Class of '43
September 2008

Dear Classmates of ’43:

In last spring’s letter I expressed your and my thanks to Elmer Anderson, who has been assisting me as co-class agent since 2000.  In this letter I am happy to announce that Ralf Runquist is joining me as co-class agent.  Ralf lives in Minneapolis and has been active in the advertising business.  He is a musician, playing the piano and organ.  For many years he performed in the annual musicals that were produced by the Messiah Players at Messiah Lutheran Church.  He will call some of you during this fall’s Phonorama campaign and will write the January class letter.  I am extremely grateful that Ralf has agreed to help me in this way.

This was our 65th anniversary reunion year.  Some of us did meet at the Erling residence the evening of May 30.  Present were Leslie Peterson, Menomonie, WI, and three members of our class who live in St. Peter:  Arthur Glass, Robert Wettergren, and I.  Whether any of us can meet again in 2013 remains to be seen.  Don’t forget that you are welcome to come back each year during the Reunion Weekend.  The program is always good and there is good fellowship over coffee with other members of the 50-Year Club.

Much has been going on these first weeks of the fall semester.  Class agents and other volunteers met on September 13.  After an opening session when we were addressed by President Jack R. Ohle and Thomas Young ’88, the new vice president for institutional advancement, class agents who were not planning for reunions in 2009 met with Steve Kjellgren ’86, Director of the award-winning Gustavus Dining Service.  It is not known as the cafeteria but as the Marketplace, with several stations where one can find the food one is looking for.  It serves all students residing in campus housing, as well as faculty, staff and others from the St. Peter community.

One of Kjellgren’s concerns has been to reduce waste of uneaten food.  One change that has proved helpful is that instead of charging a flat fee for meals, students have cards that are swiped at each meal charging them for all the items on their trays.  Those not having cards can of course pay cash.  This has had the effect that students choose more carefully what they think they can eat, and thus much less food is left on their trays after the meal.  Most meals are eaten in the Evelyn Young Dining Room, but those who, for various reasons, choose to eat elsewhere may select their food and take it with them.  Since discarded cartons represented too much waste, students now may receive such meals in “Gustie Ware” containers, which are to be returned to be washed in the Food Service and reused.  The Marketplace opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.  It is possible to eat at any time during the day, though the widest selection is offered during the usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal times.  The quality of the food is excellent and the Gustavus Marketplace has received national recognition as one of the very best college and university food services.  As we were about to leave this very interesting session, each of us received a rubber wristband with the Swedish blue and gold colors, on which is imprinted “Gracious Gustie.”  Kjellgren has given these wristbands to all of his staff.  The point is that when one wears that wristband one cannot be grumpy.  For class agents such a reminder is also helpful.

In The Gustavus Quarterly you have received information about President Ohle and details about the “Celebrate Gustavus” Inauguration Events October 1-4.  On Wednesday, October 1, we will hear a lecture by Dr. John W. Churchill, secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.  The inauguration is on Friday afternoon.  On Saturday morning in the Linnaeus Arboretum an oak will be dedicated as well as a lilac bush in the Presidents’ Oak Grove and the First Ladies’ Lilac Walk.  That afternoon Gustavus plays St. Thomas in the homecoming football game.  President Ohle has a general interest in athletics and more particularly in football, since he played football in college and coached it later.  This past weekend St. Thomas and St. Olaf played a game that finally ended in the sixth overtime, when St. Olaf did at last win.  Gustavus has won two games thus far with Coe, Cedar Rapids, IA, and Hamline.  Those who have tried the seats in the center section of the new stadium report that they are extremely comfortable.

The inauguration events will be followed October 7-8 by Nobel Conference 44.  The topic this year is “Who Were the First Humans?”  Information about the conference is also in the Quarterly.  I shall be interested in meeting one of the lecturers, Svante Pääbo, a Swede who teaches at Leipzig.  My full name is Svante Bernhard Erling.  I have met very few persons who share my first name with me.  What is fascinating is that the October issue of National Geographic has an article on “The Other Humans, Neanderthals Revealed.”  The article asks the question, “Why did our Ice Age rivals vanish?”  Eurasia was theirs for 200,000 years.  Then the newcomers arrived.  They coexisted with the Neanderthals for about 300,000 years and then 28,000 years ago the last of the Neanderthals disappeared.  No explanation for the end of their presence on earth has yet been found.  We know more about the Neanderthals now because in a cave in Spain fossils of some 140 Neanderthal bones have been found.  Professor Pääbo is mentioned in the National Geographic article because he has been able to extract DNA from Neanderthal bones, though the specimen he found most useful in his research was a 38,000-year-old fragment of a leg bone discovered in Croatia.

