Class of '49
October 2001

Dear 49ers,

Greetings from Sand Lake in Northwestern Wisconsin.  This time of the year we enjoy watching the ducks and geese come and go on the lake and the changing color of the leaves.  It makes it hard to focus our thoughts on the tragedies of September 11.  Even in the woods we can turn on the TV and find ourselves in the midst of the terror and destruction and tears created by some individuals or groups who are filled with hate.  Without wanting to make all of this sound too simple, I believe God has promised that He has already won the ultimate victory over evil.  That faith gives us hope.

Six of our grandchildren are in college this fall.  Our oldest studied music at Gustavus for four years and then decided she wants to be a nurse.  She is now at the University of Minnesota.  Four of four of the other five are at Gustavus.  The fifth―my namesake―is at St. Olaf.  On September 7, went to Northfield to hear Peter's final concert with the "Limestones."  He is very excited to be a part of this group.  The next day I went to Gustavus for the Class Agents' Meeting.  I had lunch with my four grandkids.  It was a great weekend.

At the Class Agents' Meeting we heard the results of last year's Alumni Fund.  I continue to be amazed and very proud of the record of our class.  I want to say thank you to all who have given through the years and continue to give after 52 years.  Our total gift last year was $23,706.  There were 110 donors for a 64.7 % participation from the class.  Forty-five others have given through the years, but did not give last year.  This means we could have had nearly 90% participation.  That gives us a goal for the new year!

Class News:

While most of us are retired, Norm Nelson has recently started a new assignment as interim pastor in St. Charles, IL.  Good going, Norm!

Many of us have done some traveling in our retirement.  Last year Enid and I traveled only to baby-sit, dog-sit, or housesit.  This October we are going to Sante Fe with a group of high school friends which includes Bob Colburn ’50 and Len Bjella x50.

John ’46 and June (Dalen) Bruneer led a tour to Sweden in June and were planning to go to Alaska in September.  George and Betty Schultz also had a trip to Alaska.

Lee Berglund, John Kendall and Bob Westerberg are dealing with some chronic health conditions.  Keep them in your prayers.

The Private College Foundation just reported that the Fiske Guide to Colleges in 2002 included six Minnesota colleges in their list of best colleges in America.  These are:

Gustavus                      St. Benedict

St. Johns                      Carleton

Macalester                   St. Olaf

In addition, Fiske names Gustavus, St. Benedict and St. Johns on their list of "Best Buys."  Only 43 colleges nationwide made this list for quality in relation to their cost in attendance.  Gustavus is on that list, at least in part, because of regular and generous support of its alumni.  Thank you.

Other Campus News:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who will gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference will included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive 10-course banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, is scheduled for Saturday, October 13.  Numerous sites have been identified in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country are participating in the event.  Contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or for more information or visit the events section of the alumni page at

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey. 

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

Phonorama will be held the weeks of October 15 and 22.  I'm hoping to have some classmates help call.  We hope to talk with many of you.  Remember―all gifts are important, large or small.  Every gift demonstrates alumni support for Gustavus.

Sincerely yours,

Pete Erickson

1949 Class Agent