Class of '51
November 2009

Dear classmates and whoever reads this:

“Gustavus is a magical place!”  Marie Norberg Bergstrom ’50 said at the end of a delightful day on campus, chapel was inspiring.  Marie Schafer Benson ’52 (Stan’s wife) joined us for lunch at the caf.  It turned into a real story telling time.  An afternoon walk in the Arboretum rounded out the day.

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 on the first day of school (2008) in chapel preached:

“As I try to imagine

How it is for you to be in this new place called Gustavus,

I suspect that there is a wide range of feeling and thinking

Filling your imaginations.

This morning in the midst of all orienting to life on the hill

The unpacking and meeting

The finding of classrooms and creating of patterns

We have a few quiet moments to get in touch with

The things that matter to you.

And it’s no surprise that this kind of conversation is happening in the chapel,

Because it is one of the primary places to think about the things that matter.”

A prayer from another chapel service:

We give thanks

For the community of Gustavus,

A laboratory of learning, a great tent of meeting,

That brings together our common hopes and dreams.


At chapel, five students in the Christ Chapel Brass said, “We will,” when asked by the Chaplain if they would dedicate their group to playing “music to bring us closer to God and to each other” this academic year.  At other services, the chapel choir and other musicians also answered, “We will!”

“Winds of Inspiration, Winds of Change,” an art exhibit at Gustavus, is terrific.  You can even sit in a special chair and pedal to generate electricity!

“The exhibit features works by Gustavus Adolphus College studio art faculty, local artists from the St. Peter and Mankato area, and art faculty from colleges and universities across the state,” Director and Senior Curator for the museum Don Myers ’83 said.  “The exhibit focuses on the exploration of wind turbines and their role in the environment, “as environmentally sensitive objects and objects with a powerful, sublime presence.”

An alum friend from California told me, “It’s been a remarkable week!  I’m a little homesick for Gustavus now.  It was life-changing!”  Later Diana wrote to me:  “The time in St. Peter really made me feel you can go home again.  Even though I was there for just two years, Gustavus still feels like home in so many ways, and I loved being back on campus, walking in the Arboretum with you, going to chapel and reconnecting with that special time (1958-60).”

From Grady St. Dennis, Director of Church Relations at Gustavus, September 2009:

“The campus is alive with activity as the new academic year unfolds.  All enter for the purpose of achieving educational goals and personal growth.  Intellectual challenge is expected.  It is a time to be stretched and tested.  It is a powerful combination when academic rigor and intentional time for personal reflection flow together as they do here at Gustavus.  To enter the new academic year is to enter again into the waters of discernment:  how will my gifts and talents be lived out in blessing to those whom I will serve?”

“The Office of Church Relations at Gustavus exists because as a college we desire to be in service to the wider community within which we are rooted.  We seek to be a place you might consider as a ministry partner and intellectual resource for your congregation’s educational goals and growth…”

Watch your email for a new, dynamic video from Gustavus called “If.”  Show it or the booklet to a prospective student and your friends and family!  Two quotes, “If you believe in working for the greater good and the power of the human spirit, there’s no place like Gustavus.  No Place.  (Then)  If you’re getting the idea that Gustavus Adolphus College is all about helping you make your life count, you would be right.”  The student can send in the card:  I Want to Make My Life Count.

Maybe we, too, can decide how to make our lives count some more.  Richard Leider ’66, was back to talk with alumni at Homecoming about our decisions.

Chloe Radcliffe ’12, granddaughter of Henry ’52 and Carolyn (Peterson) Ruggles, spoke at the dinner for Gustavus Heritage Partnership in May.  She is a fantastic addition to the forensic team.  She said, “I belong here…it is a joy to be on a team of 20.  I felt so incredibly comfortable at Gustavus and on the team.  All of our travels are covered by the team’s budget…  I’m so deeply grateful for your support!”

I enjoyed visiting with Ann Komatz Basset and Gene.  I hope more of our classmates will attend the Gustavus Heritage Partnership dinner next spring.  Spouses of our deceased classmates are welcome to continue receiving our class letter.  They can call the Alumni Office.  I saw Leslie, Carl Nelson’s widow, at the Gustavus Heritage Partnership luncheon so now she is on the list.  She still lives in Bloomington, MN, but spends winters with her mother in Florida.

With a straight face, Alumni Director Randall Stuckey ’83 introduced me to someone, “She’s been class agent since she was five!  She gives more details about what is going on than any other class agent.”

Denny Lofstrom wrote, “The last class letter was great─keep up the good work”  Denny wrote they enjoyed reading Loyalty, the biography of Richard Reusch, (Betty Reusch Anderson-Oussoren father.)  I also found it fascinating to read.  I called Marie (Schafer ’52) and Stan Benson about the book, too.  “It is integrated with our family.  Stan’s stepmother was the sister of Mrs. Reusch.  It is an excellent book,” Marie said.

