Class of '53
January 2003

Dear Classmates,

I have an important message for each of you.  Get serious about plans to attend the 50th reunion on campus May 30-31, 2003.  As Jack mentioned last month, it is NOT Memorial Day Weekend.  The reunion will only be as successful as we make it and we need everyone there to celebrate this special gathering that each of us may remember in the coming years.  It may even encourage us to improve our letter writing skills and keep in touch with classmates.

When you return to the campus, be careful―many offices are not where you think.  I went to Gustavus in order to meet Alumni Director, Randall Stuckey ’83 the other day and walked into a brick wall.  I had to ask directions to his office in the Administration Building, lower level, only turn left instead of right.  There are many new buildings as well; the campus looks really great and we can all be proud of our alma mater.

One of the new additions is the tennis bubble (Swanson Tennis Center).  It gets a lot of use not only by the Gustavus teams; but various tournaments are held there for young players from around the state.  Last weekend I was able to watch a grandson play.  Such excitement and what a privilege for grandmother.  One wonders how many of them will end up as members of the Gustavus tennis teams.

In mid-April the College will send a Golden Anniversary booklet to all class members.  It will include the statistics (which you, no doubt, have returned) and a section of memories―time to tell it all now!  Please send them to alumni@gustavus.eduHandwritten memories may be sent to the Alumni Office to also be included in the booklet.

Memorabilia always adds to the fun of a reunion.  Bring your special items with you and give them to the person at the registration desk.  Be sure to clearly identify each piece.  If you bring several pieces, please put them in an envelope with your name on the outside.  They may be retrieved later in the weekend.   A committee will collect these treasures and put them on display for everyone to appreciate.  At our January meeting Dick Engwall mentioned he kept a daily account of expenses during his first semester: a real treasure!  Can you compete with that?  If you are unable to attend the reunion; but have a treasure you would like to share with your classmates, please mail it to Randall Stuckey with the request it be sent on to the Memorabilia Committee.  It will be returned to you after the reunion.


Classmate News:

Lois Bratt Genis writes that at our 25th reunion she thought the 50-year class looked really old!  And here we are.  Can’t believe it!  Retirement is great!  She has met several classmates in Florida and looks forward to seeing more.  She adds that the Gustavus Marco Island gathering is great and gets better each year—maybe each of us should put that on our travel agenda.

Beverly Peterson Frisk and husband, Gene ’55, have been travelling to Sweden in search of relatives and the annual trips have been very rewarding.  When home she keeps very busy with her baking—maybe she will invite us for some of her “fabulous caramel rolls.”  She did kitchen duties for 80 men and boys at Camp Chippewa for Boys near Cass Lake for six summers in the 80’s.  Adds it was an amazing adventure.  Any volunteers?

Jane Nielsen Norman is the proud grandmother of 20 grandchildren, including 3 stepchildren.  She also indicates her address is now in Grandview, Missouri.

Darlene Hill Barke’s hobby is making quilts.  She makes them for gifts and charities.  Maybe she would be glad to make one for a new grandchild of yours, if you ask.

Marian Edstrom Lundberg and her husband move around quite a bit:  six months at their lake home in Hackensack, then to San Clemente for a couple of months and back to Plymouth.  Managed in between to enjoy the Gustavus reunion at Joanne and Roger Carlson’s home on Leech Lake last summer.

James Anderson sends greetings to Dick Tillquist with whom he roomed for half of his freshman year in the infamous Ranch House.  He did not indicate which half it was…but adds that he did not graduate with us.

Each of us is invited to make a contribution to the funding for further development of our alma mater.  A reminder about the scholarship fund:  we hope to raise $25,000 to fund future students in the name of the class of 1953.  You are also encouraged to consider making a provision in your estate planning for a significant gift to the Scholarship Endowment Fund.  Dwight Jaeger and Dick Engwall lead up our team to make the anniversary gift of the class of 1953 something spectacular (as per Tom Boman).

Listed below are the names of our classmates who are deceased.  There may be others about whom we are not aware.  Please inform the Alumni Office if you know of someone who is no longer with us and the date of his or her death.  ( or telephone 800-GUSTIES)

  • Jane Peterson Alderman              09/13/1993
  • Mary Tillman Arnold                 06/19/1993
  • Don S. Bengston                     03/27/1991
  • Harriet Larson Berdahl              07/08/1974
  • George S. Brown                     03/20/2000
  • Dale Christenson                    05/06/1990
  • Earl Clemants                       10/16/1998
  • Richard M. Falkenhagen              10/13/1977
  • James Ford                          08/27/2001
  • Donald A. Gustafson                 11/02/1995
  • John D. Holden                      06/23/1978
  • Robert A. Jacobsen                  02/13/2001
  • Robert Jaeger                       01/03/1997
  • Gerald A. Johnson                   04/03/1998
  • Marilyn Dahl Johnson                03/13/1991
  • John L. Kunz                        11/05/1980
  • C. Robert Larson                    04/23/1997
  • John S. Lee                         06/04/2002
  • Alton Lindstrom                     09/30/1963
  • Lowell C. Linnes                    03/25/1974
  • Birdice Larsen Lund                 03/03/2000
  • Zoe Molander Maag                   07/13/2000
  • John Malm                           06/20/1993
  • Glenn J. Mattke                     12/17/1996
  • Pauline Steinke Meyers              06/13/1972
  • Marilyn Harstad Moynahan            10/01/1990
  • William Nye                         10/16/1961
  • Chuck K. Olson                      06/21/1997
  • Marguerite Olson Pratt              07/27/2002
  • Calvin Roberts
  • Reynold L. Running                  04/25/1985
  • Dona Amundson Rydeen                01/07/1986
  • Shirley Hoyt Ryser
  • Loren Schlottman                    07/04/1974
  • Stanley Schultz                     04/21/1970
  • Joanne Thatcher Swanson             02/07/1995
  • Alfred B. Swansson                  11/29/1974
  • Jack L. Teeters                     10/07/1997
  • Gerald T. Weekman                   03/19/1983
  • Virgil R. Westlund                  06/08/1993
  • Garmaine Wondafrosh

