Class of '51
Dear Classmates and spouses,
We are excited and thankful to have a new president, Jack Ohle (pronounced OH-lee) and his wife, Kristen, who agreed to come to Gustavus! The Trustees were on campus by 8:00 a.m. Friday to ask questions and vote. They introduced the Ohles at chapel, and then put it on the Internet. Jack is currently the president of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa and will succeed Jim Peterson ’64, who is retiring after serving as president of the College since July 2003. Ohle will take office July 1, 2008.
The Mankato Free Press had this headline: “New President Jack Ohle enjoys friendly welcome at GAC.” Jack had this to say, “Gustavus Adolphus College is more than I ever thought it would be, and I’ve known it for years,” he said. “I knew Gustavus was great. I had a son go here, and he just loved it. This is a great opportunity for us and I know we’re going to have a great time.”
Please send the best gift you can before May 31 to give others the opportunity to attend Gustavus. Participation is key to raise our class ranking! Members of the Gustavus Board of Trustees have created a $50,000 challenge match to help achieve this goal. When you make a gift to Gustavus between May 1 and May 25, the trustees will double your gift. What a great way to double the impact of your gift for today’s students.
Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m. you can pretend you are singing in Chapel. It is a good time to pray for the students who need courage, hope and scholarship help.
President Jim told me, “We have a wonderful Admissions staff. As a result, we have a wonderful student body.” We are very thankful for President Jim’s five years as president!
“I try to be tender and caring about each student.” ~Prof. Joyce Sutphen
Prof. Sutphen took a group of students to London for January term. Another Prof. Deborah Goodwin, religion department, was interviewed by Gustavus. She said, “If Joyce teaches here, I’d like to teach at the kind of college that hired her!” The library quoted her as calling it a “Temple of Learning.”
You can give to Gustavus in many different ways including the Annual Fund. “You can’t take it with you!” Call Gustavus (800-726-6192) if you care to discuss planned or estate giving and the different options available there. Ray Lundquist encourages us to remember our ’51 Endowment Fund and Gustavus Heritage Partners.
According to the St. Peter Herald, Bob and Onie Isenberg moved back to St. Peter because they liked the Gustavus campus. They are active in the Elderhostel Program. The Isenbergs were mentioned in an editorial in the LeSueur paper. It reads: “In this edition of the newspaper you will find the 55 and Better special section. The story about and Bob and Onie Isenberg sets in motion a model of what it means to get the most out of life.
The Isenbergs, both retired, are active in the Elderhostel program, which has taken them on 14 adventures to different states to learn and grow and stretch their minds. They recommend the program to everyone… Satchel Paige, who lived to be nearly 80, would be proud of the Isenbergs. They made smart decisions in their careers and moved back to St. Peter because they like the Gustavus Adolphus College campus. It’s safe to say that the Isenbergs wouldn’t know how old they are if they didn’t know how old they were.”
Bob serves on the Board of “Friends of the Arboretum” and encourages the Gusties out there to become involved by becoming a member and support this “jewel of the prairie.” Bob urges us to be proud Gusties since our arboretum has a unique story to tell us, and Gustavus students and the world, including elementary school kids! Right now they are working to develop a new 70-acre prairie on the west side of the Linnaeus Arboretum. You can designate part of your Gustavus Fund gift. An individual membership costs $40 (and includes great news letters!) or have your gift matched by a $200,000 matching grant from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation of St. Peter. The Schmidt Foundation will match gifts and multi-year pledges at a 1:1 ratio, but it expires on May 31, 2008.
It is great to see our classmates at some of the special events on campus! Stan and Marie Benson and Bob and Onie Isenberg were there in February when the Friends of the Arboretum sponsored a Tanzanian program. Gustavus Prof. Cindy Johnson-Groh has been to Tanzania seven times heading amazing January safaris for students. She showed great photos of students involved in the last trip. Cindy said, “My heart is in Tanzania. Our trips are not just about lions and elephants, but about discovering oneself. The students study hard. We spent most nights sleeping in tents. Tanzania is very poverty-stricken. The snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro are melting. Go now; Africa is changing!