According to the Gustavian Weekly, the men’s cross country team “has been moving at full steam.”  Coach Dale Bahr said, “The team continues to be close.”  Lund agreed and said, “Everyone is fun and talkative while on the workouts, and [we] keep each other motivated.”  But at the same time, Lund said, “We still know when to get serious for our difficult workouts.  The camaraderie is by far the best trait of our team.”

Great news last June:  Gustavus finished 8th out of 435 colleges in the NCAA Division III.  Gustavus received the Directors’ Cup for the best overall athletic programs.  The Gusties placed in the top 10 for the 5th time in the past 8 years.

Taken from The Spire:  “Benjamin C. Hilding ’09 is one of 16 graduate and seminary students of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) recognized by the Fund for Theological Education (FTE) as “2009 Fellows.”  He is one of seven first-year ELCA seminary students awarded a Congregational Fellowship, which matches a congregational donation to the Fellow’s education between $2,000 and $5,000.  Hilding will attend Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.”  Ben is the grand nephew of David Hilding.  Ben was a great Youth Director at our church here in St. Peter.  He was active in many of the Chapel ministries during his four college years.

At the 50-Year Club reunion in May it was good to see:  Jack Norman and his wife, Leanne; Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard; Gordy and Bev Sandbaken; Bob and Ruth (Peterson ’52) Larson and Ray and Lorraine Lundquist.

At Volunteer Leadership Day in September, three students told their stories of why they came to Gustavus.  Katie Cummings ’10, a senior from Aitkin was asked how she chose Gustavus.  She answered, “After one group tour of Gustavus, I knew I was home.  St. Olaf and the Ivy League schools didn’t stand a chance.”

Ally Pelton ’10, Owatonna, said, “My dad, Tim ’81, and my sister, Emily ’08, both attended Gustavus, so I guess it’s in my blood!  I chose Gustavus after visiting during my 8th grade year.  The camaraderie I felt among the students and the academic rigor for which Gustavus is known are among the reasons why I chose Gustavus.”

Matthew Schueffner ’10, Stillwater, MN said, “My sister looked here while searching for colleges and so I heard about it quite a bit.  When she decided to go here, I instantly crossed it off my list.  However, coming here for camps, visits and concerts, I realized how spectacular of an institution it was, and that it was the place for me.”

I lost this tiny note from 2007, but found it today.  Glen Holmquist ’49 wrote it as though I was talking:  “It was great to see Grant and Bernice (Peterson ’52) Johnson along with Glen Holmquist ’49 at the caf on a Saturday afternoon.  Glen’s wife, Betty (Engebretson ’49) died January ’07 of cancer.  They were married 58 years ago.  Glen, Betty and Bernice were all freshmen in 1945.  These two Gustie couples got together often.  Grant served for two years in Korea after graduating from Gustavus.  Grant and Bernice live in Mankato.”

Thanks to all of you who gave to the Gustavus Annual Fund last year.  With your gifts and prayers you make it possible for many students to become Gusties!  Most of the Annual Fund goes for student aid!  The students really appreciate and need all the help they can get!

Gustavus highlighting two students:

Vinai Vang ’11, St. Paul, wrote, “Thank you.  My family and I have come a long way, beginning in Laos to Thailand, then to the U.S. as refugees of the Vietnam War.  We have been here for over 15 years, and pursuing education here is a blessing, thanks to the U.S. Government and your kind donations.  We value education very much because we do not have education in Thailand like we do here in Minnesota.”  Future plans:  “To be a teacher.  I really value knowledge and want to pass that knowledge on to others like it has been passed on to me.”

Megan Thompson ’10, Hayward, MN wrote, “Gustavus has offered many opportunities for me to grow and meet new people.  I recently went to Guatemala for J-Term 2009 and had the most amazing experience of my life!  I am a member of the gymnastics team and will serve as co-captain for 2009-10; I am also a Biology Teaching Assistant, Career Center Host, Gustie Greeter, officer for the newly-founded Pre-Vet Club, and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Pound Pals.”  Future plans:  To work or volunteer abroad, then attend veterinary school or teach biology and agriculture.

On the upper level of the Gustavus Campus Center, next to the Admission Office there is a room called Rundquist Room.  Our late classmate, Howie I. Rundquist honored his father, Howard W. Rundquist ’23, by giving enough money to have the room named, Rundquist Room (you can look for the plaque the next time you visit).

I met a junior elementary education major from Colorado in the Courtyard Café after chapel.  She came to Gustavus because the education department is really good and graduates can teach in many different states by taking an exam.

In August Ray Lundquist wrote, “I was on campus several weeks ago when I brought granddaughter, Molly Lundquist, for a volleyball camp which she enjoyed very much.  I’ll look for you at Homecoming or, for sure, at Christmas in Christ Chapel on December 4th weekend.”

I’m sure this is the year of many 80th birthdays.  (Marie Schafer Benson sends this from Betty Correll (Black Mountain, NC) in talking about 80th birthdays.  “Birthdays have never bothered me as I’m just grateful to God for His many blessings throughout the years.”  I celebrated my 80th with a musical party in Duluth.  Our son, Erik ’88, and his wife, Chiharu, and her sister came from Morioka, Japan.  Our daughter, Lynn ’84 and her husband Dan McGinty ’84 and family drove up from the cities.  Other relatives, friends (including Don Berg, from Superior, WI) and former piano pupils also helped me celebrate.

