Class of '52
Dear Gustie classmates,
Early in March, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) was conducting its annual fund raising campaign. I listen regularly to this radio station, not only because it reports news without bias but also because the programming focuses on timely topics and diverse interests. As they urged the general public to support them financially and to become members of MPR at various monetary levels, I could not help but notice their strong emphasis on participation. Over and over they repeated this theme: "The amount doesn't matter. Send whatever you are able. Every dollar helps. You're part of a team and together we'll make this thing count. Don't expect someone else to do it for you. If you like this station and appreciate what it does, show us by sending a gift or pledging any amount for the next year. Believe it! You'll make a difference.” I was so aware that their appeal closely resembled that of Gustavus' through the years― Participation! Participation! Participation! Gustavus was built on the shoulders of giants who supported their college often with meager donations but always with love, devotion, commitment that was stronger than anything. Larger gifts are necessary and surely appreciated, but we are still a college that recognizes and appreciates each donor regardless of the amount. You guessed it! I'm reminding you once again that what matters is that you're counted on the Alumni Fund rolls every year. As you know, we are almost at the end of the 2004-05 drive, but you still have time to send in a donation just as I still have time to squeak through the door before the end of May with my one and only letter. LET'S DO IT!
Speaking of which, I shall devote one short paragraph to my excuses and apologies for being such an irresponsible class agent this year. Actually I have no excuses; I'm a procrastinator. Every time I thought about writing there seemed to be another urgent issue on the table. By the time we got past Christmas I still had several hundred Christmas cards to send. Then I started working part-time, at a program for students with special needs, 18-21, filling a position for a young woman who took a four month maternity leave. I could go on, but you're not interested in my excuses. We all have busy schedules, but I do apologize. You've never been far from my thoughts and my guilt! In my many visits to Gustavus throughout the year I recall our special days together on campus and am aware once again what a huge difference those experiences have made in my life.
The face of Gustavus is changing, not its heart, not its focus, not its strengths, but its look! Those of you who visited the campus in 1998 after the tornado all but demolished it, will remember the barrenness and the desolation as well as the spirit and the community that healed and restored. Today that campus has another look, not the maturity of the landscape that was there when we were but a fresh, vibrant image, enhanced by beautiful plantings and trees that have grown tall in these past years, new buildings and new construction, an enthusiastic, energetic fairly new president, a younger, interesting faculty still sprinkled with enough gray heads to remind us that deep wisdom and tradition are valued and honored, and a diverse student body, all of them with the great potential to learn, to serve, to succeed. As the college changes, so do the seasons and so do we. We find we must change…to live is to change. No longer do the majority look like the typical Scandinavian student either, more Swedish than Norwegian, of course, Gusties not Oles. On Hello Walk or the Mall you are likely to meet significantly different young people, different in race, culture, ethnicity, religion but not so different in their feelings and goals. At least half are Lutheran and probably of Nordic heritage, but their world is more global, more diverse. Their real world will be forever that, even if they choose to live in suburbia. Several weeks ago I attended "Building Bridges," a diversity conference held on campus. It was an awesome experience! The students, who presented short skits that focused on social justice and contemporary issues such as racism, relationships, homosexuality, drug and alcohol abuse were clear and direct. Some of the language and situations might have shocked you a little (after all this is now 50 years later), but they didn't hesitate to make their opinions known. I was proud of them. Because they're looking at a new world, far more complicated and smaller than ours was, they are attempting to apply options and solutions that are moral, inclusive, and spiritual (Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Judaic), many of which they have studied, learned, embraced, and upheld in this place that we love, a center for Lutheran belief and acceptance as well as discovery and exploration. Changes made around the margins of our lives do not last, but changes which directly affect the quality of life become a part of our lives.
