Class of '50
January 2002

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

I began this letter a couple days ago, and since then President Axel Steuer has announced he will resign as Gustavus' president in June 2002.  He will stay on for a year to help with some plans already set in motion, but an interim president will be appointed.  President Steuer, a religion scholar, would like to return to classroom teaching.

Minnesota just set a record that has held since the 1930’s for the length of time we've gone into winter without a sub-zero temperature.  In fact, we haven't had a sub-zero reading for almost 11 months.  Oh, yes, our specific area was blessed with a 30+" snowfall in about 24 hours in November, but it was still comparatively mild.  Now, how are you doing in the rest of the country?  The South apparently had to cope with cold, ice and snow, and Buffalo, New York, was really dumped on‑weird, weird, weird.  Actually, I could use another 65 degree day any time again.  Green Lake didn't freeze over for good until Christmas Day, and on New Year's Day open patches of water were encountered out in the middle.  All of the above is just to let you who no longer live in these environs know what it's like.  It really has nothing to do with Gustavus, except to remind you of the cold winds that whipped across campus‑especially for those who lived off campus and had to walk up the hill each day.  Reaching the library or classrooms from the dorms, the trailer park by the field house, and the pre-fabs was bad enough.  A cartoon at the time showed a fellow walking at a perpetual 60 degree angle―the explanation, "Don't mind him; he went to Gustavus."

The Quarterly (how do you like the new look? Snazzy, don't you think?) and other Gustavus mailings keep you apprised of activities such as the Nobel Conference; Christmas in Christ Chapel, this year's theme was A Celtic Christmas; music and theatre events and sports.  Usually the Alumni Office adds that to these letters, too, so I'll go right to the class notes.

A packet of notes arrived during the Christmas break, and I'll use as many as I can, dating from the oldest note to the most recent.  Chuck Anderson of Norwood-Young America, wrote an informative note:  "Spent two weeks in May in Singapore with grandson.  Visiting foreign exchange student and family‑(He lived with us during the 1977‑78 school year).  Singapore is an amazing country and a wonderful place to visit‑most of new skyscrapers and renovation of old sections has been built up in the last 10 years.  The health system is first class and the public transportation system is second to none.  The botanical gardens & zoo are outstanding.  They have over 500 orchid hybrids and thousands of orchids to see.  Spent more time swimming than at golf since May is the 'hot' month‑being only 140 miles from the equator.  Could not get used to:

1.      Driving on left side of the road

2.      Sun in North at noon

3.      7 a.m. sunrise & 7 p.m. sunsets"

Thank you for that account, Chuck.  What an interesting experience that must have been!

A note from Len and Lael (Dahl ’48) Bjella of Springfield, MO lets us know that "on July 15, 2001, we celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary.  (Last summer it was impossible to get all our family together.)  Our six children (three boys and three girls), their spouses and our 11 grandchildren put on a wonderful musical, 'This is your life, Mom and Dad' program for our friends and relatives.  It was a great tribute of special memories."  A belated congratulations to you both‑what a talented family you have!

Delpho Peterson of Keokuk, IA, has written his first book, Lessons for Life‑How You Can Joyfully, Peacefully Live Forever!  According to one report, it is "an easy 90 page read arranged in 22 chapters.  Delpho's gentle, loving style of devotional teaching centers around more than 150 'timeless truths' that set us free and give us life-eternal life forevermore!"  Good for you, Delpho!  He and his wife, Phyllis (Swedberg ’52), raised seven children, one of whom, Roger, is president of STEM Press and editor of Lessons.

Vern ’51 and Marie Norberg Bergstrom of Minneapolis "continue to enjoy retirement.  Having our family close by is a pleasure and feeling well is a blessing.  Having fear spread through our country is a sadness.  Peace, trust, kindness, understanding appear to be most illusive."  You expressed that very well, Marie.

Richard C. Priest of Las Vegas, Nevada, lets us know, "Recently, the School Naming Committee of the Clark County School District (Las Vegas, Nevada) met and formally approved that a soon-to-be constructed Elementary School would be named after me.  I am very happy and honored to be the recipient.  It will be constructed this school year and dedicated the 2002‑03 school year.  I am a long time administrator with the district, now retired."  That's a great honor, Richard.  Congratulations!

Gusties in Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) is an annual day of community service where Gustavus alumni, parents and friends around the country work to better their communities.  Since its creation in 1996, G.I.V.E. has involved several thousand Gusties working in twenty different cities.  Jan Wampler Quist and Geva Lou Rodelius Severinson participated in the workday in the Twin Cities.  Dallas Young helped set-up a work site in the Brainerd Lakes Area.  There will be a G.I.V.E. workday in the Twin Cities this spring on Saturday, April 27, 2002.  Let us know if you, too, participate in this worthwhile project.

Bob and Sylvia Collison of Edina, MN have a new granddaughter, who is now nine months old.  My note written just three months ago said she was six months old then‑that figures out right, doesn't it?