For Bill Robertz’s 80th birthday both of their children were able to come.  Their daughter from New Jersey surprised both Marilyn (Barnes) and Bill.

From Don Wulf, Sacramento, CA:  “Barbara (Lunstead ’50) and I continue to be thankful for Gustavus because of all the “inspiring good role models” there including my roommates Ray Lundquist and Lloyd Mathews.  To view over one thousand “Wisdoms and Words to Live By” log on to this website:

  •  Words of Wisdom to Michael!
  • Words of Wisdom to Daniel!
  • Mission & Constitution Statement!

It’s a collection gathered over the past 60 years from exceptionally outstanding services including Gustavus─just passing them on to family and friends while we are able to do so.

We now have two grandsons in Afghanistan and both feel we need to be there.”  Thanks, Don!

Also, thanks to Don who sent this info to Ray Lundquist who mailed it to me.  Randall Stuckey was delighted to get the photo and information on Russ Paulson for the Winter Quarterly (due out later this month).  Don Wulf helped celebrate and wrote the following:

Pastor Russ Paulson celebrating his 80th with his eight children!  It was an amazing event with many heartfelt tearful tributes and humor from some of his children, their spouses, grandchildren (17), foster children (they took in over 100), Bethel Lutheran Church (916-925-1492) members, and friends in Sacramento, CA.  Their home was a “homeless haven” to all with no locked doors, everyone loved and unconditionally welcomed and blessed!

His remarks included “his amazement of how God works and moves through people loving us all; with emphasis on your personal relationship with Jesus plus having a meaningful life wherever God leads!”

It was incredible and awesome to hear and see slides of how Russ continues to positively impact so many lives and lead many to Jesus Christ.  It was a privilege to attend their special celebration.  ~Don Wulf

Enclosed was the invitation from Russ’ kids:

“It’s been 80 years and our father has held many titles:  son, nephew, husband, father, grandpa, uncle, cousin, brother-in-law, father-in-law, student, homecoming chairman, pastor, youth pastor, Chamber of Commerce president, devoted Rotary member, Friends of the Library director, Community Leader of America, Boy Scout Silver Beaver Award recipient, foster parent of the year, and perhaps the greatest title is friend.  It has been a life of endless giving and we’d like to honor him with our thanks and give him the recognition he deserves for being the incredible role model he’s been to so many.”

They sang, “A Senior Citizen Parody of ‘My Favorite Things,’” which ended:  “when the joints ache; when the hips break; when the eyes grow dim, then I remember the great life I’ve had; and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Big Hill Farm is a one-acre, student-run farm west of the football stadium.  From the Arboretum newsletter:  “We will be supplying organically grown vegetables and berries to the Gustavus Market Place.  Our main crops for the Market Place include heirloom Roma and Brandywine tomatoes, all kinds of peppers and acorn squash.  We are growing several other experimental crops such as asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, potatoes and radishes. 

Our mission as an organization is to augment the effort to make Gustavus an environmentally sustainable institution, to inspire ethical and healthy eating habits, and to encourage interest in sustainable agriculture as a vocation.  We have already seen the farm cause a stir on campus and are encouraged by the excitement we see in students and staff every day.  Visit the farm blog at:

( or better yet, come visit the farm!  We are always happy to show people what we’ve been up to.”

Last June Marilyn Barnes Robertz and her Questors group put up a ’50s display at Traverse des Sioux, Nicollet County Historical Society in St. Peter.  It brought back many memories.

We enjoyed the Gustavus Arboretum all summer with its variety of flowers, trees and shrubs.  The herb garden had many herbs growing.  David and Delores Johnson’s waterfall is a wonderful gathering place and a focal point for weddings.  The Arb is an important flyway for migrating birds.  It is also prime breeding habitats for some species.

A blue bird family growing up there generated great excitement!  If you see any rare birds in the Arb, report it to Bob Dunlap ’08 at:  Here’s an excerpt, by Bob, taken from the Arboretum newsletter entitled, “Naturalist’s Corner:  Sparking a Passion for Nature.”

            “Since early childhood, nature has caught my attention.  Even then, did I think I would ever make a career out of this interest?  Probably not, but here I am, at age 23, working as the Linnaeus Arboretum naturalist.

            Having just graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College this past May, it seems a bit odd being back on campus as a non-student.  Yet the Linnaeus Arboretum feels more like home to me than ever before…

            I look to the trees for guidance, and I listen for wisdom in the birds.  The changing fall colors are a sign of assurance.  I await the return of the Dark-eyed Junco in September as I would a long-lost friend.  Each southbound monarch butterfly deserves a farewell prayer, and each waning bloom of New England Aster warrants silent gratitude…

            Having given many tours to various age groups throughout September and early October, there is one event that stands out in my mind.  In late September I led a preschool group through the Uhler Prairie en route to the Borgeson Cabin.  As I picked a seed pod from a milkweed plant, one little girl’s eyes lit up.  As I stated the plant’s name, she gleefully replied, “Milkweed!”  For the rest of the tour, this girl pointed out every single milkweed plant we passed along the trail.