Cindy showed some slides of large trees: “How many students does it take to hold hands around a baobab tree? “How old are big baobab trees? (About 1,000 years old!) The new president of the Arboretum thanked Dave Johnson for his work as president the past two years, and Ann Komatz Basset’s years on the board.
President Jim Peterson spoke, “I enjoy my walks in my backyard―the whole arboretum. It is a marvelous resource… We need to move the arboretum ahead and we need your support.” Chester and Marian (Swanson ’41) Johnson went there. I congratulated him on his recent birthday. He smiled and said, “Birthdays come and go.”
They’ll start planting the Coneflower Prairie next fall. This will expand the arboretum by 70 acres. I hope they meet their challenge match by May 31.
Ray and Lorraine Lundquist looked down from their perch high in the balcony at Christmas in Christ Chapel. The Chapel choir was amazing and their granddaughter, Sarah Lundquist, sang in it. She enjoys her Japanese class.
For the five services of Christmas in Christ Chapel it was packed in spite of the wintry weather all weekend. The students’ dedication and reverence are written on their faces. The choirs all sounded angelic. I was fortunate to be able to go twice. These were glorious worship services! These students are doing a wonderful thing for all who come.
Many stars hung from the Chapel ceiling and they shone brightly as about 2,000 of us sang, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” at the end. There is nothing like Christmas in Christ Chapel! It is a life changing event!
One reason for returning to St. Peter is to be able to see so many Gusties―past and present. Edna Spaeth Granlund’s ’50 granddaughter, Taylor Granlund ’08, sat next to me at the annual St. Lucia Swedish smorgasbord. She loves Gustavus. “It is so comfortable and welcoming!” She feels Grandpa Paul looking down at her when she walks by his sculptures even though he died before she became a Gustie. “Grandma Edna” is going to miss Taylor when she graduates in June. Taylor is a very talented actress and was in “The Cherry Orchard,” the play presented in February 2007.
Edna said, “Great, great uncle, O. N. Ostrom built Old Main! Taylor (Granlund) is a 6th generation Gustie!” Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug is related to Edna and they were roommates at Gustavus.
The St. Lucia Queen is Katelyn Johnson ’10, a 5th generation Gustie. Her mom, Kelly Rome Johnson ’84, a classmate of our daughter’s, flew up from Texas for the chapel service and the luncheon! Other moms and dads of the attendants were also guests on this wintry day. At the luncheon the list of service activities of these five sophomore girls was impressive. The student body voted for St. Lucia from this chosen list of five. My guess is that Marian and Chet Johnson and Ellis and Janet (Hanson) Jones ’52 ’54 are the ones who have celebrated the most St. Lucia Days at Gustavus. They were there in spite of the cold weather.
June Siem Wick and Lois “Hessie” Hesselroth Hovland and Art and Amy (Wampler ’54) Adamson all enjoyed the St. Lucia Day, too. Brian Wicklund ’87, his wife, Cynthia Anderson Wicklund ’87 and their three children ages 12, 11 and 7 gave a great program of singing, clog dancing, and playing instruments.
One day as I walked up the stairs to the cafeteria, there were several students sitting at a long table with a sign inviting them to write a thank you note to a professor or support person. What a neat idea! Everyone I’ve met has a special smile. Many have served Gustavus for a long time and are unsung heroes including, Philly (in alumni office) who transforms my messy manuscript into the class letter you receive! Quite a few of the retired profs are still teaching some classes! I could add “beloved” profs because I hear such wonderful things about the profs and the retired profs.
From the Gustavus Weekly: Trivia time: Which fellow Gustie has worked in the legal system for twelve years and is now the Director of Postal Services at Gustavus? It is none other than Naomi Quiram. Although Quiram directs postal services and keeps the post office on a daily schedule, she says one of the best parts of her job is the interactions she has with students and customers. “There are a lot of ways I stay with students, and that is a big part of my job,” said Quiram.
