Class of '50
October 1998

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

On Saturday September 12, the class agents met on the Gustavus campus for the annual kick-off to what used to be called the Alumni or Annual Fund, now the Gustavus Fund. More on that later. For those who had not been on campus since the tornado of March 29, it was an eye-opening day. Nearly all the repairs had been completed¾ new roofs, new windows, new carpeting, new landscaping throughout¾ 400 full-grown trees planted since then, a start in replacing the 2,000 trees destroyed, 400 more to be planted this fall. Johnson Hall has been taken down, however; a decision on its replacement is yet to be made. A new Campus Center is underway next to the food service building¾ plans pushed up a year. The bust of Gustavus Adolphus has been placed upright again¾ except now he faces west instead of east.

Although insurance covered much of the damage, several million dollars for uncovered damages are needed (do you suppose I can find that list of damages not covered now when I need it? NO!). Two companies are matching funds submitted this year for rebuilding a Greater Gustavus: Lutheran Brotherhood and AAL¾ Aid Association for Lutherans. When the new spire goes up on Christ Chapel in mid-October, the rebuilding will be essentially completed, and the college will swing into building a Greater Gustavus.

The Gustavus Fund takes the place of the former Annual or Alumni Funds, as I mentioned. From now on, all giving will be recognized and included in the Gustavus Fund: monies for rebuilding, endowment, memorials, these can be designated or undesignated gifts. All will be included in class giving. The importance of the undesignated gifts must be mentioned, for it is from those funds that enrichment items and the 20% not covered by a student’s tuition are paid for. Although there is no longer a G-1000 category as such, one way to determine giving is so much per month¾ $25 a month¾ the cost of one dinner out per month, for example (unless you usually go only to McDonalds or Burger King.) Your smaller contributions are still welcome; however. We know that fixed incomes have their limits. The important thing is that we hear from you, and that you know that you still "belong to GA College, and Gustavus belongs to you."

Now on to the class notes, the best way we have of keeping up with each other as a class. Not as many arrived over the summer, of course, but we encourage each of you to drop us a note, so we have news for the next letter.

Bob Vanstrum of Dellwood, MN retired from 3M three years ago. He and his wife, Bev, visited Scandinavia last year and are now researching Swedish "roots" (all four grandparents) with the help of Swedish cousins. That must be most interesting. I think I have only one cousin on my mother's side who could help trace my four grandparents who were from there. Maybe I’ve waited too long for that type of information.

Bob and Dorothy (Anderson) Colburn of Edina, MN are well and busy volunteering and singing. They enjoyed a San Francisco trip and were entertained royally by Grant Peterson. I was thinking about Grant just the other day¾ we'd like to hear from you too, Grant.

Speaking of Petersons, we heard from Delpho & Phyllis (Swedberg x52) Peterson of Keokuk, IA, a nice, long note: "Delpho just celebrated his 75th birthday. We have been coming down to Florida for the last eight winters. Delpho worked as the outreach & visitation pastor for Trinity Lutheran, Bradenton, FL for five years. We have seven children¾ five boys and two girls. Of the boys, the oldest is a missionary (director of Stem Ministries, Minneapolis.) The second is an MD; the third is a pilot for AA; the fourth, Pam, is a Gustie graduate and has three children; the fifth, David, is an aerospace engineer living in California; the sixth, Lori, is a graduate of the University of Texas, married and has one son; and the seventh, Joel, an aerospace engineer also lives in Texas. We keep busy being Grandpa and Grandma and visiting our children and having them visit us. Gustavus is dear to us." You must be very proud of your family. Thank you for writing.

Another Peterson we’ve heard from is Lewis who lives with his wife, Ruth, in Coon Rapids, MN. If I read the caller's notes correctly, Lewis serves as a treasurer for a couple organizations and volunteers for a local elementary school. (Students at Gustavus often call alumni who haven't been reached in Phonorama, and I don't recognize the initials of this caller.)

Roger Hanson of Cedar Falls. IA retired from his position as professor of physics at the University of Northern Iowa in May of 1977. He continues, however; to do research in musical acoustics, in particular the physics of stringed instruments. He was involved in organizing an international symposium on musical acoustics that was held at Leavenworth, WA, in June of 1998. That’s a whole new field to me. How many others of you were unfamiliar with that endeavor¾ very good to hear from you, Roger.

Marjorie Johnson Knutson of Alexandria, VA, was very much pleased with the Alumni Directory she received. "It is lovely as well as very informative. Good job!" I’ve used mine several times¾ a good resource to have. Thanks for writing, Marjorie.