            I feel very privileged that I am in a position to instill an interest in the natural world to visitors in the Linnaeus Arboretum or to provide a spark if you will…

For the whole story, join Friends of the Arboretum and receive their terrific newsletter.

Thanks to Ann Komatz Basset and her husband, Gene, for the orchard near the cabin.  I had one of the delicious, red apples this fall.

One afternoon I was walking in the arboretum and a biker came whizzing along the path from the College View Apartments.  “Hi Grandma!  I’m on my way to work!”  Ryan McGinty is a senior English major on his way to tutor in the Writing Center.  Gustavus is famous for non-English majors being able to write coherent papers for science classes, etc.  The New York Times wrote about Gustavus’ Writing Center a few years ago “putting Gustavus on the map.”

From our class endowment, $3,236 was the distribution in 2009.  This is greatly appreciated!  Kristine Straumann ’07, Donor Relations Associate, writes, “I encourage you to make an additional gift to this fund before November 30, 2009.  Any gift given prior to this date will directly impact the amount available for distribution during the following academic year.  Although the last year has proven difficult for investments across the board, Gustavus remains a good steward of your gifts.”

I’m sure you saw the information on Twin Cities alumni breakfasts in the Quarterly.  The programs look great.  Prof. Mark Bjelland (geology dept.) gave a pre-Nobel talk in September.  He said Ray Lundquist was the chaplain and the class of ’51 occupied two tables and was the best represented class!  He was so impressed that he matched the ’51 classmates with me as we talked in the Arb.

Gordy Sandbaken handed me a small piece of paper at the 50-Year Club reunion.  “The Class of 1951 has always been the largest group represented at the Doubletree Hotel, St. Louis Park, with Clint Lomis, Wayne Ripley, Ray Lundquist, Art Adamson, Jim Whitney, and Gordy, himself.

If you want to start a Facebook Alumni group for our class or a group of classes, contact Assistant Alumni Director, Erin Holloway Wilken ’02 at or 507-933-7595 with any questions.

Our class of 217 members fell below 60% for the first time in participation.  All of the other classes in our decade (except one) were above 60%.  Only one other class, however, surpassed our total for unrestricted Annual Fund in our decade.  Maybe you looked up the details in the Quarterly.

Denny and Paula Lofstrom’s great, informative website is  I love reading their emails.  Here are a few quotes:  Denny Lofstrom writes from their hospital (IHP) in Tanzania.

            “The building looks great, and the roof will be finished before the rains start again…  We have purchased 638 bags of cement…

Mayo medical students…and a lively group of Irish medical students as well as another from Austria have added to the truly international flavor…and has created a most congenial atmosphere…please go to our website and have a look!  Nyakato Health Center has had more than 50,000 patient visits in the three years it’s been open.

Two medical students from the Mayo Clinic:  “…the work being done at Nyakato is truly inspiring.”  A medical student from Ireland writes, “Finally, I am most grateful to Paula and Denny (and my parents!) for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to come and learn, and have a great experience in a welcoming environment.”

An alumnus, Becky Gustafson ’09, wrote in a letter, “In addition to parents and friends of the College, I owe thanks to thousands of Gustavus graduates for investing in the excellence of the College and in my future.

My classmates and I are working hard to fulfill our dreams, and with the help of alumni like you, we will achieve our goals and go on to be leaders in our local communities, places of work, and in today’s society.  In addition to your fond memories of Gustavus, there is a special way you can stay connected to your alma mater─by supporting the Gustavus Annual Fund.”

An article from the Mankato Free Press editorial:  Hooray for Good Campus Food.

“[Thumbs Up] To Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for making the Princeton Review Top 10 list for the second straight year in one important category─food.

            It is no small thing for an institution of higher learning to offer good food to its students, so Gustavus should be commended for being included in the Best Campus Food list again.

            Rather than satisfying itself that the food is “good enough,” and rather than resting on its laurels after making the list last year, Gustavus continues to look for ways to maintain and improve its food offerings.  There are many choices, and officials there also work with the Campus Greens to minimize waste.”

What’s new at the caf?  “Pancakes on a stick!” reported our granddaughter.  The TM Sorority’s rushing rules are strict.  She couldn’t talk to her boyfriend, her brother, or any other male (except her father) for those two weeks.  That was tough on her boyfriend, too!  Alyssa wanted to become a TM because they do lots of community service.  During Rush they were told to study hard and never skip class.  From the Gustavian Weekly:

            “Gustavus is the home of nine recognized sororities and fraternities to which 15 percent of students belong.  During students’ careers at Gustavus, they have most likely spotted these groups around campus or out in the St. Peter community.  The volunteering aspect of Greek life tends to be one of the deciding factors for those who choose to pledge.

            ‘People involved in Greek life are highly involved on campus and in community through service and philanthropy,’ Rogotzke said.”

