Class of '50
October 2004

Dear Friends and Classmates of 1950,

About 100 robins are passing through this part of west-central Minnesota, about half of which fly into our windows periodically, sounding as if we're in the midst of a bombardment.  My windows aren't even that clean, but the gloomy skies still reflect in the panes, and they think they're reaching more open sky and tree tops.  Oh well, as long as they don't break their little necks . . .

'Tis a bit different from the first week in October when I attended the Nobel Conference at Gustavus on The Science of Aging.  Then we had weather in the high 70s and almost 80 degrees one day.  Among the 6,000 in attendance I knew several classmates must be taking it in, but the only one I saw was Dallas Young.  The conference was stimulating, and the exchanges between the experts fascinating.  As it was the 40th anniversary of the first conference, former Chaplin Elvee returned for a recap of those years at the banquet.  Hearing several of the speakers refer to the conference and college as a "magical" experience was heartwarming.

The annual Class Agents' meeting in September is always a good place to be and become enthusiastic once again about being part of the active Alumni Association.  I don't take copious notes as some do, but I assure you, Gustavus is still a college to be proud of, high in the ranking of the nation's colleges and universities.  Jim Peterson ’64, starting his second year as president, gave a five-year program for the college, moving it from good to great and featuring diversity, academic progress, its relationship with the church, recognizing its frailities (Old Main, for example), technology, and money and different ways of improving the program.

College news will be added to the end of this letter, so I'll get right to the class notes that arrived during the late spring and summer.

One of the big events on campus in June was the Augustana Heritage Association gathering, a biennial event honoring the former Augustana Lutheran Synod, in which many of us grew up and our seminarians were ordained.  Harold Skillrud preached the sermon at the Festival service on the 27th.  Lois (Dickhart),of course was also there.  I missed the occasion as I was visiting Scotland and Ireland with my daughter Julie (Italiano ’75), her daughter Anna, and another 16-year-old friend of hers, also Anna.  Fortunately, my sister Enid Martell Olson ’40 and her daughter, Dawn were able to be there.

Retirees among us still remain active.  John Kress of Plato, MN writes that he has been completely retired since 1998 but has been very active in the church the past three years.  He and Corinne spend the summer at their lake place on Mill Lake near Alexandria.

Another active retiree is Roger Hanson of Cedar Falls, IA.  He writes:  "Although I retired in 1997 as professor of physics at the University of Northern Iowa, I continue some professional activities including experimental research related to the physics of musical instruments.  In August 2003 I presented a paper at an international conference on musical acoustics held in Stockholm, Sweden.  "Fascinating‑that's an aspect of music I've never thought about.  Good for you!  Stockholm is a most interesting city, isn't it?

Another classmate visiting Sweden was Dallas Young, along with Phyllis, who was "in Vargarda (sorry, no umlauts on my computer), attending the 75h birthday party of Phyl's cousin Bengt Goranssson.  He is a retired church organist, but still directs three community choirs and often is called on as a substitute church organist.  "Good to know retires in other countries continue to remain active, too.  Good to see you at Nobel, Dallas.  Dallas and Phyllis live in Baxter, MN.  While in college, Dallas worked for Floyd Martinson and kept in close contact with him until Floyd passed away.  I stayed with Bea during Nobel, and their greetings were warm and wonderful to see.

A note from Donn Escher of Brooklyn Center, MN informs us that his granddaughter, Danielle Berg, of St. Cloud, MN entered Gustavus as a freshman this fall.

Bob Pierson of Brooklyn Park, MN sent in a contribution for the girls' gymnastics team.  He "taught Junior High gymnastics for 12 years.  Marion and I are close to our children and we enjoy our grandchildren, nine in all.  Two are graduating from college this year.  Thank you for the newsletter about past experiences years ago..."

Good health eludes some of us as we become older―a topic addressed by the speakers at the conference.  Dorothy Orn Olson of St. Peter received a new knee April 19 last spring and hoped to golf again.  I surely hope the surgery was successful and that you found your way to the golf course again.  I know how much you enjoy the game.

Then there's our bionic woman, as she called herself a few years ago after several surgeries, Birgitt Rita Ivarson of Fairfield, CT.  She wrote, "Recovering from heart attack‑2 angioplasties.  Doing fine, thank you. Doing some writing.  Working on the memoirs of a missionary friend and also on a biographical fiction novel.  Mostly retired from active ministry due to spinal stenosis."  Good luck with the writing, Rita, and take care of yourself.  You are an amazing person.

When Pete Erickson ’49 made some calls for our class last spring, he learned that Carol Becker Swenson and two daughters have had cancer recently, and her son has had an aorta breakdown.  All three cancers seem to be under control, but her son was still having medical care.  Wow‑how threatening for the family to be hit that way.  I surely hope you and your children are continuing to recover.  I thought of you when Mt. St. Helen's began spewing forth steam, etc. again.  At our 30th reunion that you and Dale attended, you told us, "Don't come to [Olympia] Washington to see us.  Washington will come to you."  Yes, we could see the effects of that terrific eruption here in the Midwest, especially in the spectacular sunsets.

At the annual Augustana service held at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, I visited with Ralph and Yvonne (Anderson) Belin of Chaska, MN.  They were both recovering from back surgery.  Please have an uneventful, speedy, continuing recovery.  We miss your calls at Phonorama.

Our classmate, Dorothy Larson Windland of Wayzata, MN passed away June 25.  Our sympathy goes to her children and grandchildren.  I know her close friends with whom she kept in touch through a round robin letter and frequent get-togethers will sorely miss her, too.

You no doubt are already aware that Lloyd "Holly" Hollingsworth ’36 of St. Peter passed away this fall.  He was 92.  As his obituary read, "[He was the] long time football coach at Gustavus Adolphus College whose record of six consecutive conference championships in the 1950s still stands."  He stood out because he was one of the few coaches of the time who held a doctorate.  Academics were as important to him as athletics.  At another of our reunions when we were asked to tell how we happened to come to Gustavus as students, I was surprised how many were there because Holly had told them about Gustavus‑some when they were in the armed services.  After more than 40 years at Gustavus, he taught master gardening courses and tended his garden, "the size of a football field," according to his daughter.  He furnished many families with vegetables from that garden along Highway 169.

Of course, I must mention the Alumni Fund, or Gustavus Fund, as it is also called.  One class agent came up with a marvelous thought.  "We must give Gustavus to students in the years to come."  That puts a different perspective on giving, does it not?  Not that we still "owe" Gustavus for our education or any other aspect of fund raising, but that we want to share what we have so other students might benefit in like manner.

I thought we'd have some news from Phonorama, but those notes are being kept for the winter newsletter.  Please keep your notes and letters coming.  The Alumni Office will fill you in on some of the exciting things going on at Gustavus.  When I received the information about the 2004-055 season of the Gustavus Artist Series, I could see why they called it "A Season of Excellence."


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

Campus News:

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 657 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President’s Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field, will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Charlotte Area Gustavus Gathering – October 30
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” – December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival – December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005