I think it's time to dive into some news of which there's a lot, possibly a year's worth. Forgive me if you've heard this one before. Last year some classmates wrote that they either live in Arizona or spend the winter there. JoAnn Heyman Cory, Emily Kemp Skunes and husband, Orrin, Donovan Lundeen and Bev (Jacobsen ’53) Nestingen-Lundeen. All were leading busy lives, involved in activities and with grandchildren. Others spend at least part of their winter in Florida or live there year around. Laura Carlson Danielson and her husband, Jim, from Niceville, FL, survived Ivan. The town must have lived up to its name. Jim Nelson and Suzanne are in Palm Harbor, FL. They wrote, "Living in the area of the hurricane activity has been stressful." We can only imagine. To escape from cold winters, Renee Johnson Mohagen and Harold drive to Sarasota for three months. A lovely area―I've been there. Panama City is the destination of Marion Hier Frederickson and her spouse, but a year ago in April she and her two sisters spent a week on the American Queen steamboat cruising from New Orleans north. "A delightful trip!" Six months on Marco Island for Margaret Olson Reishus and husband, Marlin, starting January 1―you must still be there! I believe they planned to hear the Gustavus choir sing when they toured. Dennis Holt and Marjorie planned to visit San Diego to welcome their new granddaughter. What a joy! Marv Granath and Barb attended Christmas in Christ Chapel, but wished that the music was more Christmas oriented, perhaps more familiar. It is spectacular but unusual. "The dinner was five star," he reports and it was! Some of you have spent part of the year in distant places! When I called Eunie Trapp Mackenthun, she told me that she and Vic were heading to Peru on April 1. What a marvelous trip! Perhaps on the next call you can tell me all about it. Marv Anderson and Jeanne spent time in Acapulco with three generations of Gusties, their own. How special is that! Paul Swedberg, always the adventurer, was teaching 45 Lutherans in India in 2003, I believe. He and Carole were also in the Phillipines for the marriage of their daughter-in-law. Hope, I have that all straight, Paul. Ruth Peterson Larson and Bob ’51 with Roger ’53 and Lois (Oleson) Krantz enjoyed a ten day cruise on the Baltic Sea last August with stops in Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki; Stockholm and Visby, Sweden; and Germany. Finally, Roger Rotvig and Helen (Johnson ’55) headed for the western Mediterranean last October. "We love to travel."
Many of you will remember that my husband Bobby ’53 had a strong interest in golf. At one time it was his profession, and he also coached the Gustavus golf team. He has never lost that passion, and last year Roger surprised him with a golf ball signed by George Bush, Sr., who plays at a course where Roger works. It was a special gift and is on prominent display at our house. (Fortunately, it was Sr. Not W.) This is an official thank you, Roger, because although Bobby's intentions are great, you know the old saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It's not quite that drastic, I guess, but pen to paper―I don't think so despite my strong urgings. He loves it though, and you are a thoughtful, mindful guy. Must be because we grew up in Duluth! A few of you have grandchildren at Gustavus. Tristan Hansen is Ernie Lantto and Louise (Granath ’49) Lantto’s granddaughter, first-year student, and I think I already mentioned in a previous letter the interesting Don Peterson scenario. He and Edie's son, Ryan, and grandson, Whitney, both started last fall, 2004. Great job, you guys! We heard from Peter Zimmermann in Munich, Germany, who is a retired TV journalist. Peter, what stories you must have to tell! A few have written about recent physical ailments (which, by the way, we all are probably experiencing.) Bob Jensen, Bloomington, was in the hospital for his back, his wife, Jeanette (Fetchenhier ’54) told me when I called last fall. Surely he's better by now. We hope so. I kept telling Paul Elofson that he needed a knee replacement, and finally he did, last fall, his second. Donna said he was doing well. Probably sprinting around like a young buck. Are you, Paul? I hear regular updates from our friend, Dexter Linman, from our friend in common, Kathleen Michaelson. Both he and his wife are experiencing health problems, and he takes good care of her. Paul Johnson continues to do volunteer work as medical director of Hospice of Union County, Monroe, NC. They're fortunate to have you, Paul. We're also happy to hear that Lois is progressing well since her serious health problems. Our prayer is that each and every one of you and the rest of us will experience some remission and/or healing, restored by the energy of the earth this spring. All of you have interesting stories to tell. Glen Oman visits his 101 year-old mother who's still in her own home. Again, that's Duluth for you! Lowell McEwen, who has always done everything 100% claims to be 98% retired. Maybe he'll tell us next time what that means. He enjoyed attending the 50-year Lettermen's reunion. Russ Peterson stays busy doing visitation of shut-ins for Chisago Lake Lutheran of Center City and Zion Lutheran of Chisago City. They must be very appreciative, Russ. He and Gladys have two grandchildren at Gustavus