In a recent obituary an 87-year-old lady who used to work at Gustavus said that she enjoyed her time there around the students. Here is a letter to the Gustavian Weekly last November:
Congratulations to you and all the Gustavus students, faculty and staff on the tremendous level of volunteerism in the Saint Peter community. Your article in the November 16 issue of The Weekly entitled ‘Volunteers: The Seams That Hold Community Together’ by Eliza L. Swedenborg illustrates the impact you have on our small part of the world
WOW!! What fantastic things you all do. The article included seven ‘signature’ type programs; I know there are even more. What you have done for building a positive community impression of students is really great.
Thanks for all you do, Gustavus!! You help make our larger community a better place to live.” Todd Prafke, City Administrator
In a thank you note from a Gustie gal to my husband, “You are helping give the gift of Gustavus to me and many others. Your giving helps now and inspires grateful students to become grateful alumni. I appreciate your continued support.” (You all can claim this thank you, too) For the advantages of going to a Lutheran college, visit: www.lutherancolleges.org
I talked with two students who told me, “I visited here and I just loved it so I came!” and “I felt comfortable here!”
Look at: www.gustavus.edu/arboretum to get the excitement of the matching gift before May 31. May 31 is also the end of the Gustavus Fund for this fiscal year. Money is needed for the famous Gustavus Fund―much of which goes for scholarships.
The last weekend in May is also our gathering time with the 50-Year Club. Ray and Lorraine Lundquist promise to be there! I saw them at a fantastic concert by the Minnesota Orchestra.
In the Diversity Center newsletter last December is this student profile of a Gustie gal, Funto Okanla ’07:
“On a beautiful fall morning, I drove up the hill to the exciting screams of Gustie Greeters welcoming me to what would be my home for the next 3½ years. Did I even want to be a Gustie? Unlike most high school seniors, I just picked Gustavus out of the blue. I had no idea what to expect. I remember feeling a little overwhelmed, wondering how I ended up in a college full of overachievers, but I would not trade my experience here for anything else.
I have enjoyed being challenged and constantly active during the past three years. I have tried to seize every opportunity to stay involved in student organizations…
The challenges I’ve faced on campus, mistakes made, skills gained, and lifelong friendships I’ve made have all been instrumental in making my college experience memorable…
Although there are many things and people to be missed, my most cherished and therefore most missed activity will be sledding down the Old Main Hill on caf trays!
See you at the top!”
The Gustavus Wind Orchestra’s fantastic home concert after their tour through Florida brought a standing ovation. One of the percussionists saw to it that the chimes sounded leading into the slow, inspiring encore, “Nearer, My God To Thee.”
35th year of this Chapel sing: The Weekly headline:
“Largest St. David’s Day celebration in America at Gustavus”
“Gustavus is nationally ranked for athletics, food forensics and a plethora of other things, but few would guess that Gustavus is home to the largest St. David’s Day celebration in North America. The Annual event will take place during Chapel services on Friday, February 29.
Ellis Jones, a 1952 graduate and professor for 40 years at Gustavus, conceptualized the Gustavus event 36 years ago. He explained that he was placed in charge of planning the festival after he praised Welsh hymns that were sung in celebration of St. David’s Day. The chapel staff pushed him to create an annual St. David’s day event, and while he wasn’t sure of the idea at first, he eventually agreed. “I’m not modest about being Welsh,” said the retired professor.
Since then the event has grown exponentially. “People come from all over the country,” said Jones.
The Office of College Relations expects more than 50 guests to attend the celebration this year. The event begins with a 20 minute Gymanfa Ganu, or Festival of Songs. All of the Gustavus choirs will be singing four traditional Welsh hymns. The choirs will be joined by the voices of the congregation, the chapel brass and a full organ.
Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson said I could quote their Christmas letter:
“We have been celebrating the legend of Saint Lucia at Gustavus Adolphus College today. She is the Swedish girl who through her generosity, faith and compassion is credited with bringing a shipload of supplies to the shores of Sweden during a famine many centuries ago. We cannot top that but with the advantages of cyberspace and the postal system we can send our greetings to all of you precious people around the world.