Needless to say the lectures at the Nobel Conference will be of great interest.  One thing that I find fascinating is that with the absence of the Neanderthals there is only one human race.  We have close kinship with other primates but throughout the world there is only one homo sapiens.  There are small populations of pygmies in equatorial Africa, the Philippines, and the Andaman Islands that are still in a primitive stage of culture, but this does not alter the fact that they too belong to the one human race.  In this time of climate change we have responsibilities toward one another, as well as to all forms of life that exist together with us on this planet.

In the near future you should be called by either Ralf Runquist or me about your pledge to the 2009 Gustavus Fund.  Last year I was able to report that the amount given in 2007 ($9,286.50, 57 donors) was larger than what had been given by our class in 2006, which was very good news.  In this past year (2008), however, $6,280 was given by 50 donors.  I hope that we can do a bit better this coming year.  I am grateful that our percentage of participation (72.5) continues to be comparatively high.  We are, of course, besieged by requests for funds from many quarters, our local congregations, the political campaigns, other worthy causes that have gotten our addresses and telephone numbers.  Our incomes are no longer increasing each year.  At the same time most of us are still able to give.  To help make it possible for students to attend Gustavus is indeed a most worthy cause!

Here are some news items:

Rosalee Brahee Anderson (Hillsboro, ND) wrote last May:  “I would love to come to St. Peter for our 65-year Reunion.  I cherish the good memories of the time I spent there and the wonderful friends I made.”  As indicated above, Leslie Peterson (Menomonie, WI) did come to the reunion.  He wrote to tell us that this past year he celebrated 61 years of ordained ministry and 61 years of marriage.  At the age of 88 he is still on his congregation’s communion visitation team to the homebound in rural Menomonie.  One man the team visits is 98 and of two women, one is 96 and the other 93.

There have been four deaths this past year.  Margaret Olson Anderson (Barnesville, MN) on April 13.  Margaret was married to Lloyd Anderson ’40, who was a microbiologist at Hormel Institute, Austin.  She has been a soloist and a private piano and voice instructor.  She is survived by two sons, David Carl and James Steven.  Dewey Buck (Detroit Lakes, MN) on March 20.  Dewey worked in hotels in Yellowstone National Park; El Mirador Hotel, Palm Springs, CA; and Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA, where he spent 30 years as head of the bell staff.  Wayne Haglund (International Falls, MN) on May 6.  Wayne served in the Marine Corps, South Pacific - WWII.  He completed a master’s in education at Bemidji State University.  He spent the years 1947-82 teaching, coaching, and as athletic director in the International Falls School System.  He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Diane and Debra.  Delores Johnson Rans (Springfield, MN) on April 26.  Delores was a retired teacher and office worker.  She is survived by her husband, Loren, one daughter, Mary Ellen, and two sons, Dennis and Dean.  Peace to their memories!

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-Class Agent

Some additional news from the campus now follows:

Campus News

Presidential Inauguration

Gustavus Adolphus College will inaugurate Jack R. Ohle as its 16th president at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 in Christ Chapel.  The public is invited to celebrate this event along with a reception on Eckman Mall that will follow the ceremony.  On Homecoming, Saturday, Oct. 4 Gustavus will celebrate with an Oktoberfest; buffet-style dinner immediately following the Homecoming football game in the Lund Center Forum.  Cost is $7 per person.  For more information about Inaugural Week events, contact the Office of College Relations at 507-933-7520.

Gusties Gather!  The Reason to Connect with Other Gusties

Gusties Gather! is a day for Gusties across the country to have an opportunity to connect or re-connect with other Gusties in their area.  It is a time to build Gustavus friendships and networks and is in no way a fundraiser.  Most gatherings are on Sept. 28.  Watch for gatherings in your area or check out the Alumni website for a location near you.

Twin Cities Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month.  Future presenters include Tim Robinson ’65, director of Nobel Conference 2008, in October and in November Tom Young ’88, vice president for institutional advancement.

Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100)

Third Wednesday of the month - 8-9:30 a.m.

Cost is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at:  763-533-9083.

Nobel Conference ― Who Were the First Humans?

Nobel Conference XLIV is scheduled for Oct. 7 and 8, 2008 and is focusing on the first humans.  Presenters will consider the full range of recent evidence about the first modern humans going beyond archaeologists and paleoanthropologists to the work of biologists, climatologists, geneticists, mathematicians, and psychologists who have been adding to the scientific database.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gusties Gather! - Sept. 28
  • Presidential Inauguration/Homecoming/Family Weekend - Oct. 3-4
  • Nobel Conference - Oct. 7-8
  • Gustie Breakfast with Tim Robinson ’65, Director of Nobel Conference – Oct. 15