Class of '43
October 2005

Dear Classmates of ’43:

Once again Gustavus has begun another academic year.  The freshman class is the largest ever, numbering seven hundred nine.  Students returning to the campus noted that Wahlstrom Hall was gone.  Construction crews demolished the 64-year old residence hall because the costs of continuing to maintain it were too great.  There were mechanical, electrical, and plumbing malfunctions that needed repair.  Some students, who lived in the dormitory, felt that its rooms were much too small, though other students liked Wahlstrom Hall, its architecture and the view from the large windows.  They had hoped to live there this year.  The college administration concluded, however, that it was more cost-effective to build a new building than to renovate Wahlstrom.  That has now been done.  What is Southwest Hall was completed this summer.

From the outside Wahlstrom Hall was very impressive.  Like Rundstrom Hall, it was built of Kasota stone.  Ever since 1967, when our family moved to the home we built on south Washington Avenue, I have walked by Wahlstrom Hall on my way to the campus.  Its absence means that the sidewalk round it is also gone, so I must walk on grass as I climb the hill or go a bit farther north to College Avenue.  One hopes that the removal of the building will not mean that Matthias Wahlstrom, president of Gustavus 1881-1904 is forgotten.  It was during his tenure that what had been St. Ansgar’s Academy in East Union became a college.  Our alma mater exhorts us to remember our past and we must continue to do this.

Fortunately we still have Old Main, which has been renovated at considerable expense.  There are now stairways on both ends of the building, as well as an elevator.  On the four floors are a large number of faculty offices, as well as classrooms and seminar rooms.  Some of you may remember that the blocks of Kasota stone used for the west wall of Old Main was not of the same quality as those used for the other three walls.  It apparently was assumed that not much attention would be given to what was then the backside of the building.  Now, however, the mall, that extends north from Christ Chapel, with the Johnson Student Union and the Jackson Campus Center on the west side, and Old Main and the Carlson Administration Building and the east side, has become the heart of the campus.  In recognition of this fact Old Main has been given an impressive west entrance that extends up the third story.  As part of the homecoming festivities yesterday, Old Main was rededicated.

This year’s Nobel Conference 41:  “The Legacy of Einstein” was held September 27-28 in order to avoid conflict with Rosh Hashanah on Tuesday, October 4.  The lecturers were:  Wolfgang Ketterle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001 Nobel laureate in physics); Thomas Levenson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Kip S. Thorne, California Institute of Technology; Sylvester James Gates, Jr., University of Maryland; Wendy L. Freedman, Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, CA and George F. R. Ellis, University of Cape Town, South Africa.  Ira Flatow, Science Correspondent, National Public Radio, moderated the closing panel at the Wednesday evening banquet.  The conference took note of the centennial of Einstein’s “miracle year” (1905), when Einstein at the age of twenty-six, a junior clerk in the Swiss patent office in Bern, Switzerland, published four papers on The Quantum Theory of Light, Brownian Motion, The Special Theory of Relativity, and the formula E = mc2.

In preparation for the conference I read Nigel Calder, Einstein’s Universe, The Laymen’s Guide, Penguin Books, and John and Mary Gribbin, Annua Mirabilis, Chamberlain Bros.  I have also purchased Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Space, Time and the Texture of Reality, Vintage Books.  Since there is other reading that I must do, it may take some time before I get far into Brian Greene’s book.  The conference is an intellectual feast, which draws several thousand each year.  Next year the topic will be “Medicine:  Prescription for Tomorrow.”  The dates will be October 3-4.

Elmer Anderson and I will begin doing Phonorama calls later this month.  We want to finish our calls this fall before many of you head south.  We are grateful for $8,399.00, the total given by our class 2004-2005.  The total donors were 61, giving us 75.3% class participation.  We hope that both the dollar figure and the percentage figure can be increased this year.  Over the years I have stressed the importance of alumni giving so that funds will be available for financial aid to students attending Gustavus, 70% of whom, have financial need.  In addition to what is raised through Phonorama each year, pages 31-33 in the Fall Gustavus Quarterly tell of legacy giving, how individuals and families can establish endowed scholarships.  Both kinds of giving are needed.  Thank you for what you have given through the years.  We hope you will be enabled to increase that total this year!

There has been one death in our class since last spring’s letter.  Leland Kermit Jackson, who with his wife, Ruth, had been living in retirement in St. Peter since 1991, died May 12, 2005.  After his graduation in 1943, Lee spent two years in the U.S. Army.  He studied at Augustana Theological Seminary 1946-50 and was ordained a pastor of the Augustana Lutheran Church June 11, 1950.  Four days later he was married to Ruth Bengtson.  His first call was to a three-point parish in Underwood, ND, where I had been born in 1922.  After Underwood Lee and Ruth served parishes in Sault Ste. Marie, MI; Keokuk, IA and East Moline, IL.  While in Moline, Lee shifted from parish ministry to hospital chaplaincy.  He is survived by his wife, Ruth, four children, Paul, Mark, Leanne, and Marilyn, two brothers, Elder ’45 and Carmon, and a sister, Deloris (Jackson ’51) Bertram.  Peace be to his memory!

