Class of '50
May 2005

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

In less than a month it will not only be the close of this year's Alumni Fund Drive, but our 55th anniversary of our graduation.  I've had a couple calls, wondering if anything special is planned for our class during commencement weekend.  Well, the tables are marked and set aside at the luncheon and banquet for the anniversary classes, within the 50-year-club so watch for that.  Also, the Alumni Office invites the Class of 1950 to gather on Friday night after the 50-year-club dinner in the President’s Dinning Room (one room over from where we eat dinner) for coffee and conversation with classmates.  I hope many of you will be able to attend.

Only a couple class notes were forwarded to me, and I received a couple personal notes:  RoseMarie Gregg Manders of Roseville, MN writes:  "My grandson, Kyle Nelson, is in the freshman class at G.A.  He agrees it's a great college."  That's good to hear―thanks for writing.

Doris Jacobson Speckeen wrote:  "We spent a wonderful month in the U.K. [last] summer.  Rented a canal boat with another couple and traveled the Trent-Mersey canal.  Learned to run the locks, as well as the boat since we were the crew.  Arrived home to find Hurricane Jean had devastated our condo on Singer Island in FL.  So we are spending the winter rebuilding."  What a delightful trip that must have been.  Had you read Emily Kimbrough's book about a similar trip years ago?  Watching those canal boats and the people managing the locks was fun when I was in England a couple years ago with a friend.  Berkhamsted had a canal flowing through it, and Ida and I spent time observing them and wondering what it would be like to make a similar journey.  I hope that by now the main damage to your condo has been repaired.  I know it took some people months to get roofers or whatever to repair theirs.

A longer letter came from Ole Bergman:

"Our grandson, Christopher Bergman, is a senior at GAC and will graduate shortly in 2005.  His sister, and our granddaughter, Britta Bergman, is a freshman at GAC.  Their parents, father and our son, Mark W. Bergman, graduated from GAC in 1979, and their mother, Mark's wife, Debra A (Erickson) Bergman, class of GAC 1980.  Debra's father, Peter E. Erickson, is a 1949 GAC (and class agent).

"Bonnie Seaberg Bergman and I met at GAC.  Bonnie is a 1951 GAC.  Bonnie and I were married September 9, 1951, almost 54 years now.  Mark and Debra met at GAC and were married November 1, 1981.

"I recently talked to Donn Escher…Donn told me he has had 33 radiation treatments, and is now taking chemo.  Donn says he gets out of breath and has had some other complications.  Donn told me that his wife died in 1991 from breast cancer.  Donn has four children and eight grandchildren.  This is a real blessing for Donn.  Donn, while we talked, sounded so positive, and [has] just a wonderful attitude.  " Our prayers are with you, Donn, and with all of you who are suffering the effects of cancer or some other illness or injury that keeps you from doing the normal routine or activities you'd prefer to be doing.”

Thanks for writing, Ole.  I know you've done yeoman duty on Phonorama for our class.  We appreciate it, believe me.

Bob Pierson also wrote asking about a special get-together for our 55th anniversary.  Thank you for the note.

Dallas Young called me the other day with a similar request.  We chatted for quite a while.  He had had a mini-reunion with a couple of his ordination-mates, Bob Collick ’49 and Peter Beckman.  (I hope I got that right.)  Dallas is a "temporary, part-time, interim, sporadic visitation pastor" at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd, where he used to be pastor, calling on parishioners about once every three months, along with some other part-time visitation pastors.  I hope I included all the adjectives you gave me Dallas; I'm having the usual trouble reading my handwriting.

Dallas reminded me of the idea of giving one cent of every dollar we make to the Alumni Fund.  Amazing how far that penny could reach.  We can designate it for our 50th anniversary scholarship fund and build that up, so that students may benefit from our contributions in appreciation of our education and life at Gustavus.  Remember that we have only May in which to make those gifts.

This letter is two weeks late because I went to England with a group from Faith Lutheran in Spicer.  Their pastor is from St. Albans, England, and arranged the trip.  It included a night in St. Albans where we heard a terrific Salvation Army band concert (they had just returned from a trip to the USA) and stayed overnight with friends of his parents, both of who are officers in the Salvation Army.  I saw sites not visited last time―Stonehenge, Salisbury, Bath, Shakespeare Country, Tintern Abbey in Wales (remember Wordsworth's "Lines Written . . . Above Tintern Abbey"?)  At two of the hotels, the management was not expecting our arrival, and at the Thistle Hotel Kensington, London, some confusion prevailed before we received our assigned rooms.  I came downstairs to turn in a paper with my passport number, etc. and asked a little man from the gift shop where I should do so.  He pointed me in the right direction, then added, “You're from Minnesota.”  I asked him how he knew and his reply was, “You look lost."  Good grief!  From then on each morning, he'd say "I'm going to keep my eye on you.  And put a coat on when you go out.  It's cold outside."  I reported to him when I returned from Kensington Palace and then Prince Albert Hall (all of three blocks away on a straight street) that I'd seen the sights and returned without getting lost.  His reply, “You took a taxi."  I just rolled my eyes― funny (funny ha-ha, as Dr. Alexis would say) little exchange and interlude, laced with good humor.

