Class of '53
July 2003

Dear Classmates,

It’s over.  The big Five-O reunion is history.  We had a terrific turnout.  Many thanks to all of those who invested so much time and talent in planning and executing the reunion.

It was a time of mixed emotions.  It was good to see old classmates who hadn’t changed that much from their pictures in the yearbook of 1953 and there was sorrow for those classmates who have passed on.  It was good to recall memories of accomplishments, but not so good to recall those courses that still have incompletes.

The planning committee, co-chaired by Mary Edlund Rehwaldt and Marv Larson, did a great job of putting together lots of activities for those who like seminars, banquets, and coffee hours and plenty of places to just hang out for those who just liked to just visit and reminisce.

The memorial service in the chapel for departed members of the class was somber as candles were lighted for each member of the class eternal.  Plus there were memories of others who have departed this earth that were remembered with sadness and sorrow.  The music, the words, and liturgy were class led and significant.

The class picture that followed the memorial service was a happy scene of harried cameramen trying to herd classmates into some apparent order for the class photo.  You can expect to see the results in the next issue of the Quarterly.  Some will be surprised to find that they actually had their eyes open when the shutter went off and will look just great.  For the rest, well, there’s always a hope for some airbrushing.

The Friday reunion banquet was classic GA.  Swedish fiddlers played as the reunionites marched from the chapel to Alumni Hall.  Great food was served with dispatch.  Moose Malmquist as MC had jokes that dated from the 1950’s.  Original musical masterpieces composed by Jack Graber, who hasn’t aged in 50 years, regaled everyone.  There were introductions, of course, where almost everyone followed the instructions and kept it short.

The wind on Friday was gale force just to remind folks of what life on the hill used to be like.  But Saturday was cool, clear, sunny, and calm.  Made to order for folks in their 70’s to amble around, find old friends, check out the campus, and maybe collect a seminar or two.

And then it was on to the Alumni Banquet on Saturday night to which all kinds of folks were invited including many of those from past 50th reunions who are now members of the 50-Year Club.  And next year we too can hang out with the 50-Year Club as guests of the college.

Our class had an ambitious goal of raising enough money to endow a scholarship program in the name of the class of ’53.  We did marvelously well.  We collected over $25,000 in current donations to start some scholarships this coming year and we have promises of over $500,000 in deferred gifts for the permanent class of ’53 scholarship fund.  Terrific.  What better way to leave our mark than to give some young people the opportunity to attend Gustavus through our Class of ’53 scholarship program.

For some of you who had good intentions to contribute to the scholarship fund and just never quite got organized, you are encouraged to contribute.  The Gustavus Fund Office is happy to take your gift 24/7.  Or if you’re interested in learning more about a gift annuity, setting up a trust or a planned gift call Teresa Harland ’94 in the Gift Planning Office (507/933-7543 or email: and tell her that Tom and Bobby (remember us, your trusty class agents?) told you to call.  You’ll get quick service and she’ll even take you out to dinner as a reward.

Let me close this section of the class letter with a personal story of the value of scholarships and the quality of the Gustavus experience.  Our daughter, Annette ’88, was thinking of following her three brothers to Gustavus when the opportunity to attend a special women’s’ recruiting weekend at MIT in Boston was offered to her in the fall of her senior year in high school.  We sent her hoping she would have a stimulating time but would not be impressed as a place to go to college.  We were wrong.  She came home absolutely enamored with MIT.  Then came the reality of the financial package.  We could not afford to send her to MIT.

I remember the night we had our discussion and told her that MIT was way out of our ability to pay the tuition, living costs and transportation.  Gustavus, we said, was in our financial ballpark especially since she had a very generous new partners scholarship from Gustavus that involved working closely with a faculty member in her intended major.  She agreed that made sense.  What she didn’t tell us is that she planned to spend two years at Gustavus and then figure out a way to transfer to MIT.

Annette went to Gustavus and fell in love with the place.  She never transferred to MIT.  She was having too marvelous an experience at GA.  She graduated summa cum laude, went on to graduate school at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in biophysics, and was a first decade award winner from Gustavus for outstanding achievement in her profession.  She said she always believed that her education at Gustavus was good as anything her fellow graduate students received from some very prestigious universities.

