Class of '53
October 2006

Dear Classmates,

My wife and I attended the Nobel Conference this fall at Gustavus.  The Nobel, as you recall, is the premier scientific/sociological conference designed to be understood by rank and file folks who might have not had a science or sociology course since those required when they were in college some 40? 50 years ago.  The conference is held on the first week in October and draws upwards of 6,000 persons to a campus that could not have accommodated 800 visitors in the 1950s.

The Nobel is two days of a rich feast of ideas, brilliant displays of minds that run well over 100 mph, and hospitality that is amazing for its openness, friendliness and efficiency.  The topic this year was medicine and covered everything from the latest in gene therapy to cost analysis of making health care available to all Americans.

The audience at the Nobel covers all ages from high school kids to lots of gray-haired seniors.  I suspect the audience is split between those who are uniquely interested in the topic and half who come every year regardless of topic but look forward to a mini-reunion with serious content.  I thought as we were meeting and greeting old friends that we could just as likely draw a crowd for a Class of 1953 reunion at the Nobel as homecoming or graduation.  Something to think about as we contemplate 2008, the year of our 55th year out from Gustavus.

If you are on campus for a Nobel for the first time you will be astounded at the size of the audience.  About 6,000 people jammed into the Lund Arena or hanging around close-circuit projection TVs at strategic places around the campus.  There is coffee and goodies everywhere.  And there is no shortage of smiling people with black and gold badges offering advice on where to park, sit, eat or spend money at the bookstore.

Knowing that motel space was at a premium within a 50-mile radius, we drove our motor home (named Lena because of the blue and gold trim) to St. Peter.  College officials told us prior to the conference that we were welcome to drive the vehicle on campus during the day but that we could not spend the night parked on campus.  So we checked in to the St. Peter public campground located two blocks from the police department building on the Minnesota River.

There is much that could be said about the presentations at Nobel.  But you can buy a complete set of the DVDs of the conference by contacting the college.  There was one presentation that does bear mentioning.  That was by Mike Osterholm, the man who once was Minnesota’s epidemiologist and now a fellow at the U of M Humphrey Institute.  He talked of the inevitable flu epidemic and the impact on our society.  To him it is not a matter of if, but when.  As he described the impact on our highly integrated society he predicted that the impact will be much more severe than the infamous flu epidemic of 1918.  You would be well advised to at least buy a copy of his DVD and play it some time when you are feeling complacent and self satisfied.  The cure will be instantaneous.

When you next visit the campus, be prepared to be impressed with the landscaping, the architecture, and the friendliness of the students and the staff.  Just for fun stop by the Jackson Campus Center and drop in to the Office of Admission.  It is one classy operation with a welcoming atmosphere and people who could sell refrigerators to Eskimos.  Then wander to the specialty coffee shop on the floor below and order your favorite blend of coffee before you walk a few steps to the entrance of the Bookstore.  Be prepared to spend at least a few bucks on good books or Gustie gear as you marvel how college bookstores have evolved since the 1950s.

Shifting subjects.  Marv Larson, our new class co-agent, reminds everyone to keep those notes and comments coming and, as you do, enclose a gift to the Alumni Fund and a copy of your latest will and testament where you leave a bit of your vast wealth to Gustavus.  Be sure and mention that you want the deferred gift assigned to the Class of ’53 Scholarship Fund.  Marv thanks you.  And the students who will receive funds from the scholarship thank you.

Now, on to the news from classmates.  Note that there is less of this than in past decades since most of you must feel that no one would be interested in what retired geezers do for excitement.  But you would be wrong.  We need to know.  So keep us informed.

Marcie Sodergren Ford writes of an upcoming trip to Paris to visit where one of her daughters lives.  Then she might be off to Armenia to visit son Peter ’84.  In the meantime she is living in the same house she and Jim purchased in D.C. in 1978, close to all of those great stories coming out in this election year!

Gaylord and Jeanenne (Andersen ’57) Fernstrom, who now live in Scotch Plains, N. J., that part of New Jersey that is stunningly beautiful, spent part of the summer in Dassel, MN also stunningly beautiful before vacationing in Alaska.

Del Anderson stays in touch from Palatine, IL, which could be stunningly beautiful, and encourages folks to keep sending information and gifts to Gustavus.  He appreciates the class letters but misses the phonorama calls from Bobby.  As do we all.

Cliff Dotseth sent in his gold envelope the last possible day with a note that he was attending to a dear friend that had just suffered a heart attack.  I notice from his address that he, too, lives in Palatine, IL.  We can only assume that he and Del get together now and then for coffee and great debates on the role of religion in the American politic.

Lois Bratt Genis has sold the old mansion in Marblehead, MA, and moved to a condo for ease in living.  I’ll bet that she gets on the condo board before long to shape them up and write in some sensible rules for the operations.  Enjoy your seven months in Florida, Lois.