this year, Ana ’06 and Glade ’08 Sietsema. Paul Lindau's wife, Joanne (Runez ’53), is engaged in an interesting project. She has been working on illustrations for a book of poetry. Why don't you write and tell us the name of the book, Jo. Another hallmark for a Gustie couple―Ellis Jones and Janet (Hanson ’54) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last August with a party at the college. Belated congratulations! I saw Ellis early this spring, and he continues to be an active part of his famous quartet that travels everywhere singing for group gatherings. Twylah Lundquist Benson, Greenville, PA, remains active in the educational world with some part-time teaching. We had a good conversation last fall when I called and agreed that this is something we both enjoy. Maynard Jacobson wrote an interesting summary of his humanitarian endeavors that involve both him and Elaine. I quote verbatim. "I am now emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, but still active with our international program with exchange of senior medical students to Scandinavian Medical School and underdeveloped countries such as Bangladesh. We are also involved with Gustavus pre-medical student studies in Swedish medical schools. We have become more active with humanitarian activities, foundations, and as a board member of Lutheran Health Care, Bangladesh." Very impressive, Maynard, and generous use of your time and talents. We all have gifts to offer, many perhaps that were nurtured at our Alma Mater. It thrills me as I talk to you and read your notes that we continue to be involved and making a difference in our world.
The qualities that make us all different are the qualities that make us all special.
As a final note I must quote a written message sent by John Lundquist who was 84 last Thanksgiving Day. None of the callers, including me, from our class were able to reach him last fall. He was contacted by a student fund raiser from Gustavus, and this is what he told her: "Thanks for your call. Our modest donation isn't of much help. But we seniors wish you young people well in a very troubling world. I believe you said you're from Rock Island, and you're an education major. That could mean you know how to spell onomatopoeia. My best to you." You made me chuckle, but more than that I believe there is a lot of meaning in those words, John. What you said reflects the spirit of Gustavus in a special sort of way and our hope for the future. One correction, however. No donation is too small. They all make a difference. That's how OUR COLLEGE was built. Thanks to you and to all the rest of you.
I am forever grateful to those of you who came to Phonorama last fall to call for our class. Thank you Dick Brown, Lois Sletvold Ringquist, Lee Jaenson Zopff, and Jerry Emholtz. You made it possible for us to call almost everyone in our class. Those of you whom we missed, please know that we tried or simply ran out of time. Some of you may have been contacted by Gustavus students. Whatever the case, thank you for your responses.
We are all together on this journey of life, sharing each other's joys and sorrows.
And so I must share with you the pain of death and the celebration of new life in God's kingdom for a significant number of our classmates. Bert Hulstrand of Anoka died last spring. Robert E. AhIstrom, Sheboygan, WI and Elizabeth Anderson, Golden Valley, MN, also died in spring, 2004. In September Eugene Schnabel died in St. Cloud after a long illness, and Arlene Hansen Bloom, Maple Grove, MN, our former class agent, died late fall 2004. I attended Elizabeth's and Arlene's beautiful memorial services, and I was grateful to be there for a last tribute. Their friendships, established long ago, were special to me, and through the years I stayed connected with them. I also had pleasant conversations with Gene Schnabel's wife, Janet, at almost every Phonorama when he was unable to communicate. They had a close connection with Hopkins where Gene's mother lived. We received a note from Wayne Farnberg telling us that his brother, Blaine Farnberg, passed away in January, 2005, at the Veterans’ Home in Fergus Falls. I had good conversations with both of them throughout the years. Jack Clark, Professor of Religion and classics at Gustavus for 37 years, died on March 7, 2005. His death was reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this week and a memorial will be held at Gustavus on Sunday, May 15. I wish you could read his long and impressive obituary. All of you have special memories that you treasure of one or possibly several of these classmates whose lives crossed ours at a critical time in our journeys. We hold them in our hearts and offer our sympathy to their families. These deaths are sad for all who knew them, I have a deep tragedy to report which also touches our Gustavus family, class of 1952. Many of you will recognize and remember LaVonne Christenson Talle. She and her husband, Herm Talle, experienced late last December the terrible tragedy that parents fear the most. Their daughter, Ann ’83, was killed in the explosion of a small building in Ramsey where she was employed. There are no words to describe their grief nor to understand the loss of one so young and vital. The journey is long and arduous, and all need our prayers and caring. Please keep them in your hearts.
