Class of '50
May 2002

Dear Friends and Classmates of 1950,

Spring, once it comes, as you who follow Minnesota spring times know can be any time from Christmas until Memorial Day especially this year, is extra busy at Gustavus.  Last Friday was the dedication of the Wetlands at the Linnaeus Arboretum.  Concerts and recitals abound, the athletic programs are into their spring activities.  A freshman gymnast, Amanda Parker of Ames, Iowa, earned All-American Honors in three events at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association meet; a note added by the alumni office may let you know about the men's swimming team, track and field, softball and baseball.  MAY DAY! will have taken place by the time you receive this.  Honors Day recognizes students who have achieved academic honors (obviously) and won scholarships to assist with attaining their Gustavus education.

Alumni and Reunion Weekend is scheduled for May 31 and June 1‑you should have received notice of that by now.  Remember that we are part of the 50-Year Club and our participation in any event is covered by Gustavus, but one must send in reservations for the events one wants to attend.  This year Chester and Marian (Swanson ’41) Johnson are receiving the Greater Gustavus Award for all their contributions to Gustavus‑very well deserved!

Speaking of the Arboretum, the latest issue of Twinflower, the publication of Friends of Linnaeus Arboretum, had several good pictures by Goldie Johnson, whose husband was our classmate, George Johnson.  You may recall that even though George had passed away before our 50th anniversary, Goldie was present and took pictures the entire weekend.  She also is a member of the directors of the Arboretum. 

We have class notes to pass along to you, too.  Dorothy Sederberg Olson's husband, Paul, is "finishing pastoring" in April.  They have lived in Yuma, AZ, but apparently will be in New Brighton, MN from now on.

Mary Jo Nelson Carlson and her husband, Richard, of Scottsdale, AZ will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this coming October.  We wish you congratulations and blessings on that event.

Orville Iverson of Woodside, CA, writes:  "Mary and I had a visit to the South Pacific in February, visiting six of the Society Islands from Tahiti to Bora Bora and were surprised to find the islands quite primitive.  We especially enjoyed the friendliness of the people.  Changing planes at LAX was the only bad part of the trip, four hours in lines."  Wow!  What a trip‑have any of the rest of you been there?  I'd be interested in your reactions, too.

Doris Jacobsen Speckeen of Singer Island, FL writes:  "Each summer I meet friends and former Gustie classmates Joyce Cook Robertson and Joyce Rydell Johnson (and occasionally Lila Anderson Thoreson) for lunch and a walking tour of the Gustavus campus.  Each year it becomes more beautiful."  I agree; the recovery during the last four years has been remarkable, and the flower borders and gardens are quite spectacular.  What a wonderful idea for getting together!

Robert B Pierson of Brooklyn Park, MN is still doing some winter and summer fishing.  Were you able to do much fishing this winter?  The lakes froze over so late and some opened up early.  The ice went out on Green Lake on April 16‑almost all in one day, as we suspected it would.  How fortunate, Robert, that your nine grandchildren all live within 30 minutes of your house.

Of course, one advantage of having children live farther from home is being able to go and visit them.  Kenneth and Carol Nelson of Shoreview, MN, enjoy traveling.  They make regular trips to see their daughter and son-in-law in Charleston, SC, for instance.  Other highlights of their travels were a trip to Australia/New Zealand, Holden Village (a Lutheran Retreat Center in the mountains [Cascade] near Seattle, WA), where they were on September 11.  They also attended an Elderhostel in Santa Fe.  Good for you‑how many others of you attend Elderhostels?  I have yet to attend my first one, but I hear so many good things about the experience.

We also heard from Pastor Robert A. Olson of Roseville, MN.

For the past several years the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada has been honoring retired schoolteachers by naming new schools after them.  Thus it was that Richard Priest had one named after him.  While in Las Vegas, he taught at four different schools and played a major role at many of them, one of which, the James Cashman, he started himself.  Richard was originally from St. James, MN and his wife, Pearl, was from Odin.

I mentioned last time that I would include more information about Leighton "Rock" Lindlan, who passed away in Bristol, CT last January.  He was a former teacher, a real estate broker, and served as mayor in Mound, MN, where he lived for many years.  He belonged to St. John's Lutheran Church and was active in civic and community organizations.  A daughter, Heidi Lindlan, predeceased him, and the family requested that memorials for Rock be designated to the Heidi Lindlan Scholarship for Art at Mound Westonka High School.  What a thoughtful idea.

E-mail brings some fun messages.  One that I won't go into at length, but bears a sample repeating is "What Lutherans Believe."  "Lutherans like to sing except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four verses;" and "Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital even if they don't notify them that they are there."  You get the general idea.

Please remember that the Alumni Fund/Gustavus Fund closes at the end of the fiscal year, May 31, and we're behind last year's giving by 16% so please send in your contributions if you have not already done so.  Here is our standing to date as of April 30, 2002:

Total Donors 

This Year

Total Dollar Credit

This Year

Last Years Donors YTD

Last Years Total Dollar Credit YTD

+ / (-)  % To LY Participation






Let's hear from you soon.

