Class of '51
60-Year Reunion ― May 27-28, 2011
Dear Classmates and spouses,
Welcome to 2011, the year of our 60th anniversary from Gustavus. I am the second of four writers that our esteemed class agent, Dorothy Johnson Lutz, has asked namely Ray Lundquist. Thank you Marilyn Barnes Robertz for your fine December letter. As Marilyn mentioned Marilyn Street Turner and Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug will follow me. Since Dorothy does such a fine role of keeping us informed so well about Gustavus and all the activities involved, I do not find this to be an easy task, but I will try to do my best.
When I think of our 60th anniversary, I think of us as being true survivors. More than half of our class has passed on. Many of us have lost a wife, or husband and in some families, unfortunately, a child. This is a bit crude, but a lady friend likes to say, “Life is like a roll of toilet tissue; the closer you get to the end the faster it goes.” She always knows she will get a smile from me. I do consider every day a blessing and as the president states, “let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I’m also very aware that good friends in our class are facing very serious health issues, so we wish them the very best and that you have as good a year as possible.
Dorothy and Marilyn have given you details about our Reunion Weekend, May 27-28. The first event is the banquet on Friday night. Dorothy has asked me to be the master of ceremonies at the banquet which I will do, but my first reaction was there were others I would have preferred, but so be it.
Since there will be classmates at the banquet that perhaps we have not had any contact with since graduation, I want to make sure at the banquet that we connect and hear from everyone. There will be two responses I will want from everyone. The first is to share a special memory of your four years at Gustavus and the second you will find out at the banquet. Depending upon our numbers at the banquet, each classmate will have at least several minutes.
Saturday, the 28th is full of activities which you will be fully informed about. Dormitories will be made available for overnight accommodations. If you want an overnight stay off campus, I would suggest you contact the AmericInn motel in St. Peter. For reservations, here are their phone numbers: (507) 931-6554 and 1-800-634-3444 – I’m sure they will fill fast.
I’m also very hopeful that as many of you as possible will contribute to the Gustavus Annual Fund prior to the reunion weekend. As of the end of December, 30% of you had given a total of $41,934. I would like to think we would be well over 60% participation and that we go well over the $60,000 mark. Our percentage of donors as well as the amount has been down the last two years. We were close last year in both areas with 57% participation and a total of $59,795. We always use to do better, especially in the class participation area, so let’s do it again.
I feel every one of us were extremely fortunate to attend a college like Gustavus. Stop and think for a moment what you would have done in your life if for some reason you weren’t able to attend a college. In my own family, that is exactly what happened. My oldest sister, a 1936 high school graduate wanted very much to attend Gustavus, but this was during the peak of the Depression. My parents, who were dairy farmers, were struggling because of crop failure and to provide for us, a family of five children. My father couldn’t help her; no scholarship was available at Gustavus. She went to a business college in Minneapolis and was able to get a part time job for tuition. She also provided, in some way, the means for my sister, high school class of 1941, to attend Gustavus and become a 1945 graduate.
In my own situation, if I had not been able to go to college I could have worked with my father and even taken over the farm since I was the only son. That plan never appealed to me considering the struggle my parents went through with the long hours, crop failure and the list could on. I do like the role I have now however; since we only have one primary field and I share crop that with a young local farmer. The farm is unique in that it is adjacent to the former Gustavus, St. Ansgar Academy, located at East Union, midway between Carver and Belle Plaine, from 1862-1876 at which time the academy was moved to St. Peter and became Gustavus. There I began hearing about Gustavus at a very early age.
I have had the opportunity to be on campus three times this past fall. The first was for Homecoming which was early, September 25. I went to the Nobel Conference the following week. The weather was beautiful which always helps. The first event I attended was the naming of a room in Lund Center for Don Swanson, who died in September 2009. Don was the younger brother of Gordon Swanson, class of 1950, who many of you know. Don was such an advocate for Gustavus and was very involved in the start of the monthly breakfast held at the Doubletree Hotel (of which I will mention more later).
Then classmate Bob Smith and I attend the 50 year football lunch. I was able to sit with Dale Scholl ʼ49 and his wife, Beverly (Bolstad ʼ50); Dale was such a nice person and had an outstanding career at Redwood Falls in coaching and administration. On that particular day of Homecoming, Dale was feeling good but was having kidney dialysis three times a week. He died on November 6 when his kidneys finally failed. A humbling factor is that I only know of three living members of that team.
I was a reserve lineman at best, but it was a joy to be part of that undefeated conference champion team. Pastor Bud Lindberg ʼ47, former pastor at Mt. Olivet in Minneapolis was my mentor. What a great guy and friend. On my 18th birthday in December of 1945, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. All of my close friends from my church and high school were already in service so I wanted to be a part of the group. When I returned to Gustavus in 1948, one look at the size of many of those players, intra-mural became my choice. Enough of that.
