Class of '53
April 2008

55-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30 & 31,  2008

Dear Classmates,

Mary Ann Stollenwerk Berg, our class agent from two decades ago, died this past week in Superior, Wisconsin.  Mary was famous for her ability with words, especially making puns.  In some of her class letters there was hardly a sentence that did not contain at least one pun.  In her later life she became a Scrabble expert so when she died some family members made up three Scrabble boards with words that described her.  Very clever and appropriate.  See more of Mary's style later in this newsletter.

Mary’s funeral was held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Superior, Wisconsin, a church that her husband, Don ’51, had served for about 20 years.  Pilgrim was the church that my grandfather, J. P. Linner, served at the turn of the century so attending the funeral was a bit of getting in touch with part of my past.  We will miss Mary and her bright, optimistic personality.

It was Mary who recruited me to be the class agent when she and her husband were planning an extended stay in Cameroon, Africa.  I joined the team with Bobby Krig, our golf-loving, life-loving, class agent stationed in the Twin Cities.  Marv Larson replaced Bobby when Bobby died a couple of years ago.  We picked Marv, in part, because he shares Bobby’s passion for golf and Gustavus.  So life goes on.

All of this reminds me to remind you to think about how you plan to distribute your vast accumulation of assets when you decide to leave this earth.  And if you haven’t revisited the issue lately, let me suggest that you give some serious consideration to leaving some fraction of your estate to Gustavus.  There are many options as to where you can designate your money but one intriguingly good idea is to support our class of ’53 scholarship fund.  We set a goal of one million dollars and we’re very close.

And don’t forget your annual contribution to the Gustavus fund.  We are leading our decade in the percent of contributors the last time I checked and that is a great position to be in.  If you aren’t sure if you sent a contribution in for this year, send something in just to cover your bets.  If it turns out you doubled up, so much the better.

Hey, I’ve got an idea regarding class reunions.  How about we adopt the idea of floating class reunions?  It would work like this:  We look for anything on campus, or elsewhere, where there is a good chance that a critical mass of the class of ’53 would be present.  Then we work out details where we could meet and greet.

We did this last year at the Nobel Conference in October.  We met with classmates at lunch during the first day of the conference.  It was easy to set up.  We had a couple dozen who gathered with bag lunches, ate together, shared stories, and renewed acquaintances.  We could arrange something like that for the big Library Associates Fund Raiser called The Royal Affair, semiannually in the Twin Cities, Christmas at Christ Chapel in December, the college music departments annual concert in the Twin Cities each spring, you get the idea.  And then there is the annual invitation to come back during graduation in May and hangout with all the other 50-something reunioneers.

So, what do you think of the idea of floating reunions?  We could keep people informed of opportunities via the class letters (which I am sure you read cover to cover) and by e-mail.  Drop me an e-mail ( or give me a call (218-24-317) with your reactions.

Speaking of reunions, we celebrate our Gustavus 55th this year and everyone is invited for the weekend of May 30-31.  Watch your mail for the reservation form, due out next week.  Marv Larson will be there to greet classmates and keep things moving.  I will be racing rubber ducks in Duluth that weekend to raise money for the elementary school reading and book gifting program that our Kiwanis Club sponsors, so party on without me.

Now let me put in a piece composed by Mary Berg that her husband sent me following the funeral.  I will edit the work a bit for length but it gives us all a reminder of her unique love of the language and of her God.  The quotations come from an article written by Mary called, “The Alpha and the Omega, A to Z.”  She elaborates on a game she frequently played with grandchildren where they pick a theme and then try to find words beginning with each letter of the alphabet that fit the theme.

In this work she selects words from the Bible that fit the theme of, “The Son is Eternal God, Ever One, Ever Three.”  She writes (selectively edited):  “Advocate, Breath of God, Companion, Director, Embracer, Fire From Heaven, Gift Giver, Healer, Inspiration, Joy Producer, Keeper, Life-giving Spirit, Mediator, Narrator, Omnipresent, Purifier, Quest Guide, Refresher, Sanctifier, Transformer, Unction Divine, Vigilante, Watchman, (E)xtends Gifts to All, You are the Spirit of the Living God, Zion’s Sustainer.”  Classic Mary.

Campus News

World Renowned Primate Expert Speaks in the Twin Cities

Frans B.M. de Waal, a Dutch psychologist, primatologist, and animal behavior expert, presented two public lectures as part of a residency through the Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College funded by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell.  De Waal presented “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy”  and on “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist.”  DeWaal’s research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing.  In 2007, de Waal was named to the “TIME 100”—a list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world according to Time magazine.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson '55 at 763-533-9083.  Upcoming dates:

April 16 - featuring Linnaeus Arboretum Director, Cindy Johnson-Groh

May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming.


The women’s hockey team became the first team to finish the MIAC women’s hockey season undefeated.  The team is currently ranked #3 in the country going into the playoffs.  The men’s tennis team claimed its fourth ITA Division III Team Indoor Title in the eight year history of the tournament.  The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the MIAC Championship.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Seattle Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Austin, TX Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31

Your Faithful Correspondent from the Far North,

Tom Boman

1953 Co-class Agent with Marv Larson