Class of '44
October 1998

55th Anniversary Class · Gustavus Class of 1944

May 28 & 29, 1999

Dear Classmates, 1944,

I began this letter on September 28, it was almost ready for printing, then suddenly it was gone! Ah, the joys of being a computer neophyte. Wiped out! Disappeared! Lost in cyberspace!

As I had written before I was so rudely, etc. etc., my earlier class letter had been sent to the college about a week before the March tornado. I’d expected that I would need to send another one in it’s stead, but before another two weeks had gone by, Randall Stuckey had retrieved it and sent it on to you. Unfortunately, it made no mention of the storm. (I guess they had a few other problems down there at the time!)

Two weeks ago, on a lovely Saturday, the class agents met on campus at Gustavus. It was amazing and heartwarming to see the beautiful rebuilding job that has been accomplished since that devastating storm destroyed much of what we remember as the picturesque campus of our youth.

Trees have been planted; almost all of the windows on campus have been replaced; roofs have been repaired; carpeting in the dorms has been replaced; new sod has been laid; new student housing buildings have been erected to replace those blown down by the storm; and flowers have been planted all across the campus. Old Main’s tower has been reinforced, and clad with shiny new copper. Three hundred new computers replace ruined ones and 28 new Steinway pianos grace the Fine Arts building.

On October 19 there will be a groundbreaking for the new Campus Center, a project that had been scheduled for several years hence. It is just advanced a bit. Also on October 22, the spire on Christ Chapel will be re-installed, completing the rebuilding phase. Sadly, venerable Johnson Hall has been razed. It suffered more structural damage than originally estimated. The next Quarterly will feature a requiem for Johnson Hall. I remember that several of our classmates lived in Johnson.

A big THANK YOU to all who contributed to the "Rebuilding a Greater Gustavus" effort. With your help, and an excellent insurance plan, the college was able to get back on track by the time this year’s freshman class (the largest ever) arrived on campus. However there are still several million dollars in expenses that must be met, so I hope you will continue to be generous.

Here is some other news from the campus:

National Rankings

US News and World Report continues to give Gustavus high ranking. This fall’s issue again placed Gustavus in the top half of the 162 national liberal arts colleges in the country. Gustavus is one of four colleges in Minnesota to be in this category. The others are Carleton, Macalester and St. Olaf. The other ELCA schools in addition to Gustavus and St. Olaf are Gettysburg, Muhlenberg and Augustana (IL). Many of the schools with which you are familiar are classified as either a "national" or a "regional" college. National liberal arts colleges have the most selective admission policy, recruit nationally and offer most of their degrees in the liberal arts. Regional liberal arts colleges are less selective in admitting students and grant fewer than 40% of their degrees in the liberal arts.

US News further honored Gustavus by ranking the College third nationally (out of 90 schools) in operating efficiency. This ranking measures academic quality and dollars spent to deliver that quality. Gustavus was the only Minnesota college ranked in this comparison of national liberal arts colleges.

Newsweek magazine’s college publication again listed Gustavus as a "buried treasure." These are colleges that are known as "Hot Schools, Cool Spots." The magazine describes Gustavus as a place where "Personal attention rules--can’t slide by here." Other buried treasures include: Davidson College, Davidson, NC; Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA; Pomona College, Claremont, CA; Trinity University, San Antonio, TX; and College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Good company, indeed.

Children of alumni continue to be honored for their academic achievement and potential when they enroll at Gustavus. The Alumni Scholarship of $2,500 (renewable to $10,000 over four years) is awarded to children and grandchildren of alumni with high school grade point averages of 3.5 or better, or SAT scores of 1170 or an ACT of 26. This fall Gustavus welcomed to campus 70 new entering students who are children of alumni. Sixty-seven legacy students were awarded an Alumni Scholarship. This number includes 54 children of alumni and 13 grandchildren of alumni.

Nobel Conference XXXIV, Virus: The Human Connection was held October 6 & 7. The Nobel Conference magazine was again inserted in the August Minnesota Monthly magazine and sent to the entire Gustavus mailing list.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is December 4, 5 & 6. The theme this year is The Holy Family. A ticket order form was inserted in the center of the Summer Quarterly and another form is enclosed with this class letter.

The Gustavus Orchestra will perform its Autumn Concert at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. The featured violin soloist is Siqing Lu, one of the most important Chinese violinists of his generation. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call the University of Minnesota Arts Ticket Office (612-624-2345) or Gustavus Ticket Center at (507-933-7598).

G.I.V.E. (Gusites In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, was a huge success for another year. Alumni, parents and friends gathered on Saturday, October 3 to work together in the spirit of service to better their communities. An impact was made around the country as nearly 1,000 Gusties worked in nine cities including: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Duluth, MN; Fargo, ND; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Orlando, FL; Saint Peter, MN; Seattle, WA and Washington, DC.

Recycle your Quarterly – after reading each issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we encourage you to "recycle" the magazine by taking it to your place of business or worship and sharing it with others. Spread the good word about Gustavus!

Alumni Chapters will be meeting in cities around the country near you! Mark your calendars today for the following Alumni Association chapter visits: Chicago, November 14; Atlanta, November 19; Washington, DC, November 20; Boston, November 21; Denver, February 1 (Gustavus Band concert); Fargo, Feb. 20; Seattle, March 5; San Francisco, March 6; Los Angeles, March 7; Phoenix, March 8; and Sun City, March 9.

Alumni support has always been a source of pride at Gustavus. This year a very ambitious goal of $1,560,000 in unrestricted giving has been set. Our class of ’44 gave $3,988.33 last year and 36, (or 59%) of our classmates made gifts. Let’s make our class goal this year at 75% participation. Several of our neighboring classes have almost 100% participation.

Some suggestions that came out of the class agent’s day were: Budget an amount every month and pay either by credit card or automatic withdrawal from your checking account. We are planning to do just that. It seems to be a painless way to make a regular contribution (plus we’ll earn frequent flier miles); how can we lose! If you would prefer this method of payment, just let the college know and it can be arranged.

Now for some class news¾ a fascinating article, with picture of Everett Johnson and his son, Jeff, was sent to the alumni office. Ev, who attended Gustavus for one year before he served three years in the navy in WWII, was recently honored on the 50th anniversary of his furniture business. Everett, 26, and his younger brother, Virgil, 22, established the business in 1947, in their hometown, Fergus Falls. They were honored at the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. Everett has been a generous benefactor to Gustavus through the years. Congratulations and thanks, Everett!

If you see any notes about Gusties in your local newspapers or publications please send them in to the Alumni Office. Recently I sent an obituary notice about Muriel Lundberg Peterson ’43. Several Gusties of our era attended the visitation, including Arne and Jeanette (Hatlestad) Anderson ’43 ’43; Billie Westrum; Betty (Westrom ’49) and Bill Skold, Elizabeth Hedman Becker, LaVerne (Johnson ’42) and Carl Lofgren ’40. Sylvia "Tup" Rule Sheldon ’43 had visited Muriel from New Zealand, in late May when Muriel’s cancer worsened. On that sad note, I close, with a greeting also from my husband C. Harold "Pete" ’47


Joanne Mortensen Peterson

1944 Class Agent