Class of '46
It is with much joy and gratefulness that I greet you at this time. I have just been ushered into the "save your heart" club. Yes, on October 6, I was rushed to emergency and there diagnosed with a light heart attack. I had the angioplasty treatment and I am journeying with a stint that will guard against more trouble and I am doing really well. I start physical therapy next week and look forward to being renewed and whole again. It has been a private evaluation time for me and my family and I have been blessed with hosts of prayers and encouraging messages which all are vehicles of healing.
Now, at our class agents’ meeting, which was held Sept. 12th, we learned many new facts about our alma mater. First of all, the college is really healthy since suffering the tornado in March. The city of St. Peter is still healing and with the assistance of Gustie students and they too, are mending well. For those of you who live a distance from here, Gustavus is looking good and has been so adequately remembered by folks who have an interest in her welfare and this includes friends, alumni, parents, students, faculty and many strangers and other colleges. They feel truly blessed.
Here is the news from the campus:
The 1998-99 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,470 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,389 set in 1988), including a record 700 incoming students (compared to 648 of 1987). Contributing to the record enrollment is the stable 94 percent full-time student retention rate. Students returned to a campus that has been newly landscaped with 400 trees planted last spring and nurtured over the summer. They also discovered that 95% of all repairs made necessary by the tornado of March 29 are now completed. They returned to find Johnson Hall gone as it proved to be "beyond repair," but they also were greeted by a new College View Apartment addition, which houses 92 upper-class students, and the recently purchased Jefferson Avenue apartments (now known as Arbor View), which houses 60 upper-class students. In addition to new carpeting, painting, and furnishings, the campus is sporting 300 new state of the art computers for students and faculty, 28 new Steinway pianos (making us a member of a very elite circle of "All Steinway" campuses), 13 new high-tech multimedia systems for classrooms, new and upgraded outdoor and indoor athletic facilities, and new scientific equipment.
What remains to be done? The Prairie View Residence Hall, to be in place and opened in October, will house 60 students. It will be located west of Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Physically and symbolically the repair/restoration era will end with the placement of the spire and the cross back on the top of Christ Chapel. The spire went up in sections over a two-day period and the cross was set on Thursday, October 22.
Students also noted the beginning stages of construction on the new Campus Center. This project, part of our strategic plan, was accelerated by the storm. The official groundbreaking ceremony took take place Monday, October 19. This $18.6 million, 51,000 square foot construction project will double the size of the Dining Service Building, providing students, faculty and staff with expanded and improved dining, meeting and office spaces. The Dining Room will, appropriately, be named for Evelyn Young ’33, longtime director of the Dining Service at Gustavus. In progress also is an addition to the Melva Lind Interpretive Center to house the Department of Environmental Studies.
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 October 6 & 7. The Nobel Conference magazine was again inserted in the August Minnesota Monthly magazine and sent to the entire Gustavus mailing list.
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. (Gusties 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.
Last Thursday the Spire on the chapel was placed and I was told there were thousands of caring folks at this ceremony. There were praises of joy sung for the concerns of people and their talents to create these meaningful symbols to carry on the true spirit of Gustavus in the minds and hearts of future Gusties.
There is a new Campus Center being built, which will encompass so many activities on campus and there is a huge financial gift given by a C. Charles Jackson towards the building of this edifice.
I do not have any news items regarding you classmates at this time. I am very sorry about that, but it is hard to acquire unless you send it to the college. At the class agents’ meeting we were introduced to a new system for contacting alumni for pledges. Because it is difficult to get callers to come in they have decided to educate and train students to make the contacts for the classes. Anniversary classes and those agents who want to will continue their calling on classmates. I was going to ask Arlene Sorenson Higgins to help me and we were going to contact as many as possible from my house, but now that I am to cut down stress, at this time, I have asked the college to contact you for this fall session. I hope that you will receive them favorably and give them "news" items that they will pass on to me. I will miss not visiting with you, but by spring, I hope to be better able to do that again.
Gustavus held their graduation on campus this spring. Johnson Hall, one of our favorite housing areas, was demolished due to all the damage. About 50 faculty and staff people have lost their homes; several others suffered damages and are making changes in their lives.
Gustavus needs our support for so many areas of its work and so we remind you that your gift is extremely important in order to maintain the high caliber of education, which Gustavus can offer the present students, and into the future. I hear, via the new generation there, that the old friendly spirit is alive and well. The students have been so involved in the reclaiming of the campus and they have been a true witness to the city as well.
May you all enjoy Blessed Holidays and I am thankful to be given my "new beginning."
June Naplin Christensen
1946 Class Agent