we can have some pleasant weather for the Nobel Conference next Tuesday and Wednesday, October 1 & 2.  Last year I reported on the lectures.  This year I can give you a preview.  Nobel Conference XXXVIII has the title "The Nature of Nurture."  The brochure announcing the conference tells us:  "The past 30 years of research in behavioral genetics, cognition, and neuroscience have begun to clarify how life experiences contribute to individual development relative to biological makeup."  The conference will explore "the forces that are most important in shaping a child's personality, gender identity, and learning ability, while also addressing such topics as the role of parenting and how the brain develops in response to changing life circumstances."

The seven lecturers are the following:  Avshalom Caspi, who has studied factors relating to the development of antisocial behavior in adolescents, teaches both at King's College, London, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Jerome Kagan, who has examined the degree to which personality traits are carried from infancy and childhood to adolescence and beyond, teaches at Harvard.  Eric R. Kandel, who shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine for his demonstration of the brain's plasticity in response to environmental changes, teaches at Columbia.  Eleanor E. Maccoby, who has written about the psychology of sex differences, has taught at Harvard and Stanford.  Thomas H. Murray, a bioethicist, is president of The Hastings Center, Garrison, NY, an interdisciplinary research institute that addresses fundamental ethical issues in the areas of health, medicine, and the environment.  Robert Plomin, who, in order to increase understanding of the roles played by genetics and environment as a person develops, has studied adopted children and twins raised apart, teaches at King's College, London.  Judith L. Rapoport, whose research has concentrated on several aspects of child psychiatry, including childhood hyperactivity, pediatric psychopharmacology, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, teaches at George Washington University School of Medicine and at Georgetown University Medical School.

This conference will be of interest to parents of young children.  Our son, Paul, and his wife, Lise Sveen, will be coming from Chicago, with three-year-old Elsa Solveig.  Our daughter, Anne, and her husband, Dominic Colafati, arrived this evening from Albany, NY, with seven-month-old Amelia Elisabeth.

Marilyn and I were fortunate this summer to spend much of August in Scandinavia.  The first week was spent at the Tenth International Congress on Luther Research in Copenhagen.  We then traveled to Finland and back through Sweden and Denmark before returning through Iceland to the United States.  I was impressed with Helsinki, which became Finland's capital during the century that Finland was united with Russia.  Russia must have given considerable financial support to the building projects that occurred during that period.  In Lund, Sweden, I had lunch with Werner Jeanrond, who is the current professor of systematic theology at Lund's theological faculty.  He is German by birth, a Roman Catholic, married to a Swede, has his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago, where he studied under David Tracy, and taught in Dublin, Ireland, before coming to Lund.  Jeanrond stresses the fact that Sweden's theological faculties are no longer confessional.  Nonetheless they prepare candidates for ordination as priests in the Church of Sweden.  In Iceland we enjoyed soaking for an hour in the 95 degree Fahrenheit water of the Blue Lagoon and visiting in the rain the out-of-doors site for several centuries of Iceland's parliament.  I came home with four dissertations and some other books that I am reading with interest.

The first anniversary of last year's 9-11 tragic event was observed with song, scripture reading, and prayer at the morning chapel service.  The service was so well attended that some had to stand.  I don't recall that there was any comparable remembrance of December 7, 1941, the year that followed.  The September 11-14 CHRISTIAN CENTURY contained nine thoughtful reflections on September 11 from its editors.  There had been an earlier attack on the World Trade Center and attacks at USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as against a ship in Yemen. What made the attack of September 11 special was that America's financial and military centers were struck with amazing success and great loss of life.  Some of us fear that, despite our remembrance of that event, the accent is now shifting from war against al-Qaeda to a proposed preemptive attack on Iraq.  More attention, it would seem, should be given to nation building in Afghanistan.  We should also examine whether there are other than military ways to deal with the threat of religiously motivated violence.  Many of us are giving increased attention to all that Islam represents.  We must also not forget the Palestinians, among whom is a small Christian minority.  Among them are extremists who have been accused of wanting to drive Israel into the sea.  More serious is the fact that Israel, with its many illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, where 100,000 Israelis now live, and its overwhelming military capability, may be seeking to take over permanently all of Palestine.

This past weekend was Homecoming at Gustavus.  Class reunions were held with the Friday events in Minneapolis and Saturday events were held here.  It is only the 50 year class and the 50 Year Club that now hold reunions at the spring commencement weekend.  Commencement weekend next spring, when we will be celebrating our 60th anniversary, will be May 30 - 31.  One of the main events this past weekend was the unveiling and dedication of the Hall of Champions in the Lund Center.  This was part of a celebration of 100 years of athletics at Gustavus.  From what is now the Hall of Champions one can look down on the swimming pool.  What was unveiled was a series of long banners for each of the mens' and womens' sports, linked together accordion-style along the hall's west wall.  On each banner the years of the MIAC championships won, in that sport, are listed.  In some sports many championships have been won.  In track and field, in which I competed in 1942, the only MIAC championship was won in 1926.  Gustavus did win the Homecoming football game against Carleton 48-14.  The previous week Gustavus had lost to Concordia 14-20.  At the season opener Gustavus defeated Alma College, Alma, MI, 35-6.

This Friday Dennis J. Johnson will be installed as interim president at Gustavus, succeeding Axel Steuer, who resigned last spring.  Dennis Johnson came to St. Peter in 1977 as pastor of First Lutheran Church.  In 1985 he became vice president at Gustavus for church relations.  Later he became vice president for college relations.  His familiarity with the college's administrative structure makes him well prepared for this interim assignment.

Two news items have been received. Leslie C. Peterson, Menomonie, WI, joined other members of the Augustana Theological Seminary class of 1947 to celebrate the 55th anniversary of their ordination at the ELCA Global Mission Event in Minneapolis last July 25-27.  Howard S. Olson has published privately Reference Companion to Set Free. Set Free is a compilation of 30 African ethnic hymns that was published in 1993 by Augsburg Fortress, and which is still available together with a cassette tape.

On September 7, Reuben A. Lundeen died in Reston, VA, where he was living with his daughter, Esther Marie '68 and her husband, David Fallen.  Reuben was ordained with the Augustana Theological Seminary class of 1946 and served as a missionary in China and North Borneo.  In 1952 he returned to parish service in the Bronx, NYC.  Later he held administrative posts in the Augustana Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Council in the USA.  After parish service again in Bangor, ME, he and his wife, Miriam (Nelson '46), retired in Bangor, where they raised English bulldogs.  Reuben was preceded in death by Miriam and a son, Samuel.  Peace to his memory!

Beginning October 7 and continuing that week and the next week Co-Class Agent Elmer Anderson and I will be calling you in this year's Phonorama to ask for your support of the Annual Fund.  We are grateful for your response to our calls last year.  With Elmer's help our class' percentage of participation rose from 68.2% in 2001 to 81.4% in 2002.  You may have heard that the College is also engaged in the Building a Greater Gustavus capital funds campaign.  This year's Annual Fund is built into that campaign, though you will also have the opportunity to make an additional gift to the BGG campaign.  A part of the goal in that campaign will be used to renovate Old Main, a building especially dear to older Gustavus graduates.  Just now, however, the main emphasis is on this year's Annual Fund.  The Class of '43 has been consistently generous through the several decades of the Fund's existence.  Let us continue this fine tradition for yet another year!

                                                                        Sincerely yours,

                                                                        Bernie Erling, Co-Class Agent