How good to hear from Don Matsui who writes that all is well on the island of Lanai.  It’s still like Sunday everyday except for the aches and pains.  He wonders if age is catching up.  I didn’t think that people aged in Hawaii.  He closes with his aloha to all.  Aloha to you too, Don.

Norma Jean Johnson Hein checks in from Charlotte, VA, with a frightening story of having a tremor that caused her to have to cancel out a Baltic trip that had long been in the planning.  Fortunately, she writes, she has a Lutheran neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, who is treating her.  Sounds like you are in good hands, Norma.

We got a great note from one of our classmates who forgot to give her name and to enclose a check but the news was interesting, whoever it is.  She traveled to China and Greece this past year and organized a bell convention this summer at church.  Sounds terrific.  Now fess up.  Send name and check.  Thanks.

Bob and Darlene (Hill) Barke check in with good news from Madisonville, LA, that the hurricane damage is getting under control and that they are most grateful to all of the good people who donated time and energy to help put their town back together after Katrina.  Plus, the fishing for trout and redfish couldn't be better so they will have plenty to eat.

Dan Borg is another resident of Massachusetts, Sterling to be exact.  He and his son toured New Zealand in March and he and his wife attended the Augustana Heritage Conference (celebrates the old Augustana Lutheran Church traditions) in Chautauqua, NY.  I wonder if they sang any of the old favorite hymns in Swedish.

Fran Johnson Hummel along with Norma Johnson Hein toured Eastern Europe with members of the companion tour with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra Tour.  Professor Tom Emmert accompanied the tour and provided commentary and information about the countries.  She said it was just great.  Something for the rest of us to keep in mind when the next companion tour is planned to accompany one of the touring Gustavus performing arts groups.

James Anderson reports moving from Estes Park, CO to Denton, TX in order to be nearer children and grandchildren.  Even though they will miss the cool summers of Estes Park, the trade off being near the kids is well worth it.

Dick Engwall is spending his days well at the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.  He gets together with Roger Carlson of the class of ’54 (that’s OK to fraternize, but don’t mistakenly send your check to the Alumni Fund in care of the class of ‘54) along with a couple of other guys for woodcarving.  They are big on carving trolls.

Tom Atcherson had some of his music performed at Harper Hall at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City.  Congratulations, Tom!  Will a DVD be forthcoming?

And lastly, the infamous Cheeseburger Club of the Class of ’53 had its first reunion in 53 years this summer.  Marv Larson, Dwight Jaeger, Wendy Johnson, and Tom Boman, all passed their calculus class from Albert Swanson thanks to the greasy cheeseburgers every Friday at the canteen.  Note that two of the four have congestive heart problems likely started from those cheeseburgers.  Naturally, cheeseburgers were on the menu at the reunion.

That’s it folks.  Thanks for reading.  And thanks for supporting the college.

Tom Boman, Newsletter Editor (

Marv Larson, Chief Fund Raiser (

Campus News:

Honor Roll of Donors

If you haven’t had a chance to find yourself online, please go to: to check out the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors.  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006.  To find your name or check 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).

Omega Kappa Fraternity Celebrates 100 Years

The OKs celebrated 100 years of Modesty, Diversity, and Brotherhood on Saturday, October 21, at the Science Museum on Minnesota in St. Paul.  The evening was filled with stories, photos, shared memories, artifacts, histories, and singing.

Gustavus Alumni Professional Apparel

Check out the two new oxfords on sale online through the Gustavus Book Mark.  The Book Mark is offering a women’s and men’s long sleeve shirt in a variety of colors and sizes.  The shirt features an embroidered three crowns and Gustavus.  A great idea for holiday shopping for your favorite Gustie.  Check them out online only at

Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

On Saturday, September 30, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletic Hall of Fame:  Deborah Jungwirth Borman ’87 - Volleyball, Tina Pulido Draper ’87 - Gymnastics, John Huepenbecker ’80 - Football, John Jambeck ’62 - Swimming, Deanne Sand Johnson ’89 - Tennis, Dick Kumlin ’55 (posthumously) – Basketball, Dan Prochnow ’78 - Golf, Jerilyn Ree ’88 - Basketball, and Stacey Rodman ’89 - Swimming. 

Gustavus Legacy Award for Gustavus Admission

Mark Anderson, Vice President of Admission and Student Financial Assistance, is pleased to announce the Gustavus Legacy Award for new students beginning with the incoming class of 2007.  Renewable awards of $2,500 per year are given to new students whose siblings are current Gustavus students or graduates or whose parents or grandparents are Gustavus alumni.  Scholarship recipients must have a high school grade point average of at least 3.5 or an ACT of 26 or an 1170 (Critical Reading + Math) on the SAT.  For more information contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S) or email <>.