By the way, the Homecoming game was exciting, but unfortunately St. Olaf scored in the last minute and we lost 14-19.
The second time, my wife, Lorraine and I returned to Gustavus was for the senior voice recital of our granddaughter, Sarah Lundquist ʼ11. Who should appear for that, but dear Dorothy, our class agent. She had seen it on the Gustavus activities of the day calendar. Dorothy was very kind in her critique of Sarah, who I feel also, has a nice soprano voice. Sarah is in the concert choir and is excited about going to Italy for two weeks this January with the choir, where they will be giving a number of concerts. She graduates on May 29 so it will be a full three-day weekend for us.
The third event was attending the Christmas in Christ Chapel concert on December 3rd. The title of the concert was “A Renaissance Nativity.” It was a very special concert concerning the birth of Jesus and how the creativity of musician, artist, poet and dancers interpreted his birth. The Renaissance first started in Italy and then began to spread worldwide. The choir and instrumentalists were outstanding! I have a good friend who goes to the Concordia, St. Olaf and Augsburg concerts, but he always looks forward most to the Gustavus concert each year because of its creativity, uniqueness and the chapel itself.
I have a total new appreciation of choral music since I joined Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park in order to worship with Lorraine and sing in the choir with her. (The senior pastor at Westwood is Tania Haber ʼ78, who I enjoy very much and is the daughter of classmate S. Lenore Anderson Haber, who many of you knew and who unfortunately passed away in the mid-nineties of cancer.) After my first wife, Georgia, died in 1986, the senior pastor at Calvary Lutheran in Golden Valley where I attended 56 years, asked me to assume active responsibilities each Sunday morning which I did for the last 24 years; meaning I was in one church and Lorraine was in Westward with the choir.
I enjoy the choir very much, but I am the least experienced member in the choir which consists of 70 members, the majority of whom sang in their college choir. I stand by Pete Langsjoen, class of ʼ69, who sang in the Gustavus choir and is the son of Arne Langsjoen ʼ42, who perhaps some of you had in chemistry. On my other side is a St. Olaf choir member, so I lean on them hard and sing, trying to follow their lead. After a Wednesday night practice, I feel like I had a health club workout.
Now we need to hear from classmates who have given the Alumni Office news items which are much appreciated.
Fred Tidstrom continues to amaze me with his energy and leadership in projects of his hometown of Ashland, WI. He is on a committee which is attempting to build and establish a Techno Park in Ashland. The planned park would provide a place for technology-based businesses to commercialize their research and innovations. Fred is the president of the advisory board. He is also the leader of renovation for the local Ashland Stadium. Way to go Fred!
Congratulations to Ken and Lois Anderson Quist and their good genes all as their daughter, Genevieve Quist ʼ05 who received her Ph.D. from Oxford University, Oxford, England. Her dissertation was “Comparative Social Policy.” She attended Gustavus and is currently working in Boston for the agency, Stand for Children.
Lowell “Bud” Erickson and his wife, Claribel (Allen ʼ49) reported that their grandson, Zach Lopidus, was a finalist for the Cole Porter Fellowship award in piano/jazz. We don’t know the result at this end, but we hope he won.
Marion Odberg Olson has been celebrating the marriages of her three grandsons.
Jean Anderson Emerson reported their daughter, Naomi Lyew, who has been with the U.S. Foreign Service for 22 years was recently awarded the advanced performance pay. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Haveli Law School.
My roommate Don Wulf who was with Lloyd Mathews and me in Uhler Hall for two years traded roommates in June 1950 to be with his high school sweetheart, Barbara (Lunstead ʼ50) of Willmar. Thus they celebrated a full week, their 60th wedding anniversary at their home in Sacramento with all their family. Most of us married in 1951 after graduating, but Don couldn’t wait to wed dear Barbara. Who could blame him, but Lloyd and I certainly missed him. It was a great trade for Don!
A couple more items before closing. Dorothy mentioned it in her last letter, but I will remind you again that each of you will be receiving a call concerning the anniversary weekend and encouraging you to come and to answer any questions you may have. This will take place in the latter part of April and first part of May. Dorothy Johnson Lutz and Marilyn Barnes Robertz will call the women classmates and Bob Smith, Wayne Ripley, Gordy Sandbaken, Jack Norman and I will call the guys.
The monthly alumni breakfast which is held the third Wednesday of every month at the Doubletree Hotel in St. Louis Park continues to be very successful. The speaker is always a Gustie staff person or an alumnus. Last month was very special in that it featured professional folk musicians, Neal Hagberg ʼ81 and Leandra Peak ʼ82. Our class always has the best representation and the most consistent are Gordy Sandbaken, Clint Lomis, Wayne Ripley, Bob Smith and I. There have been a host of other fellows attending at various times. You note, no women classmates are mentioned since I can’t recall any attending. We would like very much if you would try to come sometime. You would enjoy it. I give total credit to Randall Stuckey ʼ83, Director of Alumni Relations for obtaining the speaker each month. He has done a marvelous job of really covering the total staff and their expertise. I look forward to each breakfast. A list of who’s speaking through August ʼ11 is listed on page 31 of the winter Quarterly.
