Class of '43
October 2003

Dear Classmates of '43:

In my April letter of last spring, I closed with some words about our family, stating that our daughter, Birgitta Ruth Erling Brodax had been diagnosed with lung cancer.  That was one of the earlier diagnoses.  It was later discovered that a mole found to be malignant, removed eleven years earlier, about the time her twins were born, had returned.  She was suffering from melanoma.  She received radiation for the tumor in her chest, but it quickly metastasized to her lower back and then to her liver.  Birgitta died May 20, a day before her 46th birthday.  The funeral was held May 24, which made it possible for us to get back to St. Peter for the commencement weekend.  A memorial service was held in St. Peter June 21.  We appreciate deeply all the expressions of sympathy that we have received.

Melanoma is an extremely treacherous disease.  It is hard to understand how it can be dormant in the body for so long, eluding detection.  Birgitta went every six months for examination and at the end of the tenth year she was told that she would now only have to return annually, though by that time the tumor in her chest had most likely begun to grow.  A physician told me that when some cells remain after a melanoma mole has been removed, they pack their bags and move elsewhere, not to another mole on the skin but to some internal organ.  At my annual examination at the Mayo Clinic, Marilyn insisted that I also see a dermatologist.  He took three biopsies of three nevuses/lesions, one of which was excised a second time, not, the dermatologist said, because it was cancerous, but because they found some atypical cells, whatever that may mean.

Those who were able to gather last May for our 60th anniversary are shown on the picture on page 34 of the Fall 2003 Gustavus Quarterly.  After the 50-Year Club dinner on Friday evening, we gathered in the faculty lounge and sang with Ralf Runquist at the piano.  On Saturday at breakfast, lunch, the coffees, and the banquet we visited with each other.  We should remember that we can return every year as 50-Year Club guests of the college.  Our next Class Reunion will be 2008.

The Gustavus family suffered a great loss with the death of Paul Granlund '52 on September 15.  From 1971-1996 he was sculptor in residence at Gustavus and thirty-six of his sculptures are on public view on the Gustavus campus.  Just now there are two exhibitions of his work, one at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, August 6-October 12.  The other, here at Gustavus, in the Jackson Campus Center's Hillstrom Museum of Art, opened September 15 and will continue till November 9.  A large number of his smaller sculptures are shown and Donald Myers '83, director of the museum, has written a very insightful and informative article in the catalog for the exhibition.  A memorial service for Paul Granlund was held on Saturday, September 20, in Christ Chapel.

We have had recent visitors from Sweden.  On September 18 the Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra of Växjö presented a concert in the Jussi Björling Recital Hall.  The concert included a concerto featuring the internationally known pianist, Per Tengstrand.  In Europe he travels with his own Steinway grand piano, though he found the Steinway in Björling Hall adequate.  September 20 the Swedish historian and performer, Hans Odöö, led in costume a twilight walk ("An Evening with Linnaeus") in our Linnaeus Arboretum.  In our Christ Chapel are now hanging "Apostles," paintings of the Twelve and Paul by Michel Östlund, Uppsala.  They have been exhibited in the cathedrals of Lund and Uppsala, and are now on a world tour, which may end at St. Peter's in Rome.  Östlund was here when the exhibit opened September 14 and will be here again toward the end of October.

October 7-8 the thirty-ninth annual Nobel Conference was held.  This year the topic was "The Story of Life."  The lecturers reported on research in paleontology, anthropology, and developmental genetics related to evolution theory.  The Nobel laureate this year was Christian R. de Duve from the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathaology, Brussels, Belgium.  The other lecturers were Sean B. Caroll, the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Philip J. Currie, Royal Tyrrel Museum, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada; Niles Eldredge, American Museum of Natural History, New York; B. Rosemary Grant and Peter R. Grant, Princeton University; John F. Haught, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; and Tim D. White, University of California, Berkeley.

It is Phonorama time.  Elmer Anderson and I will both be calling and plan to make our calls during the period October 13-23.  We have decided to try to reach you all in the fall, for during the spring months many who live in northern climes have gone south.  We are very grateful for all who gave this past year.  Sixty-eight members of the class gave $10,695.39.  This was somewhat less than the prior year, when seventy members gave $11,222.50.  Just now our class is listed as having eighty-one members.  Those are persons with whom the Alumni Office has contact, who do receive these mailings.  Our goal is that all of this group might send a gift this year.  President Edgar M. Carlson '30 said that the amount each of us gives is not as important as the fact that we regularly report to Gustavus in this way.  If we do so every year, he said, there is a good likelihood that the sample will be true to its source.

You may wonder about the Building a Greater Gustavus Campaign, with its $100 million goal.  Last April, I reported that $87 million had been raised.  The good news is that now the total raised is $94 million.  Under the leadership of President James Peterson '64, there is a strong likelihood that the total goal will be reached.  What we give to the Alumni Fund each year is counted toward the goal of the Campaign.  If you have been thinking about giving a larger gift, that can still be done.

I have not received any news items this summer, but Marilyn and I did visit Theda Benson Olson in Winnipeg this summer, when July 22-23 we attended as visitors the Lutheran World Federation Assembly.  Theda invited us to dinner and also drove us to a park where we saw both interesting paintings and sculptures.  Winnipeg has much to offer to the visitor.  It is in another country, but it is not so far away.  To drive to Winnipeg from St. Peter is only fifty miles farther than driving to Chicago.

You will be hearing from Elmer and me before too long.  We hope that Gustavus will hear from you as well during this coming Alumni Fund year!  Please include a news note with your gift.

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-class Agent

Some additional news from the campus now follow:

College opens 142nd Academic Year -- More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund Turns 50 -- On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013, under the direction of the executive committee of Dr. Hobart Johnson '21, Dr. Edgar Carlson '31, The Rev. J. Millard Ahlstrom '34, and Ren Anderson '34.  Dollars and donors continued to grow and, under the leadership of Cec Eckhoff '56, alumni participation continually exceeded 50% each year, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards. Alumni contacting alumni has been the hallmark of success; we depend on Phonorama volunteers to make the difference. Help the alumni fund again reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004, or by volunteering to make calls during Phonorama, October 12-16 and 19-23.  Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.

Alumni Board members selected -- Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz '90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani '62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist '53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz '74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou '02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer '93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell '94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees were Val Flom Ashland '87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman '87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop '86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta '87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson '53 (football), Jim Hearn '81 (tennis), Dave Najarian '82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen '84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer '76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Director's Cup -- Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director's Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program -- The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends -- visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Don't miss A Royal Affair . . . pa rum pum pum pum - Gustavus Library Associates is presenting their biennial benefit for our College's Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you have names for invitations (reservations are due by October 31), an auction item to donate (no later than October 15 please), volunteer time to offer, or if you wish to contribute financially to help defray expenses, we welcome your call today; Marty Penkhus, 507/388.5474 and Susan Wilcox, 952/944.5972, Co-Chairs.

Upcoming Events -- call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18

Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington

Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American

            Community -- October 24-25, Campus

Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church,

            Minneapolis -- October 25

JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones '83 and Political

            Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4

A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin

            Cities -- November 15