Class of ’53
October 2010

Dear Classmates,

She was a three letter athlete in high school with a 4.0 GPA.  She had been accepted at Gustavus when the opportunity to attend a special woman’s weekend at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) arrived in the mail.  Her parents agreed to her participation hoping that she would find the school not of her liking.  But she came back thrilled with what she saw and heard.  She set her heart on MIT.  Then came financial reality.  The cost of MIT, even with some financial assistance, was out of the question.

So off she went to Gustavus.  But in her heart, she was determined to find a way to MIT by her junior year.  Her financial package at Gustavus included work in the math department and she really fell in love with the physics department.  Her junior year came and went and she chose to stay at Gustavus.  She graduated with a double major in physics and mathematics and an offer to attend graduate school at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in their new department of biophysics.

She went on to earn a Ph.D. in biophysics and earn a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Health in Washington, D. C. working in cancer research.

She said of her Gustavus education that she was as well prepared as any of her peers who had graduated from some of the highly prestigious eastern colleges.  Plus, Gustavus had allowed her to pursue her interests in music and gain a well-rounded education in the humanities as well as the sciences.

It is stories like these that make Gustavus special.  It is a place where a student can find a way to make their life count.

And that is the new theme of Gustavus.  “Make Your Life Count.”  Check it out on the Gustavus website.

So it is up to us, those aging alumni from over half a century ago, to help out the newest generation to make their lives count.  We can talk up Gustavus at church coffee hours, or at high school performing arts and athletic events, and at alumni gatherings which include potential students and their parents.  We can submit the names of students we know who could make great Gusties to the admissions office and let them work their magic in recruiting.  And, of course, we can send in some financial support when the annual fund drive comes along, which, in fact, is all year long so you won’t forget to participate.

You may recall during our 50th year reunion that we established an endowment to fund a class of ʼ53 scholarship.  Well, that fund now stands at $38,561.  The value took a hit in the market decline but is recovering and should soon return to its high point of $54,056.  The fund distributed $2,138 in scholarship aid this year.  You can add to the endowment fund at any time in any amount.

The Nobel Conference has just passed into history reminding us how much the campus has changed in 50 plus years and how much the conference has changed from its early years.  The first Nobel’s were held during the break between semesters in late January.  The wind howled, the snow blew, the students were missing, and the campus resembled a scene from a nuclear facility in the Siberia wastelands.  Then one year the administration building burned to the ground one day before Nobel opened (apparently the furnace over heated) and college administrators began looking for a better time slot for Nobel.

Now Nobel is held the first full week in October.  The students are on campus, the grass is green and the flowers in bloom.  Coffee is served outside on the mall and thousands of adults and high school students attend to be amazed at the knowledge and insights of the presenters.  It is a spectacular event.  No other college in the country has anything quite like the Nobel Conference.  You can view and hear the Nobel presentations on the Gustavus website:

And speaking of winter, some of you may remember that in our era there was a burst of enthusiasm to have a skating rink on campus.  So the people in plant services agreed to put an outdoor rink in front of the gym.  Dirt was hauled in to provide a way to contain the water.  And after the first significant spell of freezing weather the rink flooding began.  The rink never froze right down the center.  It seems that no one recalled that a major heating line ran from the heating plant to the gym and was so poorly insulated so that the ground right in the middle of the rink was always above freezing.

The great attempt to develop a downhill skiing area just north of the campus met a similar fate.  In 1951 there was a prolonged spell of deep snow and some students planned to develop a ski hill the next year on a north facing slope just up the valley from the campus.  One student talked his father into donating an old Ford car that would provide the power for a rope tow.  The hill was cleared for skiing.  Everything was set for 1952.  But 1952 was almost free of snow that year.  The same was true for 1953.  And the ski hill just faded away.

Now winter sports on campus have better luck.  The Lund complex has great indoor ice and the Gustavus hockey teams vie for the conference championship each year.  Downhill skiers can drive to Buck Hill or fly to Aspen or Vail and find plenty of snow.  But in the early ʼ50s winter was mostly just bracing against the wind and heading off to Old Main to see what was cooking in the chemistry labs on the third floor.

You readers certainly have some great memories of life in the early ʼ50s.  Write them up and share them with us so we can use them in the next class letters.  There is not much class news to report so let’s go with some terrific memories.  Details can be embellished in the spirit of the current political campaign.

As a last reminder.  Do send in something to the Gustavus Annual Fund.  Our class record of percent of giving is the best in our decade and one of the best for all classes.  For that we thank you!  And the college thanks you!  Most of all, those students who are going to make their lives count thank you.

Tom and Marv

1953 Co-class Agents

Tom Boman

Marv Larson

Campus News

150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory

The Gustavus Alumni Association is bringing together about 25,000 Gusties to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary.  In partnership with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI), Gustavus will produce the 150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory.  Over the next couple of months, PCI will be contacting Gustavus alumni via phone, mail, and e-mail to request that you update your information.  We know you don’t want to provide your information to just anyone, so we want you to be aware of this project and encourage your participation.  For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-487-8437.

Nobel Conference

What is Good Food?  The Nobel Conference® 46, Making Food Good, was held Oct. 5-6.  It explored the many levels of this question.  From our seven distinguished panelists we considered varied and various conceptions of goodness and the challenges involved with the way they intersect with each other.  Contemporary food issues like community food security; the local foods movement; food crops as fuel crops; school lunches; genetic modification of food plants and animals; molecular gastronomy; and protecting genetic diversity of plants and animals were considered.  You can hear the talks online at:

Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on Sat., Oct. 9.  Inductees for 2010 are:  Evie Cieslar Erdman ’73, benefactor; Duke Paluch ’84, tennis; Erik Allen ’92, basketball; Peter Anderson ’92, golf; Leigh Stocker Berger ’92, volleyball; Angela White Vick ’92, track and field; Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93, tennis; Erik Hendrikson ’94, hockey, football; Paige Tierney Sullivan ’95, soccer; and the Hall of Fame Moment−1990 Women’s Tennis National Championship.

Alumni Art Show

Over 60 alumni will participate in an Alumni Art Show in the Hillstrom Museum, November 22 through the end of the semester.  A reception will take place on Monday, November 22, 7 p.m.  This will be the first alumni art showing in the Hillstrom Museum.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming breakfasts include:  Jeff Stocco, dean of students, on Nov. 17; Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83, musicians, on Dec. 15; and the winter sports coaches on Jan. 19.

Christmas in Christ Chapel Tickets

Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2010 will be available on Monday, Oct. 18 at noon.  Service dates are Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $17.50 each and available online via credit card at:  If you do not have access to the Internet, tickets are available by calling the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.