The Alumni Office will add a few notes on the college―they've had Arbor Day, a full calendar of Fine Arts concerts and programs, and on May 4 the annual MayDay! Peace Conference.  No wonder so many people retire to St. Peter.  Plenty of activity keeps them happy, alert, invigorated, inspired and a continuing part of the college.

Best wishes to you all―hope to see you part of commencement weekend.  Remember your gifts to Gustavus.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

Campus News:

Campus Briefs
Gustavus has been known for its strong tradition of alumni participation in annual giving.  Gusties support their Alma Mater in many ways and show their pride with their gifts.  All alumni and current students have benefited from previous and current support.  Gustavus will be as strong as its alumni want it to be.  The 2005 Alumni Fund closes May 31.  Make sure you are included with many members of your class and other alumni that have chosen to keep Gustavus strong.  Three easy ways to give – send your check to the Alumni Office (by using the enclosed envelope), call 866-487-3863, or on-line at

Alumni Awards
The Gustavus Alumni Association has announced 2005 award recipients.  The Greater Gustavus Award to George Torrey ’55 for his lifetime volunteer service and philanthropy to the College. Distinguished Alumni Citations to G. Barry Anderson ’76, Apple Valley, MN, associate justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Deanna Nelson ’64, Cary, NC, president/founder, BioLink Life Sciences, Inc.; Rick Webb ’73, Edina, MN, owner of Ciao Bella, Zelo and Bacio Restaurants; and John Wirth ’75, Pacific Palisade, CA, writer/executive producer, Paramount Studios.  First Decade Awards to Joe Gaugler ’95, Lexington, KY, assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Debbie Lightly Mascaro ’95, Fargo, ND, research scientist, North Dakota State University Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The Gustavus women’s hockey team finished third at the NCAA national championship after winning the MIAC title, the men’s basketball team won the MIAC regular season title and conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA national tournament, the men’s swimming and diving team won the MIAC title and placed seventh at the NCAA national tournament and had seven swimmers earn All-America honors and the women’s team had four swimmers earn All-America honors.

Extraordinary Students
Senior Rachel Batalden, a double major in mathematics and secondary education with a 3.898 grade point average and two-time MIAC All-Conference selection at setter for the women’s volleyball team, has been selected as one of 56 student-athletes from across the country to receive a $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Senior Paul Fraser, a music and computer science major has been selected as the winner of the second annual Caltech-Occidental Composition Contest for new music for concert band. The contest drew entries from all over the world, and as the winner, Paul will receive a cash award and a recording of the world premiere of the work at a concert by the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band in Pasadena, Calif., in May.

Bricks and mortar
Southwest Residence Hall
is being constructed across the Campus Drive from the arboretum on the west side of the campus and is scheduled to be finished by June.  The L-shaped facility is configured with apartments for four and six and will accommodate nearly 200 students.  A hostel space for summer programs and confirmation retreat groups is included in the residence’s plans.

With the new Southwest Residence Hall coming on-line, the College will be taking down Wahlstrom Hall to make way for future residential construction.  Crews will start the dismantling process in July with asbestos abatement, and the Kasota-stone residence hall will be razed in August.  Alumni returning for reunion and commencement festivities on May 27–29 will be able to take a last tour through the building’s public areas, stairwells, and walk-through sections following a “decommissioning” ceremony to be held on Saturday morning, May 28.

Construction crews working on the renovation of Old Main discovered a cistern under the basement flooring in March.  Gutting the interior has provided evidence of layers upon layers of remodeling done over the years, including an old stairwell in the middle of the building and what appears to be an attempt to raise the third-floor ceiling.  The Old Main project, which includes the installation of an elevator in the northwest corner of the building, is scheduled to be completed in August.

The education and nursing departments have been relocated to the newly erected Mattson Hall, which is sited just west of the Schaefer Fine Arts Center and Prairie View Residence Hall, on the south side of the campus.  These departments will remain there until a new social science center is built at some point in the future.

Upcoming Events

  • GLA Author Day – May 12
  • Class of 1955 and 50-Year Club Reunions – May 27 & 28
  • Commencement – May 29
  • Alumni Fund closes – May 31
  • Reunions on Homecoming – October 7 & 8
  • Nurses Reunion – October 8