I was walking and talking with a senior co-ed after chapel and said, “You can do anything with an English major.”  He replied, “That’s what they tell me!”

At chapel on Wednesdays there is a “Holden Evening Prayer” by Marty Haugen.  Many students are very active in the various chapel activities.

The two dorms that are left on the south side were renovated this past summer.  Quoted from the Gustavian Weekly:  “The old windows in Sohre were glazed on only one side.  During the winter, they’d get frost on the inside.  These new windows have argon in them, so they’ve got at least three or four times better insulation properties.”

My sister, Marjorie Johnson Knutson ’50, died on October 21, 2009, in Alexandria, VA.  I was writing about when we both were Thetas.  Many of you know my brother, Wendell Johnson ’53.  On November 3, his son, David ’84, will receive the Arnold Carlson Award for his humanitarian acts in medical help given in Tanzania, etc.  He will talk about his sense of vocation in his work as a doctor and in other aspects of his life.

I think we should thank our hard working faculty for their love of teaching this age group whom they inspire to study hard, for their faithfulness over the years, for their passion and joy in teaching with furthering their own education.  It is, indeed, their calling in life.

From the brochure, Investing in Excellence:  “The best thing about Gustavus is our students─bright, well-rounded, and engaged.  They are a gift to the world.  It is a privilege to have the opportunity to facilitate their intellectual and personal growth and a delight to develop relationships that extend far beyond graduation,” says Florence Amamoto, associate professor of English.

            A member of the faculty since 1990, Amamoto feels fortunate to teach at Gustavus because it is a place that embodies so many of her values─a place where teaching, service and community are important.  She and other faculty members have plenty of stores about alumni who have done great things to make the world a better place.”

I loved the story in the newspaper about two young Gustie grads, Travis ’00 and Nathan ’02 Dalke, who return to their father’s muddy farm field to harvest about 15,000 pounds of potatoes for food shelves.  They organized “Hands for Harvest.”  More than 100 volunteers have helped on this acre donated by their father.  Visit

There are 40 international students attending Gustavus this year.  Each is paired with a local family.  They were having a picnic in the arboretum in September.

From the Gustavian Weekly:

            “The groundbreaking ceremony for the library building occurred on April 1, 1947.  When completed, the facility cost $420,000 and was dedicated on Homecoming Weekend during October 1948.  A rededication occurred during June 1950 when the building was renamed the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, in honor of slain Swedish mediator Count Folke Bernadotte.  Although designed as a library, the building soon proved too small to address the needs of a growing student body and greatly expanded collection of books, journals and microfilms.

            Subsequently, planning began during the late 1960s for the construction of a new (the current) library.  After spending approximately 2.7 million dollars, the second Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library opened during autumn 1972.  While the current library has space and some electrical limitations, the building has served the campus well over the past 37 years.

            To learn more about campus history, please visit the College Archives located on the library’s third floor.”  ~Jeff Jenson, College and Lutheran Church Archivist

The Gustavus Library Associates news letter covered the event on campus last May that remembered Bill Holm ’65.  The article ended:  “Bill an honorary member of Gustavus Library Associates, having spoken at author events over the years.  We will miss him─and we will miss his fresh look at his world of ours.  Bill wrote of music:  Listen as long as you can; sing whenever the right tune arrives inside you.”

It was a busy time on campus with Nobel running right into Homecoming and Family Weekend with only one day in between.  Homecoming is when all the younger reunion classes celebrate.  At the Homecoming Worship – Remembering and Celebrating, eight of our deceased classmates were listed:  Burnell Baldwin, Edsel Barberg, Vern Bergstrom, James Grymyr, Gordon Holm, Carol Heffernan Lundstrom, Howard Rundquist and Ray Thompson.

Marie Norberg Bergstrom ’50 and her son, Jim, and daughter-in-law, Julie, came to chapel that day in snow.  We had a great time in the BookMark, the Market Place, and Rundstrom Hall.  Marie will be back for Christmas in Christ Chapel.

The next day in Chapel about 320 students in the Gustavus Choir and the two symphony orchestras (“band”) performed America The Beautiful (arr. by Dugon) at the end of an exciting concert.  I hope they repeat that every year!  Gustavus made a video of it.  We were invited to stand and sing verse two with them.  Go ahead and sing “American the Beautiful” (slowly) right now pretending you are singing with over 1,000 people in chapel!  And “listen” to those high sopranos soar above it all!

The Free Press article, “Welcome to College” quoted my grandson’s friend, Chris.

“Ask a Gustavus Adolphus College student why they chose the school, and they’ll probably tell you it just felt right.  They might use words like “clicked,” “meshed” or “friendly.”  Take Chris Duhaime ’12, a sophomore who came to Gustavus without any close friends.  It took him only a few months to feel like this was home and by spring semester he was part of a social justice theatre group.  ‘I like to say my home is Gustavus,’ he says, not the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove where he came from…

Gustavus Adolphus College and its 2,500 undergraduate students begin the college’s 148th academic year today.  All colleges have an orientation process but few do four-day versions that inculcate not only academic values but also a deep sense of the culture of a place…

Amanada Skarphol ’10, an actor with “I Am We Are,” says total strangers seem to care about her well-being here.  ‘That is why I picked Gustavus, everyone was just so friendly.’”

