Class of '50
March 2001

Dear Friends and Classmates of 1950,

We're going to have two rather quick letters in a row here. The last one was delayed two weeks in the Alumni Office, but I'm sure that won't happen again.

First of all, Donna Benson Barnett checked with the Development Office about ten days ago and learned that our gifts to the Fund amount to $70,000, BUT the amount for the Class of 1950 Scholarship Fund came to only $3,000. HELP!! We have two months to raise the $25,000 for the scholarship that would be most appropriate for our class to present to the college. When our reunion committee was meeting, we asked college personnel where money was most needed, what would be a very beneficial gift, and a scholarship was the answer. Last year some confusion occurred, concerning our gifts to the Gustavus Fund. As a scholarship fund had not been designated earlier, the college could not take our gifts sent to the Fund and arbitrarily start a new fund. So, it was decided, we would make our 50th Anniversary gift one year later. I called Dallas Young, who had presented so well the difference between the amount of monies the college contributed to our education and to what is available for today's students. He happened to be away for a few weeks this winter, and, would you believe it, just as I sat down to write this letter, he called in response to my message. Hence, the class letter that includes Phonorama news will include his comments on the subject. Suffice it to say, at this point, you MUST designate that your contribution to the alumni fund is for the 1950 Scholarship Fund, if that is your choice. Apparently, a few gifts at the end of last year were so designated and applied in that manner, and that was very much appreciated.

I learned from Dallas that any matching funds from Lutheran Brotherhood or Aid Association for Lutherans cannot be designated to a certain fund, but they are valuable to the college fund as a whole. That can help boost our giving to the Annual Fund, as I still call it; we should not ignore that one in our enthusiasm to support the scholarship.

Oh, dear, a slight pause for some nature excitement. The second robin of the year (I saw the first one yesterday) just flew into the window not three feet from where I'm sitting; and when I stood up to see if it was all right, some kind of small hawk (sorry, I don't know one from the other) nailed it in the snow on the porch roof, sat on it until it stopped struggling and then flew off with it. Haven't witnessed anything like that since the late fall when an eagle captured a wounded duck on the ice out front and proceeded to have it for lunch.

Back to Gustavus again. The St. Peter and Minneapolis newspapers this winter have had some interesting headlines and articles pertaining to our alma mater. Here is a small sampling: Gustavian Weekly Honored. It received honorable mention in the General Excellence category from the Minnesota Newspaper Association's College Better Newspaper Content. It had received awards in 1998 for Best use of Photography as a whole and second in Sports Photography by an individual; in 1992 first place in Arts and Entertainment reporting, second in Column Writing, and second in Best Editorial by individuals. Good for them.

Gustavus Adolphus College in Top Ten in International Study Ranking. The college ranks seventh in the nation among baccalaureate institutions for the number of students sent overseas. For the year 1998-99 statistics, 408 Gustavus students studied abroad, and 43% of the graduating class of 2000 had an international educational experience.

Gustavus Receives Science Funding. Two math and computer science professors received $21,300 of a matching grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled "Enhancing Student Preparation for Calculus via a Web-based Homework System."

Last fall, we read Students Can Count on Granlund Sculptures. Sculptures of numbers that look like 1 through 5 on one side flip to another number on the other side. Those were on display at South Elementary School in St. Peter. Another part of the series included letters, on display at the high school.

An article Gas as Costly as Gold? mentions that Gustavus workers at their heating plant decided to burn No. 2 fuel oil instead of natural gas "on days when gas gets more expensive and when colder weather hits." January's heating bill for January was $200,000 compared to its average of $100.000. Gustavus Vice President Ken Westphal estimated they saved about $60,000 during January. Gustavus usually budgets $500,000 for the entire school year. And we think we have problems meeting rising fuel prices!

Play Explores Challenger Disaster talks about Defying Gravity, a play by Jane Anderson and directed by Rob Gardner being presented last week at Gustavus.

Speaking of drama, John and Carol (Ostgaard) Esbjornson's son, David ’75, is receiving a Distinguished Alumni Citation in Drama at reunion weekend this year. David is directing Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to much acclaim at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis this year. In fact, the run is almost over.

All sorts of interesting activities take place at Linnaeus Arboretum and the Melva Lind Interpretive Center at all times of the year. Jim Gilbert ’62 has been doing an excellent job lining up programs and conducting winter tours.

The Fine Arts schedules and special events sponsored by the Gustavus Library Associates take separate publications to list them all, and they are impressive.

You'll notice I haven't even mentioned the athletic program at Gustavus. Another letter would be necessary to list their achievements as well, but there is a better chance of your finding out those results in the newspapers.

Isn't it something though-aren't you proud of what students are doing at Gustavus? And you can help those students with your contributions to the 1950 Scholarship Fund.

Just a couple news notes pertaining to our class. The next letter in a couple weeks will include more of that information. A note from Irene Carlson Moore informed us that her husband passed away on September 30. Our sympathy to you, Irene.

Our sympathy has also been extended to Myrna (Thorsell ’51) on Ted Wolf's death in Scottsdale, AZ and to Bill Youngdahl on the death of his wife, Eileen. Odrun Peterson ’29, librarian at Gustavus from 1944-73 and a class agent from 1975-85, died on March 2 in Minneapolis. She was 92 years old. Her nephew, Thorild Peterson ’48, and niece, Florentine Peterson Anderson ’51 were both students while we were there, also.

Until next time, remember that a scholarship is "the gift that keeps on giving" and that 25 years from now the gift will still be working and being used. One cannot do much better than that. We have until May 31 to send in our gifts, but let's not wait until the last minute. Thank you ever so much.

Sincerely,   Gloria Martell Benson   1950 Co-Class Agent