Class of '50
January 2005

Dear Friends and Classmates,

When I wrote my Christmas letter a month ago, the lake had not frozen over.  Two days ago, we had not received any snow to speak of―just some tapioca like ice pellets.  Yesterday winter came to the area with a vengeance.  Several inches of snow, a wind that picked up during last night and today a wind chill of 10 to 20 below zero.  Now, does that make you in the South happy for the choice you made?  How did we trudge from dorms, the stadium, the village of homes where the parking lot was later, or downtown to chapel and our classes every day in this kind of weather?  Were rehearsals of plays, music events or athletic practices ever called off?  I can't remember that being the case.  Good thing we were more than 55 years younger then.  Egad―doesn't that sound like a long time ago?

Come to think of it―that makes next spring our 55th anniversary of graduation.  Let's make a concerted effort to increase our scholarship fund that we began five years ago.  The amount collected was not enough to endow a full one, but we could make it this time.  Making Gustavus available for future students is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

When I receive the class notes from the alumni office, it's like getting a letter from home.  I only wish we'd hear from more of you, whether you stay at home, are still working or retired, travel, are ill or coping with other problems―we could give you moral support.

The following note from Eldon C. Johnson of Torrington, WY was sent on to Dr. Mason, who, I'm sure, appreciated it:  "Thank you for your outstanding perseverance in educational excellence and social responsibility.  May God continue to guide and bless Gustavus Adolphus College.  It is a delight to get The Gustavus Quarterly.  The Winter 2004-05 Quarterly presents “Reflections on a visit to Cuba,” by Gregory Mason, professor of English.  This article by professor Mason is most enlightening and instructive.  Thank you, Mr. Mason!  I quite agree with Mr. Mason and others that our government and the Cuban people would be better off without the trade embargo.  We must develop an attitude between the United States and Cuba of mutual trust and cooperation.  And the U.S. needs to take the initiative."  Good to hear from you, Eldon.

Gene Dumdei of North Mankato, MN writes:  “I'm looking forward to third generation of graduates from G.A.C.!  Grandson Jeffrey, son of my daughter Paula (Dumdei) Rock ’77, is now attending as a freshman from Eden Prairie, MN."  That's a good feeling, isn't it?  Glad to have him at Gustavus!

Dorothy Busness Dahl of Schaumburg, IL, has a granddaughter graduating from the University of Missouri.  A grandson is getting married on a cruise ship.  Now that sounds like a fascinating idea.  Good to hear from you, too.

Ed Wetherill of St. Peter, MN remains busy in retirement.  At one time director of the Encampment at the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux (discontinued after several successful years), Ed is the co-chair of the St. Peter Chautauqua Assembly, planning for the next August 20-21 in St. Peter.  Instead of bringing in outside speakers as many Chautauqua programs did years ago, local speakers and artisans participate.  I understand the one last fall was very successful.  Remember the Chautauqua play performed in a tent at the Levee Park in the fall of 1949?  Some of us attended that one.

Calvin J. Anderson of Wellfleet, MA writes:  "My wife, Nina, and I have lived here on Cape Cod since retirement in 1992.  We are involved in many activities that survive because of the volunteer support.  There are many senior citizens on Cape Cod.  Many of these seniors need the volunteers to get them to medical appointments.  Our major medical facility is in Hyannis, 35 miles from Wellfleet.  We travel often.  Recent trip was to the Canadian Maritime Provinces.  Provence was last year; and Ireland is one of our favorite places.  The golf is fantastic.  Elderhostels have been fun winter trips.  Life has progressed to the state where “In Memoriam” is the first I read in the Quarterly."  Thanks for that newsy note, Calvin.  You lead a full, busy life.

Another traveler is Irene Carlson Moore of Brooklyn Park, MN.  She "enjoyed a fabulous two- week trip to Alaska this summer went with a high school friend.  Now we're planning on Branson‑she's been there before but I haven't."  As I've mentioned before, be sure to visit the washrooms in the violinist Shoji's place.  I haven't been there either, but I've had friends who've brought me back cards of the place!

In October Joyce L. Anderson of Minneapolis, MN had "two weeks in Italy, went to Rome, Naples, Florence, Sicily‑‑enjoyed art works and took a fun vacation."  I've not been in Naples or on Sicily.  Sounds as if you had a really good time.

Orv Iverson of Woodside, CA completed a tour of Buchenwald concentration camp at Wiemar, Germany with the Albreicht family.  He added a note during Phonorama to "look him up on Google!"  I haven't tried that yet.  Your tour must have been a sobering experience.

Dick Priest writes:  “The Richard C. Priest Elementary School located in Las Vegas is presently serving over 850 students and is servicing a rapidly growing area.  I enjoy spending time interacting with students who attend there!"  That must give you warm satisfaction, Dick.

Rodney Johnson writes from Palo Cedro, CA [that's a new place for me, GB]:  "We have down-sized our living quarters, but still find it very satisfactory.  We are in a new manufactured home on 3+ acres―adjoining a similar set-up of our youngest son.  The north state (of CA) is very beautiful with neat lakes, rivers, mountains and wild country . . . and less than two hours from the Pacific and all its wonders."  Sounds delightful and a place I'd like to visit.  Rod also asked if there is a video of highlights of the campus.  I'd like to know that myself.  Perhaps others would be interested in having such a video.

I thought of you who might be living along the Pacific coast this week, hoping the storms left you and your property intact, just as I thought of you in Florida last summer during the four hurricanes.  I know people whose homes were destroyed and Carolyn Anderson Kvam of Punta Gorda, FL had a similar fate.  Her sad note informs us:  "2004 was not a good year for me.  Our home was devastated by 'Hurricane Charlie' in August, and my beloved husband, Lowell, died in October.  Although still in a Ft. Myers condo, I hope to be home by Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I need a front door, garage door and a roof that doesn't leak!  God, friends, and family have seen me through!"  Our deep sympathy goes to you, Carolyn.  I do hope you were able to be in your home by Christmas.

Ole Bergman who made calls during Phonorama (I thank all those who made calls for our class) informed us that Donn Escher of Brooklyn Center, MN has cancer.  I've not contacted Donn yet.  I hope you're doing all right.  Keep me posted.  Our prayers are with all those who are ill or coping with grief.

For Christmas my sister, Enid, gave me a tape of the Sunday morning service of the Gathering of the Augustana Heritage Foundation at Gustavus last June.  Harold Skillrud gave an excellent sermon, and I'm so glad I could hear it.

To return to the annual alumni fund, remember Dallas Young's suggestion last year of giving a penny of every dollar of your income to Gustavus this year.  I receive so many requests for contributions with a penny or seven cents or some such amount fastened to a letter that I couldn't possibly give to them all.  Gustavus, in an anniversary year, is a different matter entirely.  We know where the money is going.  We feel good about Gustavus and want her excellent role in the education of our youth to continue.

Have you noticed the postmark on some of your mail reads "Greetings from Far, Far Away?"  I don't know if that's a line from Shrek or not, but I thoroughly enjoy it―even if it's a letter from a town only a couple hours away.  I wish the Mankato post office used that postmark.  It would be so appropriate for our class letters.

Blessings to you all…

Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

Campus News:

Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus.  To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added.  Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester

Did you know that the college has gone wireless? Wireless computing, that is? Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs. Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.

Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon.  The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.  The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.

The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December. The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Announcing a new tool for all Alumni: The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.

The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy.  It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you.  Check it out today at

The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004. To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
  • New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
  • Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
  • Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
  • Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
  • Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
  • Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
  • Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
  • Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30