As 2006 centered on the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary, 2007 was centered on the celebration of 150 years since our First Lutheran Church in St. Peter was organized. We are the oldest congregation of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”
Their sons and families are in Korea, Uganda and Moorhead, MN.
Marlys Akerson Chase loved the guest class letter and said what a good job Marilyn Street Turner and Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug did! Marlys said her great-niece is at Gustavus and loves it. “She and her roommate get along so well.” (Brittany is a first-year student from Sioux Falls, SD.)
Edna Spaeth Granlund ’50 said she and LaVonne Teske Duerr met each other at a Greek restaurant in Arizona when she was there last winter.
Bob Isenberg sends greetings LaVonne! He knew her in high school.
Many of you know the late Jan Neidt Bjorling ’58, who was owner, along with her husband, Anders ’58, of the Swedish Kontour in St. Peter. Anders is the son of Jussi Bjorling, the most famous Swedish tenor of the past. Jan’s funeral was at Christ Chapel on January 12. She will be missed. Someone said, “Jan was the sweetest person in the world.”
Bjorling’s grandson, Peter Heim ’08, (an elementary education major) told me that Minnesota teachers are great, but were ranked low in a study because Minnesota does not do the kinds of checks that the rating wanted. He rates the Gustavus education department very high. Gustavus grads can teach in any state except the two which require more history of their own state.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, Speaker of the House, sat next to me in Chapel. Some of her friends said, “Welcome HOME!” She was impressed with political science classes she visited. Students had slept outside the last three nights to identify with the homeless! It was November!
The new college archivist, Jeff Jenson, is developing a web site. He is quoted in the GLA newsletter. “As for new frontiers, Jeff has a plan: ‘A big piece of my plan is to work with alumni, many of whom have gone on to achieve prominence. For example the current Speaker of the House, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. I would love to have her papers some day. There are lots of others, all over the country and world. It would be nice to have their papers here, to attract people with interests in, say, politics. I tell students, ‘When you go out and make a difference, keep us in mind!’”
On Friday, February 15, 2008 the Evan Anderson Forum (the Gustavus forensics union) initiated the Friends of Forensics Association consisting of current participants in forensics, alumni of the program, and friends and supporters of forensics. Among activities at the dinner meeting at Gustavus intended to be an annual event, Bill Robertz received the Lifetime Service Award from the Province of the Northern Lights of Pi Kappa Delta, the upper Midwest section of the national forensic association. He had earlier received the Beards’ Award and the John Shields Award for distinguished service from the Pi Kappa Delta national organization. These are top, national awards! Congratulations, Bill!
According to Stan and Marie Benson, Dr. Dennis Lofstrom decided when he was 13-years-old to become a mission doctor when inspired by mission doctors. This aim was realized when he was a doctor at Kiomboi Lutheran Hospital from 1959-62. Dr. Lofstrom is vice president chief-operations officer of the IHP-US & TZ non-government organization.
Lofstroms spend seven to nine months a year at the Nyakato Hospital and the remainder of the year in U.S. fundraising for IHP-TZ and US they have organized. Meanwhile Mary Ellen Kitundu is on site full time in Tanzania developing the three sites as president of IHP-US-TZ. His U.S.A. address: 9671 Reeder, Overland Park, KS 66214. Currently in Mwanza, Tanzania with email address: Paulalofstrom@yahoo.com. Cell phone: 870-404-4491.
I’m sure they would put you on their email list for news of their work. Denny wrote, “Congratulations on your news letter. It is one of the most informative and captures the spirit of Gustavus from diverse view points.”
Rev. Ernst Collard sent me a bulletin of Ruth Holle Collard’s funeral service last June. They sang, “Children of the Heavenly Father” and “Beautiful Savior.” He plans to continue living in East Wenatchee, WA. She was born in Kansas. After marriage they served in Idaho and in four places in Washington. She is survived by her husband of 55 years.
Spring – Gustavus Quarterly
Page 25 – Ann Komatz Basset and her husband, Gene, gave a famous lithograph to this art museum.
