Class of '53

October 2011

Dear Classmates,

Welcome to the new structure of the Gustavus Alumni organization.  No more class agents.  Now we have class officers.  So Marv and I opted to become co-class presidents.  Hope you don't mind our power grab.  But the good news is that we have openings for all sorts of new officers:  newsletter editor, social coordinator, fund giver nag − the list goes on and on.  So pick something you would like to do and we can add you to our list of officers.  Contact either of us at the address given at the end of this letter or contact us and the Alumni Office by emailing:

Our 60th class anniversary is soon upon us.  2013.  Our social coordinator will be working with the other class officers in planning something terrific for the celebration.  Classes like ours always have our class reunion/anniversary at graduation time in the spring, usually on Memorial Day weekend or whenever the college decides to hold graduation.  Since we are past our 50th, the college picks up most of the tab for the event so plan to attend.  Watch The Gustavus Quarterly for specifics on dates.  And of course, you will be hearing from us via the class newsletter on specifics.

Remember during our 50th reunion that we donated to a class endowment fund to fund scholarships?  That fund now stands $47,540 (maybe better since the stock market has had a nice run lately).  The earnings from the fund (about $2,000/year) go to a student selected by the college to help support their tuition and fees for the year.  If you are inclined, you can send along a donation to that fund anytime the spirit moves.  Just call the Alumni Office for details.

The college has just constructed a new academic building (Beck Hall) to house some of the departments that we remember as being in the temporary classroom building.  The new building is sensational.  Solar panels on the roof, air conditioning throughout, big atrium down the center of the building gives it a look of class, high tech in the classrooms and offices, and study and meeting lounges tucked in the corners.  Marv and I toured the building with a new faculty member we met through some friends of Marv's when we were on the campus for Class Officer Day this fall.

We recalled, looking out over the campus, that back in 1952 the plant services people agreed to put in an ice skating rink just to the east of the gym.  There was a nice level spot and the student council had recommended that an ice skating rink would help keep people on campus on the weekends.   Sort of like you imagine people skating at Rockefeller Center in New York with nice music, a bit of libation available from local vendors, and beautiful people gracefully moving about the ice.  So the rink was flooded, but something seemed wrong.  A diagonal line from one corner of the rink to the other just wouldn't freeze.  Seems that a poorly insulated heating pipe ran under the area of the rink and the ground above it never got below the freezing point.  Too bad.  Maybe Gustavus might have been able to lure the winter Olympics to St. Peter if the rink had worked.

As we were strolling the campus we recalled one of the spectacular chapel events in our day.  On Thursdays, I recall, it was music day in chapel.  The organist was playing some rather sleep inducing organ piece when silently a pair of woman's panties drifted out over the stage of the chapel.  The panties were tied to two very thin wires attached to the walls.  A cleverly designed alarm clock pushed the panties from behind the organ pipes at about 10:00 a.m. and they fluttered out quite silently.  At first almost nobody in the audience noticed since most were either dozing or reading up for their next class.  First there was a snicker, then more snickers, then uproarious laughter.  The organist played on.

Of course the administration had an investigation.  The only ones known to have been in the chapel the night before were Tom and Marv as the Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity, had an office in the chapel and the two of us were in the office writing our humor column for the Weekly.   Tom had been before the dean before in his career for some crude humor in a variety show.  But Marv was relatively new on campus and innocent as the driven snow.  So we were exonerated.  We suspect that some of you readers know who performed the stunt but the administration never found out.  Clearly a masterpiece.

The Nobel Conference was on campus about a month ago with the theme:  The Brain and Being Human.  Terrific.  About 8,000 were in attendance including high school students, regular folks with the week off, and buckets of alumni.  One of the speakers noted that there are more possible unique neural connections in a human brain than there are particles in the universe.  Astonishing.  That may account for why those of us in the class of 1953 are now finding it so difficult to recall that person's name when we first meet them and then can recall it about an hour later after they have gone.  Somewhere in that maze of connections in our brain was the name, but at 80 years of age, searching that complex maze takes a lot of time.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is the first weekend in December and you need to get your online tickets ordered very soon since that event always sells out.  A great way to start your Christmas celebration.

We have to brag a bit about our class.  If you subtract the class of 1928 which has one graduate still alive and he always gives to the alumni fund so they get 100% participation, our class of 1953 has the 3rd highest level of participation of all classes.  We clocked in at 67%.  That's great.  So thank you to all of you who remembered to send in some kind of contribution to the alumni fund.  Big or small, it all adds up and the number of participants makes a big impression on foundations that give grants to colleges like ours for buildings, scholarships, and research.

Don't forget to volunteer for one of the new class officer positions.  If you want in, just make up a title, send to Marv or Tom, and you're part of the team.

Be good, stay good, and may the good Lord watch over you.

Marv Larson

1953 Co-class Presidents

Tom Boman

Campus News

Campaign Gustavus Announcement

At the Sesquicentennial and Campaign Kickoff Dinner held on campus on Friday Sept. 30, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bernhardson announced the official kickoff a comprehensive fundraising campaign, Campaign Gustavus.  The financial goal of the campaign is to raise $150 million by the end of 2015 to fund the strategic initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150.  The focus of Campaign Gustavus is to ensure the College has the resources to continue providing opportunities for teaching and learning in a caring community.  To find out more about Campaign Gustavus and how you can be involved, visit:

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on October 15.  Inductees for 2011 are Owen Sammelson ’58, benefactor; Amanda Murdock Diehl ’92, gymnastics; Jay Klagge ’92, basketball; Bryan Ripken ’94, swimming; Todd Anderson ’95, soccer; Tracy Erickson McMorrow ’95, tennis; Scott Moe ’95, golf; Laura LeVander Peters ’96, softball; and Colleen Barland Sherman ’96, soccer.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1991 Women’s Gymnastics National Championship, won with the final routine of the meet. 

Christmas in Christ Chapel

As the College’s Sesquicentennial Christmas in Christ Chapel, Julljus:  Light from the Old World, Light to the New brings us to the celebration of Christ’s light—to Sweden in the Middle Ages; to Minnesota in the 19th century; and to our fractured and darkened world today.  At the center of the 39th annual community celebration is Julotta, the traditional Christmas matins service brought by Swedish immigrants to the New World.  Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2011 are on sale online at  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call 507-933-7520 after noon on October 17 to place your credit card order.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  November speaker will be Rob Gardner, interim artistic coordinator for Christmas in Christ Chapel.  The St. Peter Breakfast will be held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, and the Twin Cities Breakfast will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail Hope to see you bright and early!