Class of '45
January 2005

Hi everyone,

It's substitute time again and Elder does deserve a break.  He forms a good glue to keep us all informed.

One of the privileges of age is the memories that one accumulates.  Many of them are good and the few that don't measure up are somehow lost in the glow of pleasantries.  Attending Gustavus in the war years was not particuarly easy, but we did make it through.  On entering Gustavus in 1941 it was my first experience at being a minority because there weren't many Presbyterians on campus.

The V-7 and V-12 guys were a boost to Gustavus and fun to have around.  Many of us watched the 45 degree squad on College Hill doing their penance for some infringement or other.  They were into football and basketball in a big way, although Bud Lindberg ’47, Homer Martinson ’48, Eli Vuicich and Conway Thompson ’47 held up the civy end well.  We had a great male chorus directed by Fred Hilary.  And, being one of the few car owners on the hill, I had many opportunities to loan it out for "personal reasons" to the Navy and Marines.  I'm sure some Gusty gals remember that.

Outside of chemistry, music was my interest and being part of the college quartett with Will, Bud and Gerry was a top thrill.  We provided music and liturgy at Mt. Olivet one summer when hitchhiking was an accepted means of transportation.  Bud never got out of Mt. Olivet.  I often wonder if Skarty would ever meet Coach Wilkinson in some distant ethereal event what the conversation would be.  Skartvedt strung racquets and kept the tennis team going.  Skarty taught me some chemistry and even techniques like pouring into a burette from a five gallon bottle.  And fingerprints on the balance were taboo.  Del Wichelman ’44 and I had some great times in the front lab of Old Main.


Prexy Johnson in his last year would read almost any message handed to him in Chapel.  He had a request one day that "Coach Roning asks all athletic supporters to be at the game tonight."  Some of those PCs were pretty sneaky.

Many of us will remember the brilliant rebuttal to Dr. Walter Lunden ’22 by Art Toupin ’43, Bernie Erling ’43 and another, whose name escapes me, one day in Chapel when the discussion of his policies became open.  I think we all realized what a prize we had in Dr. Edgar Carlson ’33, especially after Walter Lunden.

I wonder if anyone else remembers how Dr. Hall in his 11:10-12:00 class always seemed to turn the lecture and conversation to food just before we all were waiting for lunch.  Even though Mrs. Langsjoen only had mutton to offer on many occasions.  And the course I took in the history of Northern Europe by Conrad Peterson turned into a lesson on Sweden, because there is no other more important country.  All a part of getting a liberal arts education.

At that early age in 1941-42, Martin Menk ’47 and I looked very much alike.  We used this to our advantage in Rodine's physics class at 8:00 on Saturday morning.  One of us was frequently absent and Rodine didn't know (or maybe care) which one.  We both passed the course and no one was hurt.

One of the highlights of post graduate Gustavus was being invited back to witness the dedication of the Nobel Hall of Science in 1963.  Those of us who had earned advanced degrees (Ph.D., Purdue, biochemistry, in my case), had the privilege of a special evening with 21 Nobel Laureates gathered for the dedication.  At that time it was the largest assembly of laureates in the world.  To be able to converse with Melvin Calvin (organic synthesis), Arne Tiselius (electrophoresis), Ralph Bunche (U.N. and peace), Philip Hensch (cortisone, Mayo), was a dream for me.  And to hear Harold Urey personally decry the use that his discovery of heavy hydrogen had been put to (the H-bomb) was to get a view of the complexities of government and science.  What a catalyst that Nobel meeting was for the fantastic programs that have followed.

It was also very interesting to visit the laboratories of Alfred Nobel in 2003 in Karlskoga, Sweden.  Alfred doesn't know it, but I have a photo of him and me standing by his laboratory bench using the life size reproduction of himself.  I was surprised to learn that the official Nobel Committee in Stockholm takes very little notice of these laboratories which are adjacent to Astra-Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in Karlskoga.  He had laboratories in Sweden, Paris, the U.S.A. and San Remo, Italy where he did most of his work on explosives.  He invented dynamite in Sweden.

By February 1945 we had our Commencement on a very cold day.  Will, Dorie Pearson, Dorothy Boyer and I provided the music.  I believe someone from St. Olaf gave us the charge.  It must have worked.  Look at the accomplishments.

I could probably ramble on, but suffice it to say that Gustavus was a good experience.  The only envy I have is the range of opportunities available to the current crop of Gusties that we didn't have.  But we had something precious, those memories which can't be replaced.  See you all at our 60th in May 2005.

Ken Kirby

1945 Guest Letter Writer

P. S.  There are just two pieces of class news to add and then the Alumni Office will add some campus news here:

Paul ’47 and Mary Ann (Peters) Anderson, Fergus Falls, MN write:  “We enjoyed the Augustana Heritage weekend (July 2004) and are looking forward to Nobel in October.  Our family―six sons and/or daughters (and in-laws) and four grandchildren just had our 17th annual family reunion.  Five of the adults are Gustie grads!”

On a sad note, Beatrice Palm Stromberg has informed us that her husband, Melvin Stromberg ’52 died on August 15, 2004.  Our sympathy to you, Beatrice.

Campus News:

Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus.  To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added.  Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester

Did you know that the college has gone wireless? Wireless computing, that is? Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs. Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.

Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon.  The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.  The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.

The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December. The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Announcing a new tool for all Alumni: The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.

The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy.  It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you.  Check it out today at

The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004. To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
  • New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
  • Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
  • Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
  • Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
  • Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
  • Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
  • Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
  • Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30