So often we hear only from those enjoying good health. Roger Peterson of New York City and Peterson Talents had prostate cancer surgery. We hope you are recovering uneventfully and will be back to acting before too long. Several of our male classmates have had the same surgery and I’m tempted to ask, "What’s your PSA reading?" when I see them. You fellows, if you haven't had it checked, please do so. It can save your life.

Joel Hoff of St. Augustine, FL writes a brief, but joyful note: "I'm grandfather for the first time! I hope she’ll be a Gustie in 2016!" We hope so, too, Joel. Enjoy her, and introduce her to Gustavus early!

Robert and Mitzi (Walker x52) Mikelson of Naples, FL, write that Robert is still coordinating the North Naples Florida sites of volunteer income tax assistance for the elderly. Mitzi coordinates the bridge lessons and open bridge playing for the Pelican Bay Women’s League of Naples, FL. Interesting how many of you volunteer your services in the retirement years. That is such a vital contribution that is greatly appreciated, even though the recipients might not always let you know.

Orv Iverson of Woodside, CA, writes: "California 1998 winter¾ We have been very fortunate¾ the effects of El Niño have not bothered us. There are ‘pocket’ areas where people have suffered terribly. But, there are other areas of the U.S. where people have also suffered from El Niño. Our personal trivia complaint¾ Orv and I have not golfed as much as we want so you see¾ we are fortunate. We so enjoyed our Gustavus reunion in Los Altos, January 1998. Gustavus is a great college!" They also express a wish that once they have contributed, they not be contacted for more contributions that year. That often bothers me, also, and the college should respect those wishes. It's difficult, though, when the needs are so great, especially with the rebuilding and building necessary at the present time. Thanks for writing, Orv and Mary, and I hope you can play more golf this year.

I had a note from Dorothy Kauffman in Seattle, WA, this summer informing us of Laverne McCullough’s death in February, 1998. He was a retired pastor and is survived by his wife, Becky, one son and one daughter. Mac will be missed. Our sympathy to you Becky, and your family. Dorothy also mentioned she was going to the Holy Land the end of the summer. I hope the trip lived up to your expectations and that you had as meaningful a time as I did last year, Dorothy. Let us hear about it.

We have two other deaths to report, too, although I think one, if not both were mentioned in an earlier letter. Larry Person died on June 8, 1997, of cancer. His funeral was held at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth, MN and his wife, Ruth, can be reached in Wayzata, MN. Our sympathy to you and your family, too.

Marold Johnson of Long Beach, CA, died JuIy 15, 1997, after a two year battle with cancer. I’m quite sure this was also reported last year, but the notice was in my file. Jean, I hope things are going well for you, but remember, there is nothing magical about "one year." Memories keep coming back and we hope they are good ones.

Campus News:

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 will go up in sections over a two-day period and the cross is scheduled to be set on Thursday, October 22, weather permitting.

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 will 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.

National Rankings

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.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is December 4, 5 & 6. The theme this year is The Holy Family. A ticket order form was inserted in the center of the Summer Quarterly and another form is enclosed with this class letter.

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. (Gusites 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.

Remember that gifts to Gustavus Library Associates and the Arboretum Fund will be counted in our class contributions. Unrestricted gifts are very vital; however, give as your heart and economics dictate. I wonder if any of you had a similar experience to mine. The gift I sent for G-1000 right after the tornado was never received¾ same thing happened to another check I'd mailed to St. Peter. Things were really in a turmoil for quite some time so I shouldn’t be surprised. No one else ever cashed them either, so that was all right, but I needed to replace both of them. Double check your returned checks to make sure Gustavus received yours. You may recall I had to rewrite the last class letter last spring, too, because that went astray. The system is up and running now however so think positively about your alma mater and friend and support her in her rebuilding and building.

One can be involved without giving money or besides giving money, as well. Submit information for the Gustavus Quarterly. Put a Gustavus sticker on your car. Support Homecoming and their sporting events. Talk to anyone wearing any Gustie clothing or a class ring I've met some interesting people that way. Take a picture and share it with the Alumni Office. Attend Christmas in Christ Chapel it will be one of the most inspiring programs you will ever attend. Attend a Chapter event you read how much the Iversons enjoyed theirs in Los Altos and Glen and LaVonne Johnson have a rousing one on Marcos Island each year, to name just two. Watch for them in your area. We have a whole list of other things you can do, but I’ll save some for next time.

Take care and please write. Gustavus needs you. I need you.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Co-Class Agent

P.S. We've "lost" eight classmates address unknown. Can you help us out with any of them? Please…

  • Al Barberg with Crystalight Importers
  • Marvin Bayley
  • Lloyd Carlson
  • Robert Ericson
  • Richard Hayes with Ben Deike Transfer and Storage
  • Dean Myrum
  • Donald Severson
  • Earl Swenson (I last saw him in Peoria, AZ)