Class of '53
April 2009

Dear ’53ers,

First, the important stuff.  The college invites all of us post-50th back to the campus on May 30, 2009.  It’s called the 50-Year Club reunion.  Looks like an interesting array of activities.  You should have gotten a brochure in the mail.  If not, check the Gustavus website for details.  One of the nice features of the event is that it is mostly free, a very nice idea when most of our retirement funds have gone south.

Some of you may remember that your two class agents, Marv and Tom, combined their talents to write a weekly (perhaps better spelled weakly) humor column for the Gustavian Weekly, the award winning publication by Gustavus students.  A frequent target of those columns was the Gustavus food service.  You recall the canteen on one side of Uhler Hall and the cafeteria on the other side and almost everyone used food tickets.

During our tenure the college administration hired a new manager for the food service by the name of Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33.  Her husband was the basketball coach and they both hailed from Edina where he ran a very successful bowling alley.  Evelyn arrived in our senior year, as I recall.  But even she couldn’t turn things around immediately so she took the hits from our columns.

Come the end of our senior year and when exams were over we stayed on campus awaiting graduation.  The two of us decided that it would great fun to organize a large picnic on the Friday evening before graduation.  We decided to roast a turkey for the event to make it special.  The only flaw in our idea is that neither of us knew anything about roasting a turkey although we did have access to an oven in the apartment of the Arne Carlson residence.

So we decided to go ask Evelyn for advice.  She was amazingly gracious given the ribbing we had given her in our weekly columns.  She asked some critical question such as how many people we were going to have, what time was the picnic, what else were we serving, etc.  We laid out the details and then she said, “Why don’t you two stop by at 6:00 p.m. and pick up the turkey.  I’ll roast it and have it ready to go.”  We were stunned.  But we did recover and ask how much we would owe her for the turkey.  “No charge, it is on me.”

So that Friday, we stopped by the food service at 6:00 and there was the turkey, a very large turkey, done to perfection, and packed to transport to the picnic area.  And she still refused to take any money for it.  A marvelous graduation gift to a couple of guys who certainly didn’t deserve it.  But that was, as we were to find out over the decades that she served as head of the Gustavus food service, the kind of behavior that would make her an icon at the college.

We have forgotten who attended the picnic and even what kind of beverages were consumed (but one could guess), but we will never forget the turkey and Evelyn.

Well, it is spring again, and somewhere there are folks plotting picnics, ice cream socials (the college administration would not permit signs indicating an event with alcoholic beverages so posters advertising ice cream socials did the trick), canoe trips on the Minnesota River, and other activities that just do not merit elaboration.  And on Saturday, old alums will return to the campus for the 50-Year Club reunion, hoping for large name tags to recall the names of classmates.  Youth and age will pass on the sidewalks, the youth not believing that they will ever get that old and age wishing they were back in their prime.

As long as we are on memory lane, this might be a good idea to remind you to be sure you have sent something in to the Annual Fund on behalf of the Class of ’53.  We have an amazingly good record of giving from our class and it would be terrific if we maintained that record.

Now, on to a few bits of information about classmates:

Gerald Kopischke and his good wife, Barb, celebrated their 50th this year.  We suspect that event has happened to a goodly number of our class in the past couple of years.  We wish Gerry and Barb our best.

And on a sober note, we note the passing of Charles Nelson.  He had a variety of life experiences before entering the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  He served pastorates in the Virgin Islands, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.  He is survived by his wife, Gloria, son Eric, and daughter, Andrea.

If there was other information sent in to share, it is misplaced among the manila folders that line the office floor.  We apologize for that.  But maybe if you reach into the refrigerator and find some left over turkey as comfort food you will feel better.

Now this is a good time for the Alumni Office to put in their contribution:

Campus News

Update on Commission Gustavus 150

Recently posted to the Commission website is a summary of the common issues and “big ideas” discussed at the first nine National Summit meetings regarding the College’s five core values (Excellence, Faith, Justice, Service, and Community).  The participants were asked how the College might ensure that the core values would be lived out in the lives of alumni, faculty, staff, and students.  The summary is being shared with all members of the eight task forces of Commission Gustavus 150.  The common issues and big ideas will help shape the recommendations made by the Task Forces to the Gustavus Board of Trustees and ultimately form the basis for the College’s long-range strategic plan.

Congratulations to the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team, which won its second straight Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Championship on Sunday, Feb. 22.  Gustavus finished with 446 points to beat out Minnesota State University, Mankato (408 points) and Concordia College, Moorhead (213 points).  Gustavus placed first in 6 of 13 events and placed four individuals in the top seven of the individual sweepstakes standings.  First-year student, Chloe Radcliffe, placed first in the individual sweepstakes and senior, Tasha Carlson, will represent Minnesota at the 2009 Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest―the oldest speaking competition in the country―on April 25 in Oxford, Mississippi.

Hockey Finals

The men’s hockey team made its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship game at Herb Brooks Ice Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Saturday, March 21.  They lost a great game to Neumann College, 4-1.  The women’s hockey team lost 2-1 to UW-River Falls in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Gustavus’s Day at the Capitol

Hundreds of students and financial aid supporters from Gustavus Adolphus College and other Minnesota private colleges and universities gathered on various days at the state Capitol this spring to advocate for need-based student financial aid.  Gustavus’s Day at the Capitol was March 5, shared with Hamline University and St. Mary’s University.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Join us for a cup of coffee, breakfast, and great conversation.  Our featured presenter for May will be Kathi Tunheim, assistant professor for economics and management.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, Wednesday, May 20, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.

Linnaeus Symposium

The Linnaeus Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, April 22, 2009 and will include Dr. Margaret Lowman, a tree ecologist and Gustavus alumnus, Gail Johnson Speckmann ’73, whose water color art display will premier during the conference; and there will be a special choreographed dance production on the theme of trees.

MayDay!  Peace Conference

“Tiananmen + 20 Years” is the topic of Gustavus Adolphus College’s 29th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference to be held Wednesday, April 29, 2009 on the college campus.

May your summer be filled with good times, may the rains come at night to keep the garden and lawn fresh, may your friends help you find the golf balls that you hit into the rough, and may you find peace and good fine health.  And, if the spirit moves, feel free to send us some material for the next class letter, perhaps even a copy of what you have already sent us that we misplaced.

Tom Boman and Marv Larson

Your 1953 Faithful Class Agents