Page 38 – On Mt. Kilimanjaro is the Reusch Crater named after Betty Reusch Anderson-Oussaren ’s father! As you read the story also think of Stan Benson and his sons climbing it five times!
Page 23 – Steve Wilkinson, our famous, beloved tennis coach, is honored by the tennis association (ITA) Campus Recreation Award for also working with tennis leagues and recreational tennis from all Gustavus students. It is a huge commitment beyond coaching the wonderful tennis teams.
This news is from The Weekly a few months ago: “The Gustavus Men’s tennis team has been the dominant athletic program competing for the black and gold by a long sight. Since 1969, legendary head coach Steve Wilkinson’s first year on the hill, the Gusties have won 34 of the past 37 MIAC Chapionships and have won every one since 1989―the year most of the freshman class was born.”
The latest news comes from the headline of The Free Press in April.
Gustavus Men, Women Capture MIAC Tennis Titles
St. Peter ― John Knass and Kevin Stickney each won in singles and doubles as top-seeded Gustavus Adolphus defeated Carleton 5-0 in the championship match of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament Saturday.
The sixth-ranked Gusties, who won their 20th straight regular-season MIAC title, earned the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.
Women’s Tennis. Gustavus blanked St. Thomas 5-0 to win the championship match of the MIAC tournament Saturday at Swanson Indoor Tennis Center.
The Gusties won their 17th straight regular season championship to earn the top seed in the MIAC tournament. The victory gives the Gusties an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.
Gustavus has 25 varsity athletic teams and more than 40 intramural and club sports (like LaCrosse!) No wonder it is so busy at Lund Center that they need to expand.
Our sympathy to Don Berg and family as Mary Stollenwerk Berg ’53 died on March 16. My husband, Paul, said, “She was a wonderful woman!” He and Mary used to have fun with puns.
Bob Johnson writes from Balsam Lake, WI that he and Mary Berthold were married on February 16, 2007. Congratulations!
We were sorry to hear that Florentine Peterson Anderson’s only brother, Thor ’48 died. They grew up in St. Peter.
From Don and Barbara (Lunstead ’50) Wulf, Sacramento, CA, “Thanks for all you do and have done for years―you are a special blessing! Barbara and I are enjoying 57 years of a very happy marriage with four children and nine grandchildren―a great start at Gustavus. Hi to your outstanding and super-nice, brother, Wendell ’53! I still remember him fromr 56 years ago!” Don includes this info on their grandson. “Captain Michael Harrison, grandson of Don and Barbara, was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the West Point alumni magazine for winning the hearts and minds of villagers and children in Afghanistan. ‘Freedom is not free!’”
The official obituary was sent for M. Charles Anderson, 81 of North Minneapolis, who died on November 21, 2007. Charlie was a life insurance agent, member of the American Swedish Institute and Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota. Our sympathy to his wife, Lois (Ledin ’56), his son, Andrew, and their many relatives.
Fred Tidstrom is doing a great job in Ashland, WI of getting all the educational institutions and the businesses in that northern part of Wisconsin to work together. He is working hard in his retirement. In a recent letter to the editor that he wrote, he talks about Coach Hollingsworth ’36. “…this was also true at GUSTAVUS where Hall of Fame Coach Lloyd Hollingsworth, whom we all loved and respected because he believed we could win every game if we were prepared and committed to this shared vision―we developed character, confidence and championship caliber football teams. The bottom line is, if you don’t believe the team can win, you probably would not know the difference anyway!”
Rhoda Smith Nelson and her husband, Don, are in a photo in the September Metro Lutheran with this info: “The Rev. Don and Rhoda Nelson regularly read Metro Lutheran in their cottage apartment at the Pohai Nani Good Samaritan Lutheran Continuing Care Retirement Center in Kaneahe, Hawaii.”
Correction for the fall class letter: Donn Escher, who received the GACAC Award, worked for the Minnesota Department of Education.