Theda Benson Olson, Winnipeg, is moving from her house to an apartment.  In going through her books in preparation for moving, she decided to send me two books of Swedish sermons and a psalmbok.  Her new address after November 1 will be:  Apt. 602, 3590 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg  MB R3K 2J1, Canada.  Les Peterson, Menomonie, WI reports that his wife, Ruth, had her fourth hip surgery last February and is beginning to walk with a walker.  Bob Wettergren, St. Peter, spent two weeks at the Sister Kenny Institute.  He threw out the first pitch at the May 22 Minnesota Twins game, which he says was quite an experience.

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-class Agent

Some additional news from the campus now follow:

Evelyn Sponberg Young, one of Gustavus' best ambassadors of goodwill, hospitality and spirit, and friend of many, many Gusties through the years, died at her home on September 29, at the age of 93.  Evelyn graduated from Gustavus in 1933 and taught English in several schools in southern Minnesota.  She returned to campus in 1949 as director of the College's dining service, serving the College 32 years until her retirement in 1981.  A memorial service will be held at Gustavus Adolphus College, Thursday, December 8, 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception in the Evelyn Young Dining Room.

Wind Orchestra Tour

Join Gustavus alumni and parents on a companion tour with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra to Eastern Europe January 17-27, 2006.  The trip includes visits to the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria and will be hosted by Tom Emmert, professor of history, and Jon and Anita (Thomsen) Young ’77 ’77.

Announcing the Gustavus 2006 Alumni Fund Campaign

“When you get your invitation in the mail or receive a call from a Gustie student or classmate, commit to making your gift to the Alumni Fund this year,” encourages Jan Michaletz ’74, alumni board member, class agent, and 2006 Alumni Fund Chair.  The Michaletz family―Russ ’74, Mara ’02, Annie ’05, and John ’08―have agreed to chair this year’s alumni fund drive.  The 2006 Alumni Fund goals are to achieve 9,000 donors and $1,185,000 dollars in alumni giving.  The 2006 fiscal year began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund will immediately support current Gusties in the classroom, in labs, on the playing field, in the library, and more.  Tuition does not cover the real cost of educating students today, nor did it when you were a student at Gustavus.  Since its inception in 1954, the goal of the Alumni Fund has been to help keep the Gustavus educational experience accessible for current students.  Give the gift of Gustavus to a current Gustie by making your Alumni Fund gift this year.

The 2004-2005 Honor Roll of Donors is now available online at:  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who have made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2004 and May 31, 2005.  To find your name or to check out your class results, point and click from your home or office computer.  To have your name included in the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors, go to to make a gift online.

Alumni Directory

In partnership with Publishing Concepts (PCI), a comprehensive alumni directory is being produced and will be released in 2006.  PCI will be contacting alumni to get current information.

First Frost * A Royal Affair

Since 1977 Gustavus Library Associates has helped raise funds for the endowment of Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library located at Gustavus.  Over 1,000 guests will attend First Frost * A Royal Affair, the biennial gala dinner/auction benefit at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington on Saturday, October 29.  This year Evelyn Young ’33, a long-time GLA supporter, is being honored.  The program will feature tenor Mark Thomsen ’78 and will be hosted by former Miss America Gretchen Carlson and physician and Gustavus parent John Najarian.  Contact the Office of Public Relations at 800/726-6198.

Athletics Hall of Fame

On Saturday, September 24, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletics Hall of Fame:  Holly Brodmarkle Cervin ’87, track and field; Marc Illies ’85, baseball and football; Marc Iverson ’89, football; Gretchen Koehler, coach; soccer; Rich Skanse ’84, tennis; and Dick Walters ’75, hockey.  Jay Rooker ’85 and Mary Mansour ’85, softball, have also been selected but will be inducted Fall 2006.

Campus Progress

Whether it’s planning for brand new buildings or renovating old ones, the Gustavus campus is always changing.  A new web site has been designed to keep you updated on the changes taking place on campus.  Check it out at:

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • New York Chapter gathering ― October 21
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter gathering — October 23
  • A Royal Affair * First Frost — October 29
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel ― December 2-4
  • St. Lucia Day ― December 8
  • Wind Orchestra Companion Tour to Eastern Europe — January 17-27