Class of '52
A Blessed Christmas season to you all!
On October 9 Bobby and I participated in the Twin Cities area of G.I.V.E. (Gusties in Volunteer Endeavors) while others joined in cities all across the U.S. Tara Pals, a recent graduate and chairperson of this year's event, opened the brief inspirational-instructive gathering at Central Lutheran Church downtown Minneapolis with this story. I think it's worth sharing with you because it highlights one of life's truths. Last June she and I and 100 other Gustie grads facilitated small groups on campus for Inside-Out, a Leadership weekend for high school kids sponsored by the GA Association of Congregations. She shared this quote with her group and then with us. "You don't always have to be the one to shine the light, just the mirror to reflect it." Shortly after that, she related, one of the young men in her group e-mailed her with the story behind that quote. Here it is:
A professor was asked, "What is the meaning of life?" He took a very small round mirror about the size of a quarter out of his pocket and told this story: When I was a small child and very poor, we lived in a remote village during the war. One day on the road I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place. I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible so I kept only the largest piece, and by scratching it on a stone I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine—in deep dark holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.
I kept the little mirror, and as I went about growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. When I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child's game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But the light—truth, understanding, knowledge—is there, and it will shine in many dark places if only I reflect it.
I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect the light into the dark places of this world—into the black places in the hearts of people—and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see me and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.
I wanted to tell you this rather long story because I believe it embodies the spirit and mission of Gustavus. I hope that it is or will be your mission as well, and you can accomplish that in two ways. First of all, your life can continue to reflect that light, your light and God's light, into the dark places of your family, your community, your world. Goodness knows, we need it badly enough! Even the simplest gesture, hanging a birdhouse in your tree or welcoming a new neighbor, is a divine act. You can also reflect that light by contributing to your college, a college dedicated to the philosophy of service. You may be sure that each and every graduate of Gustavus has been impacted by a focus on service as well as the focus on academics. President Steuer states often his belief that service to community and service to others is the hallmark of a fulfilled life. No doubt most of you will remember the emphasis that Dr. Carlson placed on service in a fulfilled spiritual life. What you continue to share with the college empowers current students to let their lights shine in all corners of the world. And isn't that truly the meaning of Christmas—Baby Jesus came to be the light of the world so that we might no longer live in darkness. And so we observe his birth and celebrate his second coming each Christmas.
Very little news to report and some of it appears to be more than a few months old. I spent very little time at Phonorama in October. The focus is now on reunion classes, but Bobby and I still like to do some calling. LEE NELSON ZOPFF helped on several evenings, and several others indicated they might come but I'm not sure if they made it. At any rate we talked to a few of you which is always great, and we'll be back in the spring. A common theme is retirement for alum and/or spouse, not quite 100%, but close. PAUL LINDAU has been working on illustrations for children's public television. Maybe it's finished by now. Hope I've got it straight. Maybe it was Joanne (Runez ’53). EUNICE TRAPP MACKENTHUN traveled to China last year and is still at the Glencoe Public Library as far as I know. Can you top that trip in 2000, Eunie? DICK LANE winters near Corpus Christi and plays golf. Wish I could remember the name of the course Bobby and I played there many years ago, but I can't. It was tough—that I recall. MILT OLSON helps congregations raise funds for buildings, etc. LAVAUNE LINDQUIST PUTZIER and Bob winter in Casa Grande, AZ, just in case there may be some classmates near by. I hear regularly now from BARB RINGSTROM CORLEY, NANCY SANZENBACH NEWMAN, and MARILYN CUDDY HAMMOND since our reunion last fall at Sand Lake, and I love it! One bit of very sad news—our friend and classmate for one year, NILS LUMHOLDT (SORENSEN) died this past year, and we are sad. I know nothing of the details, but will share when I do. DON KEITH WALLENSBERG, SR. always sends me a card early in December, and I appreciate it.
The joy of being friends is just
A simple code of faith and trust,
A homey comradeship that stays
The threatened fear of darker days:
The kind of faith that brings to light
The good, the beautiful and bright;
And best and blest,
And true and rare
Is having friends who love and care!
The Gustavus campus is in the midst of January term with over 20% of the student body away from campus this month participating in internships, study abroad programs, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions. On campus there are many unique classes being offered such as Archeology and the Bible and Analyzing Japan in addition to numerous classes and programs around a J-Term 2000 theme - Focus on Women's Studies. Next year January Term will focus on environmental studies. Winter sports, fine arts and extra-curricular activities are also in full swing. Even though there is little snow at Gustavus the new Nordic Ski Team is preparing for competition. The band and choir are preparing for southern tour destinations—the band to Florida and the choir to Texas.
Construction on campus continues, as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will then move to their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.
If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at gustavus.edu. The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.
You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:
- Naples gathering February 5 (Marco Island gathering cancelled)
- Tucson Chapter gathering February 7
- Phoenix Chapter gathering February 8
- Sun City Chapter gathering February 9
- Seattle G.I.V.E. project February 19 and Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2
- Bay Chapter gathering March 4
- Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 5
- San Diego Chapter gathering March 6
- Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 12, 1:30 p.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center and March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church
A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information.
Complimentary Life Insurance Offer for Gustavus Alumni
The Gustavus Alumni Association has sponsored group life and short-term medical insurance as a service to alumni for many years. Now the Alumni Association will provide complimentary life insurance as an introduction to this program.
Through a mailing in January, the Alumni Association is offering alumni ages 28 through 49 the opportunity to enroll for $10,000 term life insurance underwritten by New York Life. Coverage is at no cost to them for one year, if they can complete an enrollment card that includes a statement of good health. A year later, those who enrolled will be eligible to convert to $25,000 of paid coverage through the Gustavus Alumni Insurance Program, with no further evidence of insurability.
This "no strings attached" introductory offer, available for a very limited period, is designed exclusively for alumni not currently covered for life insurance through this Alumni Association program. For further information, please contact the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437. Life insurance underwritten by New York Life Ins. Co., NY, NY 10010.
And so I must close this letter to you, my last of this century. Wow! I love to say that. It sounds awesome! As always I planned to write long before this. Now I'm competing with neglected Christmas cards. But you know what? Whatever is important will be finished, and life moves on.
What I'd really like to give you for Christmas is a star.
Brilliance in a package,
Something you could keep in the pocket of your jeans
or in the pocket of your being.
Something to take out in times of darkness
something that would never snuff out or tarnish,
something you could hold in your hand,
something for wonderment,
something for pondering,
something that would remind you of
what Christmas has always meant:
God's Advent Light into the darkness of this world.
But stars are only God's for giving,
and I must be content to give you words and wishes and packages
without stars. . .
There's more―find it and read it. It's a favorite of mine. And remember―a gift to Gustavus is a gift that grows!
Welcome the new millenium with HOPE!
Barb Eckman Krig
1952 Class Agent