Class of '51
September 2000

Dear Classmates,

I am writing to you as a member of our class reunion committee to let you know how things are moving along toward our anniversary of 50 years next May 25-26.

Our sub-committee to plan the Friday night banquet and program met two days ago at the request of our chairman, Gordy Sandbakken. Besides Gordy and myself, Dave Johnson, Kurt Goranson, Ray Lundquist, Clinton Lomis and Lois Hesselroth Hovland were in attendance at Calvary Luthern Church in GoldenValley. The full planning committee will meet again at Gustavus on September 16 and our recommendations will be presented.

One of the features of our program will be flashbacks of special moments during our four years at Gustavus. We need your help on this, classmates. All of you must have at least one special memory that stands out in your college days¾ connections with friends, professors, dorm life, sports¾ funny, unique, or life-changing experiences. In the next few weeks we'd like you to write a paragraph or two and send these special memories to me: Marilyn Robertz, 524 Capitol Drive, St. Peter, MN 56082, or via e-mail to or to the Alumni Office at Gustavus. Everyone should have received a form to fill out to update information about yourself for the Alumni Office that they would like returned by November 15th. If you'd like, enclose your "story" along with that form. Our committee looks forward to hearing from all of you. The Alumni Office may print a small booklet of our stories for a memento.

After our program planning committee meeting in Golden Valley, Bill and I had a wonderful treat. Dave Johnson invited us to see his beautiful gardens where they live just a short distance from Calvary Lutheran. He and his wife Delores, master gardeners, took us on a personal tour of their large, park-like property which includes a waterfall and pond stocked with Koa fish, a fountain, and many, many varied and colorful flower beds surrounding their home. Their gardens have been featured in several magazines and they have hosted a number of garden tours, including one for the Friends of the Linneaus Arboretum at Gustavus. Being a gardener of sorts, I was absolutely thrilled.

Last weekend Bill and I visited with quite a few Gusties at Vern and Marie (Norberg '50) Bergstrom's 50th wedding anniversary party at their daughter's lovely home in Edina. Ray and Gerry (Erickson) Thompson came down from their northern home near Silver Bay. Bob and Dorothy (Anderson) Colburn, John and Carol (Ostgaard) Esbjornson, and Harry and Lois (Dickhart) Skillrud, all class of '50, were there.

Every now and then we see Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson here in St. Peter. Marie is in my book group that meets monthly.

On this Labor Day weekend the campus is buzzing. It has really come to life with first year students and their families moving them into dorms today. Then on Monday upper-class students return. It is quite a scene with U-Haul trailers and trucks in every possible space. Each September we are awed by the amount of stuff kids have today compared to our meager belongings in the late ’40s. Bill arrived with one suitcase and a typewriter.

Summer weather is winding down now. Recently Bill and I have been kept busy harvesting the produce from our vegetable garden. We hardly know what to do with all the raspberries this year. Since we lost all of our big shade trees in the March ’98 tornado, our gardens bask in full sun.

On campus this summer a new International Student Center where international and American students can live together was completed. It will also house the International Education office among other things. Also, a new track was added just north of Lund Center and several campus roads were realigned. If any of you from the class of ’51 have not seen the campus in recent years, you will be truly amazed at the changes. Just since the March ’98 tornado, the campus has changed a great deal. Though we are missing the mature trees, Gustavus' landscaping and tree replacement have made the campus a truly beautiful place to visit.

We hope all of you classmates will make an effort to come for our special golden anniversary reunion next May. Some of you may even make it for the Nobel Conference, October 3 and 4. The topic: Globalization 2000-Economic Prospects and Challenges.

Remember!!! Dig back in your memory for a special story to share and send it to St. Peter before it gets tacked away on your "to do" list. Have a good fall and winter.

We'll see you next May!

Marilyn Barnes Robertz

1951 Guest Letter Writer