In the local paper the photo caption read, “The Reds, a Fraternity at Gustavus, Turns Pink as the Wind Hits Bare Skin.” It was the annual Polar Bear Plunge to raise money for Minnesota Special Olympics.
The late Prof. Bob Esbjornson ’41 made a DVD which is available through Gustavus’ Church Relations. Esbj: “Prayer made me aware of the larger story. We go forward in faith not sure of where we are going. The power of memory…pray to God! Read, write dialog with Jesus! Prayer is a struggle―(referring to the Granlund statue of Jacob wrestling with the angel).”
President Jim: “As president of a liberal arts institution. I take particular pride in programs we produce that so completely validate our mission. The personality at the very core of Nobel Conference 41 emphasizes the ‘joy of thought,’ the ‘importance of imagination,’ and the ‘reward of perseverance.’”
It was good to see many of you at Nobel last October. Next October is coming soon! I hear that Denny and Paula Lofstrom will be attending.
Ray Lundquist recommends Esbj, the Heart and Mind of a Professor, “what a book! I think every class member should enjoy it. It would be interesting to know if anyone from our class had him as a professor since he began teaching at Gustavus in 1950. My Christianity profs were, Dr. George Hall, Ted Conrad ’25 and Arnold Carlson ’38, all of whom I enjoyed very much.”
Ray has been a regular at the Twin Cities Gusties breakfasts offered once a month at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis (see campus news). Seven guys from our class have come, but none of the women!
From the Chapel Choir concert program: “The Choir of Christ Chapel invites you to open your ears, hearts and minds to the Word as it comes to us, not only at Christmas, but also throughout the year in scripture, in prayer, and from the spirit within us. May Jesus, the Word made flesh, sing and ring brightly in your lives, today and always.” ~Chaplain Rachel S. Larson
It was an amazing concert with lots of variety including The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili. We got to sing some hymns with them. They sang Bill Beckstrand’s, Prayer of Saint Francis, which was written and first sung at Paul Granlund’s ’52 Memorial Service (2003) in Christ Chapel. It is beautiful as it flows along peacefully.
After the Chapel Choir Concert at Christ Chapel, Lloyd and Dorothy Stives greeted me warmly. They had just arrived from Sioux Falls, SD―a day early for GACAC (church conference) which was on April 26.
It was great to see our classmates there: Art and Amy (Wampler ’54) Adamson, Ray and Lorraine Lundquist, Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard and Lloyd and Dorothy Stivers. Stan Benson sent Marie (Schafer ’52) and their son, John ’80, since he had an operation the day before. Stan and Marie have attended GACAC for years. Marie has served in several capacities.
Pastor Paul Harrington, “Our Lutheran colleges are a great treasure…It is all about community…God takes us seriously because we are his channels… Every prayer you pray, for this institution, is important!”
Prayer of St. Francis
Setting by William Beckstrand b. 1962
In thanksgiving for the life and artistic spirit of Paul Granlund
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, let me sow pardon;
where there is discord, let me sow union;
where there is doubt, let me sow faith;
where there is despair, let me sow hope;
where there is darkness, let me sow light;
where there is sadness, let me sow joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prof. Darrell Jodock, “Our vocation is in our families, our leisure time, etc. (and jobs) where we are servants… Lutherans are too cautious in talking about God’s activity now with the poor and hungry so the poor have access to what they need.”
Christine G., “I absolutely love it at Gustavus! My love for God has never been looked down on. I’ve grown as a person at Gustavus.”
Siri, “Gustavus Youth Outreach (GYO) has a membership of about 60 students. We go out to church youth groups about 50 times during the year.”
The Rev. Jack Fortin wrote “The Centered Life.” “God is God and you are not…God’s love is overwhelming… Be with your community at least once a week. The Gospel comes alive in churches… We have two needs to belong and to make a difference. Live a Christ-centered life.”
At the Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, Paul Tillquist ’63 received the Covenant Award. He quoted Dr. Edgar Carlson ’33, “A college is also those who believe in what it is doing.”
