Class of '52
May 2008

Classmates of ’52, my friends:

Spring, a time of peace, hope, renewal!

Down to the wire, but there are several items of importance of which I must inform you before the end of the Fund year―May 31, 2008.

*Last call for Alumni Fund 2007 ‑ 2008 donations!  If you have misplaced your letter requesting a donation, or if you have just plain forgotten, please get out your checkbook and write a generous check before May 31.  In fact if you mail it in prior to May 25, it will be doubled thanks to a Board of Trustees commitment of $50,000 matching challenge.  Why the urgency?  Why the plea?  Gustavus, like other private colleges, needs endowment money for financial aid and scholarship programs.  Most of our financial aid dollars come from the operating budget which has forced difficult decisions.  “We want to continue to attract a bright, talented and diverse student body.  I am concerned about the effects of a possible recession on students and their families at a time when our price increases, federal and state aid remain stagnant, and we focus on our tuition discount,” states Mark Anderson ’66, vice president for Admission, and Ken Westphal, vice president for finance and treasurer, respectively.  Gustavus continues  to provide more opportunities for students, increase academic standards, and open doors to an ever-changing world.  Just check it out!  Gusties have always more than met the challenges―be a part of that team!  Tell the Gustie story!

Last spring I wrote to you about our class scholarship which is now about $4,000 short of the desired $25,000.  At that amount a certain portion can be given each year to a worthy student.  Of course, it can also grow beyond that amount, and then more money will be awarded.  We already have a scholarship given in Mary Lee Anderson Knips' name, established by family and friends when she died and was augmented by a major contribution from the estate of Carl I. Salstrom in 1989.  This endowed scholarship is awarded each year, and it is still possible to contribute to that fund.  The suggestion was made over a year ago that we name this, our class scholarship, after our two classmates Garmame Wondafrosh and Seifu Selassie.

Maynard Jacobson and Marie Schafer Benson were primary players in this endeavor, and I presented this idea to you in May 2007.  I invited you to send feedback, and I received emails and letters from a number of you.  Most people were in favor; those who questioned the proposal were only concerned for minimal reasons.  I have obtained papers from the Advancement Office, the President, and the Gustavus Fund Office agreeing to the naming of this scholarship:

Class of 1952 Scholarship Endowment Fund in Memory of Seifu and Garmame.  I have signed these papers.  Please let me know if you disagree heartily.

The agreement names Background and Purpose, explains Funding, Investment and Use of Income, specifies Selection of Scholarship Recipients.  “It is the intent of the donors that the Scholarship be awarded to students for whom financial aid is essential in order to permit them to attend Gustavus.  The donors would like the scholarship given to students who bring diversity to campus with preference for African-American students.”  In the next letter I will write a short biographical sketch of each of these two Gustie friends describing their lives and telling how they died.  If you have questions or comments, email me at:

Anyone who tells a story speaks a world into being.  ~Michael Williams

I have sadness to share.  Russ Lundquist of St. Peter died in September, 2006, and is survived by his wife, Marge, one daughter and two sons.  I realize that this was a while ago, but I have never reported it, and I wanted you to know.  He worked in the public schools and eventually became an admission counselor at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.  I’m sorry to report the death of another classmate, Marilyn Bodin Wahman, in February 2007.  She was a close friend of Ruth Peterson Larson’s who kept me posted during those last difficult months.  She is survived by her husband, Glen, four children and their families.  In January 2008, Patsy Sherman O'Connell passed away quietly after a long illness.  She will always be remembered for her work at 3M and her discovery of Scotch Guard® and her generosity to Gustavus.  I received a nice note from her daughters.  Paul Elofson also grieves the death of his beloved wife, Donna, who, after a 4-year battle with cancer, died in April, 2008.  She will be missed greatly by her loving family, Paul, her two sons and a daughter.

We extend our deepest sympathy and caring.

Can I see another's woo

And not be in sorrow, too?

Can I see another's grief,

And not seek for kind relief?      ~ William Blake

More news

Janet (Hanson ’54) and Ellis Jones have moved to a two-bedroom apartment in St. Peter after living in the same house for 48 years.  That kind of downsizing is a real accomplishment!  50 years married―Marie (Schafer) and Stan ’51 Benson just celebrated their anniversary in 2007, I think.  Congratulations!  Last year Lee Jaenson Nelson Zopff stayed busy helping to organize the Gunflint Trail Historical Society.  They’re still at it and hoping to open in 2010 at the end of the trail, formerly Chik-Wauk Lodge.  Deane Lundell owns and manages a grain farm near Vasa, but during the winter months his life style changes.  He spends time studying the interrelationship of historigraphy and theology.  Wow!  I’m sorry, Wally Drotts!  It must have been a typo.  I reported that Wally had 34 retirement jobs but actually it was only 4.  Even Wally couldn’t do that.  Still living in Lindsborg, Kansas, Vance Eckstrom has retired, but still teaches part-time at Bethany College or fills interim pastorates.  That’s a delightful, Swedish town.  Henry Ruggles’s wife, Carolyn (Peterson ’51) Ruggles has a new career!  She buys, fixes up and sells foreclosures.  You must be very busy this year, Carolyn.  Can you talk Hank into wielding a paint brush?  Don’t forget to send in your news!  We are interested―ALWAYS!

Gustavus has a new College President!

On April 25 the Board of Trustees met and announced our new College President, Jack Ohle.  Jack is currently the president of Wartburg College since 2003.  He will take office here on July 1, 2008.  Jack Ohle stated in his early remarks to the faculty, staff, and Board members that Gustavus, of all the Lutheran colleges in the country, is by far the most outstanding.  It heads the list.  Keep that in mind when you tell the Gustavus story!  Believe me; the college is in good hands!  We’re saying goodbye to President Jim Peterson ’64, who has accomplished a great deal in his time on campus.  We’re welcoming a new president and his wife, Kris, who with energy, vision, and dedication will lead our college to a place of leadership and service.  We have never had a stronger staff and faculty who are ready to make a difference.  And the students―well, they’re terrific!  And that's what it's all about

I hope your spring and summer are filled with sun-filled days and gentle raindrops, with joy and peace, with wisdom and purpose.  Perhaps like this.

They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.  ~  Edith Marton

Go Gusties,

Barb Eckman Krig

1952 Class Agent

Campus News

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.  Next date:  May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy ’82

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustie Breakfast - May 21, featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31