Class of '49
October 2003

Dear 49ers,

It seems impossible, but I still have some negative effects from my stroke.  Most of them relate to fatigue.  Doctors had told me it would take up to six months to get back to normal.  I'm now in the eighth month and my patience is beginning to run out (end of the senior citizen's health report).

I attended the Class Agents' meeting in September on campus.  The first thing I was aware of was the absence of Tom Wersell.  He had been class agent for the class of 1938 since the Alumni Fund was started.  I think he had attended every class agent meeting.  The new president, Jim Peterson ’64, spoke briefly; then attended our lunch.  He visited each table, greeting those he knew and introducing himself to those he didn't know.

I was pleased to hear that participation in the Alumni Fund last year had increased 1%.  However, we still have 12% to go to reach our 50 by 50 goal in 2004.

The fall Phonorama will be October 12-16 and 19-23.  The year 2004 will mark 50 years since the Alumni Fund was started by Ren Anderson ’34 in 1954.  On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32%) and $26,013.  Dollars and donors continued to grow and, under the leadership of Cec Eckhoff ’56 made Gustavus a national leader, recognized with 17 national awards for alumni support.  Do your best to participate in this year's Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition.

Ren and Sylvia (Benzon) Anderson's ’34 ’36 family will be the chairmen of this year's fund.  They include:  Jim and Diane (Hammargren) Anderson ’60 ’63 and Tom Anderson ’63; and their children, Scott and Kari (Swanson) Anderson ’89 ’92; Becky (Anderson) and Lee Fahrenz ’87 ’87 and Peter ’92.  The goals that have been set for this next year are 10,000 donors and one million dollars.

I'm sure that many Alumni ask, "why are we being asked to support Gustavus?"  One reason is that it is a way to say "thank you" to Gustavus.  We also can say thank you to the people of the church who subsidized the cost of our education.  John Kendall once told me that when we started at Gustavus the church provided 25% of the college budget.  Also, private colleges are always going to need help if they are to provide reasonable tuition rates.  I could go on, but I think you get the point.  The schools like Gustavus will always need help.

Some classmates are still working as we approach our 55th class reunion.  Ellen Schroder Stahlberg reports she is still teaching Swedish in the Community College at Littleton, Colorado.  Bob Collick writes that he is still working (the last I heard he was a chaplain in LaQuinta, CA).  Phyllis Johnson Berglund writes that Walter ’50 died on February 25, 2003.  Our sympathies to you and your family, Phyllis.

I have not confirmed this, but I read in my class list that Elwood Peterson died.  Merv Thorwald was running for the school board in Fort Atkinson, WI.  I hope to get a report on how the election turned out.

College News:

College opens 142nd Academic Year – More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund Turns 50 – On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013, under the direction of the executive committee of Dr. Hobart Johnson ’21, Dr. Edgar Carlson ’31, The Rev. J. Millard Ahlstrom ’34, and Ren Anderson ’34.  Dollars and donors continued to grow and, under the leadership of Cec Eckhoff ’56, alumni participation continually exceeded 50% each year, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards. Alumni contacting alumni has been the hallmark of success; we depend on Phonorama volunteers to make the difference. Help the alumni fund again reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004, or by volunteering to make calls during Phonorama, October 12-16 and 19-23.  Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.

Sculptor Paul Granlund ’52 dies – Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003, the same day his exhibit Retrospective opened as scheduled in the Hillstrom Museum of Art on the Gustavus campus.  He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996.  His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.  Retrospective will be displayed until November 9.

Alumni Board members selected – Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz ’90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani ’62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist ’53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz ’74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou ’02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer ’93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell ’94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees were Val Flom Ashland ’87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman ’87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop ’86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta ’87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson ’53 (football), Jim Hearn ’81 (tennis), Dave Najarian ’82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen ’84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer ’76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Directors’ Cup – Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director’s Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program – The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends – visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Don't miss A Royal Affair . . . pa rum pum pum pum - Gustavus Library Associates is presenting their biennial benefit for our College's Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you have names for invitations (reservations are due by October 31), an auction item to donate (no later than October 15 please), volunteer time to offer, or if you wish to contribute financially to help defray expenses, we welcome your call today; Marty Penkhus, 507/388.5474 and Susan Wilcox, 952/944.5972, Co-Chairs.

Upcoming Events – call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

  • Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18
  • Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington
  • Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community -- October 24-25, Campus
  • Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis -- October 25
  • JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones ’83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4
  • A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities -- November 15

I hope you will all take part in the 2004 Alumni Fund.  The goal is to assist the college in meeting its financial needs.  Participation is important!  We don't all have the ability to give large gifts, but most of us can give something.

Hope to be talking to many of you in a couple of weeks,

Pete Erickson

1949 Class Agent