Class of '50
October 1999

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

This is it! Coming up next spring will be our 50th anniversary of our graduation from Gustavus―or would have been for those of you who began with our class and went elsewhere to finish school or to work. Ralph and Yvonne (Anderson) Belin visited me back some time ago and we began making initial plans for the auspicious occasion. We’re hoping, of course, that most of you will make it back for that weekend. I think that in the last letter in April or May, I began wondering if we should not also have a 50th wedding anniversary party at the same time for all of you who married soon after graduation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Bob and Dorothy (Anderson) Colburn and Dale and Carol Jean (Becker) Swenson are two of those couples. May 26 and 27 are the dates. It starts off with the Class of 1950 memorial service, which will be in Christ Chapel at 5:30 p.m. on the 26th, followed by the dinner at 6:00 p.m.―“class to prepare program.” Saturday will feature a luncheon and program provided for the 50-Year Club and the Class of 1950; the Alumni Banquet following afternoon Vesper Services, (Alumni Association Awards presented); a Concert featuring Gustavus Orchestra follows the Alumni Banquet; and other activities will include seminars and social gatherings that day. For some reason alumni gatherings of other five-year anniversaries will be held, in the cities and on campus, during next year’s Homecoming. Apparently the younger classes prefer that type of meeting but a Homecoming gathering that is not on campus?

Anyway, start making your plans to attend now. You will be receiving information and questionnaires to fill out so that we will have as complete information as possible to pass along to all of you.

The class agents’ meeting was almost a month ago―in fact, phonorama is going on now. You may receive this letter about the same time―or afterwards.

The Class of 1950 came in first in our decade in contributions again. My thanks to all of you who gave to the Gustavus Fund―your generosity was appreciated. Others of you, too, might consider estate planning, charitable remainder trusts, and the like as a way of supporting Gustavus―and cutting down on the inheritance taxes your children will some day have to pay. Our percentage of donors, however, was way down―only 46%. We’d really like to have an almost 100% response in this, our 50th anniversary year, so let’s work on that. Usually I don’t begin these class letters talking about money, but this year is special. Surely, $1 per year since we graduated isn’t asking too much―$10 per year would even be better. I can hear some of you gulp at that suggestion, but how often do we celebrate that 50th anniversary? Think about it, anyway.

Now we’ll get to the class notes/news. The college has information they want to include, but if this letter becomes a bit long, maybe they’ll save if until next time―or put it in at the end. Most of you look forward to finding out about classmates, and I feel that is the main reason for these letters. You do receive other communications from Gustavus that let you know what is going on on campus. The years are catching up with many of us, and our notes reflect that. Knowing that others are slowing down can be comforting. If some of you are really active yet, we say more power to you and good for you! We need your notes and letters, no matter what shape you are in.

Joel Hoff in St. Augustine, FL writes that he enjoys receiving the class letter and adds, "We slowed down a bit on overseas travel because there is turmoil in the areas we want to visit, but we’ll start up again when things quiet down. Or we may re-visit some of the countries we’ve seen―but too briefly.” That is understandable. Besides the political turmoil, nature has wreaked havoc in places like Turkey and Greece; and although the main cities like Istanbul and Athens might not have been affected, the refugees swarming into the cities from those are devastated, would make it advisable not to add tourist travel to the confusion.

Robert Pierson of Brooklyn Park, MN writes, "Still ice fishing and summer fishing as much as I can. Those old bones aren’t like they used to be. Look forward to our 50th reunion." We’ll be looking forward to seeing you.

Richard and Mary Steinke of Bloomington, MN were extras in a movie that their son starred in called Tuesday Morning Coffee, filmed in the Blue Earth area. You’ve taken thousands of pictures, Richard; it must have been fun being on the other side of the camera. Let us know how you are doing―hope you will make the 50th as well. I don’t think you’ve missed a reunion yet, have you?

Speaking of making movies, Roger Peterson has moved from New York City to Eldoron, New Jersey. I take it you are still working though. We enjoy hearing about the roles you’ve played in television, etc.

Speaking of acting, John and Carol (Ostgaard) Esbjornon’s son, David, not only directed Summer and Smoke at the Guthrie Theatre this summer, but he is directing a production at Gustavus this fall. Those of you who receive the Fine Arts calendar should have noted that information.