Looking forward to seeing you at the reunion,

Marianne Colberg Keswani

1953 Guest Letter Writer

Campus News:

Campus Conversations about Gustavus’ Mission

President Dennis Johnson is leading a campus-wide initiative to talk about the mission of Gustavus.  Conversations will be both philosophical and practical as the community discusses goals and visions, but also within the context of challenging budgeting times.  The goal is to prepare the campus for the search and hiring of the next Gustavus president.

Hmong Revealed

The Asian Cultures Club and the Diversity Center are sponsoring "Hmong Education Workshops" every Monday and Wednesday throughout January to help educate the Gustavus community about various aspects of Hmong life and tradition.  The workshops will include language, art, customs, and history, and will feature Hmong speakers.

Choir and Band on Tour

January is the traditional time for the Gustavus Choir and Gustavus Band to tour.  This year the choir will spend almost three weeks touring Italy.  The band stays in the Midwest, going as far as Colorado.  Touring is an opportunity for learning for these students to experience different cultures and communities, but also valuable as musicians to perform the same concert multiple times in different venues.  Finally, touring is a wonderful public relations tool for the college as these students stay with host families and spread the Gustavus story.

A Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus is a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Reaffirming the mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus ranked 8th in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of IIE’s "Open Doors 2002" report.  The College has been in the top 20 since 1994-95 and in the top 10 for the past 3 years.  Gustavus was 1 of 5 Minnesota private colleges to make the list.  During 2000-01, 397 Gustavus students studied abroad.  In 2002, 52 percent of the Gustavus graduating class had an international educational experience.

Peer Assistants Making a Difference

Like many colleges Gustavus relies on a wide range of students to help educate other students about issues, one such group is the Peer Assistants.  Created in the 1980s, this group of 15 students focuses on teaching Gusties about making healthy lifestyle choices.  They speak in residence halls, conduct workshops and do one-on-one counseling about such topics as alcohol and tobacco use and relationships.  For the 5th time since 1996, the Peer Assistants were presented with an "Outstanding Affiliate" award for colleges with an enrollment below 7,500 at the annual National Peer Educator Conference.

Upcoming Events

  • February 22 – Naples, FL Campaign Event
  • February 23 – Vero Beach, FL Campaign Event
  • March 1 – San Diego, CA Campaign Event
  • March 14 – Tucson, AZ Campaign Event
  • March 15 – Phoenix, AZ Campaign Event
  • March 16 – Sun City, AZ Campaign Event
  • March 22 – Easter Bunny Breakfast, Minneapolis
  • April 4 – Bay Area, CA Campaign Event
  • April 5 – Seattle, WA Campaign Event
  • May 3 & 4 – Gustavus Band 125th Year Celebration
  • May 10 – G.I.V.E. Service Day

Our Building a Greater Gustavus Campaign Success Interpreted

There are many questions among alumni, students and parents about the College’s financial situation.  People hear of our success in the capital campaign and ask, “How come the budget is so tight and some items are being cut?” 

One might look at an $80 million total to date of the $100 million goal and conclude that we have plenty of spendable resources.  A closer look at the designations of our campaign gift and pledges hopefully provides a helpful explanation.  During the past 5 years of this 6 ½ year campaign:

$23 million has been given for post-tornado rebuilding projects, including the Jackson Campus Center, the new outdoor track, the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, a new residence hall and the replanting of trees.  As I’ve already reported, another $1 million has been designated for Old Main renovation.

$24 million has been committed to us in the form of “future gift” commitments.  These are typically planned gifts that provide an income to the donor, or they are bequest commitments.   In either case, these are not dollars that are available for the College to use at this time.  However, they hold great promise for the future.

$16 million has been given to the College’s endowment fund to support scholarships, academic chairs and other programs.  While our endowment is significantly below that of our comparison schools, we must continue our progress toward increasing that number well beyond the end of this particular campaign. 

$8 million has been received as restricted dollars for various programs such as the Center for Vocational Reflection funded through a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

$8 million – approximately $1.5 million per year – has been received without restriction.   These are the only dollars raised during the course of the campaign available for use in the College’s $60 million annual operating budget.  Herein lie the concerns related to our present budget challenge and where you can make the greatest impact.  We are in the second year of the three-year 50 by 50 Campaign.  The goal is to achieve 50 percent participation of all alumni in the Alumni Fund by the 50th Anniversary in 2004.  Our class totals through December 31, 2002 are78 donors and $22,713.08 in total gifts.  Our goal is to achieve 143 donors by May 31, 2003.  Thanks to those that have made their gift.  If you have not made your gift yet, please respond to the next mailing, log on to, or call toll free 866-487-3863.  Remember, while we were students, we benefited from alumni who made gifts to the alumni fund.  Let’s do our part to help future Gusties.

Presidential Search Process

The Presidential Search Committee is well underway, and the members have set an ambitious timetable.  Candidates are to be interviewed at an off-campus site in February, with three candidates being invited to interview on campus in March.  It is hoped that a recommendation to the Board of Trustees will be made in April for ratification and election of the new president.  If all goes according to the plan, a new president will be in place by mid-summer.  You may read the “Presidential Prospectus” by going to the Gustavus website and finding the President’s Office.