Class of '53
My wife and I accepted an invitation to attend the Christmas in Christ Chapel performance at Gustavus this past December. It was absolutely marvelous. In watching and listening to the music and spoken word it was easy to forget that these were students who were performing and not professionals. The staging, music selection, and hospitality were outstanding. If you haven’t been back to one of the Gustavus Christmas celebrations for a long time, it might be something to put on your resolution list for next Christmas.
Our travel plans on the day of the performance did not get us to St. Peter in time to check into a motel in Mankato to change out of our traveling clothes so we ducked into the Lund Arena, found a bathroom, and made a quick change. As luck would have it, as I exited the men’s room, Denny Raarup was walking by having just finished his classes for the day. He is one of those guys who doesn’t seem to age so he looks pretty much like he did 20 years ago. He is still gainfully employed doing his exercise physiology gigs for Gustavus. He does plan to officially retire at the end of the academic year. Maybe he finally has the last of his kid’s college debts paid off.
I imagine that most of you made some resolutions for the New Year. Are the pounds coming off? Are you adding miles to your exercise routine? Is your reading list getting longer? Have you sent off your thank you notes for Christmas gifts? Or maybe finally sent off your Christmas cards? And have you made a resolution to keep Gustavus in your funding plans? Keep in mind our Class of ’53 Scholarship and that old standby, the Gustavus Annual Fund.
For those of you who remain steadfast Lutherans you probably have been waiting for the ELCA report from the task force on human sexuality. It was released today, January 13. I’m not sure Martin would have been happy with our church’s stance. It keeps the status quo. Something that will likely please almost nobody. Then again, it is not likely to raise any huge ruckus. Too bad they didn’t get daring like recommend the full participation in the church for those who are gay, or lesbian, or bisexual.
It is amazing how we have moved beyond some of the crisis points that our national church has confronted over time. If you take the long look back the church came to grips with giving women the right to vote and eventually to be ordained. Same for blacks. Those Episcopalians that are up the street and have both formal worship and ambitious social programs seem to have worked well with us in our shared communion. Letting them in our doors hasn’t lead to all the evils that some were predicting. So maybe we will come to terms with homosexuality eventually and find that these are good folks and deserve the same opportunities as the rest of us.
Enough of this rambling. It is going to be close to -35 degrees tonight up here in Duluth, MN, and we may not see temperatures above zero for at least a week. So it is a good time to feel the heat from the radiant heating in the floor and get this letter out to all of you loyal Gusties. The news from classmates will follow and then there will be some news inserted from the Alumni Office.
News from Classmates:
Norma Johnson Hein, now living in Charlotte, NC, has launched a Gustavus Alumni gathering for NC/SC as a Chapter Agent. Terrific. She continues to serve on the Charlotte Symphony Guild Board and is Transient Insurance Congregational Coordinator for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Charlotte. What is a Transient Insurance Coordinator? Is St. Mark’s having difficulty with too rapid clergy turnover? We need to hear more.
It will come as no surprise to learn that Charlie Hardt is still doing his science shows along with his wife, Betty. Five of his seven children are in the teaching field. He continues to cut CD’s of Bible reading for people in rest homes. What a great service.
Mary Stollenwerk Berg writes that she loves Gustavus and its Lutheran heritage – Grace alone – Faith alone – and Word alone. She recalls with fondness the professors and cadre of workers there (Gustavus) who modeled for us how to make a life, not only how to make a living. Fine words that would warm the hearts of all Gustavus faculty.
Lois Bratt Genis writes from Danvers, MA, to say again what a wonderful reunion she had last year. She hopes that we will have a great turnout for the 55th (in spring of 2008). That is something to think about, but will take far less planning than the 50th. As Gustavus Geezers we are guests of the college at each spring graduation so all we have to do is agree to show up in 2008, maybe have a couple of special class events scheduled, and let the good times roll.
Miriam Zimmerman Giannone writes from Milford, CT, that she is still teaching public school part-time and teaching private violin and viola students. She plays in two orchestras and several chamber music groups. Still remember her fine violin playing at our 25th. That’s when, as I recall, Charlie Hardt leaned over and said to me, “would you believe that you and I are here listening to violin music and enjoying it?”
Beverly Peterson checks in that “life goes on splendidly.” We need to find out more what she has done to make that happen.
Philip Olson is living the good life in Belgium, WI. He traveled to Alaska this summer and continues to enjoy retirement and travel. His children have been active and have presented him with two new grandchildren.
Bill Mortensen, he with the golden voice, continues to sing with the Minnesota Chorale. Maybe we can line him up to give us some music in 2008 when we gather for the 55th.
Dick Tillquist is a bit like the energizer bunny – he is still driving school buses. Lean in close when you talk to him since he has become hard of hearing from all those years listening to kids hollering on the bus.
Rudy Semeja is retired in Ely (great place on a night like this when the temperature should drop to –30° and won’t break 0 for another five days). He lives on Chig-A-Big Road. Bet there is interesting history in that name. He serves on at least half dozen local boards. Good for you Rudy.
Glen Sandquist is working as visitation pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas but still found time to return to Gustavus this past summer for the Augustana Heritage event.
Amaryllis Samuelson Reeves just built a new house in Litchfield, MN. Love that town. Use to go there as a kid and visit a favorite uncle and walk the corn fields looking for pheasants back in the good old days when there were lots of those birds around.
And lastly, Dean Gevik is about to publish his hoped-to-be best seller, “Confessions of a Parish Pastor.” If you want a copy, check out Amazon.com, or drop Dean a line at 14626 Lyndale Drive, Baxter, MN 56425.
Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus. To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added. Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester
Did you know that the college has gone wireless? Wireless computing, that is? Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs. Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.
Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon. The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado. The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.
The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December. The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Announcing a new tool for all Alumni: The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.
The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy. It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you. Check it out today at gustavus.edu/giving.
The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at gustavus.edu/giving. The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004. To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).
Upcoming Alumni Events
- Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
- New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
- Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
- Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
- Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
- Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
- Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
- Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
- Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
- Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
- Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
- Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
- Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30
Have a good winter wherever you are. Live well. Think good thoughts. Pray for peace. And keep those cards, letters and e-mails coming.
Tom and Bobby
Your trusty class agents
P.S. If you get serious about sending along information, just use the following address:
1231 Maryland St.
Duluth, MN 55811