Enough for one letter, my first and last this year. One final reminder―the deadline for this year's Alumni Fund Drive is May 31, 2005. Please send your gift and please be as generous as possible. And read your Quarterly. Lots of news and it's worth pursuing.
Whatever is important to you...
Whatever brings meaning to your life
May this be your special path.
Barb Eckman Krig
1952 Class Agent
P. S. The Alumni Office will add some other campus news here:
Gustavus has been known for its strong tradition of alumni participation in annual giving. Gusties support their Alma Mater in many ways and show their pride with their gifts. All alumni and current students have benefited from previous and current support. Gustavus will be as strong as its alumni want it to be. The 2005 Alumni Fund closes May 31. Make sure you are included with many members of your class and other alumni that have chosen to keep Gustavus strong. Three easy ways to give – send your check to the Alumni Office (by using the enclosed envelope), call 866-487-3863, or on-line at https://secure.gac.edu/giving/giving.cfm.
The Gustavus Alumni Association has announced 2005 award recipients. The Greater Gustavus Award to George Torrey ’55 for his lifetime volunteer service and philanthropy to the College. Distinguished Alumni Citations to G. Barry Anderson ’76, Apple Valley, MN, associate justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Deanna Nelson ’64, Cary, NC, president/founder, BioLink Life Sciences, Inc.; Rick Webb ’73, Edina, MN, owner of Ciao Bella, Zelo and Bacio Restaurants; and John Wirth ’75, Pacific Palisade, CA, writer/executive producer, Paramount Studios. First Decade Awards to Joe Gaugler ’95, Lexington, KY, assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Debbie Lightly Mascaro ’95, Fargo, ND, research scientist, North Dakota State University Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
The Gustavus women’s hockey team finished third at the NCAA national championship after winning the MIAC title, the men’s basketball team won the MIAC regular season title and conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA national tournament, the men’s swimming and diving team won the MIAC title and placed seventh at the NCAA national tournament and had seven swimmers earn All-America honors and the women’s team had four swimmers earn All-America honors.
Bricks and mortar
Southwest Residence Hall is being constructed across the Campus Drive from the arboretum on the west side of the campus and is scheduled to be finished by June. The L-shaped facility is configured with apartments for four and six and will accommodate nearly 200 students. A hostel space for summer programs and confirmation retreat groups is included in the residence’s plans.
With the new Southwest Residence Hall coming on-line, the College will be taking down Wahlstrom Hall to make way for future residential construction. Crews will start the dismantling process in July with asbestos abatement, and the Kasota-stone residence hall will be razed in August. Alumni returning for reunion and commencement festivities on May 27–29 will be able to take a last tour through the building’s public areas, stairwells, and walk-through sections following a “decommissioning” ceremony to be held on Saturday morning, May 28.
Construction crews working on the renovation of Old Main discovered a cistern under the basement flooring in March. Gutting the interior has provided evidence of layers upon layers of remodeling done over the years, including an old stairwell in the middle of the building and what appears to be an attempt to raise the third-floor ceiling. The Old Main project, which includes the installation of an elevator in the northwest corner of the building, is scheduled to be completed in August.
The education and nursing departments have been relocated to the newly erected Mattson Hall, which is sited just west of the Schaefer Fine Arts Center and Prairie View Residence Hall, on the south side of the campus. These departments will remain there until a new social science center is built at some point in the future.
- Class of 1955 and 50-Year Club Reunions – May 27 & 28
- Commencement – May 29
- Alumni Fund closes – May 31
- Reunions on Homecoming – October 7 & 8
- Nurses Reunion – October 8