Class 0f '53
October 2004

Dear Classmates,

In a recent poll conducted by Gustavus of Gustavus alumni, the folks said that their favorite way to stay in contact with the college was by class letter (75%).  The Quarterly was in second place (73%).  The Gustavus web site trailed badly at 23%.  Aha, I was pretty happy with that result.  Considering that the Quarterly has a professional staff and color and photographs, the basic newsletter still beat them out.  Goes to show what great writing can accomplish.  Plus, of course, a great deal of class loyalty.

This past Sunday in our church we had Jack Niemi ’68, the vice president for Church Relations at Gustavus, as our guest preacher.  He was doing the children's sermon at the contemporary service with about 70 kids up front and he made a pretty obvious pitch to consider Gustavus when they get old enough for that kind of decision.  Then he asked the youngsters if anyone knew where he might be from.  One young lady immediately shot up her hand and volunteered, "St. Olaf?"  The congregation rolled in the pews with laughter as did Jack.  Our church, First Lutheran, has some long roots going all the way back to Norway and there are lots of Olies in the membership.  Having Jack was part of our affirmative action plan to reach out to other cultures.

I received a nice note from our Class of ’53 scholarship awardee, Megan Strom ’06.  She writes:  "Thank you so much for your generous gift of a scholarship.  It is greatly appreciated!  I am currently a sophomore majoring in music and Spanish and minoring in Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies.  I am involved in band, orchestra, brass choir, and community service helping Hispanic children.  I will be going home to St. Francis, MN to work two jobs for the summer.  Next fall I am going to Ecuador for a semester to study its culture and developing government.  Thank you again for the scholarship, it helps a great deal with tuition!"

By the way, if you haven't yet contributed to the Class of ’53 Scholarship Fund, the door is always open.  Just give the Development Office a call (1-800-726-6192) and they can set something up for you.

There was a class agents' meeting about a month ago and my trusty co-agent, Bobby Krig, attended to pick up all the good stuff and eat my share of the free lunch.  Here is something from the pile of statistics that will amaze you and give you something to drop in the conversation with your geezer-buddies at Perkins at your next coffee call:  The full cost of attending Gustavus this year for a freshman will be $28,765!  That includes tuition, fees, room, and meals.  But before you have a bird, St. Olaf is higher at $30,950.  Carleton tops the list at $36,975.  Even the University of Michigan will cost an out-of-state-student $33,836.  So keep those scholarship contributions rolling in.

Here is another startling set of facts for your geezer coffee-drinking buddies.  There are 8,102 Gustavus alumni in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.  St. Peter has 973, about three times the number in Duluth (310).  Either there are a lot of graduates in St. Peter who are so in debt that they can't afford to move away or else most of the faculty and staff at Gustavus are graduates.  Go figure.

The Nobel Conference just concluded on the campus.  The theme this year was aging, appropriate for us, and a topic that attracted over 6,000 people to the campus.  A good friend of mine attended and reported back that some of the advice sounded pretty basic.  Eat wisely, exercise, think good thoughts, stay active, and give a big chunk of your financial assets to the college of your choice (I made that last item up but it is based on an observation decades ago by Edgar Carlson when he was president of Gustavus.  He observed that the longest living people he knew where those who had promised major gifts to GA upon their death.  Nothing, he observed, seemed to contribute to long life more effectively than to promise a deferred gift to GA.  Contact the Gustavus Office of Gift Planning if this suddenly appeals to you.)

Another interesting item from Nobel was that there appears to be a gene that triggers aging.  What else would account for the fact that some mammals like dogs have short lives and others like whales have very long lives.  Suppose they could decode the aging gene and then make it possible for humans to live to be 200.  Imagine not retiring until you were 165?  Or attending a college lecture by a professor that was 150?  Frightening.

Well, on that enlightening note, here are some interesting observations about some of our classmates.

E. D. Wenger and his wife, Julie, live in Nampa, Idaho but spend winters in Arizona.  He (they) likes to travel and he does some woodworking when they are not on the road.  They like to travel a lot so keep a light on so they can find your place and stop in for coffee.

Beverly Peterson and her husband, Gene Frisk ’55, who live in Robbinsdale, have a house in Duluth that they are remodeling so they spend most weekends in Duluth and catching some of the high culture that exists up there including symphony concerts and ice fishing.

Now here is an invitation that we should honor.  Shirley Svendsen Thompson and two of her children own and operate a small historic hotel built in 1898.  It is located at the base of Steens Mountain in Southern Oregon.  The mountain was featured in the National Geographic.  She invites classmates to come visit.

Colleen Davidson Heltemes have recently moved from Nome, Alaska to Scottsdale, Arizona since the oil well they owned in Alaska ran dry and they decided to take their profits and move someplace warmer.

Donald Matsui and his spouse, Kit, report that they are living the good life on the island of Lanai, Hawaii.  "Everyday is like Saturday for us.  To all of you, much, much, ALOHA"  And much, much Aloha to you, Don and Kit.

Chuck Leistico writes in from Arlington Heights, IL that they keep busy with church activities, the senior center, and visiting children here and in California.  I'll bet that Chuck and his wife, Beverly, use their bingo winnings from the senior center to get out to California.

Mary Lee Isakson Zupetz and her husband, Rudolph, keep busy during the winters in Minot, ND curling and church activities.  It is likely so cold during the winter that they can curl in the church basement when it freezes up and they can do both things at once.

Charlie Hardt, the perpetual motion machine, is still doing his science shows.  He figures he has now done it for over 90,000 students.  Plus, he also won first place for his woodcarvings at the state contest in Waterloo, Iowa.  Way to go, Charlie.  The scientists on aging from the Nobel would like to study you as a case study.

Well, that is a sampling of the news from classmates.  You can send your news directly to the college when you send in your annual gift to the Alumni Fund and they will pass it on to me (the information, not the money).  Or, if you are really daring, you can send it directly to me via e-mail at:

Now the college folks will insert some current news and information about the college as soon as I wish you and yours a satisfyingly good year.  And don't forget to keep Gustavus in your hearts and wallet.


Tom Boman

1953 Co-class Agent along with Bobby Krig

Campus News

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 657 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President’s Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

Nobel Conference, The Science of Aging

The 40th Anniversary of the Nobel Conference was on the Science of Aging.  The campus hosted over 6,000 guests October 5-6 to learn about the research molecular biologist are conducting on longevity, Alzheimer’s, and delaying debilitating disease and how this impacts life expectancy, the economy, and the health-care system.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field, will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was held on Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Charlotte Area Gustavus Gathering – October 30
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” – December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival – December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005