There are 4,000 colleges and universities, but only 20 are Lutheran residential colleges. Only four of those are nationally ranked so Gustavus is in that small group.
Over 500 congregations choose one or more delegates to come to GACAC. Any Lutheran congregation can participate. It is a great way to connect the churches and the college.
I’ve discovered I have known Gusties from every decade since 1890, when my grandfather graduated, to the present. No wonder I have fun seeing returning Gusties at campus events.
My “adopted Gustie husband” is a fan of the Gustavus men’s basketball team. On a cold February night he said, “It was a thrilling game! They won by one point. Lots of students supported them. They all rushed out on the floor afterwards. I’ve never seen anything like it! It was electric!”
Now I’ve discovered another secret of Gustavus’ winning athletes in all the sports. The students are enthusiastic supporters and cheer them on.
Another “secret” is the alumni giving which is behind the excellent athletic facilities. But Lund Center needs the planned expansion which is promised to prospective students by the time they are juniors, three years from now. Lund is a “busy” facility. One afternoon I counted nine different sports taking place in half of the Forum, including a baseball batter inside a net, four Chinese students playing badminton, a “thrower” being coached, track team members doing fancy footwork warm-ups, etc. In the other half of the Forum the men’s basketball team was practicing. I and students and staff were walking or running on the encircling track.
On the way to the Forum I walked through the “cardio area” which is always busy as students and faculty run on treadmills, ride stationary bikes, etc.
More about Steve Wilkinson from the Weekly:
“Wilkinson has helped build the men’s tennis program into a dynasty winning 34 out of the last 37 MIAC titles while compiling an immaculate conference dual match record of 328-1. Wilkinson has also lead his team to 14 straight appearances in the NCAA Tennis Championships. He has been named National Coach of the year by the NAIA twice and has been the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year three times.
Not only has Wilkinson achieved greatness as a coach, but also as a player. He has been ranked nationally in the 45, 50, 55 and 60+ divisions with his most recent competition being the National Grass Court Championship for players 60 years and over. He plans to play in future national tournaments as well.
I can’t help thinking about our classmates and friends who weathered the “perfect storm,” the F3 tornado, ten years ago. Our Alma Mater bounced back strong thanks to everyone who helped in all ways. All of you alumni who responded with gifts and prayers though far away, were a part of that wonderful rebound. If you want a good cry sometime, watch Gustavus’ “Rebuilding a Greater Gustavus,” tornado video! It was the worst disaster of any kind that “hit” any college in the U.S. in history! Here is a hopeful note from the Star Tribune: “Most Minnesota towns will be hit by a tornado once every 4,785 years.
Thank you again for all you did to help Gustavus through the tornado crisis! I talked with people who lived through it since it was the 10th anniversary. The town/gown community feeling is better than ever after that “mess!”
“I’ll never forget Arne and Carol (Gaustad) Langsjoen’s ’42 ’42 house. The side and roof had been blown off, giving it the look of a dollhouse.” ~Nita Aasen
Arne Langsjoen is still smiling at 89.
Bruce Gray ’61 said, “Folks who put the college back together did a marvelous job.” Sue and Bruce Gray, who lost their home in the tornado, made hundreds of thank you cards saying, “We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
From the Gustavus Weekly: “Finding the Flame: Chaplain Brian Johnson”
Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 was working at Gustavus when the tornado swept through campus. His home was destroyed and, months later, pictures that had been swept up in the storm were returned to him from Eden Prairie. During the tornado, the cross from atop the steeple was torn off. Later, it was returned to the school. In the commemorative service on Monday, March 17, the original cross will be hung in the chapel.
When I walked over to the chapel I could already see that the glass was blown out. It had snowed a bit, so that by the time I walked into the chapel I could hear dripping. Hearing this dripping and the wind whispering through the windows was really unnerving. Rain was pouring into the keyboard and there was water all over the floor.
As I walked down the central aisle and looked through the pews I could see that glass and stones were embedded in the pews.
I could hear this kind of creaking, and it was the eternal flame. I looked up at the flame and saw that it was somehow still burning through all that.