Pre-Nobel information - water is a huge and urgent subject.  Recently, scientists studied the effects of pharmaceuticals, caffeine, and hormones in drinking water.  They don’t get removed!  Climate change has a great effect on water.  One billion people have no access to fresh water.  Some dams should be removed.  What are the social ethics of water?  Corn uses an incredible amount of water to grow.  Irrigation consumes 60% of all fresh water withdrawls.  Bottled water is not safer and it grows bacteria.  Arizona and Nevada will get drier.  There will be water scarcity in Europe, North Africa and South Asia.  The Clean Water Act is not enforced, unfortunately.

You will be able to hear the Nobel Conference on the Internet.  Go to:  It is worthwhile for you to know what was said.  Since the question/answer period may not appear on the Internet, I’d like to clarify something that Asit Biswas said, “If there is good management (of water), there will be no water crisis.”  After the lecture in an answer, he said he was not talking about Africa, Europe or North America.  He is studying the water problem in 18 countries elsewhere and helping them to get rid of corruption and inefficiency and to manage demand for water.

Before each session one of the many Gustavus musical organizations performed.  One lecturer thanked a group and said, “A college with a trombone choir is really amazing!”

Someone slipped me an envelope from our classmate at Nobel.  Read the following article “Simple Test Keeps Heart Beating for God,” written by Lloyd Stivers and taken from the Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD, Saturday, August 15, 2009 to find out what Lloyd has been up to:

“’Fifty dollars for a medical test?’  I’ve had no problems─no chest pains, no shortness of breath, no symptoms, no heart problems─but $50 to tell me nothin?  My wife convinced me we could afford the expense, so I wrote the check.

            My doctor and I both received the results about a week later.  The doctor wanted to know the name of my cardiologist.  I made an appointment and was given a stress test, which indicated some problems.  This was followed the next week on a Thursday afternoon by an angiogram.  That gave evidence of a more serious problem.  That evening, an ambulance carried me to the Heart Hospital and at 6:45 a.m. Friday morning, I was moved onto the operating table.  Six hours later, I awoke to discover I had received a triple bypass surgery on my heart.  They stopped my heart to do the repair and successfully restarted it.  Second time in my life, there was a need for a restart.

            Had this operation not been done, I was told I could expect major problems in the next six to 12 months.

            My experience has been described by friend, Mike Hohn, who, as someone with multiple sclerosis has had some life-threatening episodes.  His philosophy is that God has placed both of us in a life pool where the policy is ‘catch and release.’  I am an advocate for the heart test and urge anyone to consider spending the $50.  It might save your life.

            In the Bible, one can find many references to the heart.  Besides being the organ to maintain and sustain life, it has been believed it is where all human emotions come from.  Even Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the heart.  Does my experience in any way relate to Scripture?  The Psalmist writes, ‘You, Lord, are my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in you, and I have been helped; so my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to you’ (28:7).”

At Nobel it was fun visiting with Don and Phyllis (Naslund) Jacobson.  They drove over again this year from their island home near Chetek, WI.  They still do Ole ’n Lena shows.

With over 5,000 at the Nobel Conference there have to be a few more classmates here.  I was lucky to see Harold and Cindy Carlson.  They are still living at their lake home on Sturgeon Lake, off 35W on the way up to Duluth.  I think they are looking even younger than last May at the 50-Year Club reunion.

Of course, Stan and Marie (Schafer) Benson came a few blocks up the hill to attend Nobel!  Marie reported that Jack Norman sat next to them.

Another regular at Nobel is Jean Schendel Sorensen.  She handed me her “mini autobiography.”  Here are some highlights:  After her freshman year as my roommate, she attended the University of Minnesota.  She married Wes Sorensen in December 1950.

“…Navy years were spent in Pensacola, Corpus Christi, New Jersey, Virginia and North Carolina then back to Minnesota in 1954.  1956 was BIG─we had twin boys, Chris and Eric, in September─I was lucky to be a stay at home mom─1958 was another BIG─Wes graduated from the U of M─now we could really live─he was an up and coming architect!

1962─boys were in school─I went back to work part time.  Through a friend I found a job that was perfect─10 to 2─at the Service League of General Hospital.

Time marches on─camping, tenting, canoeing, etc., trips all over the U.S. with the boys─1968 took us into Mexico for the first time via the Copper Canyon Rail─car followed by another train─we drove through the country for 3 weeks─that was the last BIG trip─bought a boat─bought land on Elbow Lake─1st a tent─then a tent on a platform─then a roof over the tent─then a cabin on the platform.  1974 brought about another BIG─we bought our 1st sailboat.