Marilyn Crantz Carlson of Scottsbluff, NE is retired.  She majored in biology and chemistry and served as a missionary in Africa.  Would you tell us more about that, please?  What area and how long you were there?  We've had several schoolmates and friends who've been there, and finding out if your paths crossed is interesting.

Glen Johnson of Marco Island, FL is "still working one-quarter time and still enjoying it!"  He and LaVonne hope to be present at the Florida gatherings on February 15 and 16 (they may be hosting it in absentia) as they are going to be traveling in January, "visiting numerous people that we've promised for years to come and see.  Then again in April, we are doing an 'around the world' trip, so this doesn't allow us any time to prepare for the alumni party."  After hearing about the orchids in Singapore, have you considered a stop at that locale?  I'm glad you are able to take more time off from work, Glen.  Good that you could attend the Nobel Conference this year, too.  That is often a fascinating experience.  We appreciate your contributions to Gustavus and will make sure that all future mailings go to the Marco Island address.  Let us hear more of your travels.

A memorial service for Lorraine Telander was held at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis the end of December.  She died December 8, at the age of 87.  You will most likely remember her as the Dean of Women and resident head of Rundstrom Hall when we were students.  Even after she left Gustavus to teach at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, she continued to be involved in various committees and attended most of the special functions at the college for many years.  She was 87 years old, but I swear that until a couple years ago, she looked just the same as she did 30 years ago‑her skin was so clear and unlined.  I often wondered how she kept it that way.

A couple weeks ago, I cut out the obituary of Leighton "Rock" Lindlan from the Star Tribune.  He died on January 7.  As I won't be able to mail this for a couple days with the Martin Luther King's birthday coming up, that'll give me time to find it.  Otherwise, I'll include it in the next letter.  He was a longtime resident of Mound, but had lived in Bristol, CT the last few years.  Our sympathy goes out to his family.

We received an alumni mailing on the contributions to Gustavus since June 1, 2001, when the current Gustavus Fund Drive began.  Last year we had 111 donors for $51,978.00; this year to date we have 82 donors for $39,798.78, a drop of 26%.  Oops, some of us better send in the amounts we pledged or something extra.  Gustavus still needs us, and I still need your notes and letters.  As I've said before, you needn't have traveled far nor been famous to write to us.  You may, in fact, be leading "a life of quiet desperation," but let us keep you in our thoughts and prayers.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Co-Class Agent

P.S.  Now some news from the campus:

Campus News

Hi!  My name is Tracey Hanson.  I’m a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I’ve worked in the Alumni Office all four years and can hardly believe that I’m in the middle of my last J-Term!  After a longer-than-usual Christmas break, it’s great to be back on campus.  Instead of taking a class (and doing homework) this J-Term, I’m spending my time slaving away in the Alumni Office.  It’s great to have the extra time to relax and do other activities that J-Term allows.  Having unlimited time at home each night has made for some great cooking!  And getting to watch “Friends” without worrying about the homework you should be doing instead is also a plus! 

The campus is full of life and excitement.  The theme for J-Term 2002 is "Our Global Village," and the month will be a celebration of cultural diversity as we grapple with social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-shrinking world neighborhood.  Faculty are offering 29 different classes that tie into this global theme, many of which are travel courses.  Examples include Islam and Culture, and Chinese Cooking and Culture.  This year, 2319 students are enrolled in J-Term courses, with many studying abroad, participating in internships, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions.  I get very jealous when I read e-mails from my roommates who are studying in warm, sunny Australia.  J-Term themes for the coming years include “Service-Learning” (2003) and “Undergraduate Research.” (2004).

Winter athletics are also in full swing!  Gustie teams are off to a great start and all are near the top in the MIAC.

Gustie music ensembles are also very busy.  The Gustavus Band will embark on an international tour this J-Term.  The band is touring Sweden and Norway, presenting “Music from America.”  The tour dates are January 16 through February 10.  The tour concludes with a homecoming performance at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir is busy preparing for their tour of the Midwest during Touring Week in February, concluding with their home concert Feb. 16 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Orchestra will tour Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

February 2      Chicago Chapter event - 6:00 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m.

Gustavus Choir Concert

                        Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 815 S. Washington St., Naperville, IL

February 16    Naples Chapter event - Naples Beach Club

                        851 Gulf Shore Boulevard, Naples

                        11:30 a.m. social, 12:30 p.m. luncheon

February 17    Vero Beach Chapter event - Dawn (Ekstrom ’67) and Ted Michael residence

                        2506 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach

                        12:30 p.m. social, 1:30 p.m. luncheon

March 7          San Diego Chapter event

March 8          Tucson Chapter gathering

March 9          Phoenix Chapter gathering

March 10        Sun City Chapter gathering

More information will be sent to alumni and friends in these chapter areas.

RSVP to Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or e-mail

As I prepare to graduate in June, I find it increasingly hard to think about leaving this place.  It hardly seems possible that four years have flown by, and that in six months I, too, will be considered an alum.  I will always carry with me fond memories of my four years here.  GO GUSTIES!!!