I think it was the juxtaposition of the steeple torn down with the flame burning within that was really important as a symbolic reminder at the time. People saw devastation and destruction.
I heard one reporter say, “The College is closed. It is never going to open again. It is destroyed.” Then they showed a picture of the steeple. I think the flame is [still] a hopeful image.
As I look back, one of the important framing experiences of that disaster that it happened during Holy Week.
The events of death and resurrection were naturally surrounding us on the cycle of the church year. On Good Friday we sang a hymn. The first line was “Tree of life and awesome mystery. In your death we are reborn.”
I think we all have events that are indelibly imprinted in our memories―where we can claim a before and an after, and for me this would be one of those events.
In chapel we remembered the 10th anniversary of the “big tornado.” There were TV cameras from at least five stations there. English Prof. Phil Bryant ’73, told of his scary experience as he survived the tornado in Confer Hall, where he teaches. Afterwards, we sang, “No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging. Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?” Pres. Jim Peterson thanked everyone for their “constant commitment” to Gustavus.
Interviewed by the Mankato Free Press, Prof. John McKay had this to share about the tornado: “I went up to the third floor (Bjorling Hall), which was my floor. I tell you, it looked as if 50 people were given a fire hose each and a huge bucket of mud and were told. “Do the worst damage you can do in 30 minutes.” The inside walls of the music building were covered with mud and bits of straw. The wind must have come through the studios, knocked down the doors and gone into halls. I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Two Gustavus students were interviewed for The Metro Lutheran.
“I knew I wanted to attend a private college, says Katie Jorgensen, Gustavus Adolphus College sophomore from Chaska, Minnesota. ‘I looked at a couple of others and then decided on Gustavus. It just felt right here. Gustavus has an atmosphere that meshes with my personality. I felt I could integrate into this community, be a part of it and contribute to it.”
“Metro Lutheran asked two Gustavus Adolphus students, one woman and one man, one from the metro area and one from greater Minnesota, to share their reasons for selecting private higher education, particularly a Lutheran school, and specifically Gustavus.
‘I was looking for small class sizes, having teachers who know you as a name and not just a number,” says Ben Carlson, first year student from Atwater, Minnesota. ‘I knew that church colleges are highly esteemed, and Gustavus was always one of my choices. I want to go into science, and Gustavus is strong in science. Also, having grown up in church, I looked for a place where I could attend Sunday services. In fact, we have daily chapel here’ ...Gustavus Youth Outreach team members get together on Sunday nights for worship…and small group bonding.”
From the Gustavus Weekly: “Part of Gustavus’ Strategic Plan will be commitment to environmental stewardship. In the spirit of this promise, President Peterson signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment this September.”
Gustavus ordered two wind turbines a few years ago, but there is a huge demand for them. From the Mankato Free Press:
“But Gustavus is ready to start making changes, both big and small, to combat energy waste across campus, starting with this February’s Campus Energy Challenge, but also long into the future.
The GAC Plan. Students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter have a heroic plan to fight unnecessary use of electricity. The College Greens are organizing a Light Brigade to march across the campus daily looking for unused lights to turn off (and hopefully avoiding the violent conclusion of their namesake).
But campus energy conservationists are expecting that many of the changes among students will be sparked more through education than roaming bands of light bulb police.”
Please join the Cec Eckhoff Society if you can give a gift to Gustavus each year!
“Participate, participate, participate” is the name of the game! Hang in there with whatever gift you can manage by the end of May, and whatever news you can write. Hope to see you at the 50-Year Club gatherings during reunion time!
Life’s horizon is misty and the journey full of surprises. Let us be thankful, keep praying and feel love surrounding us.
See you soon!
Dorothy Johnson Lutz
1951 Class Agent
Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus. The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person. Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083. Next date: May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy ’82
Alumni Awards Announced
The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.
Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:
Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65
Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:
Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.
First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:
Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.
Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.
The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.
Upcoming Alumni Events
- Author Day with Arvonne Fraser - May 14
- Gustie Breakfast - May 21, featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy
- Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31