As ever,

Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Co-class Agent

P.S.  Now for some other class news written by a current Gustavus student:

Campus News:

Hi!  This is Tracey Hanson ’02 again writing from the Alumni Office.  For those of you who haven’t previously heard from me, I am a senior double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I am a seasoned Alumni Office veteran, as this is my fourth (and final) year here.  After not having taken a J-Term class, spring semester and the homework it entails has been hitting me hard.  Contrary to popular belief, the “senior slacker” final semester has been just the opposite for me.  My time at Gustavus has flown by, especially this final year.  The fact that it is March and I am still without a job is beginning to be a constant thought in the back of my mind.  It also seems to be a constant thought in the minds of my parents, although it seems closer to the front of theirs!  Spring semester has also been the final opportunity to be all together with classmates, so much time has been spent socially with roommates and friends.

As I will be graduating in June, this will be the final time you receive updates from me.  I now will also move into the alum category and step into the real world.  I’m not sure I’m completely ready for the change, but I’m darn sure that I better get ready because it’ll be here before I know it!  Here is some news from Gustavus.

Interim President Named: The Board of Trustees of Gustavus announced that it has selected The Reverend Dennis J. Johnson ’60 as the interim president of the College.  The Rev. Johnson succeeds Dr. Axel Steuer, the thirteenth president of the College, who announced January 21st that he was resigning at the end of the current academic year after having served as president for the last 11 years.

In 1985 he accepted the position as Vice President of Church Relations of Gustavus Adolphus College and in 1996 was named Vice President of College Relations.  During his tenure in the College Relations position, he twice served as interim Vice President for Development.  Previously, he served on both the Gustavus Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board.  He retired from Gustavus in 2000.  In the last year, he has served as the Bishop’s Associate for the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA.  Dennis and his wife have two children.

Hello Walk On-line Alumni Community ( has been launched and Gusties of all ages are invited to join this meeting place for anything from small talk to debate to caring conversations.  Hello Walk at Gustavus is the sidewalk running from Uhler Hall on the north side of campus past the front of Old Main to Pittman Hall on the south side, which, for decades, was the main “artery” and gathering point on campus.  Even though the campus landscape has changed, the spirit of Hello Walk continues with you joining the conversation on the virtual Hello Walk.  Associate professor of political science Chris Gilbert will guest host a discussion on politics for the months of May and June.  Check it out at

Reunion Weekend for the 50 Year Club and Class of 1952 is May 31 & June 1.  A schedule of events and registration material was sent in April.

The Gustavus Alumni Fund closes May 31 – help us reclaim 50 percent participation and our national recognition for alumni giving.  All gifts, no matter what the size are appreciated.

Homecoming 2002 & All Sports Reunion Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Intercollegiate Athletics is September 21.  Homecoming Weekend will include reunion gatherings for classes of 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2002.  Class reunions will be held in Bloomington at the Radisson South Hotel Friday evening, and Homecoming events including class and all-sports reunion events will return to campus for activities Saturday.  A schedule of events and registration material will be mailed in August.  A schedule will be published in the summer and fall issues of the of the Quarterly.

It was an extremely successful winter sports season at Gustavus.  Women’s hockey won the MIAC regular season championship with an undefeated record and advanced to the Frozen Four National Tournament, finishing third in the nation. The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won MIAC titles, the first time in Gustavus history.  The women’s Nordic ski team won its first MIAC championship.  Men’s basketball placed second in the MIAC during the regular season and MIAC playoffs, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to number one ranked Carthage College.  Men’s hockey finished second in the MIAC regular season and playoffs.  Women’s basketball finished fourth in the MIAC and advanced to the conference playoff for the first time ever. The women’s indoor track team finished second and both the men’s Nordic ski team and men’s indoor track teams placed fourth in MIAC action.  The women’s gymnastics team advanced to the NCGA National Championships.  Five Gustavus coaches were named Coach of the Year in their respective sports – Jon Carlson (women’s swimming & diving), Mike Carroll (women’s hockey), Mickey Haller (women’s basketball), Scott Jerome (women’s Nordic skiing), and Brett Petersen (men’s hockey).

Evelyn Sponberg Young’s 90th birthday celebration

The Twin Cities Chapter of the Alumni Association invites all Gusties and friends of former Gustavus food service director and 2002 Alumni Fund Chair Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 to her 90th birthday celebration on July 25, 2002 at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, 5025 Knox Avenue South, Minneapolis, at 6:30 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. program.

Evelyn will be serving her famous red velvet cake and all guests will receive a loaf of her famous Swedish rye bread. A book of remembrance will be compiled as a gift for Evelyn.  Please send remembrances and stories of Evelyn to Alumni Office, Gustavus Adolphus College, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082.  Reservations should be made with the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437, e-mail at or visit our web site at, alumni, events.

NOBEL CONFERENCE® XXXVIII, The Nature of Nurture – The Early Years, will be held on campus October 1 & 2.  The conference will explore the forces that are most important in shaping a child’s personality, gender identity, and language acquisition and learning ability.  History, discoveries, research, and clinical studies will all be surveyed to draw a better understanding of biological forces and environmental influences on brain development.

For more news and information about Gustavus, check out the web site at