            1985 Wes started his own firm after 26 years with HGA, and I became his partner.  I then realized what he really did and I was impressed─we were together day and night─a good space to be in.  I had studied interior in college, so that became my “BIG”─it worked!  Sold the Hunter in 1987─we could travel!  1988 brought the best and worst of all worlds─we took a cruise with dear friends, went to NYC for the National AIA convention, and ended up the year with a trip to England and France─two weeks later, Wes was dead!  It was devastating!  Two things─life is fragile─and I was vulnerable.  Another “BIG”─survival!

            New life!  Chris, my son, and I became the new “Sorensen & Sorensen Technics”─we had clients that wanted us to continue their services─so we were partners from 1988 until 1997 when we closed shop.

            I just reflect back to how GOOD my life was!  Although I lost my father when I was 7, I had a mother and a grandmother (who moved in with us in 1937 and lived until 1947) who were strong, courageous and wonderful─I have been blessed!

Finding out that Jean’s 80th birthday will be December 16, I pronounced her the youngest in our class, but is someone else younger?

Denny and Paula Lofstrom flew in from Tanzania as usual since it was time for Nobel.  Denny’s son, Mark, joined them for the conference.  Denny admitted to having a little jet lag.

We were nine classmates adding to the above, Bill and Marilyn (Barnes) Robertz and myself at Nobel as far as I know.  Please let me know if any others were there!  I think our class had the most attendees!  Next year, let’s meet to eat lunch in the caf (Market Place) on the first day.  We’ll sit with our trays right inside the caf door on October 5, 2010 about 12:00 noon when the Nobel Conference will be on “Food and Nutrition!”  I’ll sit on the left side in the back section.  Look for me there!

The Alumni Office asks us, “During the Sesquicentennial, what should be captured, celebrated, or replicated from your era?”  Please send stories, idea on people, food, events, etc. to their office.  They sent this news:

Herman Grefe, 82, of Fairmont, MN passed away last May.  Our sympathy goes to his wife, Darla, and his family, including son, Thomas ’83.

Adolph Halverson, Jr., 80, River Falls, WI, died on Good Friday in 2008.  His wife and family have our sympathy.  After having many types of jobs, he realized his “long dream as a lay minister” before he died.

We are glad to hear Ken Samuelson plays violin for the “Four Chairman Symphonette” in Post Falls, ID.

In June 2008, Willene “Billie” (Dulluhn) Axelson, 78, of Wanamingo, MN passed away.  She was a nursing student and worked for 33 years as a nurse.  We send our sympathy to her husband and family.

Donald Stenerson, 81, of Avon, Indiana, died in April 2008.  His wife, Grace, died in 2005.  He was from Lake Crystal, MN.

In the Fall Quarterly, page 64, I saw this obit:  Carol Heffernan Lundstrom, Duluth, MN, on May 3, 2009.  She was a homemaker, retired employee of Bell Telephone, and teacher’s assistant and is survived by her husband, Gordon, and four daughters including Barbara Perkins ’83.  Our daughter knew Carol’s daughter at Gustavus.

Gerry Erickson Thompson sent me the lovely folder for her husband Ray Thompson’s funeral last January in Silver Bay, MN.  On the front was 1Corinthians 2:9.  On the inside was an Irish prayer that ends, “May Gold hold you in the palm of his hand.”  Ray died January 15, 2009 at the age of 79 in Two Harbors.  Our sympathy goes to Gerry and her family.  Ray is survived by his wife, one daughter, and 2 sons.  Ray taught for 37 years, sang in choirs and built cabins and houses.

Marie Schafer Benson told me that Rick Anderson, son of Betty Reusch Anderson-Oussoren, died suddenly at a gym.  He was 54 years old.  Our sympathy to all of the families of those departed mentioned in this letter.

Stan Benson has been celebrating fifty years in the ordained ministry of the ELCA this year with ongoing events for him and his family.  First he and Marie attended the anniversary of his seminary graduation in mid-May at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  Although other Gusties were in his class, Stan was the only one from the class of 1951.  In June during the SWMN synod Assembly at Gustavus Stan again was the only Augustana seminary graduate celebrating 50 years in the ministry.  June 21 Stan was honored at First Lutheran Church for 50 years in ministry.  With two other pastors celebrating 25 years of ministry, Herb Chilstrom did the opening ritual and introduction just as he had done in 1974 for Stan’s father, John S. Benson ’20, at First Lutheran Church, St. Peter, when Herb was pastor at First Lutheran Church.

Stan’s family also had 50th anniversaries this year, especially wife, Marie, and son, John ’80 who sailed with Stan on a freighter on July 31, 1959, from New York harbor to Mombasa, Kenya, arriving in early September so that they could head upcountry to the station of Loliondo in north Maasailand of Tanganyika for their first term of service.  The rest is history and includes two sons born in Tanganyika, Todd and Jeff, before the country became Tanzania.  Stan and Marie already have enjoyed 17 years of retirement in St. Peter since their years of service in Tanzania.

(Thanks to Marie’s email, I learned a lot!)

It was great to see Art and Dorothy (Conrad) Gaard at the Commission 150 banquet on October 8.  We sat close enough to actually converse around the round table!  The banquet took place in the Evelyn Young Dining Room.  One student was assigned to our table.  He is a sophomore religion major aiming at a doctorate degree.  He gave up football so he would have time to study and be involved in the Center for Vocational Reflection.