Those of us in the St. Peter area who received the publication A Millenium of Progress saw (we couldn’t avoid it) the front cover picture of our classmate Ed Wetherill, wearing a buckskin shirt, elk-skin pants, and a coon-skin cap, all of which he sewed himself. Around his neck hangs a medallion honoring Chief Wabasha. A medicine bag hangs near the medallion. Ed carries two homemade knives in his belt sheathes that he also made. He’s pictured at the Traverse des Sioux site where the Nicollet County Historical Society has its museum. Too bad we couldn’t scan in that picture―a real frontiersman, if there ever was one.

Our two classmates in Alaska, Joanne Lind Hoogland in Seward and John Pierson is Kenai should be proud of the fact that Alaska has 30 students attending Gustavus, about a third of them in sports. The St. Peter Herald had an interesting column on them a few weeks ago.

As sometimes happens when people move or don’t keep in touch, we’ve "lost" a few classmates. You did so well at finding several of them last year, maybe you can help us out again:

  • Alvin Barberg
  • Marvin W. Bayley
  • Lloyd E. Carlson
  • Paul Luck (he was back in France, but has anyone kept in touch with him?)
  • William Haldy
  • Barbara Waldroff Ortenblad
  • Waldroff Ortenblad
  • Donald S. Severson
  • Earl Swenson

Please let us know if you know any of their whereabouts. I know its a few years since we visited Earl Swenson is Arizona, but Earl-where are you now? A silly question because if we can’t find you how will you know we’re looking for you?

I should have mentioned that I heard not only from Roger Thorson in Poulsbo, WA about a family reunion that turned out to be connected to my husband Henry’s side of the family, but I heard from his brother as well. Please tell him I have some genealogy pages I’m going to copy to send to him that may add some more information to what he already has. I really enjoyed our correspondence and am sorry it’s taking me so long to get back to both of you.

A nice letter from Glen Johnson of Pittsburgh and Marco Island (no one who has been to his and Lavonne’s Gustavus get-togethers will ever forget them) told me that they also do the same for Thiel College. How wonderful to share your lovely home with colleagues and friends like that!

Campus News:

The 1999-2000 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,490 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,474 set last year), including 660 first-year students. Students returned to the new Campus Center housing the Evelyn Young Dining Room, the new Book Mark, post office, health service, and printing service. Renovation of the old dining service building will continue with expected completion in February. The renovation project will provide office space for student organizations, Office of Admission, specialty dining areas, Dean of Students office, and a faculty and staff center. Summer construction also included the landscaping of parking lots on the north end of campus. The landscaping provides a welcoming appearance to the College and helps break-up the "frozen tundra" between Norelius Hall and the Campus Center.

Gustavus Adolphus College Ranked Among the Best Liberal Arts Colleges

Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the best of all national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's 13th annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings. Gustavus is again in the top 80 of the overall quality listings for national liberal arts colleges. Ranked again in the second tier in the national liberal arts college category, Gustavus is one of only two Minnesota colleges included in the 38-college tier two listing and one of four Minnesota colleges ranked in the top 80. Gustavus is also included in the Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine list of "100 great values" among the nation's 1,600 private schools. The "Private Colleges Worth the Price" article appears in the September 1999 magazine. Gustavus is one of only four Minnesota colleges named a Top 100 Value in Private Colleges. The list is based on academic and financial measures.

The Gustavus Library Associates Once upon a holiday … A Royal Affair, is Saturday, November 13 at the Radisson South Hotel, Bloomington. Information and registration material was inserted in the Summer Quarterly.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, Even so, come, Lord Jesus, is December 3-5. A ticket order form was inserted in the Summer Quarterly.

Alumni Chapters will be meeting again this year so mark your calendars today: Washington, DC, November 5; Boston, November 6; Chicago, December 11; Atlanta, January 31; Marco Island, February 5; Tucson, February 7; Phoenix, February 8; Sun City, February 9; Seattle, March 3; Bay Area, March 4; Los Angeles, March 5; San Diego, March 6; Denver, March 7.

Now I have to sign off. I want this to be in the mail in a few minutes. Haven’t figured out how to do the word-processor and send the letter e-mail yet. For those who might be interested, now that I’m on my e-mail, my address is In case you’re wondering about the mdeyata, it is Dakota Sioux for "at the lake."

Let’s get those pledges, contributions, notes, and letters coming in. We really enjoy hearing from you all.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Co-class Agent