Class of '46
January 2000

Dear Classmates,

Ater 53 years, the president of the August class of 1947 is writing to confess that I have been a terrible officer. Apologies are often so frail, are sometimes empty, and regrets may be held in suspect. I know whatever has separated us during the past, for more than half century, has been my loss.

When one reaches 75 years of age it is much easier to remember the past than recall what happened five minutes ago. I do have fond memories of Gustavus. Thanks to June Naplin Christensen, I can count some of the ways: I’m thankful for those who shared friendships, the profs who were mentors and examples of dedication and commitment, patience and charity…the college choir…great dramas…missionary delegation…Sunday services at the State Hospital…cold weather (-35º for a week)…death of O. J. Johnson…death of President Roosevelt…athletic events…Dr. Edgar Carlson’s chapel talks…on and on and on. You can add so many more.

Class news from two members includes: Margaret Youngdahl Peterson who writes that she attended a concert at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts when The Kurt Elling Quintet, was featured. She learned that Kurt is a former Gustie student. She also writes that her children took her for a three-day visit to New York to celebrate her 75th birthday.

Maggie Haaland sent in this news chip about Jim Olson, who has risen to the top of his mountain: Dr. James Allen Olson ’46, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University, Ames, IA, moderated a session at the biennial meeting of the European Retinoid Research Group in Strasbourg, France and then returned to Bangkok, Thailand, where he received an Honorary Doctor of Sciences degree from Mahidol University. He was honored for his distinguished research career. Dr. Olson spent eight years in Thailand in the late 1960s/early 1970s as a staff member of the Rockefeller Foundation.

I started writing this letter while sitting in the doctors office waiting to hear the results of an examination our son, Michael, was having to determine if he has a heart problem. Mike has been legally blind for more than 20 years, has had two cataract surgeries, and now has had some chest pains. The doctor just told me we don’t have to worry he passsed the treadmill test with flying colors. Doctors have told Mike he could be on total disability for life, but he has refused to do that. As an employee of Yosemite Park, located at the Wawona Hotel, for 15 years, he has risen from cleaning rooms and making beds to being one of the managers. Kathleen, our oldest, has been a physical therapist, treating such notables as Rod Stiegart, Walter Matthau, Phyllis Diller, Charlston Heston and others. Kathy has spent the last year recovering from a cancer surgery, with chemotherapy and radiation. Through all this, she didn’t miss treating one of her patience. Our youngest, Kristine, has spent her time being a travel agent, working with commercial accounts. For the last ten years, June and I have been escorts for several groups taking us to many parts of the world. Lots of fun! Since retiring ten years ago, I’ve been conducting funerals for people who have no church or pastor. Think of it, at least five of these funerals have been conducted with armed guards present. I could write a book, but no one would believe all he experiences I’ve had.

Now it is time to hear some good news from the campus:

The Gustavus campus is through January term with over 20% of the student body having participated in internships, study abroad programs, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions. On campus there are many unique classes were offered such as Archeology and the Bible and Analyzing Japan in addition to numerous classes and programs around a J-Term 2000 theme - Focus on Women's Studies. Next year January Term will focus on environmental studies. Winter sports, fine arts and extra-curricular activities are also in full swing. Even though there is little snow at Gustavus the new Nordic Ski Team is preparing for competition. The band and choir are preparing for southern tour destinations—the band to Florida and the choir to Texas.

Construction on campus continues as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will then move to their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

Naples gathering February 5 (Marco Island gathering cancelled)

Tucson Chapter gathering February 7

Phoenix Chapter gathering February 8

Sun City Chapter gathering February 9

Seattle G.I.V.E. project February 19 and Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2

Bay Chapter gathering March 4

Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 5

San Diego Chapter gathering March 6

Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church and on April 9, 10:00 a.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center.

50th Anniversary Class and 50 Year Club reunions - May 27-28

A reminder that all other reunion classes (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 29-30.

Gustavus War Years Reunion For classes of 1944-’47 and Navy V-12

May 26 & 27, 2000. You are invited to return to campus this spring as guests of the Alumni Association for a special reunion of the Gustavus War Years classes. Social events, seminars, concerts and other activities are planned for an exciting weekend. Navy V-12 members are also invited to share in the reunion activities. Registration material will be sent in early April, but mark your calendars and encourage your Gustavus friends to attend today

A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at to request more information.

Members of the New Millenium: Knowing that we are in a technological age, we want to encourage all alumni to get involved and get online. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, we hope you will check out the Gustavus Alumni Association homepage regularly. We publish information about upcoming events, post class letters, provide information about the Alumni Office, list e-mail addresses of alumni and more. Check us out under the alumni section at

We are planning on corresponding on a regular basis with all alumni who have e-mail addresses. Please send a message to so we can get you on the list. (Be sure to keep us posted on any e-mail address changes, also.)


John Bruneer

1946 Guest Letter Writer


FAX: 1-559-440-9334