Now we have a chance to endow a scholarship fund from our class of ’53 that can give the gift of a Gustavus education to some future students.  The Class of ’53 Scholarship Program is an idea of a gift that keeps on giving―forever.

Have a relaxing and enjoyable summer.  Tend those flowers.  Hit the middle of the fairway on your tee shots.  Enjoy your walks along the rivers and lakes.  Land the big lunker lurking in Lake Wobegon.  Play in the sand with your grandchildren or the kids next door.  And now and then, think a kind thought of your old alma mater.


Tom Boman, writing for the team of Bobby and Tom

Class Agents for the class of ’53

P. S.  For those of you who were unable to attend the reunion, here are the names of those listed in the Memorial Service bulletin and a copy of the Friday Banquet program.


NAME/YEAR                            DECEASED DATE

  • Jane Peterson Alderman '53         09/13/1993
  • Mary Tillman Arnold '53              06/19/1993
  • Don S. Bengston '53                    03/27/1991
  • Harriet Larson Berdahl '53           07/08/1974
  • George S. Brown '53                   03/20/2000
  • Dale Christenson '53                    05/06/1990
  • Earl Clemants '53                        10/16/1998
  • Frederich E. Ehlers '53                05/07/2003
  • Richard M. Falkenhagen '53        10/13/1977
  • James Ford '53                            08/27/2001
  • Faith Kruger Gillespie '53
  • Donald A. Gustafson '53              11/02/1995
  • John D. Holden '53                      06/23/1978
  • Robert A. Jacobsen '53               02/13/2001
  • Robert Jaeger '53                        01/03/1997
  • Gerald A. Johnson '53                 04/03/1998
  • Marilyn Dahl Johnson '53             03/13/1991
  • John L. Kunz '53                         11/05/1980
  • C. Robert Larson '53                   04/23/1997
  • John S. Lee '53                           06/04/2002
  • Alton Lindstrom '53                     09/30/1963
  • Lowell C. Linnes '53                    03/25/1974
  • Birdice Larsen Lund '53               03/03/2000
  • Zoe Molander Maag '53              07/13/2000
  • John Malm '53                             06/20/1993
  • Glenn J. Mattke '53                     12/17/1996
  • Pauline Steinke Meyers '53          06/13/1972
  • Marilyn Harstad Moynahan '53    10/01/1990
  • William Nye '53                           10/16/1961
  • Chuck K. Olson '53                    06/21/1997
  • Marguerite Olson Pratt '53           07/27/2002
  • Calvin Roberts '53
  • Reynold L. Running '53                04/25/1985
  • Chalmers G. Ryan '53                  03/11/2003
  • Dona Amundson Rydeen '53       01/07/1986
  • Shirley Hoyt Ryser '53
  • Loren Schlottman '53                   07/04/1974
  • Stanley Schultz '53                       04/21/1970
  • Joanne Thatcher Swanson '53      02/07/1995
  • Alfred B. Swansson '53               11/29/1974
  • Jack L. Teeters '53                      10/07/1997
  • Gerald T. Weekman '53              03/19/1983
  • Virgil R. Westlund '53                  06/08/1993
  • Garmaine Wondafrosh '53

P. S.  Rod Hokenson was videotaping the Golden Agers Class reunion, some of you will recall, and reports you all looked great, and the campus shows up in all its splendor.  He will be happy to share the results in a VHS video, edited to capture the essence of the proceedings. Contact him for details at: (or, or call 517-263-0546.

Those who attended and others will find it of interest, Rod believes.  ~Helen and Rod Hokenson

To the Class of 1953,

Congratulations to all of you for achieving 50 Year Club distinction at Gustavus and a thank you for your 50 years of support of each other and the College.  It was wonderful to see so many of your classmates return for the 50th anniversary reunion last May.  Your reunion committee did a marvelous job in planning and promotion.  We've enclosed several items for everyone -- for reminiscing and for sharing with those that could not be with us.  Once again, thank you for all you do for Gustavus.  Bye for now.

Randall Stuckey '83

Director of Alumni Relations