A plaque at the new football field has a short history of the Golden Gusties by Jim Malmquist ’53, former football coach and athletic director.  “The first football game was played in September 1902 on a former corn field…”

On both, this gorgeous, autumn Saturday, October 17 and on the cold Homecoming Saturday, October 10, the Golden Gusties won a thrilling football game in the last few seconds.  Stan Benson, loyal fan, saw it all!Retiring men’s tennis coach, Steve Wilkinson was recently inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.  He was one of those honored during the football game and later at the Hall of Fame Banquet.  On Saturday, December 12, 2009 there will be a special tribute and benefit for Steve at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis starting at 5:00 p.m.  Steve will be recognized for his countless contributions to tennis these past forty years and as the winningest tennis coach in NCAA history.  To find out more information or to register for this event go online to:

I ran across an old letter from 1975 that our late classmate, Dick Bloomdall, wrote to me.  He wrote that when he was a junior at Gustavus, his father became seriously ill with angina and we decided I would have to leave school and go to work.  The tiny, Lutheran congregation where he had been preaching gave him their offering of $250 “to keep me in school.  I’ll never forget it or cease to be thankful for it.”

Congratulations to Eric Butorac ’03 the alum who has put Gustavus on the World tennis stage!  He is organizing a great benefit tennis completion in St. Paul on December 5 called the Minnesota Tennis Challenge.  To purchase tickets with credit card, go to:

Or send checks to :  Minnesota Tennis Challenge, 1043 Grand Avenue, #252, St. Paul, MN  55105.

From The Spire (Office of Church Relations), Rev. Grady St. Dennis ’92, Director of Church Relations:  “In the Gustavus Association of Congregations, Gustavus has a highly relational structure for our formal governing connection with the ELCA.  Our Association is proud to be more than 540 congregations strong.  We believe that the connection between church and college is strongest when it is a “living connection” of actual personal relationships and events through which we share our ministry resources.”  The Association holds a convention each April.

Two GACAC conventions ago, in Chapel, Rev. David Johnson ’62 preached, “It is the young who are suffering in our world.  We must help them.  Gustavus must help students and then send them out into the world willing to serve.”  And you, who believe in this place, sit in your pews and wait for the Holy Spirit and what he will do.”

At the same GACAC convention, Mary Nelson ’61 the main speaker, said that to get a college education in the past one might have to sell a cow.  Now it is more like buying a house…  We live in a violent society…  A lot of people are left behind and poverty is increasing.”  She suggested that instead of moving to the suburbs…we need to be “mixed up” so day care kids can hug seniors and we can walk and meet people feeling like we belong to a community…  God gives us infinite hope…  We must be more engaged…  Give money to Gustavus for scholarships.  The students need us to walk with them.  There is joy in being part of the solution.

We don’t spend much time dreaming of a white Christmas because we need to order our Christmas in Christ Chapel tickets soon so we can dream about that glorious, first weekend in December at Chapel.  The following week on December 10, is St. Lucia Day at chapel and the GLA smorgasbord with folk-type singers – “Neal and Leandra” (Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83).  This year our daughter, Lynn ’84 and Sheryl Brolander Johnson ’83 (who is married to my nephew) are in charge of this special event sponsored by the Gustavus Library Associates.  (I understand tickets are all ready sold out!)

Did you know that you can go on-line and listen to the chapel services?  Just go to the following link and listen:

Our 59th reunion will be May 28-29.  Let’s also rev up for our 60th in 2011!  Let me know your thoughts.  Hope you can send a lot more news!  Also, I’m looking for a volunteer to write the January class letter!

As Garrison Keillor says, “Be well, do good work and keep in touch.”


Dorothy Johnson Lutz

1951 Class Agent

Campus News

Gustavus Gets High Rankings

Gustavus Adolphus College is listed as the 33rd best liberal arts college in the country according to a new set of college rankings released on Thursday, September 3, by Washington Monthly magazine.  The publication states on its website that schools were ranked based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories:  social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Gustavus once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings.  Gustavus moved up eight places from last year’s rankings to 80th on the magazine’s “Best Liberal Arts College’s” list.  Gustavus is one of six Minnesota colleges that placed in the top 100 in this year’s rankings.  One of the measures used to capture the various dimensions of academic quality at each college is alumni giving percentage; therefore, participating in a giving program at Gustavus, regardless of amount given, is important to the College.

GLA Membership

All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.”  But, in the 21st century, it has become much more.  It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge.  It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education.  The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members.  Join this year and immediately make a difference.  Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget.  Join today at!!!

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speakers:  Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – Nov. 18, Thomas Young ’88 – Dec. 16.

Upcoming Events

  • Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – November 14, 2009
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel – December 4-6, 2009
  • Festival of St. Lucia – December 10, 2009
  • Tribute and benefit for Steve and Barb Wilkinson, Minneapolis Hyatt - December 12

royal affair