In conclusion, I want to say that a special occurrence took place on my birthday this past December. On that day, my niece, Karrin Meffert-Nelson was named to fill a vacancy in the Gustavus music department. Karrin has her Ph.D. in conducting and the clarinet, from the University of Minnesota. In the past she has frequently filled in as needed in the Minnesota Orchestra and is a regular participant in the Minnesota Opera Orchestra at the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul. She will be working part time interviewing future students for the orchestra until this fall when she will be full time. Her interviewing will include my granddaughter, Mallory Lundquist, a senior at Robbinsdale Armstrong where she plays the flute. Mallory has been accepted at Gustavus as well as the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business.
This has been quite an amazing fall for Karrin’s family since her husband, Jim Meffert, my nephew-in-law was a candidate for congress in the Minnesota 3rd congressional district opposing Erik Paulsen the incumbent. Erik Paulsen won the election primarily in that he raised twice as much money as Jim. It is unfortunate that money has to decide so many election results. It was a good experience for Jim and to get his name out there for future political campaigns if he wishes.
This letter has certainly gotten longer than I anticipated, but it has been a privilege to communicate with you and I hope to see many of you at our anniversary.
Best wishes to each of you and may each of you have the best possible New Year.
1951 Guest Letter Writer
Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on Monday, Jan. 17, with a public lecture by civil rights movement activist Bernard LaFayette Jr. and a performance of African America by Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theatre. LaFayette will give the College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture in Christ Chapel as part of the College’s daily chapel service at 10 a.m. A question-and-answer session will follow LaFayette’s presentation at approximately 11 a.m. LaFayette co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and played a leadership role in several key Civil Rights Movement events in the early 1960s, including the Nashville sit-ins in 1960, the Freedom Rides in 1961, and the Selma, Alabama, voting rights movement in 1965.
Call for Distinguished Alumni Citation Nominees
Each year the Gustavus Alumni Association presents Distinguished Alumni Citations. The Distinguished Alumni Citation recognizes outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as to bring unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor. Nominees are now being accepted by the Alumni Board of Directors; please e-mail a resume or curriculum vitae to Randall Stuckey ’83, director of alumni relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gustavus Choir Tour
The Gustavus Choir will embark on a tour of Italy this month. The 57 student musicians, under the direction of Greg Aune, will travel to and sing at various locations in Italy Jan. 13-28. As is the case with each Gustavus international music tour, it includes an educational component. The students are learning about the Italian Renaissance in the month-long Cultures of Creativity course taught by Chaplain Brian Johnson ʼ80. Joining the Gustavus Choir will be a companion tour of 15 Gustavus alumni, parents, and friends.
Gustavus Wind Orchestra Tour
Under the direction of Douglas Nimmo, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota and Wisconsin between the January Interim and Spring Semester. All concerts are free and open to the public.
- Saturday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m. – Tornstrom Auditorium, Brainerd
- Sunday, Jan 30, 3 p.m. – Central High School Auditorium, Duluth
- Monday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m. – Wausau East High School, Wausau, WI
- Tuesday, Feb. 1, 8 p.m. – Lawrence University Memorial Chapel, Appleton, WI
- Thursday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m. – Schauer Arts and Activities Center, Hartford, WI
- Friday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m. – St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Middleton, WI
- Saturday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m. – St. John Lutheran Church, Owatonna
The tour will wrap up with a home concert on Saturday, Feb. 12. at 2 p.m. in Christ Chapel.
“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts
Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts. New this month: breakfasts in both Minneapolis and St. Peter! Minneapolis breakfasts are the 3rd Wednesday of the month, St. Peter breakfasts are the 2nd Wednesday of the month.
Speakers at the Minneapolis venue are Brett Petersen, men’s hockey coach, and Mike Carroll, women’s hockey coach. The event is Wednesday Jan. 19, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd. Cost is $10 at the door. Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at email@example.com or by calling 800-487-8437.
The St. Peter speaker for January is Tom Young ’88, vice president for institutional advancement. The breakfast is Wednesday, Jan. 12, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center. Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door. Reserve your spot by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 507-933-7512.
This year President and Kris Ohle have many travel dates planned in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College. Please mark your calendar if you live in or near one of these locations:
- Seattle – January 27
- Tucson – February 8
- Phoenix – February 10
- Denver – February 11
- Boston – March 2
- New York – March 4
- Washington, DC – March 5
- Jacksonville, FL – March 26
- Orlando – March 28
- Tampa – March 29
- Naples – March 30
- Chicago – April