Class of '50
January 2007

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950:

Better late than never?  I’m hoping that the Alumni Office had so many class letters to send out in mid-January that they didn’t miss mine.  The main problem is that I’ve been waiting for more class notes, as the envelope that I received before Christmas had only one note and two obituaries that we’d already reported.

The welcome note from Marie Norberg Bergstrom of Minneapolis informed us that their six children and their families “held a beautiful surprise 80th birthday party for Vern ’51 on June 17, ’06―his birthday is July 4!  Needless to say Vern was thrilled to greet all the friends who kept coming all afternoon.  Turning 80 can be great fun!”  Congratulations, Vern!

Donald E. Nelson shares this reminiscent note.  “Gustavus Memories:  I would like to recall with fondness two of the finest professors during my undergraduate days at Gustavus, (1947-50) namely, Professor George Anderson, and Dr. G. Alexis, who taught with compassion and energy.

Prof. George Anderson’s respect for perfection in grammatical usage was well-known by all English majors, and Dr. Alexis’ deep and abiding research and teaching in American literature were awesome.  Always the professionals, they treated each student with respect and demanded high classroom performance.”  How true.  Thanks Don, for writing.

A newspaper article about alumni and staff of Edina High School being inducted into the Edina High School Hall of Fame included retired [and deceased] teacher Everett B. Anderson, who taught at Edina Morningside and Edina High School for 29 years, from 1956 to 1985.  During the 1970’s he participated in Advanced Placement Examination reading sessions at Rider College, Trenton, N.J.

We also recall that he served as supervisor of student teachers for the education departments of Gustavus and St. Olaf Colleges, 1986-1989.

During 2006 seven of our classmates passed away:  Howie Felt on January 7, John Almen on February 5, Birgitta (we knew her better as Rita) Ivarson on March 12, Donn Escher on March 15, Ken E. Kamholz on July 16, Lloyd O Belford on October 7, and Roger Thorson in late July or early August.  I’d been in contact with Roger’s brother, John, about the Thorson reunion last June, but I didn’t make it to the reunion (my husband Henry was related to that family and we’ve exchanged genealogy records several times).  I was unaware of those last three passings and send our condolences to their families.

We just received word of the death of another of our classmates, Mary Jo Nelson Carlson on January 27, 2007.  Mary Jo and her husband, Richard lived in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She is survived by three children, including, Nancy Carlson Spreigl ’83.  Our sympathy to their family.

The big event at Gustavus this year is the 75th anniversary of the Gustavus Theater.  A special production of The Cherry Orchard will be presented February 8, 9, and 10.  Five theater alumni will participate in this last production directed by Rob Gardner.  When two of the actresses, Gail Matthies Wirth ’75 and Denise Gordon ’74, were unable to be there, (Gail and Denises’s husband were both recently diagnosed with cancer).  Karen Esbjornson ’80, John and Carol (Ostgaard) Esbjornson’s daughter agreed to fill one of the roles.  Their son, David, will come for the gala weekend, but his own dramatic production precluded his participation in a role.  Fortunately, Karen is a quick study as the other actors had their scripts two months ahead of time.  Mid-May is the other commemorative weekend, and I’ll be asking former National Collegiate Players and thespians to send me e-mails or notes of their time with the Gustavus Theater―those years spent in the Little Theater.

The Alumni Office will add more Gustie news--I hope they include the Choir tour of Spain.  I’d hoped to be with a group that accompanied them, but not enough signed up for the tour.  Guess I’ll have to visit southern Spain another time.

Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  Theatre Reunion May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by admission to the cast party on February 10.  The Cherry Orchard will be Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast includes:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance is expected for this unique celebration, so order your tickets soon.  For more information and to order tickets, go to the Cherry Orchard site from <>.

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau, given prior to Phil’s death last April, established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities broker and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, Realtor, or other professional?  Make it a Gustie!  Look in the Gustie Pages, 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 become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website at:  <>.

Career Connections with Students

Sign up now for the 2007 Gustavus Career Connections Reception.  The reception will be Monday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.  The gathering allows Gustavus alumni to provide advice, encouragement, and career networking opportunities to Gustavus students seeking internships and career opportunities.  Alumni are invited to attend and assist current students in their career search.  You do not have to be hiring at your company to attend – just willing to share your experience.  E-mail the Career Center at or call 507/933-7586 if you can attend or want more information.

Give Every Year to Gustavus?

Do you give to Gustavus every year and plan to give every year in the future?  Then you should become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Members of the Cec Eckhoff Society simply make the public commitment that they plan to give financially to Gustavus every year.  It does not matter how much you give and this is not a formal pledge for a certain amount of money.  Cec Eckhoff ’56 led the alumni office from 1963-1994.  Cec believed that part of being an alum of Gustavus was to give monetarily each year to the College.  To become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society, please call The Gustavus Fund office toll-free at 866/487-3863 or e-mail <>.  Thank you for your support of Gustavus!

Summer Sport Camps at Gustavus

Gustavus’ strong athletic tradition is evident with numerous summer sports camps featuring knowledgeable coaching staffs, acclaimed athletic facilities, and quality dining service and housing accommodations.  Camps offered this year include: golf, hockey, basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, throwing, and swimming.  For more information go to <> or contact the Athletic Department at 507/933-7617.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus String Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances are scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra will be in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • The Cherry Orchard Gala Performance – February 10
  • Orlando Gustie Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Gustie Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion – May 11-12