Class of '51
April 2005

Dear classmates and all,

“We’re on our way to Chapel.”  I called Philly in the Alumni Office from our daughter’s home.

“That’s great!”

“We’ll be there in about an hour.”

Chapel is special at Gustavus.  You are welcome to attend every morning at 10:00 (except Saturday’s).

Now it is ten days later and the Gustavus Chapel Choir sang at our church in Duluth.  We were changed by the humble devotion of the 60 students as they reverently sang sixteen compositions.  Two new, commissioned works including one sung for Paul Granlund’s ’52 funeral.  Paul had requested “Prayer of St. Francis.”  Within a week Rev. William Beckstrand with the music and the choir learned it.  It was beautiful.

Nine students performed a medieval drama in costume, which the choir was angels singing.  Laura P. spoke the words of Christ convincingly!  We all sang a hymn that Luke, a religion major, wrote and Chad, a music major, arranged.  This was the very first time it was sung!

The new brochure, Music at Gustavus, features students and why they want a Gustavus education.  A 1989 graduate, Kurt Elling, one of the top jazz vocalists, wrote, “a liberal arts education at Gustavus gives you a shot at doing anything.”  Show this to budding musicians who are looking for a college!

Please consider joining the Cec Eckhoff Society.  By joining you pledge to give something to the Alumni Fund every year, but it is not tied to a dollar amount.  There is a reception and concert at Gustavus for all members of the society on May 7.

Ann Komatz Basset lives near the Arboretum and as president wrote this to members of Linnaeus Arboretum:  “Who among us doesn’t love a treasure hunt - especially when we know we’re going to come away with a reward – something that is ours to keep and value, if we wish, all of our lives.

            That, to me, is what Linnaeus Arboretum is.  We have only to look and each of us will find the treasures there.  Each of us finds a different gift – beauty for the eye, peace for the mind, perhaps solace or inspiration for the soul, or just the joy of a lovely day.  With every visit to the Arb, we receive a different gift…

            I hope you will feel that this prize is worth preserving and passing along to those who will come to Gustavus in future years seeking treasures.  Your 2005 membership gift provides important financial support for the care and endowment of the Arb and allows us to ensure that their search will be well rewarded.”

Thanks Ann!  I hear that David Johnson is vice president.  If you send $35 or more to the Friends of Linnaeus Arboretum, Gustavus, it counts towards the Annual Fund.  That’s also true of joining the Gustavus Library Associates and it’s just that easy!

Donn Larson, Duluth, has a column in Twin Ports People, Duluth’s Community newspaper.  I found this information there:

After Monnie Goldfine and I published The Will and Way:  How a Generation of Activists Won Public and Private Achievements for Their Community and Region last year, we got a call from Mavis Whiteman, one of the University for Seniors leaders.  She asked if we could arrange an eight-week session based on the book.

            We decided to feature 16 speakers, two one-hour presentations over a series of eight Wednesday mornings in January and February.  Narrowing the list of subjects was a problem because the book has 43 chapters by almost that many people, plus Harold Frederick’s introduction, several sub-topics and an epilog.  But recruiting a faculty was easy.

            The book is an historical account of how local projects accomplished a needed community makeover.  One of its main intentions is to inspire today’s generation to mobilize for solving new community challenges.”

Info at the end of the column:  Donn Larson has been active in civic affairs since elected to his first two terms on the Duluth City Council in 1959.  He served on the City Charter Commission in the ’70s.  He is co-publisher (with Manley Goldfine) of The Will and The Way, a book about efforts in the Twin Ports to recover from the economic doldrums of the 1960s.

Denny Lofstrom sent a fabulous printout with color photos of Iambi Hospital, Tanzania.  You can’t access it on the Mayo Clinic website because it is internal and can’t be viewed by the general public.  I’m sure these excerpts can be quoted about Denny, who is in charge of the project:

            Dr. Lofstrom, graduated from the University of Minnesota, then earned his DTM & H from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine before going to Tanzania to be Doctor-in-Charge at Kiomboi Hospital from 1958 to 1962.  In 1963 he began a pathology residency at the University of Minnesota for three years with research for an additional three years.  During this time, he returned to Tanzania twice for research trips.  He then had his own pathology lab in Brainerd, MN for eight years before joining the Veteran’s Hospital in Coronary Care and Pulmonary Medicine for three years in St. Cloud.  He then treated patients at the Emergency Medicine Group in the St. Cloud Trauma Center for 18 years.  In 1998, Dr. Dennis and his wife Paula, an LPN, over-wintered at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, converting a naval hospital into a civilian hospital.  Upon returning, both worked in the Chronobiology Department at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Franz Hallberg.  They intended on retiring, but they received a request from the Central Diocese in Tanzania in fall 2001 to access Iambi Hospital and its needs.  While there, they were asked to create a five-year development plan for the hospital.  After the plan was approved, they were asked to implement it.

            Dennis and Paula felt God was leading them to Tanzania.  They love the country and it’s people.  Paula says, “We have returned to the same area in order to rescue Iambi Hospital for the people who so desperately need it.”  Besides assisting with medical care and hosting guests, they have been instrumental in rebuilding and building new additions to the nursing school.  They have been visited by church and medical groups interested in making a difference in the lives of other human beings less fortunate.

            Dr. Lofstrom, along with Dr. Jed Gorlin from the University of Minnesota have obtained a grant, “Strengthening Blood Transfusion Services and Blood Safety in Tanzania” through the Center for Disease Control and Department of Health and Human Services RFP.  The grant helped install a new blood bank/pathology lab.

I want to add that we were told in Iambi that Dr. Lofstrom figured out how to fix the broken windmill so the hospital had electricity after ten years.  Denny writes that they spent two weeks in Norway fundraising for Iambi Hospital.  Just before they left Iambi, Tanzania, the footings, foundation and bases of the eight pillars for the new chapel, reception and conference center were poured.  He wrote, “It will be an impressive addition to the hospital campus.”  Here is Dennis’s present address:

Dennis Lofstrom, M.D.

Iambi Lutheran Hospital

Nkungi Village

Iambi Hospital Private Bag, P.O. Singida

Tanzania, East Africa


Robert A. Peterson, Moscow, Idaho, better know as “Pete the Goalie,” sends his blessings to all.  He is “alive and kicking.”

Elaine Johnson Carlson lives in Alexandria, Minnesota.  Her husband, Ted, passed away in August of 2003.

Weldon Burchill, Mason, Michigan, wrote, “Merry Christmas and tell Stan Benson that I will write more next time.”

Robert Smith, Minnetonka, wrote in January, “Enjoying seeing Florida again!”  Pleased with all the improvements and plans for Gustavus!”

Joan Goodman Halberg, Murrells Inlet, SC, writes, “All goes well here in South Carolina.  My children keep me on the go.  I’ve visited Atlanta, Old Lyme Shores, CT, Saratoga, NY and Palm City, FL this year.  Spend time with bridge and library volunteering.”

Marilyn Street Turner, Santa Rose, CA, had this to share:  “I have two children back in college. Kristen is at Mississippi State in veterinary medicine and Kent at Louisiana State to get an MFA.  We had Thanksgiving with them in Mississippi.  Classmate Skip Holmgren and her husband had lunch here with us in Santa Rose.  Hadn’t seen her since 1957.”

Fred Tidstrom, Ashland, WI, retired dentist, is a leader with ideas.  He is Chairman of Citizens for a Unified School District.  As a former school board member, he is running for school board again at age 76!  He works with others on fostering linkages, collaboration, jobs and a shared vision of the whole area.  His sermons with his dog #54 (wondrous Star) and #56 (the hardest command – STAY) intrigue us!  Fred took his grandson, Brock Tidstrom, to Gustavus homecoming.  Brock has been accepted for the class of ’09 at Gustavus!  Thanks Fred, for all of your news.  Keep writing!

The new president at Concordia College, Moorhead, Pamela Jolicoeur, was interviewed for the Metro Lutheran.  The question was:  Do you think private colleges are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market?  It’s a huge perception problem.  You need to talk about financial aid.  We provide a lot of it.  But the real conversation needs to be about value – how long it takes to get through, preparation for life, the sense of vocation you get here.

That reminds me Gustavus needs money for scholarships, too, so send a gift to the Annual Fund to help!

The Quarterly, Spring ’05, is full of interesting information.  See page 12 for a description of Ann Komatz Basset’s husband, Gene Basset’s Vietnam Drawings.  They were at Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus until April 10.

See page 29 for “How a gift annuity makes sense.”  Page 28 describes the Gustavus Fund, which is what we refer to as the Annual Fund.  (It’s all the same.)  See page 36 for a photo of our five at Phonorama last September.  Great looking bunch of ’51ers!

As of April 30, 144 of our classmates have given so far this year.  Instead of that percentage of 51.9 % we need 100% by the end of May!

How come St. Olaf’s alumni participation has grown during the same years as Gustavus’ alumni participation has declined?  Where is that old Gustie spirit?  Also 65% of Carleton College alumni give, which is about twice as high as Gustavus’.  The Fund closes on May 31.  Come on you Gusties!

The ice is going out at our lake early this spring.  Send your gifts as early as you can along with your news!

As a fellow Gustie,

Dorothy Johnson Lutz

1951 Class Agent

P. S.  The Alumni Office will add some campus news here:

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

  • Association of Congregations Meeting – April 23
  • G.I.V.E. Community Service Day – April 30
  • 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